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Drawing a straight-sided path outline

From: Photoshop CS6 One-on-One: Advanced

Video: Drawing a straight-sided path outline

In this movie, I will show you the most basic thing you can do with the Pen tool, which is to create a straight-sided path outline. So I will start things off by selecting the Pen, which you can get by pressing the P key, and then you want to confirm that this first option up here in the options bar is set to Path. Were it set to Shape, then you would draw a shape layer, which would cover up the magazine article, and wouldn't really do us any good for purposes of masking, whereas when the option is set to Path, as by default, you draw a path outline, with no fill, or stroke, or anything associated with it, and it appears inside the Paths panel.

Drawing a straight-sided path outline

In this movie, I will show you the most basic thing you can do with the Pen tool, which is to create a straight-sided path outline. So I will start things off by selecting the Pen, which you can get by pressing the P key, and then you want to confirm that this first option up here in the options bar is set to Path. Were it set to Shape, then you would draw a shape layer, which would cover up the magazine article, and wouldn't really do us any good for purposes of masking, whereas when the option is set to Path, as by default, you draw a path outline, with no fill, or stroke, or anything associated with it, and it appears inside the Paths panel.

So I am going to go ahead and switch over to Paths, like so, so we can see this path outline emerge. You also probably want to make sure that you're seeing large thumbnails, and to do so, right-click inside the Paths panel, and then select Large, and that way you can better see what's going on. Now I am going to start things off in this upper left corner, so I am just going to go and zoom in, and I am actually going to zoom in to 200%. And I want you to see what's going on with my Pen tool cursor. Notice, down and to the right of the cursor is a little asterisk, and what that shows you is that you are going to create a new path outline, so whenever you see that cursor, be prepared to start a new path.

I am going to go ahead and click right here at this corner to lay down an anchor point, and it's a special kind of anchor point known as a corner point, because it represents a corner in the path. Two things to notice now: one, the asterisk has disappeared from my cursor, and all I have got left is a pen nib, and that shows me that I am in the process of drawing a path. Also, you'll see over here in the Paths panel that I have a new item called Work Path, and it contains our single corner point. All right. Now I am going to click right there to set another corner point, and because my path is active, as indicated by the lack of asterisk next to my cursor, Photoshop goes ahead and joins those two anchor points with a straight segment. All right.

Now I will click over, say, right about there, and Photoshop goes ahead and connects the new point to its predecessor with yet another straight segment. All right. I am going to continue to just click along here, and I might zoom out a little bit too, so I can see more of the document. Now obviously, these straight segments aren't going to accurately represent the curvature of this page, but we'll come back to that later. All right. I'll click right there in order to set a corner point in the crease between the two pages, and then I'll click to set a couple of more anchor points as well.

And I am going to go ahead and zoom in at this location, and click right about there, and there, and there to set some more anchor points, so that I can accurately represent the way those pages are shifting, and you can always come back and modify the position of the points later. And incidentally, as long as the last anchor point is active, you can press an arrow key in order to nudge it into a different location. So pressing an arrow key nudges the point in 1 pixel increments. Pressing Shift+arrow nudges the point in 10 pixel increments.

Now, let's say something goes wrong. For example, you accidentally click in an empty portion of the Paths panel here, and you make the path disappear. So, to make it reappear, you just go ahead and click on that path, and now you move your cursor into the image window, and notice, you've got an asterisk again, which tells you, if you click in a location, you're starting a new path outline; you are not connecting to the previous one. All right. So I will go ahead and press Control+Z, or Command+Z on the Mac, to undo that new point. How do you reactivate a path? Well, the solution is to hover your cursor over one of the endpoints; either the first point you created, or the last point, and notice as soon as you do that you will see a little anchor point down and to the right from the pen nib, and that shows you that you're going to reactivate that point.

So just go ahead and click on it, and you're back in business. You can see that your asterisk has disappeared, and you will continue to add points to your path outline. All right. I am going to go ahead and scroll down to the bottom here, and click at this location. Notice, Photoshop goes ahead and connects the two points with a straight segment. I will click here, then I'll click down a little bit, and let's say that I want a little more room between these anchor points. Well, I can move the higher of the two points upward by selecting it, and I can select that point by pressing the Control key, or the Command key on the Mac, which gets me my white arrow tool on the fly, and then I would click on that point to make it active.

Then I can release the Control or Command key to return to the Pen tool, and I'll press the up arrow key just to nudge it up a little bit. And now I'll zoom out, and I want to show you something: my path outline remains active. I know that, because I am not seeing an asterisk next to my pen nib. If I click all the way into the crease here in the middle of the magazine, Photoshop goes ahead and connects the last endpoint -- not the selected point, but the last endpoint -- to my new point. All right. Now I am going to scroll over to left side of the document, click here, and here, and we will adjust the position of these points later.

