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Photoshop CS6 has introduced some relatively signifigant changes for Shape layers, in large part to bring Photoshop in line with the other applications in the Creative Suite. What that mostly means is that Shape layers are now Vector layers. And that the overall process of working with these layers is a little bit different. Let's take a look at an example by creating a shape. I'll go ahead and choose one of the Shape tools from the toolbox. In this case, I'll just use the Custom Shape tool. And then I can set my shape on the Options bar.
I'll go ahead and use this nice flourish. And then I can decide whether I want to create a Shape layer, a path, or pixels, in other words, a Fill layer. I'll go ahead leave this option set to Shapes, so that I'm creating an actual vector shape. I can specify a particular fill color for my shape. I'll go ahead and create a cyan colored shape in this case. I can add a stroke if I'd like. I'll set the option to have the stroke turned on. I'm using black for that stroke. I could also use a gradient or a pattern for example. And I can specify the size for that stroke.
And then I can specify the style of that stroke. Do I want a solid line, a dash line, or a dotted line, for example. I'll go ahead and leave that set to the Solid Line option. I can specify width and height for the shape that I'm creating. And I also some options for creating a new layer versus combining with an existing layer, for example. Or aligning the layers, if I had multiple shaped layers for example. And also, adjusting the stacking order which layer is on top versus down below. Of course, many of these options are not available to me because I've not yet created any vectored layers at all.
In addition, I have a popup that allows me to determine the aspect ratio. At the moment, I'm working unconstrained. But I could also define specific proportions, a specific size, or set a fixed size with width and height values. And I can also cause this shape to grow outward from the center point of my mouse click. I'll go ahead and leave that set to unconstrained and I'll click and drag. Notice that I was setting all of those options before I drew my shape, but I can also modify the settings after the fact. So, if I decide, for example, that the stroke was just a little bit too large, I can adjust the size of that stroke after I've already created that Shaped layer. So, of course very, very flexible in terms of being able to work with these shapes.
So, the key difference here is that Shape layers are now called Vector layers. But also, the overall process of working with these Vector layers has changed somewhat significantly. And I'd say a change for the better, making it a lot easier with these various vector shapes. As we create them.
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