Join Julieanne Kost for an in-depth discussion in this video The Curvature Pen tool, part of Photoshop CC 2018 Essential Training: Design.
- [Instructor] Photoshop's pen tools are the key to creating vector paths to draw shapes, cut out objects, or create masks, and the best thing about making vector paths is that they're resolution independent, so I can scale them to any size without losing any image quality. Now, we're going to start with the Curvature Pen Tool, and what I love about the Curvature Pen Tool is that I can just set down points, and then kind of bend those points and pull them into any shape that I want.
So let's just see how this works. I'm going to ignore the pear shape for a moment and I'm just going to click once and that's going to lay down my first control point. And I've got the pen tool set at its default so we're just creating the path right now, and then we're going to convert the path into a shape and I'll explain more about that in a moment. But I have my first control point laid down. I'm going to click to set the second one, and you're always going to get a straight line between the first control path and the second control path. It's not until you lay down the third control point that you're actually going to see this path curve.
All right now I'm going to close this path by clicking on the starting point, and you can see that the icon changes for the tool, and that just creates a closed path. Now, if I want to add a point to this path, I can click anywhere on the path to add the point. If I want to move the point I just click and drag it. You can tell what control point is selected because it's filled with blue. If I ever wanted to delete a control point, I could just tap the Delete key, and then again just click anywhere to add another point.
So right now all of the points that I've drawn actually are curved, so even here at this point, it's a curved point. If you ever want to change a curved point into a corner point, all you need to do is double-click on the control point, and now when I double-click, it changes it from a curve to a corner, so it's a great way to obviously create a corner point, but also change direction. Okay, I want to delete these so I'm going to tap once to delete the active control point, and then I'm going to tap the Delete key again in order to delete the rest of the path.
Now we're going to use this pear shape as our template and I'm going to draw it in two pieces, so we're going to draw the pear, and then we're going to draw the stem, and again I've got my Curvature Pen Tool set to Path because sometimes when you're drawing a shape, especially if you have a template and the shape is filled, it's hard to see through the shape to see the template. So we can start anywhere. I'll start at the top and lay down my first control point. Click again to lay down my second one. Click again to lay down the third one, and then close the path.
Of course you can add as many points as you want, so now we're going to start bending. Basically I think of this closed loop of string, we're going to start bending it so that it fits the template. So I can just click and drag to lay down another point. Then I might want to click about here and start laying this down. See that was to get this string here. Now we need to get this string so I'll just click and drag up a little bit. You can see as you click and drag in one area it's going to bend the other area, so there's a little bit of give and take with this tool to get it to really match up or align with the template, so let's say maybe right about there looks good.
I can start scooting this one over, and then it starts breaking right about there, so I'll add another point, and then we can click to add this point right down there, and then just add and click, and push this string into position. And we can just refine this at the bottom, and maybe click once more, and there we go. So now we have the shape of the pear, but this isn't a shape layer. In fact if we look at our Layers panel we still just have the background. If we look at our Paths panel, here we can see the work path that we've created.
You have to be a little careful with work paths in Photoshop, because if I were to click off of this path and then start drawing another path, it would actually delete this work path, so I want to do one of two things. I either want to use the fly-out menu here and save the path, or I can convert the path into a shape. And let's look at our Layers panel, and then click on the Shape icon here and we can see that Photoshop has converted that path, or actually it's duplicated it so that it's now a shape layer.
It filled it with my foreground color, but we can change that color by double-clicking on the shape, and then selecting a new color from the color picker. Or we can switch tools and in this case we can either select one of the selection tools, either the Path or the Direct Selection Tool, or we could select one of the shape tools. Either way, what I need is I need access to this fill command that's in the options bar.
So, like I said either one of these. I'm going to select the Path Selection Tool just because I want to show you that it also allows you to move the path if you ever need that. So let's just undo that drag path. But now from this fill option, I can click and choose whether I want it to be filled with a solid color, a gradient, or a pattern. In this case I want it to be filled with a gradient. I can select from any of the different presets. I think I'll select one that just has a two-stop gradient, meaning it gradiates from one color to another.
I'll double-click in order to change the color. So in this case I want to start with kind of a orangy red color. Make it a little more vibrant, and then I'll double-click on the end color stop, and we can bring that maybe to a little bit, let's make that a little bit brighter yellow. Okay, so by default you might be working with a linear gradient, not a radial gradient, but I'm going to switch that to radial, and I actually want the red on the outside.
So I'm going to use this icon here to switch the start and the end color. And then I'll just tap Enter or Return in order to dismiss that fill picker. So, the thing is, I would like to reposition the gradient within this shape, but I couldn't do it using that icon. Instead, I need to double-click now on the thumbnail on the shape layer, because that will bring up the gradient fill. Now I can tell it to disalign, or I can uncheck this so it's no longer aligned with the layer, and then you'll notice that I can just click and drag within the pear in order to change where the center of my radial gradient is.
All right, excellent. I'll click OK and then we're going to hide this layer for a moment, so that we can see the stem layer, and we're going to return to our Curvature Pen Tool. Now up in the options bar it's set to Path, but let's change that to Shape, and I'm going to use the Select menu and just deselect all of my layers for now. Then I'll click to add four different points. I'll click here, and then here. Now, I know that I want all of these points to actually be corner points, not curve points, so certainly I could click all four of them, and then go back and double-click on them in order to convert them from the curve point to the corner point, but it might be easier just to double-click as I lay down the points, and that way each point that I lay down is going to be a corner point.
Then all I need to do is click and drag in order to reposition these. So I just want that approximately where the stem should be. All right. But at the top here I have a little bit of an issue because these need to be corner points, and yet I want that little bend, so I'll just click to add another point, and drag up. All right this created Shape Two. If I need to change the color I can just double-click on it, and then choose a different color. In this case I want it to be kind of a brown color, maybe like that.
I might need to refine it after I turn on the visibility of shape one, so let's click OK, and make shape one visible. And then I can just tap enter in order to hide the path, and I think that's looking pretty good. So we can either hide the background layer at this point, or we could go ahead and fill that, so let's just go to Edit, and Fill. Let's fill it with white and click OK just in case our template is a little bit off, and of course we could add things like a drop shadow to the pear shape if we wanted to have it look a little bit more three dimensional, but for now I think you can see how the Curvature Pen Tool makes it very easy to just push and pull a path into the shape that you want.
Photoshop CC boasts tools and features for making tonal and color adjustments, applying effects and treatments to type and graphics, and distorting, filtering, and layering elements—all while maintaining the highest-quality output. In this course, Julieanne demonstrates how to efficiently perform common design tasks, including editing images, drawing shapes, and working with type and fonts. Along the way, she shares the secrets of nondestructive editing using Smart Objects, and helps you master features such as layers, filters, blending modes, typography, custom brushes, vector masks, and much more—increasing your productivity every step of the way.
- Working with Smart Objects
- Linked vs. embedded Smart Objects
- Creative transformations and warping
- Essential filters for designers
- Emulating traditional drawing techniques
- Working with shape and fill layers
- Pen tool basics
- Applying layer effects and styles
- Type essentials
- Creative brush techniques
- Working with libraries and artboards
- Exporting files and sharing images