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As I mentioned previously, one of my life's great privilege is to be on the faculty at the Brooks Institute in Santa Barbara, California. One of the things that's fascinating about being on the faculty is that we train these students that then go on to do really amazing things. Literally, some of our students go to just at the top of their game. Well, I try to keep in touch with a lot of those students, and I ask them frequently, hey, what do we need to do better at Brooks? What do we need to teach our students more about? One of the answers that comes back quite often in regards to retouching in Photoshop work is that people need to learn how to use Paths more effectively, because what you can do is you can use a path in order to make a really precise selection.
And in a lot of Photoshop work, being able to make good selections equals good corrections. And so they keep telling me, Chris, they need to keep working on their Path skills. That's one of the areas of weaknesses that many people have. And I think that's true with most of us. And the reason is because paths are a little bit tricky. Let's go ahead and take a look at how we can start to work with them. For starters, what we're going to do is press the P key in order to select the Pen tool. Now, by default, the option is this first one here, which we don't want to do. This will create a shape.
Rather, we want to click on the next option, which is to create a path itself. Now let's just get a little bit roughly familiar with this tool. Well, how it works is what you do is as you click and drag. When you click and drag, you're setting a couple of points - in this case, an anchor point and a handle - and yet, if I then click and drag again, you can see that these two are connected. Well, the two handles in between control the arc between these two Anchor Points. So again, I can keep on clicking and dragging, and you can see here that I'm creating this shape as I move along.
Well, now here I have a path. All right. Well, where is that path saved, and why do you want to create this? Well, the path is saved over here in the Paths panel. And in this case, this is just a demo kind of goofy line that is a little bit irrelevant, but you can see that it's saved here. To delete it, simply click and drag to the trashcan, or press the Delete key. All right. Well let's go back to the Layers panel. And let's deconstruct this perhaps a little bit further. Well, I'm going to turn on the Eye icon for this folder layer called Demo. What I want to do is get into how we actually start to work with paths in regards to modifying them.
Well, in this area, I'm going to click and drag up, and I want to define these two points. The square is an anchor, and this part right here is a handle. What we've seen so far is that the handle controls the arc, and that make sense, right? Almost like a handle on a bike, you steer your bike moving it one way or another. The anchor, on the other hand, is a really firm point. It's a solid point. It's not going to move that much. So how then do we work with Paths? Well, if we click and add one point and then click and drag and add another, we now have two anchors, and we also have these handles active.
Well, if you hold down the Option or the Alt key on a Mac, you can click and drag that handle in order to change the trajectory of the arc, or the height, or how far out it goes, one way or another. You can do this on both sides so that you can actually create an S, if you want to, or an inverted S, or whatever type of shape you're interested in creating. And you can see that there're a lot of options or alternatives here. In other words, press the Option or Alt key, and then click and reposition the handle. Well, what about these anchor points? Well, all that we need to do there is to hold down the Command key on a Mac, Ctrl key on a PC and then click and drag to reposition those.
And sometimes when creating a path, we'll need to do that. All right. Well at this juncture, I'm aware that paths are probably a little bit fuzzy. We're not really clear on why we would use them, or when we would use them, or even how we would use them. Let's go ahead and take a look at some of those things in the next few movies.
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