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In this course, author Nigel French covers the ins and outs of creating professional designs and artwork using crisp, scalable vector graphics in Photoshop. The course demonstrates the fundamentals of drawing and manipulating shapes; achieving various artistic effects using blend modes, layer effects, and Smart Filters; and combining shape layers with pixel-based imagery and photographs. The course also showcases practical applications for shape layers, including posters, logos, and web buttons, and includes tutorials on building custom shapes and making modifications with vector masks.
Here we're going to discuss drawing, moving, deleting, copying and rasterizing shape layers. So I'm going to start out with my ellipse shape. I have red as my foreground color and I'm just going to draw myself a circle. Now if I want this to be a perfect circle, then I need to hold down the Shift key to constrain it. The same is true for working with rectangles, if you want perfect squares. And if I want to draw the circle outwards from the center point, which generally I personally do, then I want to hold down Option or the Alt key.
The only problem with holding down the Option or the Alt key is that as soon as you do, you'll see your cursor switches to your Eyedropper tool, because that's the shortcut for accessing the eyedropper tool. So what you need to do is start drawing, and then throw in the Option or Alt key, and I'm also holding down the Shift key. So there I have my shape layer. Now, you'll notice that I didn't first create the layer; the layer is created for me. So let's now look at deleting a shape layer. If I were to drag the vector mask, just the vector mask into the trash, I get this message. I delete it. What I get is a field of red, because I've deleted the masking shape that is giving definition to the shape layer and we are left with just the solid fill color.
So I'm going to undo that, and if I want to delete the whole layer, drag from the color fill thumbnail and then that will get rid of the whole thing. But I actually don't want to delete this, so I'm going to press Command+Z or Ctrl+Z to put it back and we next want to look at copying a shape layer. So I'm going to switch to my Move tool now and to copy the shape layer I could drag a copy onto the Create New Layer icon and that will Create a new layer. But I'm not going to do that; instead, what I'm going do is hold down the Option or Alt key as I drag away from the shape layer and that creates a new shape layer on the fly.
Now we get two very distinct behaviors. If we copy that way, starting out in the Move tool and copying the whole layer, and the other way is if we choose our Path Selection tool, then we have two variants here, but we want the Path Selection tool. It's going to get the whole path. And then when I click on that we see the gray outline indicating the path. And now when I hold down my Option or Alt key and drag away, what I'm doing is I'm adding another circle to the same shape layer, and we can see down there in the vector mask thumbnail that we now have two circles on that vector mask.
And one reason why I might want to do that is so that I can use these tools up here to determine how these shapes are combined. Maybe I want to create some sort of crescent shape. In which case, I could click on that one and the front shape will be subtracted from the back shape. Lastly, let's look at rasterizing a shape layer. Rasterizing is the term we use for converting it to pixels, so that we can do other things with it.
There are certain things you can't do with a shape layer, and what most comes to mind is the ability to apply filters to the shape layer. With that said, I must stress that there is actually a workaround if you like that will allow you to apply filters to a shape layer, but we'll get to that later on. So let's say I'll come to the Filter menu and down to Blur and then choose Motion Blur. I'm going to get this warning message. This shape must be rasterized before proceeding. It will no longer have a vector mask.
Rasterize the shape? And I'll just go with that effect. So I've gained something. I've gained the ability to be able to soften the edges, apply some sort of filtering effect. What I've lost is the ability to scale this now as a shape layer. I've lost the vector mask that was applied to that shape layer. So I don't want to do that in this case. I'm going to press Command+Z or Ctrl+Z to undo that. There is an alternative to rasterizing the whole layer and that's just rasterizing the filled content of the layer.
And this is quite interesting. It's not much known about option and it's only available under the Layer menu. So I'm now on the top shape layer, the right-hand circle. If I come to the Layer menu and then down to Rasterize, we have the option to rasterize the shape and that's what we saw before. But I could rasterize the filled contents. Now when I've rasterized the filled content, if I choose my Brush tool, I can choose any color and I can now paint in on that shape, inside, using the existing layer mask.
If I was trying to do the same on the left here, for which we haven't rasterized the filled content, nothing is going to be happening over there. So here I've rasterized the filled content, allowing me to paint inside the vector shape, but I've not lost the scalability of that vector shape. Just to wrap up what we've seen in this movie are the basics of creating, moving, deleting, copying, and rasterizing shape layers.
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