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Smooth points and control handles

From: Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Mastery

Video: Smooth points and control handles

I have saved my progress as Four- point template inside of the 2 _pen_tool folder, and in this exercise we are going to take this ellipse and notice I have restored an elliptical shape here, I just went ahead and back stepped a little bit. We are going to take this ellipse and we are going to modify using the White Arrow tool and only the White Arrow tool - we're not going to need the Pen tool for this project - In order to precisely or at least as precisely as possible fit the outline of this water drop. Now you may wonder why in the world I am calling this Four-point template. Well that's because there is a little bit of a cheat layer that I have included along with this file it's called points & handles and if you turn it on it shows you exactly where the points and handles ought to be located.

Smooth points and control handles

I have saved my progress as Four- point template inside of the 2 _pen_tool folder, and in this exercise we are going to take this ellipse and notice I have restored an elliptical shape here, I just went ahead and back stepped a little bit. We are going to take this ellipse and we are going to modify using the White Arrow tool and only the White Arrow tool - we're not going to need the Pen tool for this project - In order to precisely or at least as precisely as possible fit the outline of this water drop. Now you may wonder why in the world I am calling this Four-point template. Well that's because there is a little bit of a cheat layer that I have included along with this file it's called points & handles and if you turn it on it shows you exactly where the points and handles ought to be located.

If you ever want to see all of the points and handles at once let me go ahead and switch over to the Isolated drop.psd image, this is where I got those points and handles from. I will click on this vector mask to make it active there in the Layers panel and I will press the A key a couple times it looks like in my case in order to switch over to the White Arrow tool and I will click on the path outline and then what you want to do is you click and you Shift+Click on each one of the anchor points and you will see the control handles for each and every anchor point just like so. Then you may be thinking, well how in the world did I isolate those points in this way, because they are on a completely entirely independently layer as you can see right here and they are set against a transparent background.

So I just have the points isolated. That is by the way a pixel representation, they are not real points, and this template works best if you are viewing the image at 50%. If you are zoomed in farther than that you may see some chunkiness going on. Anyway, in case you are wondering how in the world I got that. Did I draw that layer using the Pencil tool or something horrible like that, the answer is no, I extracted it from a screenshot using the Difference Mode and I will explain exactly how I did that using a different example but I am going to explain the technique in the next chapter, so stay tuned for that if you are interested.

Anyway, let's go ahead and turn the background layer back on because I am seeing that checkerboard there. I want to see the single drop like so and you may or may not want to have that points & handles layer turned on. It just depends, if you want that kind of guide or if you want to work free form. I am going to leave it on just so that I can show you how to work with it, because what you want make sure, at all points and times, as you're dragging the anchor points and control handles, is that you drag the gray ones, notice I will go ahead and click on this larger elliptical shape using my White Arrow tool. You want to drag the gray points and handles as opposed to the red ones.

So don't get confused and start dragging the red ones around. That won't work for you because they are not really there. All right so, for example I will grab this anchor point right there and I will move it to this location like so, so that I am more or less aligned to that point and you may wonder how in the world I figured this out in the first place. How do you figure out that it belongs here for example and not over here some place? Well you look for the angles of curvature and you want to put your points on the sides of those angles of curvature often times. So for example, it's a pretty clear call right here that we have a big curve going around this portion of the drop.

Although, you know one could argue whether I should clip in on this edge or not. But down here along this edge, notice all of a sudden the curve transforms, so we have a very smooth even contour going on and all of a sudden a very sharp turn appears at this location. Well right around the area of the sharp turn where the angle of the turn begins to change, that's where you add an anchor point. So imagine that you are driving in your car and you have your steering wheel angled because let's say you're driving around this direction, counterclockwise around this drop here, on this shape of a course, and you have your steering wheel angled and you are just holding on to that angle because you have a continuous curve and then all of a sudden at this point there you have to change the angle of the wheel, you have to turn it even farther in order to make it go around this hairpin turn right and you might even slow the car down hopefully and that's the point.

Right there when you would change the angle of the steering wheel that's when you want to add an anchor point. So might want to think about it that way if it helps. Anyway, so I am going to go ahead and drag this guy up to this location here because this is an example if we were driving the other direction this would be an example of where we had to turn harder on the steering wheel. As it is, this becomes a point, if we're driving counterclockwise, this becomes a point at which we can let up off the steering wheel a little bit. So as you work your way around these points and handles you are going to be modifying points and control handles basically back and forth.

So it's not like you want to set all of your anchor points in place first and then modify your control handles because you won't have any idea of what you are doing if you work that way. And permit me for a moment to turn off this template so we can just focus on the points and handles that I am setting up here. I am going to drag this guy down so in other words the curve is too high it needs to settle down into the shape and so I am going to drag my control handle down as well. So what you have to bear in mind is that the point outline has to go through the anchor points.

