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In the all-new Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Mastery, the third and final installment of the popular series, join industry expert and award-winning author Deke McClelland for an in-depth tour of the most powerful and empowering features of Photoshop CS5. Discover the vast possibilities of traditional tools, such as masking and blend modes, and then delve into Smart Objects, Photomerge, as well as the new Puppet Warp, Mixer Brush, and HDR features. Exercise files accompany the course.
Recommended prerequisites: Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Fundamentals and Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Advanced.
I've saved my progress as Left- side outline.psd, found inside the 27_pen_tool folder. I want you to notice something about this outline I've drawn so far. I'll go ahead and Zoom out, so that we can take in more of this guy at a time. Notice we started right there. That's the first point in this path outline, and it wraps around his ear, around his cheek, down to the sweater, and out into the pasteboard, which is very important by the way. If you want to contain the entire image, you want your path to extend out into the pasteboard. That's very important.
But notice the shape of this face outline here in the Paths panel. We can see that the filled in area actually occurs over here on the left side of the fellow. So we've essentially selected thus far, we've selected or masked or however you want to think of it, we've done that to the background, not to him. So he is masked away. In fact, if we went over to the Layers panel and selected the man layer, and then I dropped down to the Add Layer Mask icon and I Ctrl+clicked on it, or on the Mac Cmd+clicked on it, then you can see that's what we would have done right there, which is why it's so difficult to trace complex path outlines as vector masks.
Most of the time you're better off doing it inside of the Paths panel and then bringing the completed path, not a half created path, but a fully created path over into a vector mask. All right, so let's undo that modification. We don't want that. Let's go back to the Paths panel. Face outline is still selected. All right, now we need to wrap this path all the way around the guy. Remember that we're moving in a counterclockwise fashion. That might just be me. It might be that I have this propensity as a left-hander or something to move in a counterclockwise direction around images.
I find myself doing that a lot. You may be more comfortable working clockwise. Choose one direction or the other on a path-by-path basis and stick with it. Anyway, this has got to come back around him, around to the right, up along the right hand side, over the top of the gentleman's head, and down in order to complete the path outline. There are a couple of different ways. I could just sit here and drag, like here, outside in the pasteboard. That's entirely acceptable, as long as you make sure that your big floppy segments are well outside of the image.
However, what if you want to be tidy and organized and uptight and you want some nice straight edges going? Well, here's what you do. I'll go ahead and press Ctrl+Z or Ctrl+ Alt+Z a few times there, Cmd+Option+Z a few times in the Mac. I'm going to sever away this control handle. So notice that we have a control handle extending out for the active segment right there and then we have another control handle extending downward for the next segment that we draw. Well, I want my next segment to be absolutely straight. So I don't need, nor do I want, that control handle.
To sever it away, you Alt+click or Option+ click on that existing endpoint right there. That kills the control handle. All right, we still have an active path outline. So I'm going to Shift+click like that. What that does is it ensures that I have an absolutely horizontal line between these two points. It could also be diagonal or vertical, but it's going to be perpendicular ultimately, and then Shift+click again up here, like so, and then Shift+click at this location. So we're more than surrounding the image.
That's very important here. We could even go a little farther down here below, if you wanted to. You could grab this point and this one. So I switched to the White Arrow tool, incidentally, and clicked on one point, Shift+clicked on the other. Then I could drag down while pressing the Shift key or I could nudge these points down if I wanted to by pressing say Shift+Down Arrow. That gives me some more room along the bottom of the image, just to make sure I have more than enough vector mask, because for all I know, there might be some more image and I might want to extend my canvas outward and still have my path outline protect me, that kind of thing.
All right, I'll click off the path outline in order to deselect it. Then I'll click on this point right there, because I ended up dragging this entire edge downward. I'll click on that anchor point. I'll drag while pressing the Shift key over to the left. Again, I could nudge it from the keyboard as well. All right, so let's see about closing this path up here. I'm going to go ahead and Zoom in a fair amount, so that I can see that point. I'll switch to my Pen tool by pressing the P key. Notice, my path outline is no longer active. I can tell that because I have an X next to my cursor.
So I've got to reactivate the path by clicking or dragging on either one of these endpoints. So at this point I could change my direction now, because nothing's active. There is no direction that's established. So I'm going to choose the easiest direction, which is to keep doing what I was doing, not because it's what I was doing, but because it just happens to be the easiest way to work. Actually, I'll show you both ways here. Let's do one and we'll do the other. In this case, I need to draw a curving segment between these two points. So I don't need to add any more anchor points, I just need to connect these two with one curving sort of shallow S of a segment.
