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I like to say that masking is the art of using the image to select itself. And that's generally true. But the Pen tool is an exception. In this chapter I'll show you how to use the Pen tool to draw meticulous pain staking selection outline, one point and control handle at a time. The Pen tool is unlike just about everything else in Photoshop in that it doesn't see or modify pixels. Instead, it lets you create and edit vector outline just as in Adobe Illustrator. In fact with some tiny differences, Photoshop's Pen tool and Illustrator's Pen tool are one and the same.
So what good is it and why are we discussing it in the channels and mask series, because the Pen tool enables you to trace outlines that no other function in Photoshop can see. You can draw organic outlines that look super sharp, super smooth, super precise with every edge exactly where it needs to be. Then you can convert the path to a selection outline complete with a best anti-aliasing in all of Photoshop while leaving the path intact for further refinement. Now I'll be honest. The Pen tool is the tough tool to master. It's a little tricky to come to terms with. There are no good shortcuts and you have to hand position each and every anchor points and control handle. But the results are well worth the effort.
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