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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 have saved my progress as Modified ellipse.psd found inside the 27_pen_tool folder. In this Exercise, we are going to set aside this Modified ellipse and we are going to redraw this vector mask from scratch using the Pen tool, so this is a different application of the Pen tool that we have seen so far. Before we can draw a new pathway, we have to get rid of the old one which means deleting this path outline. Well, I don't want to delete it forever. So let's just set it aside by going over to the Paths panel, grabbing this vector mask item and dragging and dropping it onto the little page icon to make a duplicate of it and I will go ahead and name this guy modified ellipse so we will forever know, even after I changed the name of this file that this guy was the modified ellipse.
All right let's switch back to the vector mask, very important, go to the Layers panel. make sure you got a double outline around your vector mask. Let's switch to the Black arrow tool which I will get by pressing the A key and I will click on the path outline in order to select it and then I will press the Backspace key or the Delete key on Mac to get rid of it. All right now we are going to whip out the Pen tool and this is how this guy works. Couple of different ways that you might use the Pen tool, one is you might draw directly inside of this vector mask which if you do, here I will just go and show you and I will do it by clicking, so we are doing something that we have seen before.
Notice that I am revealing the droplet on the fly here and of course I am not tracing it very well that goes without saying, but that means that every time, I lay down a point I am going to change what I am seeing and what I am not seeing where this layer is concerned, which is little bit disconcerting so I would need to reduce that density value... So that's a way to work. However, a way that you might prefer working is to go ahead and draw a new working path inside the Paths panel. That way you can see the layer as you work along and then we can convert that path into a vector mask later on down the line.
So why don't we go ahead and do that just for the sake of variety here, I will press the A key in order to switch back to the Black arrow tool and I will click off the path outline to deselect it and now I should be able to, because the vector mask is active here inside the Layers panel, I should be able to press the Backspace key, sure enough the Delete key on Mac, and that got rid of the entire vector mask which is what I wanted. Now let's go back to the Paths panel and a couple of different ways to create a new path inside of Photoshop. One is when we are working with the pen tool, we will automatically create a new path outline because nothing is selected in here, so it will automatically create a new working path but let's say you want to protect the path right from the get go, so it's not a working path that you might forget to save or something along those lines and you want to make sure that whatever you draw appears inside that path so you can be drawing with any of the shape tools not just the pen tool.
Why then go ahead and create a new path just by clicking on the little new icon, little page icon down here at the bottom of the Paths panel, and if you want to name it as you create it, I'll undo that by pressing Ctrl+Z, Cmd+Z, if you want to name it as you create it, then you Alt+Click or you Option+Click on the page icon and I will call this one pen tool path and I will click OK. Now here's how we draw smooth points with the Pen tool, you drag like so, so you drag from an anchor point and notice as you drag that you are emit ing a control handle in two different directions.
So one's going with you, one control handle is directly under your cursor. The beginning of your drag is the anchor point incidentally. The control handle is appearing directly under your cursor, the lever shows the length and angle of your drag and meanwhile there's another control handle along with its lever going in exactly the opposite direction and things start off with the two levers being absolutely symmetrical. That is the same angle and the same length and then when you get that control handle to the right location you release.
Now you might rightly ask how in the world do you know where this anchor point goes? That's hard enough, but how long the control handle should be in absentia of seeing anything inside of this darn image. I mean in other words in absentia of seeing any other points in the path outline, I am working totally blind here. And yes, you are, and so this is one of those things you just come to terms with overtime, frankly. It's fairly difficult to embrace initially here. I will just pass something along. I was watching a couple people use the Pen tool, a while back, and I was alarmed at the way that they were naturally using the Pen tool and I was kind of advising them on the fly and they were tweaking their routine and then about a month later I sat my boys down.
I have got 8, 9 year old boys and I sat them down in front of Illustrator, Adobe Illustrator which has the same Pen tool essentially and they began using the pen tool in this same wrong bizarre way and it was bizarre to me because I hadn't seen people do this before but it might be sort of a natural instinct. Anyway, it was for them and I could not reign them in because they naturally tune me out as their father. But let me hopefully gain your attention little better than that, you don't drag on the control handle, this is what they did they kept dragging on the control handle. They used it as some kind of guide for where they should put their next points like so and they just kept doing this number and creating completely wacky path outlines that had nothing to do with reality, so don't do that, please.
All right so I am going to have to back step a lot here. Press Ctrl+Alt+Z, Cmd+Option+Z several times until I get back to my first point and what you do instead is you just keep dragging in the same direction around your image element and that is not to say you start just dragging as if it's some sort of free form tool because that's not what it is, instead you say okay the next point belongs here and I will drag because I started dragging in a counterclockwise fashion around this droplet, I am going to keep dragging counterclockwise.
So I will drag to this location, that way the opposite control handle goes back to meet the other one and we have a smooth segment between the two because if I do this number, if I say hey I want to drag this direction. Why then I am sending the opposite control handle way back this way and so the segment is bending like crazy to keep up. It's having to go like that and so that would be wrong. Anyway I will just show you quickly here that you keep dragging in a continuous counterclockwise direction and once you get to the very first point you can either drag along it if you want to modify its curvature further, but you would have to drag up and away from the control handle that you are creating or I believe you can just click.
Yes you can, and the reason for my hesitation there is it's different inside of Illustrator, so Photoshop and Illustrator have slightly different behavior. Now I went ahead and closed the path there. and then you would set about adjusting your control handles. But that's kind of a quick overview, let's take a slightly more in-depth view of things here. I am going to go ahead and get rid of that path outline by pressing the A key to switch back to my Black arrow tool. I will click on the path outline and I will press the Backspace or Delete key to get rid of it. Let's take another swing at things because there is something else you should know about as you are working away here.
We got this little special option inside of Photoshop and it's called the Rubber Band, and if you click this down pointing arrowhead, notice there is this Rubber Band checkbox and I know a lot of people who are super fond of it, who love it and what it is, is it's a segment that's drawn on the fly between the last anchor point you created and your cursor. So that as you move your cursor around you have a feel for what the shape of the segment is going to be. So I will go ahead and turn this checkbox on and then I will start things off by dragging it approximately that same location wherever it was and notice that I am dragging a fairly lengthy control handle here from that anchor point and now that I have released I have this segment that's being drawn on the fly, can you see it right there, being drawn on the fly between the anchor point and my control handle and that is the Rubber Band.
Now if you find it helpful, great it's not entirely accurate the reason it's not accurate is it doesn't take into account any control handles that you might apply to the point that you may lay down right here. So for example, this is exactly how this segment would look if I just went ahead and clicked at that point, notice it did not move, however that's not the way that you work with the Pen tool, and this is why. Every segment should have, if it's going to curve, it ought to have two control handles associated with it.
One that's an outgoing control handle that defines how the segment leaves the anchor point and another that's an incoming control handle that defines how the segment enters the next anchor point, and that's just good decorum by the way. That gives you smooth results, otherwise you have this curvature on one side of the segment and a flattening on the other side. So you either have two control handles for every segment, which defines a nice fluid curvature or you have no control handles associated with the segment which defines a straight segment between two points.
All right, so anyway, I am going to go ahead and undo the creation of that last point by pressing Ctrl+Z, Cmd+Z on the Mac. So notice that as soon as I click and begin to drag that the shape of that segment changes. So I will get more curvature associated with that point then I saw with the Rubber Band. All right, this is once again enough for one movie. In the next exercise, we are going to take all of this junk that we have learned and we are going to apply it to the task of selecting this droplet with the Pen tool.
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