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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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