So each and every anchor point is on the path outline, but each and every control handle is off the outline. So in other words the control handles have a magnetic sort of attractive quality to them but if they are ever just sitting on the path outline like so that's entirely coincidental. That is not a necessary or even desirable application of the control handle. It does not want or need to be on the path outline. So if you drag toward the path you are going to repel it, if you drag away from the path you are going to attract it.

If you drag past the path you are going to send it in the opposite direction. But no matter what that path outline is going to curve toward that control handle. All right, so obviously I have gone too far and if you ever get one of these, where you drag the control handle in totally the wrong direction, then you're going to get a crimp in the path, and you are going to change this droplet shape into kind of a fish tail right there. In which case just grab one of those control handles and drag it on back like so. All right so, either control handle, you can drag either this top one for example or the bottom one.

Now they are not going to remain totally symmetrical, notice that I can make one control handle longer or shorter with respect to the other, you don't want to get too short because then you have this number where you are having problems controlling the angle of the control handle. However because we are working with smooth points and every point in the outline of an ellipse is a smooth point, because we are working with the smooth points the control handles are locked into alignment with each other. What that does is it ensures that we have a smooth continuous arc through that smooth point.

All right, so I will drag this guy down a little bit. Now I am going to bring my template back up so that we can follow along with it together. Oops! I almost started dragging the red handle but notice that when you get these guys aligned with each other the handles will turn cyan because what you are doing is inverting the appearance of the image at that point and at that point the image is red. So it's going to invert to cyan if you nail it, if you get the anchor points and the control handles dead on. You're not, by the way, going to get them exactly dead on because red stuff's the screenshot and your actual anchor points and control handles are being drawn live on the fly by Photoshop so their appearance could change.

Anyway, I am going to drag this guy back down here and I am going to drag this guy out. So another rule that you should bear in mind, notice if you drag your control handles too far out and they start crossing each other like this, that is, control handles from neighboring points, then you are going to end up getting a crimp in your path as well, and it can get even worse than this, you can have your path crimp well outside of your control handles here, outside where they cross. You don't want that, you don't want crossing control handles, and what you really do want, in order to maintain some nice, smooth, fluid curves is you want either each one of your control handles to be about one third the length of the entire segment.

So notice we have got a segment that's going from one anchor point to another here and if each control handle is about a third the length of that segment you are going to be in good shape, or if you want one to be, shorter because sometimes that's necessary, like around the sharp curve right here, this control handle is short and this one is longer. Then you want the two combined to take up about two thirds of the length of the segment. Now you can vary from that if you want to. That's just a rule of thumb and you can see these control handles on either side of the segment don't take up quite two thirds and these guys on the next segment, these two control handles are associated with that segment, they take up more than two thirds and what you are really interested in doing of course is accurately tracing the path outline around the droplet.

So, you can vary from it as much as you want, but that's just a rule of thumb that is going to give you that two thirds rule is to go ahead and give you very smooth results. All right, so I have completed a goodly part of my path outline here. We're going to finish things up in the next exercise, and I am going to show you how to directly drag and nudge curved segments inside Photoshop.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Mastery
Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Mastery

