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Drawing a straight-sided outline

From: Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Mastery

Video: Drawing a straight-sided outline

In this exercise, I am going to show you the simplest method for using the Pen tool, which is to click with the tool to set down corner points. Each one of the corner points is automatically connected by a straight segment. We are going to be working inside of this image here. It's called Macworld April 1991.psd found inside the 27_pen_tool folder. This is a photograph of a magazine article that I wrote eons ago back in 1991, and this is the first time I wrote about Photoshop. So, I figured it'd be a great image to select in Photoshop.

Drawing a straight-sided outline

In this exercise, I am going to show you the simplest method for using the Pen tool, which is to click with the tool to set down corner points. Each one of the corner points is automatically connected by a straight segment. We are going to be working inside of this image here. It's called Macworld April 1991.psd found inside the 27_pen_tool folder. This is a photograph of a magazine article that I wrote eons ago back in 1991, and this is the first time I wrote about Photoshop. So, I figured it'd be a great image to select in Photoshop.

What we are going to do is extract this magazine from its background and then just set it against a white Background. Now, it's not entirely a polygon as you can see here. We do have some straight edges along the left side and the far right side, the bottom is a little bit straight but we've got a fair amount of curving here at the top. We are still going to do our best to trace the magazine using just straight segments. So, the first step is to go ahead and select the Pen tool and of course you can get it by clicking on it or pressing the P key. Then, assuming you want to draw along with me here, this is the way I am going to work.

I am going to start down here in the lower left corner and I am just going to click with the tool. I want you to notice the appearance of my cursor. It's a pen with an X next to it. Anytime you see a pan with an X next to it, it means you are beginning a new path outline inside of Photoshop. As soon as I move that cursor it now appears as a pen nib with no X next to it. That means you are actively drawing inside the program. So, if you click or drag with the tool again you will automatically connect the last point you created with the new point.

So, now I am going to move my cursor up to the top of the magazine right there and I'm going to click again and notice that Photoshop goes ahead and connects these two points, they are corner points because they represent corners in the path outlines. It goes ahead and connects these two corner points with an absolutely straight segment. So, you don't have any of that Alt+ Clicking or Option+Clicking that you do if you are trying to create a polygonal selection outline with the Lasso tool for example. But otherwise it works pretty similarly. You are just clicking along to set corners. All right, now I am going to click to set a corner right there and if you don't set the point exactly where you want it, don't worry about that, we'll come back to how you manipulate these points later.

Right now I just want you to set them in place. Now once we start getting into this curving region right here it's difficult to know exactly where you should put the points. What I'm going to tell you is cheat on the inside of the magazine for now and more points are probably going to work out better but we don't want to overdo it. So I'll set a point right about there and this may or may not end up being entirely accurate, we'll see later and then I'll click another point there. Notice this whole time Photoshop is not only setting down points but it's automatically connecting the points with these straight segments.

So this is a pretty easy application of the tool by the way. Now, the one place where you might get into trouble is if you accidentally do something that makes Photoshop think that you're done drawing the path outline. Now, the one place where you can get into trouble is if you accidentally do something that makes Photoshop think you're done drawing the path outline. For example, this is pretty far- fetched but let's says you go to the Paths panel because you are just totally not thinking and you click off of this new Work Path item. The Work Path represents the path in progress and then your path outline goes away and you are like Ah! Darn it.

Then, you click on the Work Path again to make it active and now you can see the path outline. But, if you click to set a point you are not going to connect that point to the last point in the path. The reason is because Photoshop thought you were done. It doesn't think you're working on that path outline anymore. So, I'll go ahead and press Ctrl+Z, Cmd+Z on the Mac in order to undo the creation of that new point. You know that you're going to create a new path because of the cursor so you have to watch that cursor sometimes. It appears right now as a pen nib with an X next to it and that means you're starting anew, nothing is active, that's what the X means and you're going to start a new path outline.

Well, of course you want to activate the path outline you were working on. How do you reactivate it? Well, you go up to that last anchor point, the one you just drew, and notice that my cursor now appears as a pen with a little point next to it and that means if you click there you are going to reactivate the path. So, go ahead and click. It has to be an end point, that is, a point at the end of the existing path. Click on it and now move your cursor away and it appears as just a pen nib meaning you're good to go. You are now drawing the path outline once again. So, just keep an eye on that cursor and you should be fine.

I'll go ahead and click on a few more points here in order to set them. Again, if I don't exactly nail the point, I'm not that concerned right now. Then, I will click along the bottom here, click on the inside edge of the magazine cover. Obviously, I'm going to have to adjust these points later but for now I'll just click along in order to create them. Notice, that I am clicking on the corner along the inside edge of the magazine and then finally - look at this, I'm ready to close the path, and if I move my cursor over the first endpoint in the path then I'll see a little O next to it and that O means I'm about to close the shape.

As soon as I click, not only do I close the shape but I deactivate it and my cursor changes back to a pen with an X next to it. So, if I click anymore I am going to create a new path outline. All right, the thing to do now is to go ahead and name our path because notice that it's called Work Path. If I click off that path outline then it's no longer active. We can't see it inside the Image window anymore. If I click again with the Pen tool I begin a new work path, I wipe out the old one. So, you can see how that's a problem. Press Ctrl+Z, Cmd+Z on the Mac.

What you want to do is not have an item named Work Path in italics here because that indicates that it's temporary. It's something that Photoshop created for you and it's waiting for you to take ownership of it. What you do is you double-click on that item in order to name it yourself and I'll go ahead and call it Magazine outline. Then I'll click OK and now it's saved. Notice that it appears in Roman letters. It's not called work path, that's good news. If I click off of it to deselect it and start creating a new path then I will create a new work path item there inside the Paths panel.

I don't want that item, so I am going to go ahead and throw it away but we have now saved that Magazine outline. Now, here's the really great news about path outlines, you can save them with any file format. So, this could be a JPEG file and I could go ahead and save that path outline along with it. I can save it along with a TIF image, with a Photoshop image, what have you. It doesn't matter what the format is. In the next exercise, we'll take this path outline, we'll apply it to the magazine and we'll edit it to taste.

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This video is part of

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

192 video lessons · 43817 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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