And then finally, I want to close the path outline by clicking on the very first point I drew. And notice, when I hover my cursor over that point, I get a little circle, which is telling me I am about to close the path. And then, when I click on that point, all the anchor points disappear, as you can see, and I get an asterisk next to my cursor once again, which tells me that if I were to click, I'd be creating a new path outline. All right. The final thing I want to do is name my path. Notice, it appears as Work Path in italics.

That's very dangerous. That means that it's a temporary path outline. Notice, if I click off the path to deselect it, and then I start clicking around to draw a new path outline, I wiped out my old one entirely. And that's the nature of work paths; they are only there so long as you don't create a new one. So I'm going to have to press Control+Alt+Z, or Command+Option+Z on the Mac, several times in a row until I get my work path back, and then to name it, you just double-click anywhere on the path outline, and that brings up the Save Path dialog box.

So it's not so much that you are naming the path as you're saving it as part of the document. So I will go ahead and name mine magazine outline. Then click OK in order to save that path, and now if I click off the path outline, and draw a new path, it becomes a new work path, and my previous path outline is preserved. I don't want that path, so I am just going to grab it, and throw it away by dragging it to the trash icon in the bottom right corner of the panel. Now, one more great thing about path outlines is you can save them with any kind of document.

So they're not like layers, and alpha channels, and all the other special things that Photoshop can do. You can save path outlines with a TIFF file, or a JPEG file, or any other file format. So they're extremely flexible, and they take almost no room in memory. Anyway, I'll go ahead and click on that path to reselect it, and that's how you create a straight sided path outline by laying down a series of corner points using the Pen tool.

