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I have opened Water drops.jpg, which is found inside the 27_pen_tool folder, and those of you who've been with me for the long haul may recall this image from the Navigation chapter, back in the Fundamentals portion of this series. The image comes to us from Victor Burnside of the Fotolia Image Library, and what we are going to do is we are going to take one of these beautiful details here, this forward drop, and we are going to isolate it from the rest of the image to produce this file right here, it's called Isolated drop.psd, and it forces us to view this detail basically out of context.
Then we could set some type around the image, if we are bringing it into another document and so forth. So it's a fairly simple construction what we have going here. If I turn off the top layer, you can see behind it we have a copy of that same layer with a rather amorphous layer mask assigned to it. It's pretty easy to draw this mask actually. It's all painted in. It's just a hand-painted mask. So nothing all that difficult about it, however the top layer is extremely precise as you can see, and it's been created using a vector mask. So I have very carefully drawn the mask outline around this one drop, and well that may seem like a simple thing to do it actually takes a little bit of effort.
It's only four points. I am going to go ahead and click on this layer mask to make it active and then I will press the A key to switch over to the Black Arrow tool in my case, and I'll click on the path outline, and you can see we have just four anchor points. one on the left, one below, one on the right and one above. So we are going to take two different approaches to this layer mask. First we are going to draw an elliptical shape outline and we're going to modify it because after all an ellipse has four points as well. One on the left, one down below, one on the right and one above, it's just that those four points are locked into alignment with each other, but we can move them and adjust them anyway we see fit.
And then we are also going to take a stab at drawing this outline using the Pen tool. Now in all cases, we will be drawing smooth points, every single one of these is a smooth point so that it's forming a continuous arc around the path outline and the smooth points have two control handles a piece, that are locked into alignment with each other and we'll see how that works. So we are going to be creating the project from scratch. We will start inside Water drops.jpg, and I just want to give you a sense for something here. You know how oftentimes what you want to do is you want to pop the image onto a new layer and then you want to create a new empty background, and you find yourself doing this right? You go ahead and convert the background layer, the existing background layer because this is starting off as a flat image.
You convert it to a floating layer by double-clicking on it and then calling the New Layer droplets, and then pressing the Enter key. Now you've got to create another layer to serve as the background, so you press Ctrl+Shift+N or Cmd+Shift+N on the Mac and then you don't worry about the name, because it doesn't matter. It's going to become a background in just a moment, so you just press the Enter or Return key and then you go up to this labor-intensive command, you have to go to Layer menu, choose New and choose Background from Layer, and then you've created your new layer. Well, there is a simpler way to work. I don't know if you do that very often.
I have found myself doing it an awful lot, it's such a pain in the neck. You could action that, of course you can record that as an action, and we'll be discussing actions at length in the final chapter of this course. But let me show you a different approach. I'll press the F12 key in order to revert the image back to its utter and complete flatness here. You can also press Ctrl+A or Cmd+A on the Mac to select the entire image. Now we are zoomed into the point we can't see the marquee, but I have selected the entire image, and then you could press this big keyboard shortcut, Ctrl+Shift+Alt+J that is mash your fist J, that's Cmd+Shift+Option+J on the Mac, and what that's going to do is a bunch of things.
You are going to jump the image to a new layer of course. That's the Ctrl or Cmd+J part of it. The Alt or Option key part of it is to bring up the New Layer dialog box, so you can name the New Layer, and the shift part of it is, you're going to remove the contents of this image from the background. You are going to extract from the background so you'll have a blank background layer when you're done. So that's Ctrl+Shift+Alt+J on the PC, Cmd+Shift+Option+J on the Mac. I will go ahead and call this new layer droplets and then I will click OK and that's all there is to it. So it's just a two-step operation all of which can be performed from the keyboard.
That's Ctrl or Cmd+A to select everything and then the mash your fist J, to go ahead and jump the contents to a new layer. All right, so having done that, I am going to do it again, because remember how I need two copies of this layer, one is served as the shading in the background with the amorphous layer mask, and then one to house the isolated drop. So I am going to press Ctrl+Alt+J this time, Cmd+Option+J, so we don't want the Shift key and I am going to call this guy single drop and click OK. All right, let's turn droplets Off, we'll come back to it, and we are going to work on the single drops layer and I'm going to assign a vector mask to it by dropping down to the Add layer mask icon and Ctrl+Clicking on it or Cmd+Clicking on it.
That gives us a vector mask. Now I'll select my Ellipse tool, which is already selected in my case down here in the Shape tool fly-out menu, so I will just go ahead and grab it and I will draw an ellipse around the drop. Now it's not going to be accurate, in fact let's go ahead and make it too big for starters here. It's just going to serve as a starting point for my modifications here, and now I'll go to the Mask panel, as usual, bring it up, go ahead and reduce the Density value to 50% so that I can see the other drops in the background, then close the Mask panel.
And now I am going to press the A key a couple of times in order to switch to my White Arrow tool and I'll click on this path outline, so that you can see, sure enough we've got an anchor point on the left-hand side, we've got an anchor point on the right-hand inside, one down below and one up above, and every single one of them is locked into alignment with each other. So the top and bottom are vertically aligned, the side-to-side are horizontally aligned, everybody is equidistant from each other and their control handles are either organized straight up and down or side-to-side, like so. But that doesn't mean they have to remain that way.
We can grab any one of these points and drag it to a new location like that. So this is a completely editable, malleable shape, and we can modify it to our heart's content, and so I shall and you along with me, in the next exercise.
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