Easy-to-follow video tutorials help you learn software, creative, and business skills.Become a member
The masking techniques that I demonstrated in the previous chapters are great for selecting filigree details, such as hair, but they don't always work out as successfully for smooth, well-defined contours, such as those associated with faces, man-made objects, and products shots. Enter the Pen tool. This elegant, but demanding drawing tool allows you to trace any smooth, well-defined contour on a point by point basis. Like the Shape tools that I review back in the Intermediate Course, the Pen tool draws a vector-based outline, but instead of creating a shape layer, it results in a free-form path that you can use to select portions of an image.
For example, let's say I want to select this glass. I'll click here with the Pen to create what's known as a corner point. Then I'll click here to create another one. Photoshop automatically connects the points with a straight segment, just as you would with a connect the dots puzzle. That segment ends up shaving off the side of the glass, however. So I'll click with the Pen to add another point right here in the middle. This is a smooth point. Now I'll scoot the point over, and you can see how the smooth point adds curvature to the neighboring segments.
See these levers coming off the point? They're called control handles. Notice, if I drag a handle, the other handle moves in the opposite direction, and both segments curve in the directions of the handles. It's like the handles are magnets, and the curves are attracted to them. The Pen tool requires skill, determination, and a fair amount of manual labor, but in the right hands, it's the most capable tool for selecting complex surfaces in all of Photoshop.
Get unlimited access to all courses for just $25/month.Become a member
119 Video lessons · 49934 Viewers
117 Video lessons · 37233 Viewers
113 Video lessons · 81179 Viewers
65 Video lessons · 10543 Viewers
Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.
Search within course videos and transcripts, and jump right to the results.
Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.
Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.
Click on text in the transcript to jump to that spot in the video. As the video plays, the relevant spot in the transcript will be highlighted.
Your file was successfully uploaded.