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This video is part of

Image for Photoshop CS6 One-on-One: Advanced
Photoshop CS6 One-on-One: Advanced

124 video lessons · 19377 viewers

Deke McClelland
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 30m 4s
    1. Welcome to One-on-One
      2m 19s
    2. Loading the dekeKeys keyboard shortcuts
      6m 5s
    3. Remapping your Macintosh OS shortcuts
      3m 4s
    4. Adjusting a few general preferences
      4m 3s
    5. Using the visual HUD color picker
      2m 2s
    6. The interface and performance settings
      5m 31s
    7. Adjusting the color settings in Photoshop
      7m 0s
  2. 47m 0s
    1. Smart Objects
      1m 36s
    2. Three ways to place a Smart Object
      3m 6s
    3. Copying and pasting from Adobe Illustrator
      4m 11s
    4. Transforming and warping a vector object
      4m 48s
    5. Blending a Smart Object into a photograph
      3m 10s
    6. Blurring with a nested Smart Filter
      4m 57s
    7. Editing a Smart Object in Illustrator
      3m 20s
    8. Creating "true clones"
      3m 50s
    9. Duplicating a group of clones
      2m 53s
    10. Breaking the Smart Object link
      2m 53s
    11. Styling and blending Smart Objects
      2m 44s
    12. Editing originals; updating clones
      3m 41s
    13. Removing people from a scene with Median
      5m 51s
  3. 29m 59s
    1. Luminance meets sharpening
      1m 2s
    2. Correcting for lens distortion
      4m 39s
    3. Introducing Shadows/Highlights
      3m 54s
    4. Mitigating halos with Radius values
      4m 19s
    5. Enhancing the effects of Midtone Contrast
      3m 18s
    6. Creating a "bounce" with Gaussian Blur
      3m 29s
    7. Sharpening on top of blur
      2m 47s
    8. Masking a group of Smart Filters
      2m 53s
    9. Reducing the density of a layer mask
      3m 38s
  4. 49m 10s
    1. Using Curves
      2m 40s
    2. Introducing the Curves adjustment
      7m 36s
    3. Adding and editing points on a curve
      6m 27s
    4. Winning Curves tips and tricks
      8m 12s
    5. Correcting a challenging image
      6m 33s
    6. Selecting and darkening highlights
      4m 39s
    7. Neutralizing colors and smoothing transitions
      6m 6s
    8. The new automatic Curves function
      6m 57s
  5. 1h 31m
    1. Camera Raw
      2m 11s
    2. Opening and editing multiple images
      8m 1s
    3. Correcting white balance
      4m 8s
    4. The revamped Exposure controls
      8m 8s
    5. Working with archival images
      7m 54s
    6. The Spot Removal and Graduated Filter tools
      6m 4s
    7. Painting edits with the Adjustment Brush
      7m 23s
    8. Tone Curves (and why you don't need them)
      5m 57s
    9. Straighten, crop, and geometric distortions
      5m 17s
    10. Applying manual lens corrections
      5m 14s
    11. Vignette, chromatic aberration, and fringe
      6m 49s
    12. Selective hue, saturation, and luminance
      6m 36s
    13. Working with JPEG and TIFF images
      6m 36s
    14. Camera Raw Smart Objects
      6m 48s
    15. Editing Camera Raw images from Bridge
      4m 24s
  6. 32m 30s
    1. Duotones
      1m 23s
    2. Creating a professional-quality sepia tone
      4m 18s
    3. Introducing the Gradient Map adjustment
      5m 42s
    4. Loading a library of custom gradients
      3m 48s
    5. Creating a custom quadtone
      5m 48s
    6. Colorizing with blend modes and Opacity
      4m 6s
    7. Creating a faux-color, high-key effect
      7m 25s
  7. 1h 6m
    1. Noise vs. Details
      1m 28s
    2. Introducing the Reduce Noise filter
      7m 29s
    3. Correcting a noisy photo
      5m 33s
    4. Smoothing over high-contrast noise
      5m 50s
    5. Protecting details with an edge mask
      4m 52s
    6. Adjusting overly saturated shadows
      3m 35s
    7. Correcting with High Pass and Lens Blur
      3m 45s
    8. Brushing away blur and sharpening
      6m 42s
    9. Creating texture by adding noise
      5m 28s
    10. The Camera Raw Detail panel
      7m 8s
    11. Correcting noise and detail in Camera Raw
      8m 10s
    12. Adding noise grain and vignetting effects
      6m 47s
  8. 44m 30s
    1. Blur Gallery
      1m 36s
    2. Creating depth-of-field effects in post
      5m 29s
    3. Modifying your Field Blur settings
      4m 57s
    4. Editing and exporting a Field Blur mask
      6m 15s
    5. Adding a synthetic light bokeh
      3m 52s
    6. Using the Selection Bleed option
      7m 29s
    7. Creating a radial blur with Iris Blur
      6m 59s
    8. Creating "fake miniatures" with Tilt-Shift
      4m 35s
    9. Combining multiple Blur Gallery effects
      3m 18s
  9. 1h 34m
    1. Blend Modes
      1m 16s
    2. Using the Dissolve mode
      9m 47s
    3. Multiply and the darken modes
      8m 30s
    4. Screen and the lighten modes
      8m 10s
    5. Cleaning up and integrating a bad photo
      6m 38s
    6. Blending inside blend modes
      6m 55s
    7. Overlay and the contrast modes
      6m 53s
    8. A few great uses for the contrast modes
      9m 7s
    9. Difference, Exclusion, Subtract, and Divide
      5m 5s
    10. Capturing the differences between images
      4m 18s
    11. Hue, Saturation, Color, and Luminosity
      4m 45s
    12. Blend mode shortcuts
      6m 21s
    13. The Fill Opacity Eight
      8m 57s
    14. Using the luminance-exclusion slider bars
      8m 8s
  10. 44m 20s
    1. Color Range
      1m 14s
    2. Introducing the Color Range command
      7m 24s
    3. Selecting a complex image with Color Range
      5m 49s
    4. Refining a selection in the Quick Mask mode
      7m 4s
    5. Viewing a mask with or without its image
      4m 24s
    6. Painting directly inside an alpha channel
      5m 39s
    7. Correcting fringes around a masked layer
      8m 5s
    8. Turning a layer into a knockout
      4m 41s
  11. 59m 43s
    1. Refine Edges
      1m 28s
    2. Laying down a base layer mask
      6m 49s
    3. Introducing the Refine Edge/Mask command
      7m 57s
    4. Edge detection and Smart Radius
      4m 42s
    5. Using the Refine Radius tool
      7m 31s
    6. The transformative power of Refine Edge
      3m 37s
    7. Perfecting a mask with overlay painting
      10m 58s
    8. Combining Quick Selection with Refine Mask
      10m 37s
    9. Bolstering and integrating hair
      6m 4s
  12. 1h 18m
    1. The Pen tool
      1m 50s
    2. Pixel-based masking versus the Pen tool
      6m 45s
    3. Drawing a straight-sided path outline
      6m 57s
    4. Moving, deleting, and adding anchor points
      6m 10s
    5. Dragging control handles to modify curves
      5m 27s
    6. Converting a path outline to a vector mask
      5m 36s
    7. Customizing a geometric shape
      5m 53s
    8. How to position points and control handles
      7m 7s
    9. Drawing smooth points with the Pen tool
      8m 7s
    10. Duplicating and scaling a vector mask
      5m 21s
    11. Cusp points and the Rubber Band option
      6m 21s
    12. Setting anchor points in the pasteboard
      6m 8s
    13. Using the Convert Point tool
      6m 43s

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