Join Deke McClelland for an in-depth discussion in this video Meet the Black and White Arrow tools, part of Adobe Pen Tool: Fundamentals.
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- In this chapter we're going to take a look at the building blocks of path outlines, which include anchor points, segments, and control handles. But we're going to start things off in this movie with a look at the most essential path editing tools whether in Illustrator, InDesign, or Photoshop, not to mention just about any other design program that is or ever was, and those are the Arrow Tools. And the reason I'm starting with the Arrow Tools is because they help put the Pen Tool in its proper context.
In fact the Arrows and the Pen are close cousins. The difference is that the Pen lets you create path outlines, whereas the Arrow Tools let you refine them. And where this course is concerned we'll be using the Arrow Tools as often, if not more than the Pen. So it's essential to understand how they work across the entire Adobe Suite right up front. So here we have a couple of enlarged versions of the Arrow. The black one over here on the left and the white one on the right. And these tools appear at the top of the toolbox here inside of Illustrator, as well as in InDesign.
They share a common tool slot inside Photoshop. Now officially the black arrow is known as the Selection Tool inside of Illustrator and InDesign, whereas it's known as the Path Selection Tool inside of Photoshop to distinguish it from the pixel-based selection tools. The white Arrow Tool is known as the Direct Selection Tool inside of all three programs. But in my mind that doesn't really tell the story. It's like calling the Pen Tool the drawing tool. And if we switch over to Photoshop for a moment you'll notice that most of the other selection tools don't have the word selection in their titles.
For example, this tool's not called the Rectangular Selection Tool, it's called the Rectangular Marquee. This guy's not called the Freeform Selection Tool, it's called the Lasso. The only exception is the curiously named Quick Selection Tool. So I prefer to call these tools what they are, which are the Black Arrow Tool over here on the left, and the White Arrow Tool over on the right. Regardless of the program, the Black Arrow Tool allows you to select whole objects. Which include entire path outlines and groups. And so you can see that I'm currently armed with the Black Arrow Tool, so if I click on this black arrow I'll select the entire path like so, and then I can drag it around to a different location or otherwise modify that entire path.
Whereas the White Arrow Tool selects independent elements, such as anchor points, segments, and so forth. So if I were to switch to the White Arrow Tool, which is the second tool down here inside Illustrator, and then click on one of these corners, then I would select that anchor point independently of the rest of the path, which allows me to modify that anchor point independently as well. Or I could click on a straight segment here and drag it around in order to stretch that path outline.
Now the Arrow Tools have some pretty easy to remember Keyboard Shortcuts. For the black Arrow Tool you have the V key inside of Illustrator and InDesign, or the A key inside of Photoshop. And by the way there's no need to press a modifier key, you just press V or A by itself, which means that these shortcuts do not work when editing text. The shortcut for the white Arrow Tool is the A key inside Illustrator and InDesign. If you want to switch to the white arrow inside of Photoshop you press Shift + A.
Now if you need help remembering these keyboard shortcuts then the best way to understand them is to rotate the white arrow upright, as we're seeing here, and then rotate the black Arrow upside down. And that way you can superimpose a V on the black arrow and an A on the white arrow. Because after all a V is for all intensive purposes an upside down A, albeit without the bar, and the letter A is for Arrow. So in other words, regardless of what program you're working in these are both Arrow Tools.
And with that we're now ready to take on the building blocks of path outlines, which include anchor points, as we're seeing here in blue, as well as segments, which connect the anchor points together, and finally control handles, which allow us to bend the segments in order to create curves.
- Understanding how anchor points, segments, and control handles work
- Adding and deleting anchor points
- Working with smooth and cusp points
- Selecting and deselecting with the arrow tools
- Drawing vector-based paths
- Connecting open paths
- Repositioning points and segments as you draw
- Inserting and deleting points on the fly
- Converting multiple points with a single click