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Finessing a complex outline

From: Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Mastery

Video: Finessing a complex outline

I've saved my progress as Bulb and base.psd, found inside the 27_pen_tool folder, and we're going to take this path outline that we've constructed almost entirely using just the Rectangle and Ellipse tools, just a little bit of Pen tool action down here at the bottom of the base, and we are going to refine the path outline so that it looks absolutely right, much as we refined the path outline for the magazine spread. The difference is that this is a more complicated path outline, so it's very possible we're going to encounter a few new issues. Now, if you're working along with me, your path outline might have slightly different problems than mine and so you're going to have to evaluate your path outline as you move along.

Finessing a complex outline

I've saved my progress as Bulb and base.psd, found inside the 27_pen_tool folder, and we're going to take this path outline that we've constructed almost entirely using just the Rectangle and Ellipse tools, just a little bit of Pen tool action down here at the bottom of the base, and we are going to refine the path outline so that it looks absolutely right, much as we refined the path outline for the magazine spread. The difference is that this is a more complicated path outline, so it's very possible we're going to encounter a few new issues. Now, if you're working along with me, your path outline might have slightly different problems than mine and so you're going to have to evaluate your path outline as you move along.

Now my outline needs work in this region here, down here at the base, a little bit of action over on the left-hand side, and then on the right side of the glass, we've got quite a few problems going on and they're not that evident from this distance, but once we start zooming in you'll see them. Anyway, let's start things off with the most obvious problem, this guy right there. So, I'll press the A key as many times as it takes to give me my White Arrow tool and then I will click on this path outline. This assumes that the vector mask is active as it is for me.

I'll click on this point to make it active and then I'm going to drag it downwards and I'm pressing the Shift key as I drag to constrain the angle of my drag to exactly vertical. Anyway, that guy had to come down in order to include what I'm calling this love handle over on the right-hand side. And then I'll zoom in just to make sure that I've got this guy where he needs to be. He was actually right where he needed to be. How about this guy? It seems like he is coming out too far but no, that's right, so I'll go ahead and undo that maneuver. I might click on this point and just arrow him over a little bit, just nudge him out.

All right, so this area definitely needs work here. We're going to add a point along this edge because the bottom of the base actually curves inward, and so I'll press the P key in order to switch to my Pen tool and for some reason, I have the Freeform Pen tool selected. That's not right. I'll go ahead and click on the Pen tool to make it active instead and I'll click in the middle of this segment here in order to add a point and this is a smooth point that's gotten added by default here. I'll go ahead and Ctrl+drag it inward just so I can see where that edge is, and then Ctrl+drag it back into place. It's a little hard to see this region because there is not that much contrast going on.

It looks like this also bends outward here, so I'm going to take this control handle and just drag it down ever so slightly like so. Next, I'm going to create a point over on the other side, right there in the middle of that straight segment, Ctrl+ drag it in, so that I can see the edge. That's a Cmd+drag on the Mac by the way and then I'll Ctrl+drag or Cmd+drag it back into place like so and I might need to Ctrl+drag or Cmd+drag this control handle in order to nudge it down a little bit as well. By the way, you can't nudge control handles, those little circles that are at the end of the levers that are attached to the square anchor points.

You can't nudge them using the arrow keys. You can nudge the anchor points but not the control handles. We''ll also see that you can segments if you want to, but they have to be curved segments. Anyway, I'm going to click along this straight segment right there in the middle in order to add a smooth point and I'll move it down and I'll go ahead and drag these control handles quite a bit outward and when I say I'm dragging I'm Ctrl+dragging. I've got the Control key down or the Cmd key down on the Mac, so that I'm temporarily accessing that White Arrow tool. Incidentally, it doesn't matter if the last Arrow tool selected was the Black Arrow tool, so I just switched over to it here.

Then, if I switch to the Pen tool and I press and hold the Control key or the Cmd key, Photoshop is smart enough to know I want the White Arrow tool, because I'm making point by point modifications. All right, now I'll go ahead and scroll up here to the top of the image and I'll Ctrl+click or Cmd+click on this point and just nudge that out a little bit. Here's a problem, right there, this edge should come down a little, and so, I'm going to Ctrl+drag or Cmd+drag this point down to this location and that actually looks pretty fine.

I might need to Ctrl+click or Cmd+ click on this anchor point and nudge it outward by pressing the Left Arrow key a couple of times. All right, now let's go to that problem area that I was talking about on the right-hand side of the bulb. Notice that we have an awful lot of points on this right-hand side and if I zoom in here it looks like we've got two points next to each other. So, I'm going to switch to the White Arrow tool just because I need to do some more careful analysis here by pressing the A key a couple of times in my case and then I will drag one of these points just to see sure enough I have two points that are very nearly coincident. And when I say coincident, I don't mean it's coincidental that they're here.