192 video lessons · 43605 viewers

Deke McClelland
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 40m 45s
    1. Welcome
      2m 45s
    2. Making Photoshop your default image editor
      7m 43s
    3. Installing the dekeKeys keyboard shortcuts
      8m 10s
    4. Remapping OS shortcuts
      7m 37s
    5. Installing the Best Workflow color settings
      4m 31s
    6. The color settings explained
      6m 54s
    7. Loading the CS5 color settings in Bridge
      3m 5s
  2. 1h 11m
    1. Your creative range continues to expand
      1m 46s
    2. The Avatar project so far
      2m 38s
    3. Painting on a photograph
      7m 50s
    4. Adding texture and depth
      6m 14s
    5. Simulating chalky white paint
      7m 23s
    6. Masking and placing an image
      7m 20s
    7. Upsampling and Lens Blur
      5m 9s
    8. Blending blurry elements
      3m 48s
    9. Making a Smart Object
      6m 46s
    10. Placing an image as a Smart Object
      3m 22s
    11. Blending away a background
      5m 56s
    12. Applying Smart Filters
      4m 34s
    13. Creating a glow with Lens Flare
      3m 45s
    14. Blending and masking a glow
      5m 3s
  3. 1h 26m
    1. Using the image to select itself
      1m 53s
    2. Introducing masking
      6m 32s
    3. Making an alpha channel
      6m 54s
    4. Using the Calculations command
      6m 48s
    5. Add, Subtract, Offset, and Scale
      5m 54s
    6. Prepping an image with the Dodge tool
      6m 55s
    7. Fixing mistakes before they get too big
      6m 32s
    8. Painting in the Overlay mode
      5m 51s
    9. Exaggerating and selecting flesh tones
      7m 39s
    10. Smudge, Median, and the Blur tool
      6m 59s
    11. Masking low-contrast details
      6m 7s
    12. Creating a flesh-and-clothing mask
      5m 45s
    13. Masking and compositing the foreground
      5m 27s
    14. Finessing the final composition
      7m 39s
  4. 2h 24m
    1. Connecting the dots
      1m 40s
    2. The Pen tool and the Paths panel
      6m 32s
    3. Drawing a straight-sided outline
      6m 25s
    4. Editing a path outline
      6m 36s
    5. Adding and editing smooth points
      5m 35s
    6. Creating vector masks with the shape tools
      4m 59s
    7. Building a complex outline from shapes
      4m 26s
    8. Subtracting and transforming shapes
      6m 45s
    9. Cloning, flipping, and combining shapes
      8m 58s
    10. Roughing in non-symmetrical paths
      7m 41s
    11. Finessing a complex outline
      9m 15s
    12. Masking a layer effect
      8m 26s
    13. Isolating an image element
      6m 8s
    14. Smooth points and control handles
      9m 3s
    15. Stretching curved segments
      7m 49s
    16. Using the Rubber Band option
      9m 33s
    17. Drawing smooth points with the Pen tool
      6m 59s
    18. Shading an isolated object
      3m 45s
    19. Drawing cusp points
      7m 14s
    20. Setting points in the pasteboard
      9m 57s
    21. Using the Convert Point tool
      6m 42s
  5. 2h 57m
    1. Everything you need to know about blending
      1m 45s
    2. Photoshop CS5's blend modes
      7m 21s
    3. Cycling between blend modes
      6m 15s
    4. Darken and Lighten and their derivatives
      6m 3s
    5. The blend mode shortcuts
      8m 6s
    6. The Multiply and Burn modes
      4m 28s
    7. The Screen and Dodge modes
      6m 0s
    8. How opposite blend modes work
      8m 24s
    9. Why Multiply darkens and Divide lightens
      5m 23s
    10. Cleaning up a client's bad art
      5m 3s
    11. Dropping out a white background
      5m 56s
    12. Blending inside blend modes
      8m 3s
    13. Overlay, Soft Light, and Hard Light
      6m 26s
    14. Vivid, Linear, and Pin Light (and Hard Mix)
      6m 35s
    15. Difference, Exclusion, Subtract, and Divide
      7m 34s
    16. Great uses for the Difference mode
      6m 18s
    17. Promising uses for the Divide mode
      9m 6s
    18. Hue, Saturation, Color, and Luminosity
      7m 0s
    19. Blending an inverted layer
      3m 32s
    20. The "Fill Opacity Eight"
      7m 25s
    21. Making bad blend modes good
      5m 16s
    22. Making a knockout layer
      6m 53s
    23. Blending in the CMYK mode
      8m 3s
    24. Overprinting black text
      8m 29s
    25. Using the Luminance slider
      5m 24s
    26. Parametric luminance masking
      6m 21s
    27. Adjusting the behavior of luminance effects
      10m 8s
  6. 2h 2m
    1. Smart Objects = protective containers
      1m 35s
    2. Placing an Illustrator graphic
      6m 30s
    3. Vector copy and paste options
      6m 56s
    4. Applying Puppet Warp to vectors
      8m 9s
    5. "Gluing" vector art for Puppet Warp
      5m 50s
    6. Warping art onto the surface of an image
      8m 7s
    7. Blending a Smart Object
      4m 30s
    8. Blurring and blending a Smart Object
      6m 8s
    9. Making changes in Illustrator
      5m 57s
    10. Creating "true clones"
      7m 18s
    11. Double-flipping text
      4m 44s
    12. Applying effects to multiple layers
      3m 24s
    13. Updating true clones in one operation
      7m 36s
    14. Editing JPEGs as Camera Raw objects
