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- Converting shapes to paths and paths to shapes
- Moving, deleting, copying, and rasterizing shape layers
- Drawing pen paths
- Inverting a path
- Combining shapes
- Adding strokes to shape layers
- Creating shape layers from type
- Creating custom shapes from Illustrator symbols
- Building a photo grid
- Combining vector masks and layer masks
- Converting a shape layer to a selection, vector mask, or layer mask
- Working with paths and clipping paths
Skill Level Intermediate
Here are some quick tips for coloring your shape layers. I'm going to choose one of my shape layer tools, in this case the Custom Shape tool, and I'm going to use this typographic ornament as my custom shape. I have the color set here, or I can change the foreground color, either works. And then I'm going to just draw my shape. Now if I want to change that color, I can double-click on the solid color fill.
I can also just change my foreground color and use Alt or Option and the Backspace/Delete key. Or if I do want to fill it with my background color, Ctrl or Command and the Backspace/Delete key. What I can't do at the moment and which is sometimes useful to be able to do is I cannot get my paintbrush--instead I am painting in that shape--nor can I get my gradient, and in this case I have a spectrum gradient chosen, and drag a gradient across that shape.
I could make a gradient fill and clip it to the shape and that works fine, or I could apply a gradient overlay to the shape, but let's say I actually wanted to paint with a gradient inside the shape. To do that, what I would need to do is come to the Layer menu and down to Rasterize. Now I don't want to rasterize the shape because then we'll lose the scalability of the shape. We'll lose the benefit of it being a shape layer. But if I rasterize the filled content, I can now drag my gradient across there, or I can go to my Paintbrush and I'll set my foreground color to black and I can paint inside that shape.
So something to consider there. The option of going to rasterize and rasterizing the fill content, which retains your vector mask, but just gives you a few more options for what you can actually do with the color that fills that vector mask.