Join Julieanne Kost for an in-depth discussion in this video Pen tool basics, part of Photoshop CC 2018 Essential Training: Design.
- [Narrator] While I find that Photoshop's Curvature Pen Tool is excellent for creating shapes, when I need the most amount of control, say for example if I'm trying to cut out an object from the background or I'm trying to make a vector mass then I will switch to the traditional Pen tool. So I'll select the Pen tool from the toolbar and I'm going to make sure that I'm just drawing a path for right now. Now when you draw with a pen tool to create a path, if you just click you're going to set down an anchor point or some people call these control points.
If you click once with the Pen tool you get the anchor point if you click again you get a straight line, and if you click and drag you actually create what's called a direction line which starts the curve that you're going to continue with the next point. Now the Pen tool's a little bit difficult to describe but as you start working with it you're going to get a feel for it. It's kind of like learning how to ride a bicycle. So I'm going to separate my path's panel from my layers panel just so we can see both of these.
I'll drag it up to nest it with the library's panel. So I've got a background layer and I've got my Pen tool selected and it's going to create a path. I'm just going to click once to lay down the first anchor point. I just want to draw a straight line so I'll click again, again, and again, and that's how easy it is to draw a straight path. Now, if I move over to the triangle and click well, Photoshop is going to continue to draw my path. So I'm going to undo that using Edit and then Undo New Anchor Point.
And to close this path I'm going to change tools but I'm going to do so using a keyboard shortcut because while I can constantly go back and forth between the Pen tool and the Direct select and the Path select tools, for me it's just much easier to hold down the command key or the control key. You can see that my cursor switches to the arrow icon and I'll just click in order to end that path. So let's look at the Path's panel. What we end up with is what's called a Work Path.
I can click off of that Work Path and it will hide it from the image area and then I can click on it again and it can show it. The thing to be careful of is that if I click off of the Work Path and start drawing another path Photoshop will actually get rid of this Work Path and begin a new one. So whenever you get to the point where you want to save your Path I would be sure to just double click on the Path and save that Path. Alright, now if I wanted to add this second Path to this first Path I could just start drawing now with the Path selected in the Path panel.
But if I want to put it on its own Path then I would just click away from that Path. You can see that it's hidden from view in the image area and now I can start a new Path. And sure enough when I put down the first Anchor Point you can see that I get a new Work Path over in my Path's panel. So we'll click again and again and one more time and you'll notice that when I position my cursor over the initial Anchor Point that I laid down Photoshop changes the icon, I get the circle. That tells me that I'm going to close that Path.
Now, similar to the curvature pen tool, when I position my cursor on top of this Path, I can add another Anchor Point. And we can see that I get a little plus icon next to the pen tool. But unlike the curvature pen tool you can't really click and drag your control point or your anchor points because if I click again it's just going to delete that anchor point. So I'll click to add it but then again I'm going to use that shortcut, that command key, that temporarily switches me to my path selection tool and then I can reposition that.
Alright, and then if I wanted to delete that I'll just hover my cursor on top and click with the minus. Alright, to save this I'll double click on the Work Path and save that as Panel 2. So on my layers panel you've probably noticed we're not actually creating any shapes, we're just creating these Paths. But we can turn a Path into a shape very easily by just selecting the Path on the Path's panel and then choosing the option from the options bar. So I can click on Shape and now we see in the layers panel that I have a shape layer.
I'm going to undo that using the Edit menu, Undo, Make Shape from Path. And I could also make a selection. So that's going to convert my Path into the Marching Ants or into a selection. I have all these different options. When I click OK you can see those Marching Ants. We could also hide the Path by just clicking off of it. Maybe that helps us to see it a little bit better. Alright, I'm going to deselect using CMND + D. Click on Path 2 again and just show that we could also click this third option which is a Mass, which will convert our background into a layer and add a vector mass.
So again I'll undo that and then before we save this document, I just also want to point out that there's a gear icon right here and If I select that I can change not only the thickness of the path but also the color of the path. So if you are working with a really high res monitor of if you happen to have a blue object and you're drawing a blue path over it and it's hard to see the path you can come in here and you can change any of these options.
Okay, let's choose the file menu and then save as. I'm going to append this with an 01 and save it to the same folder as a Photoshop document to be sure that we saved those paths and then click save. So there you go, a quick overview of how to draw straight paths in Photoshop.
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