Join Deke McClelland for an in-depth discussion in this video Drawing with the Pen and Brush tools, part of Designing a Retro-Style Superhero.
In this movie, we'll add the seams around the elements of clothing, including the gloves and the trunks and the boots, using a combination of the pen and brush tools. I'll go ahead and switch over to my blue colored image here, and I'll zoom on in as well, of course by pressing control plus or Cmd plus on the Mac. Now you could just set in painting the seams if you want to, but you're going to get more predictable results if you 1st draw some path outlines using the pen tool.
I'm going to switch over to the paths panel, and then I'm going to drop down to the bottom of the panel and Alt+Click or Option+Click on the little page icon in order to not only create a new path, but name it as well. And I'll go ahead and call it seam lines, and then I'll click okay. Now, you want to select the pen tool, which you can also get by pressing the P key. And make sure, over here in the far left side of the options bar, that path is selected as opposed to shape. With path active, you want to go ahead and drag midway down the forearm, right about there, in order to create a smooth point, and then I'll create another smooth point at this location here. And now, I'll go ahead and control click, or command click on the Mac.
In order to deselect that path outline. Notice when I have the control or command key down I can see my white arrow cursor. And that way I can now drag to start a new path outline over here on the right arm. And now, I'm going to drop down to the trunks and I imagine right about here is where we want to start drawing the trunks. Now, if I start dragging like so, I'm going to connect the segment with that path outline I drew just a moment ago, up here along the right arm. I don't want that, so I'll press control Z or command Z on a Mac to undo that change and I'll control or command click in order to deselect that path outline and I'll drag right about here, let's say, and then over here as well to create a nice path at the top of the trunks.
And if that doesn't look quite right to you, then you can use your arrow keys to nudge that selected point into a different location. And you can also press and hold the control key or the command key on the Mac to get the white arrow and then drag a control handle, for example, in order to add a little bit of curvature here. And now, control click or command click in the Mac in order to deselect that path outline. Now I'm going to drag right here at the bottom of the trunks, then drag a new point right here at the intersection of the thighs. And midway into the drag I'll press and hold the alt key or option key on the Mac, in order to move this control handle independently of the other one and I'll drag to create another smooth point right about there.
And I might press the up arrow key a couple of times, in order to nudge that point upwards. and then finally we need to create the lines around the boots, so I'll go ahead and control click or command click on the Mac in order to deselect the previous pants outline. And I'll drag right about here and then I'll drag here like so and I'll press and hold the Alt key or the option key on the Mac to once again break the alignment between the two control handles there, and then I'll drag to create another smooth point at this location here. And then, again, you can control drag or command drag on the Mac in order to relocate the points and the control handles in order to add a little bit of curvature. It's completely up to you how you want these seams to look, of course. Now comes the exciting part, quite frankly, where we stroke these paths using the brush tool.
And you do that by first switching over to the layers panel and creating a new layer. So, I'll press control shift N or command shift N on the Mac to bring up the new layer dialog box. And I'll call this layer seams and I'll turn on Use Previous Layer to Create Clipping Mask. And that way, these lines will be clipped inside the silhouette which is obviously important so that we don't see the seam lines go off into the background. Now click okay in order to create that new layer. And next, you want to select the brush tool which you can get my selecting the B key. And I'm going to right click inside my image window. Notice that I've done this in advance, so I've set the size value to 15 pixels, which is going to nicely match the stroke, which is a little thicker, the stroke's actually set to 20 pixels. But this combination is going to look good together. And then I crank the hardness value up to 100%. Definitely want that. And then I'll press the Enter key, or the Return key, on a Mac, to accept that change. And now, I'll press the D key to reinstate the default colors. So the foreground color is black. And next, what you want to do is switch back to the paths panel. And I'm also going to select the black arrow tool, which Photoshop calls the path selection tool. And I'm going to turn of this path right here by shift clicking on it. Just so that I stroke all the path outlines. And I'm going to do that with the path selected right here. So you can see seem lines is active. Then you want to drop down to this icon at the bottom of the panel, the one that reads stroke path with brush. And what I recommend you do is Alt click on it, or Option click on it on a Mac in order to bring up the stroke path dialog box. Make sure that Tool is set to Brush which it will be by default, because after all, the Brush tool is currently active, even though it looks like it's the eye dropper when it's the brush. And make sure Simulate Pressure is turned off. And then click Okay. And you'll notice, perhaps quite to your surprise, that Photoshop doesn't do anything. And I'll go ahead and click below the path in order to deselect it, like so. And I'm not seeing any evidence of a stroke. And yet, if I go up to the Edit menu, you could see the Undo command says Undo Stroke Path. So what gives? Well, this is a blending problem.
And we can solve this problem by switching back to the Layers panel. So what's happening here is that Photoshop is assigning the layer effects on top of the clipped layer. So after the seams layer get's clipped, then the gradient overlay in particulars being applied on top of it. And the best way to tell that that's the case is to press the control key, or the command key on a Mac and click on the thumbnail for the seams layer. It's very important that you control or command click on the thumbnail. And then you'll see the seams traced with selection outlines, so they are in fact there.
To make them visible, here's what you do. First, press control D, or command D on the Mac in order to deselect the image. And then, select the in-flight layer right there and double click on an empty portion of that layer to bring up the layers style dialogue box. Make sure the preview check box is turned on. And then you have to change two settings. First, turn off blend clip layers as group, and then turn on blend interior effects as group. And now Photoshop goes ahead and applies a gradient overlay effect. Before clipping those seam lines. And so now that I can see the results of stroking those path outlines, I'll go ahead and click okay.
Now, in my case, the bottom of the trunk's outline right there, is a little low. So what I'm going to do is switch to my rectangular marquee tool, which you can get by pressing the M key, and then I'll select the seams layer at the top of the stack. And I'll go ahead and generally out line those trunk strokes right there and then I'll press control up arrow or command up arrow on a Mac in order to move then upward and then I'll press the up arrow key a second time as well. Now that it looks like we have some good alignment, I'll just click off those lines in order to deselect them. All right. Now I'll go ahead and zoom out by pressing control zero or command zero on a Mac. And that's how you create the seam lines, by first drawing them in using the pen tool and then stroking those path outlines using a 15 pixel brush.
- Turning a person into a silhouette
- Adding power and motion with Liquify
- Drawing with the Pen and Brush tools
- Creating a dramatic background
- Adding grill lines and flames
- Inserting talk balloons
- Creating a custom comic font