      5m 49s
    15. Creating a double-exposure effect
      7m 15s
    16. Masking and shading transitions
      7m 47s
    17. Applying and repeating Camera Raw edits
      6m 9s
    18. Copying vs. cloning a Smart Object
      5m 18s
    19. Flipping a Smart Object and its mask
      3m 42s
    20. Adjusting multiple Camera Raw clones
      3m 53s
    21. Text that inverts everything behind it
      5m 34s
  7. 1h 59m
    1. This time, "smart" means dynamic
      1m 37s
    2. Introducing Smart Filters
      6m 28s
    3. Traditional High Pass sharpening
      5m 17s
    4. Smart High Pass in the Lab mode
      7m 57s
    5. Sharpening a high-frequency image
      7m 46s
    6. Retroactively reducing noise
      7m 31s
    7. Which filters are Smart Filters?
      6m 20s
    8. Shadows/Highlights as a Smart Filter
      4m 37s
    9. Nesting one Smart Object inside another
      7m 11s
    10. Drawing a mask from a nested Smart Object
      8m 7s
    11. Better Shadows/Highlights inside Lab
      9m 16s
    12. Tempering saturation values in Lab
      7m 0s
    13. Filtering live, editable text
      9m 2s
    14. Enhancing filters with layer effects
      4m 33s
    15. Applying a filter multiple times
      5m 0s
    16. Creating a synthetic star field
      7m 7s
    17. Making a stucco or drywall pattern
      6m 28s
    18. Land, sea, and clouds
      8m 30s
  8. 2h 50m
    1. Photoshop's advanced painting tools
      2m 3s
    2. Canvas texture and brush libraries
      6m 40s
    3. Painting with a predefined custom brush
      9m 21s
    4. Dissecting a custom brush
      11m 9s
    5. Designing and using a custom brush
      4m 54s
    6. Saving and loading brush presets
      5m 27s
    7. The ten styles of bristle brushes
      9m 47s
    8. Size, Spacing, and Angle
      7m 2s
    9. Using the Bristle Brush preview
      7m 53s
    10. Bristles, Length, Thickness, and Stiffness
      6m 53s
    11. Stylus tilt and mouse behavior
      5m 25s
    12. Stroking a path outline with a brush
      4m 0s
    13. Troubleshooting a stylus
      5m 49s
    14. Introducing the Mixer Brush
      7m 22s
    15. The Load, Mix, and Wet values
      5m 1s
    16. Cleaning and loading a brush
      6m 26s
    17. Shading a piece of graphic art
      6m 34s
    18. Shading with color
      7m 53s
    19. Mixing a photographic portrait
      6m 11s
    20. Tracing the fine details in an image
      5m 52s
    21. Crosshatching and brush size
      5m 53s
    22. Covering up and augmenting details
      7m 36s
    23. Painting in hair and fabric
      5m 54s
    24. Painting and scaling very fine hairs
      8m 7s
    25. Adding texture with the Emboss filter
      8m 31s
    26. Exploiting a "happy accident"
      2m 46s
  9. 1h 40m
    1. Artificial intelligence that works
      1m 22s
    2. The Auto-Align Layers command
      7m 25s
    3. The Auto-Blend Layers command
      3m 54s
    4. Masking auto-aligned layers
      4m 50s
    5. The Geometric Distortion setting
      6m 44s
    6. The Seamless Tones and Colors checkbox
      4m 8s
    7. Creating the best possible layer mask
      9m 18s
    8. Auto-blending depths of field
      5m 54s
    9. Finessing masks, accepting imperfections
      6m 29s
    10. Shooting and downsampling panorama images
      5m 54s
    11. Introducing the Photomerge command
      6m 40s
    12. Evaluating the Layout settings
      6m 47s
    13. Loading, aligning, and blending with Photomerge
      5m 36s
    14. Tracing and extracting seams
      7m 18s
    15. Adding a masked element into a panorama
      5m 55s
    16. Simplifying and correcting a panorama
      5m 58s
    17. Smart Filters and nondestructive cropping
      6m 43s
  10. 1h 18m
    1. The most mysterious of mysterious topics
      2m 29s
    2. Introducing HDR Toning
      6m 43s
    3. Reigning in clipped highlights
      5m 54s
    4. The Local Adaptation options
      9m 5s
    5. Nondestructive editing with HDR Toning
      8m 22s
    6. Using the HDR Toning Curve
      7m 2s
    7. HDR Toning vs. Shadows/Highlights
      6m 0s
    8. Merging multiple exposures
      7m 14s
    9. A first look at HDR Pro
      6m 24s
    10. Removing ghosts, correcting backlighting
      7m 11s
    11. Generating and editing an HDR comp
      7m 0s
    12. HDR rendered to completion
      5m 19s
  11. 1h 27m
    1. Processing hundreds of files in no time
      1m 43s
    2. Creating an action set
      6m 37s
    3. Making an action
      7m 7s
    4. Stop, Delete, and Record
      7m 12s
    5. Add, Undo, and Rerecord
      6m 40s
    6. Playing and testing an action
      6m 31s
    7. Playing and editing a specific operation
      6m 39s
    8. Permitting the user to change settings
      4m 58s
    9. Explaining an action with a custom stop
      5m 0s
    10. Batch-processing multiple images
      7m 22s
    11. Adding a Save As operation
      6m 34s
    12. Creating an action to save web graphics
      7m 59s
    13. Batching two actions into one
      7m 15s
    14. Saving and loading actions
      5m 30s
  12. 1m 19s
    1. See ya
      1m 19s

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