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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 we're going to see how we can create our own simple custom shape and I have created this Approved stamp and we're going recreate this. Once your artwork is ready what we need to do is come to the Edit menu and choose Define Custom Shape. But let's recreate this from scratch. So I'm going to turn this layer off and then come to my Type tool. Just click on my canvas. It's remembering the size and the font that I was using before, so it just so happens to be exactly what I want.
I'm using Helvetica Neue, Condensed Black, 226 points. It's centered. But what I'm also going to do now is just drag it into the center of the canvas. Once we've drawn the border around it, we'll center the two relative to each other. Now on a separate layer what I'm going to do is draw a rounded rectangle, which will become the border. So I'm going to come and choose my Rounded Rectangle tool and then positioning my cursor roughly in the center of the canvas, start drawing, and then hold down my Alt or Option key to draw outwards from the center point.
Now incidentally it doesn't matter what color I'm doing this in, because the color is determined by the color that is applied to the custom shape once you've drawn it as a custom shape. I'm just drawing it in red because it seems to make the most sense in red, but the color is actually irrelevant. So I'm going to come and choose that rounded rectangle with my Path Selection tool and then I'm going to copy it. I'm going to paste it and then working on that copy, Command+T or Ctrl+T, to go to my Free Transform, I'm going to hold down the Option or Alt key, and scale it in from the sides and down from the top and the bottom towards the center.
Press Return to accept that and then come up to my Exclude Overlapping Shape areas option to punch a hole through the rounded rectangle, making my border. Now at the moment it's not going to work. It's not going to work because I have my artwork on two separate layers and I need to get all of the artwork on one layer so that I can define it as a custom shape. If I select those two layers and come to my Edit menu, the option is not available to me.
So just before I copy the Approved type on to the border layer, what I'm going to do is align these two together. So I have them selected, I'm going to press Command+A or Ctrl+A, and then I'm going to go to my Move tool by pressing V, and then I'm going to center them horizontally and vertically, which makes me think that I would like to adjust the size of my border. So I'm now going to just click on my border. Command+T or Ctrl+T. I'm going to hold down the Option or Alt key and bring that down a bit towards the center.
Okay, let's deselect to my active selection, Command+D or Ctrl+D. I'm going to come to my type layer. Now my type layer needs to be converted to a shape layer, so I'm going to right-click on it and choose Convert to Shape. Now what I want to do is combine the two on to one layer. And because on the top layer I've chosen to Exclude the Overlapping Shape areas, it's going to be a lot easier to copy the type on to the border layer and vice versa.
So I'm going to come and choose my Path Selection tool and I'm going to drag over those letters, making sure that all of those anchor points are selected. I'm going to copy those. I'll turn off that shape layer that was derived from my type. I'll click on to the vector mask of the top layer and I'll paste the letters shapes on to that. So now that I've got everything on one layer, I'm going to deselect my path just by clicking beneath my layers and then come back and select that vector mask.
Now important here. I need to select the vector mask rather than just the shape layer. If I select just the shape layer, nothing happening. If on the other hand I select the vector mask and I can see the border around it. Come to the Edit menu, Define Custom Shape, and I'm going to call it that. And then to test it out I'm going to switch to a blank document. I'm going to come to my Custom Shape tool. I can choose my custom shape.
I can just drag that out, holding down the Shift key if I want to keep it proportional. Maybe I'd like to rotate it. Command+T or Ctrl+T. Just drag that into position and use it however it's appropriate in my artwork. So there we see the basic steps of creating your own custom shape. Once it's drawn you can very easily just change its color like so.