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Drawing smooth points with the Pen tool

From: Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Mastery

Video: Drawing smooth points with the Pen tool

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.

Drawing smooth points with the Pen tool

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.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Mastery
Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Mastery

192 video lessons · 43968 viewers

Deke McClelland
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 40m 45s
    1. Welcome
      2m 45s
    2. Making Photoshop your default image editor
      7m 43s
    3. Installing the dekeKeys keyboard shortcuts
      8m 10s
    4. Remapping OS shortcuts
      7m 37s
    5. Installing the Best Workflow color settings
      4m 31s
    6. The color settings explained
      6m 54s
    7. Loading the CS5 color settings in Bridge
      3m 5s
  2. 1h 11m
    1. Your creative range continues to expand
      1m 46s
    2. The Avatar project so far
      2m 38s
    3. Painting on a photograph
      7m 50s
    4. Adding texture and depth
      6m 14s
    5. Simulating chalky white paint
      7m 23s
    6. Masking and placing an image
      7m 20s
    7. Upsampling and Lens Blur
      5m 9s
    8. Blending blurry elements
      3m 48s
    9. Making a Smart Object
      6m 46s
    10. Placing an image as a Smart Object
      3m 22s
    11. Blending away a background
      5m 56s
    12. Applying Smart Filters
      4m 34s
    13. Creating a glow with Lens Flare
      3m 45s
    14. Blending and masking a glow
      5m 3s
  3. 1h 26m
    1. Using the image to select itself
      1m 53s
    2. Introducing masking
      6m 32s
    3. Making an alpha channel
      6m 54s
    4. Using the Calculations command
      6m 48s
    5. Add, Subtract, Offset, and Scale
      5m 54s
    6. Prepping an image with the Dodge tool
      6m 55s
    7. Fixing mistakes before they get too big
      6m 32s
    8. Painting in the Overlay mode
      5m 51s
    9. Exaggerating and selecting flesh tones
      7m 39s
    10. Smudge, Median, and the Blur tool
      6m 59s
    11. Masking low-contrast details
      6m 7s
    12. Creating a flesh-and-clothing mask
      5m 45s
    13. Masking and compositing the foreground
      5m 27s
    14. Finessing the final composition
      7m 39s
  4. 2h 24m
    1. Connecting the dots
      1m 40s
    2. The Pen tool and the Paths panel
      6m 32s
    3. Drawing a straight-sided outline
      6m 25s
    4. Editing a path outline
      6m 36s
    5. Adding and editing smooth points
      5m 35s
    6. Creating vector masks with the shape tools
      4m 59s
    7. Building a complex outline from shapes
      4m 26s
    8. Subtracting and transforming shapes
      6m 45s
    9. Cloning, flipping, and combining shapes
      8m 58s
    10. Roughing in non-symmetrical paths
      7m 41s
    11. Finessing a complex outline
      9m 15s
    12. Masking a layer effect
      8m 26s
    13. Isolating an image element
      6m 8s
    14. Smooth points and control handles
      9m 3s
    15. Stretching curved segments
      7m 49s
    16. Using the Rubber Band option
      9m 33s
    17. Drawing smooth points with the Pen tool
      6m 59s
    18. Shading an isolated object
      3m 45s
    19. Drawing cusp points
      7m 14s
    20. Setting points in the pasteboard
      9m 57s
    21. Using the Convert Point tool
      6m 42s
  5. 2h 57m
    1. Everything you need to know about blending
      1m 45s
    2. Photoshop CS5's blend modes
      7m 21s
    3. Cycling between blend modes
      6m 15s
    4. Darken and Lighten and their derivatives
      6m 3s
    5. The blend mode shortcuts
      8m 6s
    6. The Multiply and Burn modes
      4m 28s
    7. The Screen and Dodge modes
      6m 0s
    8. How opposite blend modes work
      8m 24s
    9. Why Multiply darkens and Divide lightens
      5m 23s
    10. Cleaning up a client's bad art
      5m 3s
    11. Dropping out a white background
      5m 56s
    12. Blending inside blend modes
      8m 3s
    13. Overlay, Soft Light, and Hard Light
      6m 26s
    14. Vivid, Linear, and Pin Light (and Hard Mix)
      6m 35s
    15. Difference, Exclusion, Subtract, and Divide
      7m 34s
    16. Great uses for the Difference mode
      6m 18s
    17. Promising uses for the Divide mode
      9m 6s
    18. Hue, Saturation, Color, and Luminosity
      7m 0s
    19. Blending an inverted layer
      3m 32s
    20. The "Fill Opacity Eight"
      7m 25s
    21. Making bad blend modes good
      5m 16s
    22. Making a knockout layer
      6m 53s
    23. Blending in the CMYK mode
      8m 3s
    24. Overprinting black text
      8m 29s
    25. Using the Luminance slider
      5m 24s
    26. Parametric luminance masking
      6m 21s
    27. Adjusting the behavior of luminance effects
      10m 8s
  6. 2h 2m
    1. Smart Objects = protective containers
      1m 35s
    2. Placing an Illustrator graphic
      6m 30s
    3. Vector copy and paste options
      6m 56s
    4. Applying Puppet Warp to vectors
      8m 9s
    5. "Gluing" vector art for Puppet Warp
      5m 50s
    6. Warping art onto the surface of an image
      8m 7s
    7. Blending a Smart Object
      4m 30s
    8. Blurring and blending a Smart Object
      6m 8s
    9. Making changes in Illustrator
      5m 57s
