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In the all-new Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Mastery, the third and final installment of the popular series, join industry expert and award-winning author Deke McClelland for an in-depth tour of the most powerful and empowering features of Photoshop CS5. Discover the vast possibilities of traditional tools, such as masking and blend modes, and then delve into Smart Objects, Photomerge, as well as the new Puppet Warp, Mixer Brush, and HDR features. Exercise files accompany the course.
Recommended prerequisites: Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Fundamentals and Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Advanced.
I am still working inside Modified ellipse.psd found inside the 27_pen_tool folder and I'm in the middle of moving my cursor around with this rubber band thing hanging off of it. I am going to go ahead and delete what I've created so far, and notice this is an interesting behavior as you are deleting a path. If you press the Backspace key when you're in the middle of drawing a path, if you press the Backspace key or the Delete key on a Mac you're going to delete the last anchor point you created. And what that does is it also deactivates the rest of the path outline, which in my case is just one anchor point, but the entire remainder of your path outline is going to be selected and you press the Backspace key again a second time or the Delete key on a Mac in order to get rid of everything.
So I'll show you that again, I'll just create a bunch of points here. And so the first time I press Backspace or Delete just the last point goes away. The next time I press Backspace or Delete the rest of the path outline goes away. All right let's set about drawing the best path outline around this droplet according to the information inside of that template layer. So I am going to go back to Points and Handles here and turn it on so that we can see that layer. I'll return to the Paths panel because we are currently a path outline that has nothing to do with any of the layers.
It could be associated with any layer at this point. So, you know, bear in mind, paths, and channels, and layers, they all exist independently of each other. Let's switch things out this time. I'll create the path outline in a clockwise direction, just for the sake of variety. So let's at the top right here and I'll click at that Anchor point and drag to that point right there. And you might even go all the way like so, so that the opposite control handle aligns with the control handle in the template and then you could back things off after creating this control handle by pressing and holding the Ctrl key or the Cmd and a Mac and then moving the control handle backward.
So this is yet another advantage of pressing and holding Ctrl or Cmd as opposed to hard switching back to the Arrow tool, is that you can make these modifications on the fly and then release Ctrl or Cmd to once again return to the Pen tool cursor. And, by the way, you can nudge the active point, the selected point as you're working by pressing one of the arrow keys so that's an option as well. In Illustrator, for those of you who may be wondering, you have the option of pressing the Spacebar to adjust the position of an Anchor point as you're creating it, as you are drawing it.
That's not an option inside Photoshop. All right, so I am going to drag down, I'm still dragging in a clockwise fashion now because I established a clockwise direction in the first place, and I'm going to drag until the opposite control handle is in its proper position. Then I'll release and then I will Ctrl or Cmd+Drag that same control handle, the one that appeared under my cursor, I am going to drag it down and right until it aligns to the template point like so. And then I'll go ahead and drag from this point all the way until that opposite control handle is in the right place, and then I will Ctrl or Cmd+Drag this control handle back to its proper position.
Now some might argue, well this isn't really the way you work because you won't have a tracing template for your own images, so how in the world will you know where to put these points and control handles. Well, what you end up doing in real life is, as I say, you get a better sense of where the points and handles belong the more and more you work with the Pen tool, both inside Photoshop and Illustrator by the way. However, in the meantime, as you struggle to figure that out you make mistakes. Let me go ahead and put that Anchor points and the control handles in places that they probably oughtn't to be.
You go ahead and complete your shape to the best of your ability. For example, lets say I decide the anchor point belonged here and I went ahead and dragged like so and I dragged that opposite handle, I do work this way the by, I am really more interested in the opposite control handle as opposed to the one under my cursor, until I get its curvature right. And then I would go and close off the shape outline like so, just by clicking and now this rubber band segment, right there, that I'm seeing is going be accurate so I am clicking because I'm seeing that I've got the little close cursor, so this will close out the path outline.
And then you would make your modifications using, lets say, the White Arrow tool. So you press the A key, in my case a couple of times to switch back to the White Arrow tool, you would click on this segment to make it active so you could see what on the world you are doing and then you would drag these corner handles to compensate for the curvature of this drop. But then you would notice that you don't have enough curvature down here and you might adjust those control handles to fit or you might decide that you need to move that anchor point to different location. So, there's a fair amount of working back and forth.
The template is just here to save your time and provide you guidance and of course offer you a reality check so that you know when you've got it more or less right. Anyway, I'm going to drag these control handles back to where the template says to put them because I've done a pretty good job there, I think. And I'll drag this control handle upward as well and then I'll hide the template. And, by the way, from here it's the same stuff as we've seen before. we're just finessing the selection outline. And it doesn't matter now, whether we drew the path using the Pen tool or the Ellipse tool or what.
It's still a matter of last-minute finessing. Anyway, I am going to switch to the Layers panel, I am going to turn off that template layer and I'm going to continue to drag these control handles around, the points as well if need to be, until I think I've satisfactorily surrounded this drop. And this looks pretty good for me, might help if I zoomed into a 100% percent one of these days because I keep trying to pull this off from reduced zoom ratios and I still have this issue where I want to the lower this control handle while at the same time preserving a smooth point which causes the raising of the opposite control handle but that must be endured I suppose.
And I will eventually take this guide in a little bit, maybe that will help, but I've got to watch the opposite segment to make sure that it's not bending too far up. And then I'll take this guy upward, so I'll have him do a little bit more heavy lifting down below here and I might nudge this anchor point up as well. So you get a sense that even somebody with, what is it now? I think 23 years of experience with this tool, still spends a fair amount of time, if not struggling with it, then working with it to try to get the best results.
All right, so that looks good to me. Now we'd need to assign it as a vector mask to the single drop layer right there and I am going to do that, because the single drop layer is already active. And there is my path outline ready to go, I am going to do that just by Ctrl+Clicking or Cmd+Clicking on that mask icon, at the bottom of layers panel. And there we have it, I could turn off the mask. That is, hide it, by clicking on the vector mask thumbnail. And there is my droplet. In the next exercise, we're going to paint in the shading with a layer below, using an Amorphous layer mask, which I'm here to tell you, is a lot more forgiving than a Path outline.
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