I mean that they're on top of each other, they're occupying the same physical space. So, when you have something like that happening, you basically want to get rid of both of the points. That's my experience, because when they're nearly right on top of each other, they're messed up points, and they don't have the right kind of curvature associated with them. So, I'm going to switch to the Pen tool here by pressing the P key and I'm going to click on one of these points to delete it and then I'm going to click on the other point to delete it as well. Now that's going to create problems with that control handle. it's going to droop down too far. You can end up seeing even worse problems than that sometimes.

Now, I'm going to take away some more points here because they're all kind of messed up. Look at those two guys right on top of each other. That's no good, so I'm going to click on one and click on the other to delete them as well and there's still yet another point there. I'll click again to get rid of it. I'm just going to click to get rid of a lot of these points, because we've got a lot of flumps going on and we shouldn't have these kinds of edges. Look at this guy. This is a messed up point, check that out. The control handle's going in totally the wrong direction here and that kind of stuff can happen when you've got a lot of points clustered together, when the math didn't get done quite properly with the Combine command or the shapes were overlapping in different ways than you might have expected, then you can end up with some aberrant points.

When you see them, the best thing to do is get rid of them. Go ahead and click on that point with the Pen tool to delete it. All right, we have the points that we really need, which at this point down at the bottom, we want to keep this point at the base. It's shooting straight up. Notice that that control handle's going straight up which is exactly what we want. We want straightness at that location and we have another point at the top and that one's going straight down, the control handle's going straight down. That's precisely what we're looking for. So let's click midway between the two like so and then I'll drag this point outward. I'm actually Ctrl+dragging or Cmd+ dragging that point outward, so that I'm moving it with the White Arrow tool and I need to change my control handles a little bit so I'll Ctrl+drag or Cmd+ drag that control handle down like so, just so that we're nudging it a little farther down so that we're accurately tracing this edge and we're sending this control handle, the opposite one, inward as well.

And you know what, I'm now seeing a white edge right there. I didn't want that, so, I'm going to put that back, I'm going to press Ctrl+Z or Cmd+Z on the Mac to undo that modification and now that edge looks really good, actually. Let's see the other side. The other side looks fine, where my bulb is concerned. So I'm done. This actually looks great. Now, you may say well, this area isn't exactly accurate. it shouldn't be a big bump and then straight and a big bump and then straight. Actually, I think it is pretty accurate. If I click on the mask in order to deactivate it for a moment and just take a look at what I'm seeing here, this looks like I'm following the contours pretty nicely.

This area here, possibly a little unrealistic. If I would Alt+click or Option+click in the eyeball in front of the Background layer, ah, look at that. that is straight right there. It goes straight down. It doesn't have that little hitch associated with it, but otherwise, we do have a hump, straight, hump, straight. That's pretty indicative of how the light bulb is shaped. That's pretty indicative of how this base area is shaped. So, All right, I'll go ahead and Alt+ click or Option+click on that eyeball again to bring back my Layers and let's see what kind of adjustment we might make here.

I will switch to the White Arrow tool for a moment by pressing the A key, click on this path outline to make it active. Oh look! Look at that. We definitely have some points nearly right on top of each other. So I'll press the P key in order to switch to the Pen tool. Now, here is the weird thing. If I want to get rid, I'm so zoomed in that I can see the pixel grid, but if I press Ctrl+H or Cmd+H, I not only hide the pixel grid, I also hide the path outline that I'm working on. So I'll have to press Ctrl+H or Cmd+H again to bring them both back. If you just want the pixel grid gone for a second here, then go up to the View menu, choose Show and choose Pixel Grid to turn it off, and you'll still see the path outline.

All right, so, I want to get rid of that point and I think I might want to get rid of that point too. Actually, I think that worked out beautifully. that looks great, and then I'll Ctrl+ drag or Cmd+drag this control handle out just a little bit and then we get this sloping edge right there. By the way, when I was Ctrl+dragging it or Cmd+dragging it on the Mac when I was doing this number, I also pressed the Shift key so that it constrained that lever so it's perfectly vertical and that's what I want, so that we have this lever coming down out of this point at a vertical angle, very important.

All right, so now, I'm going to switch to the Rectangular Marquee tool, so that I have a vector-unfriendly tool selected so I can't mess up my vectors and I'm going to click on that vector mask to deselect it. I can still see the effects of the vector mask of course and they're looking pretty darn fine. In the next exercise, we will employ this vector mask in order to create a glowing effect around the light bulb.

Show transcript

This video is part of

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

192 video lessons · 43807 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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