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Now, we have seen how to convert points. For example, how to convert a smooth point to a cusp point, or a corner point to a cusp point, by dragging or Alt dragging on it, using the Pen tool, but that only works with the last point you drew; that is to say, with an endpoint. If you try those maneuvers on an interior point, it's not really going to work. For example, if I were going to click on an interior point in this path, I would delete it, like so. So I will go ahead and press Control+Z, or Command+Z on the Mac, to undo that change. The solution is to take advantage of a tool we haven't see yet, which is also available in the Pen tool flyout menu, and that's this tool right there: the Convert Point tool. And you can cycle to it, by the way, by pressing Shift+P a couple of times.
Notice, it has the most unremarkable tool icon, which is sort of the tip of an arrow, or a caret, if you prefer. And sure enough, the cursor looks like that caret when you hover it over an existing anchor point. So you may recall, we've got two corner points here that require our attention, and here's how we can modify them using the Convert Point tool. The first option is to drag from the point, and if you do that, then you'll convert that corner point into a smooth point, as you see me doing here. You need to make sure you're dragging in the right direction.
It's often difficult to predict which direction you should go, but if you get it wrong in the first place, then just drag the other way. So that's one to work, and you can continue to do that, by the way; if you keep dragging from that point, you are going to continue to create a smooth point over and over again. If you want to turn a smooth point into a cusp instead, then you drag one of its control handles, like so, and that will move the control handle in an independent direction. If you want to convert either a smooth point or a cusp point to a corner point, you just click on the anchor point, like so, and that will get rid of all the control handles that are coming out of that point.
In my case, I want this point to be a smooth point, so I will go ahead and drag out from it, like so, and then if I decide I want to make a change to this opposing control handle, I am not going to drag it, because that would move in independently, and create a cusp point. So I will press Control+Z, or Command+Z on the Mac, to undo that change. Instead, what you want to do is press and hold the Control key, or the Command key on the Mac, which will give you temporary access to the white arrow tool, and then you can move those two control handles together, thus ensuring that you maintain the smooth point. Now, it may seem like a lot of work here to switch between all these tools.
We now have three tools that you need to pay attention to; that is, the Pen tool, which allows you to create the points in the first place. The white arrow tool, which allows you to make standard modifications, and then of course, we have got the Convert Point tool, which allows you to convert the character of an interior point. So that means you are going to be switching around between tools quite a bit. It turns out you can make all of those modifications using the Pen tool by itself. So if the Pen tool is selected, you press and hold the Control key, or the Command key on the Mac, in order to gain temporary access to that white arrow tool, so that eliminates your need to switch back and forth to it.
And then if you want to gain access to the Convert Point tool, you press and hold the Alt key, or the Option key on the Mac, and then hover your cursor over an existing anchor point, and now with Alt or Option down, I can go ahead and drag from this point, for example, in order to convert it to a smooth point, as we are seeing here. And then if I keep the Alt or Option key down, and drag from this control handle, I can move it up to a better location, and thus convert this anchor point to a cusp point. And finally, if I Alt+Click or Option+Click on the point, I will go ahead and convert it to a corner, as I had in the first place.
That's obviously now what I want, so I will press Control+Z, or Command+Z on the Mac, in order to restore that cusp point. All right, now comes the moment of truth. As things stand now, our path outline exist entirely independently of the layer composition, which is the way it is inside Photoshop layers, and alpha channels, and path outlines are utterly and completely independent of eachother, until they're merged together inside the Layers panel. And by merged together, I mean we need to convert this path outline to a vector mask.
So make sure the man layer is selected if you're working along with me, and then go up to the options bar, and click on the Mask button in order to convert that path outline to a vector mask, and then I will click on the vector mask to make it active, and click again in order to hide the mask, so that we can see if we've got any problems. Now, this portion of the shoulder looks really good. However, right there we have got a little bit of brightness from the background, so I will press the A key to switch back to my white arrow tool, and I will click the vector mask to select it. Now let's go ahead and grab this anchor point right there, which seems to be the problem, and nudge it down just a little bit.
So if you go too far into the sweater, who is going to notice? That's just fine. But people are going to notice if they see white edge fringing, obviously. All right, now I will click on the vector mask in order to hide it, and we have got a little bit of a bright edge on the side of his jaw there; looks a lot like Homer Simpson from this vantage point. I will go ahead and click on layer mask again in order to make it active, and then I will select this path outline, and I will drag it up just a little bit, and I think that might solve my problem, but it looks like it introduces a bigger problem up here along his cheek.
So let's go ahead and take this edge in, like so, and I might just need to nudge that anchor point in a little bit by pressing the right arrow key a couple of times, and I will click, once again, on the vector mask to hide it. This is looking pretty darn good, I think. I will go ahead and scroll up to his ear, which has some problems. So I will bring back the path outline. We have got a problem up here at the tip of the ear, so I will go ahead and drag this control handle down, and we had a problem at the base of the ear as well, so I will go ahead and move this point upward, like so. Make sure I am not clipping away too much of his face, and I might drag this control handle up a little bit too.
And notice that these control handles are very long. I'm completely violating that two thirds rule. I have got 100% of the segment covered, but after all, that's the way his ear is shaped. All right, so I will go ahead and hide the vector mask once again. Looks like we are pretty good, actually. In fact, I think we are great! So I will go ahead and press Control+0, or Command+0 on the Mac, in order to zoom out from the image, and then I will press the F key a couple of times in order to switch to the full screen mode, and we might as well zoom in a little bit as well. And that is the final version of this guys face masked against this ginormous leaf background, and by golly, he's masked with perfection, thanks to the incredible level of precision afforded to you by the Pen tool, and the Paths panel here inside Photoshop.
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