    10. Creating "true clones"
      7m 18s
    11. Double-flipping text
      4m 44s
    12. Applying effects to multiple layers
      3m 24s
    13. Updating true clones in one operation
      7m 36s
    14. Editing JPEGs as Camera Raw objects
      5m 49s
    15. Creating a double-exposure effect
      7m 15s
    16. Masking and shading transitions
      7m 47s
    17. Applying and repeating Camera Raw edits
      6m 9s
    18. Copying vs. cloning a Smart Object
      5m 18s
    19. Flipping a Smart Object and its mask
      3m 42s
    20. Adjusting multiple Camera Raw clones
      3m 53s
    21. Text that inverts everything behind it
      5m 34s
  7. 1h 59m
    1. This time, "smart" means dynamic
      1m 37s
    2. Introducing Smart Filters
      6m 28s
    3. Traditional High Pass sharpening
      5m 17s
    4. Smart High Pass in the Lab mode
      7m 57s
    5. Sharpening a high-frequency image
      7m 46s
    6. Retroactively reducing noise
      7m 31s
    7. Which filters are Smart Filters?
      6m 20s
    8. Shadows/Highlights as a Smart Filter
      4m 37s
    9. Nesting one Smart Object inside another
      7m 11s
    10. Drawing a mask from a nested Smart Object
      8m 7s
    11. Better Shadows/Highlights inside Lab
      9m 16s
    12. Tempering saturation values in Lab
      7m 0s
    13. Filtering live, editable text
      9m 2s
    14. Enhancing filters with layer effects
      4m 33s
    15. Applying a filter multiple times
      5m 0s
    16. Creating a synthetic star field
      7m 7s
    17. Making a stucco or drywall pattern
      6m 28s
    18. Land, sea, and clouds
      8m 30s
  8. 2h 50m
    1. Photoshop's advanced painting tools
      2m 3s
    2. Canvas texture and brush libraries
      6m 40s
    3. Painting with a predefined custom brush
      9m 21s
    4. Dissecting a custom brush
      11m 9s
    5. Designing and using a custom brush
      4m 54s
    6. Saving and loading brush presets
      5m 27s
    7. The ten styles of bristle brushes
      9m 47s
    8. Size, Spacing, and Angle
      7m 2s
    9. Using the Bristle Brush preview
      7m 53s
    10. Bristles, Length, Thickness, and Stiffness
      6m 53s
    11. Stylus tilt and mouse behavior
      5m 25s
    12. Stroking a path outline with a brush
      4m 0s
    13. Troubleshooting a stylus
      5m 49s
    14. Introducing the Mixer Brush
      7m 22s
    15. The Load, Mix, and Wet values
      5m 1s
    16. Cleaning and loading a brush
      6m 26s
    17. Shading a piece of graphic art
      6m 34s
    18. Shading with color
      7m 53s
    19. Mixing a photographic portrait
      6m 11s
    20. Tracing the fine details in an image
      5m 52s
    21. Crosshatching and brush size
      5m 53s
    22. Covering up and augmenting details
      7m 36s
    23. Painting in hair and fabric
      5m 54s
    24. Painting and scaling very fine hairs
      8m 7s
    25. Adding texture with the Emboss filter
      8m 31s
    26. Exploiting a "happy accident"
      2m 46s
  9. 1h 40m
    1. Artificial intelligence that works
      1m 22s
    2. The Auto-Align Layers command
      7m 25s
    3. The Auto-Blend Layers command
      3m 54s
    4. Masking auto-aligned layers
      4m 50s
    5. The Geometric Distortion setting
      6m 44s
    6. The Seamless Tones and Colors checkbox
      4m 8s
    7. Creating the best possible layer mask
      9m 18s
    8. Auto-blending depths of field
      5m 54s
    9. Finessing masks, accepting imperfections
      6m 29s
    10. Shooting and downsampling panorama images
      5m 54s
    11. Introducing the Photomerge command
      6m 40s
    12. Evaluating the Layout settings
      6m 47s
    13. Loading, aligning, and blending with Photomerge
      5m 36s
    14. Tracing and extracting seams
      7m 18s
    15. Adding a masked element into a panorama
      5m 55s
    16. Simplifying and correcting a panorama
      5m 58s
    17. Smart Filters and nondestructive cropping
      6m 43s
  10. 1h 18m
    1. The most mysterious of mysterious topics
      2m 29s
    2. Introducing HDR Toning
      6m 43s
    3. Reigning in clipped highlights
      5m 54s
    4. The Local Adaptation options
      9m 5s
    5. Nondestructive editing with HDR Toning
      8m 22s
    6. Using the HDR Toning Curve
      7m 2s
    7. HDR Toning vs. Shadows/Highlights
      6m 0s
    8. Merging multiple exposures
      7m 14s
    9. A first look at HDR Pro
      6m 24s
    10. Removing ghosts, correcting backlighting
      7m 11s
    11. Generating and editing an HDR comp
      7m 0s
    12. HDR rendered to completion
      5m 19s
  11. 1h 27m
    1. Processing hundreds of files in no time
      1m 43s
    2. Creating an action set
      6m 37s
    3. Making an action
      7m 7s
    4. Stop, Delete, and Record
      7m 12s
    5. Add, Undo, and Rerecord
      6m 40s
    6. Playing and testing an action
      6m 31s
    7. Playing and editing a specific operation
      6m 39s
    8. Permitting the user to change settings
      4m 58s
    9. Explaining an action with a custom stop
      5m 0s
    10. Batch-processing multiple images
      7m 22s
    11. Adding a Save As operation
      6m 34s
    12. Creating an action to save web graphics
      7m 59s
    13. Batching two actions into one
      7m 15s
    14. Saving and loading actions
      5m 30s
  12. 1m 19s
    1. See ya
      1m 19s

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