That means that I'm going to need control handles coming off of each one of these points, but they're both modified corner points, so they're both cusp points. So from one I'm going to drag, from the top one I would go ahead and drag down like so. I'm pressing the Shift key incidentally to ensure that my lever is absolutely vertical. I might actually press the Right Arrow key once in order to nudge that point over to the right. All right, then I'm going to drop down to this guy. Now, if I drag on this point, I'm going to maintain a smooth point.
As a result, I'm going to have this continuous arc, whereas what I really need is a cusp. So I'll go ahead and undo that closure by pressing Ctrl+Z, Cmd+Z on a Mac. If I click, I'm also going to get a smooth point. Here, I'll show you what it looks like, with the control handle going in this loopy direction here, so that the path outline is cutting into his head. That's no good. So I'll press Ctrl+Alt+Z a couple of times, Cmd+Option+Z a couple of times on the Mac in order to undo that maneuver. What I really want to do is Alt+ drag or Option+drag at that point.
So you Alt+drag or Option+drag downward, and this is the one that I think makes the least sense of all when you are first coming to terms with the Pen tool. There is no control handle under my cursor this time. All there is, is a control handle opposite to my cursor. Because this control handle is already set. I'm not modifying its placement. I'm just modifying the opposite control handle. So basically this is just Photoshop's way of maintaining consistency with the path drawing logic that is already established. Anyway, once you get that control handle in place, opposite of where you are, so your cursor should be down below the anchor point and the control handle that you are modifying is up above, then release, and you'll have completed the path outline.
All right, as I was saying, I'll show you both ways of connecting these points. So that was one way. Let's go ahead and get rid of that segment, not by undoing, what I'm going to instead is grab my White Arrow tool and I'm going to click on that segment, like so, and I'm going to press the Backspace key or the Delete key on the Mac. So you can delete a selected segment. You can delete a selected point by pressing Backspace or Delete. That's going create a hole in your path. So it's going to change from a closed path, like it was before, to an open path with two endpoints that still need to be joined.
Now, you don't absolutely have to join your endpoints. You could leave it open like this, in which case when you convert it to a vector mask, this area will be joined by a straight segment, so that won't look right, his head will be sort of shaved off in an angle. Better is to go ahead and close the path outline manually using the Pen tool. That's what we're going to do. Now, notice that my Pen cursor has an X next to it, showing me that the path outline is no longer active. If this were a smooth point - actually I forgot, I already converted it to a cusp point, so now I can do whatever I want. So you know what, I'm going to press Ctrl+Alt+Z a few times until I get back to where I was, Ctrl+Alt+Z, Ctrl+Alt+Z, until we get rid of that that control handle up above.
All right, this is where we started things out earlier in the exercise. So this guy, if I drag from it, notice I've got an X next to my Pen, so the path outline is not active. If I drag from this point, then it is indeed a smooth point. I can see that. You can drag, by the way, from a point as many times as you want to and it's just going to sit there and remain a smooth point. You're not doing anything to it but wiggling its control handles around, notice that. And that's true, by the way, when you're working on an endpoint with the Pen tool. If you want to convert it to a cusp point, same difference, you just Alt+drag or Option+drag, like so.
Actually, this might be easier, because now the control handle is under my cursor instead of being opposite to it, but it's when you close the path outline that it becomes an issue, as we're just about ready to. So it's going to be the same problem it was before. It's just that we're going to have to go really high to get this opposite control handle really low. Anyway, I'll go ahead and Spacebar drag down. We now have a cusp at his ear. I'm now ready to close this path outline. Now, I don't have to Alt+drag this time around, because this is already a corner point. As soon as I drag from it, like so, it becomes a cusp, because we have a curving segment associated with it.
I don't have to press the Alt key, because there was no smooth point in the first place. So Alt or Option is designed to convert a smooth endpoint to a cusp point. Anyway, I am affecting, because I'm closing the path outline, I am affecting the opposite control handles. So I'm going to drag way up and I'm going to press the Shift key in order to constrain my drag to exactly vertical. As soon as I get that opposite control handle into position, I'll release. That completes the path outline. All right, well, we still have one point that's not quite right.
It's this guy down here. Recall, I created it as a smooth point. It really wants to be a cusp. I'm going to show you how to convert an interior point from one style of point to another, in the very next exercise.
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