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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.
In this exercise, we are going to take that straight-sided path outline that we drew in the previous exercise. We are going to apply it to the magazine and then we are going to modify the path outlined using the White Arrow tool. I've saved my progress as Straight-sided outline.psd found inside the 27_pen_tool folder. And you know the interesting thing about this article here? Of the 11 Color Paint And two photo-editing programs that I covered, only one still exists, Photoshop. The others have died by the wayside. So sad and tragic. Some of them were really good programs. Anyway, I am going to click on that Magazine outline here inside the Paths panel in order to make it active.
We are going to go ahead and convert it to a vector-based mask by switching over to the Layers panel, selecting the magazine layer. So, notice I've already set the magazine on its own layer with the white background layer behind it. Now, I am going to drop down to this Add layer mask icon and I am going to Ctrl+Click on it or on the Mac I would Cmd+Click on it and that goes ahead and applies the path outline as a vector-based mask. Notice, I've also already set up a Drop Shadow in advance. All right, so I created this pretty well actually. We don't have any bits of background showing through.
But, we do have some pretty obvious straight edges and we might want to modify those. So, I am going to switch down here to my path modification tools which are the Path Selection tool which I call the Black Arrow tool, because that's what it looks like. Then, we have the Direct Selection tool which I call the White Arrow tool because that's what it looks like. By the way the keyboard shortcuts for these tools are A for Arrow, so that's the way that Photoshop thinks of them as well. And I think it's easier to understand what they do if you just call them Black Arrow and White Arrow, because here is what's going on.
The Black Arrow tool selects an entire path outline at a time. So, if you click on the outline you select the whole thing, whereas the White Arrow tool allows you to select individual anchor points and segments and control handles and other little doodads that are associated with the path so that you can reshape it. All right, so I am going to go ahead and zoom in on my magazine cover so I can see what's up with it here. Notice, if I decide I want to click on one of these points to select it. I am not going to select that point independently of the others. Anytime you are seeing these black points that are totally filled in, that means that point is selected and since everyone of the anchor points appears that way, what you have to do is deselect the path by clicking off of it if you run into this situation and then click on one of the anchor points to select it independently of the other ones.
Now, I just clicked on an anchor point, I did not yet select it. All of these hollow squares indicate deselected anchor points. So, the path outline is somewhat selected but we don't have any specific point selected yet. All right, I would have to click again on one of the anchor points to make it active and then I might drag it away just to see what's going on here in the background. Then, I could drag it back over to make sure that I've done a decent job of clipping away that background. Now, this is kind of hard to figure out what's going on if I have to keep dragging up to see where the actual background is and then dragging back then I am going to be at this for a while.
A way to see both the path outline and the image at the same time so you kind of have some shadowing going on. That is to say you have some insight into not only what's selected but also what's deselected is to go over here to the Masks panel which you can also get by choosing the Mask command from the Window menu. Then, notice that it recognizes that the vector mask is active. I am going to reduce the Density value here to say 75 and that way we have a little bit of background ghosting going on. So, in other words we are not entirely masking away the background at a lower density setting.
All right, so I'll stick with 75 for now. Go ahead and close that panel so I can see what I'm doing and now I'll drag these points to better locations, like so. So, I'm actually moving them close together which means I'm going to run out of points in just a moment. Because I don't have enough to be doing this kind of stuff which means we are going to have to turn around and add some points in a moment which is not a problem. So, I'll go ahead and drag these guys into better positions relative to each other and then I need to fill in this region right there. So, this portion of the page is pretty smooth I believe. I can continue to modify these points if I wanted to and by the way, you can nudge the points from the keyboard by pressing the arrow keys.
So, pressing any arrow key nudges the point one pixel in that direction or at least one screen pixel I should say. So, if you zoom in you get greater control, if you zoom out you get less control. If you want to move the point in 10 pixel increments you press Shift along with an Arrow key. All right, what about the section where we need to add some points? Well, I'm in the switch back to the Pen tool. Notice, here in the fly-out menu there's an Add Anchor Point tool and there is a Delete Anchor Point tool. You don't need them though. If you've got the Pen tool selected and you have this checkbox turned on in the Options Bar, Auto Add/Delete, then you can use the Pen tool to add and delete points.
Here's how it works. If you hover the Pen tool over an existing segment, notice it gets a little Plus sign next to it. That means you can add a point at that location. Now, in my case it's adding a point that has Control panels associated with it. That's pretty interesting. Then, if you hover your cursor over an existing point in a selected path, you'll get a Minus sign next to it, which indicates that clicking will delete that anchor point. All right, I didn't want to do that, so I'll press Ctrl+Z, Cmd+Z on the Mac to undo that modification. Now, I am going to press the A key to return to the last arrow tool that was selected which is the White Arrow tool.
If it comes up as the Black Arrow tool you would just press the A key again and then go ahead and drag this point to a different location. Now, because the point automatically came in for me with control handles. It means it's automatically going to add curvature. Look at that, which is very handy because this happens to be exactly where I need curvature. If you're finding that your corner handles aren't aligning exactly right because mine are. I'm just lucking out here that this point fits this contour exactly right. But if your point doesn't exactly fit your needs, why then you can actually modify these control handles.
Now, this is where the Pen tool starts to get a little bit tricky because so far I think it's pretty simple. Once you start adding curvature with control handles that's when folks start to get a little mixed up by its behavior. But here's what you do. You just drag one of these control handles in order to bend the path differently. Notice, as I drag this control handle I am not only moving this path inward toward it, I'm also moving this segment out away from it and in an opposite direction because I have two symmetrical control handles at this point.
That is, they're locked into alignment with each other. All right, obviously I don't want that kind of curve, so I'll just move it back like so. And I end up pretty well matching that edge of the magazine. All right, that's enough for now. In the next exercise, I'll show you some more path editing tips and tricks.
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