Join Julieanne Kost for an in-depth discussion in this video Using the shape tools, part of Photoshop CC 2018 Essential Training: Design.
- [Instructor] The shape tools in Photoshop can create shapes that are either pixel-based or vector-based. The benefit of creating vector-based shapes is that they're resolution independent, so you don't have to worry about their size. After you draw them you can transform them at anytime without losing any image quality. In this video we're going to discover the large variety of different shapes that Photoshop has to offer, and how to modify them. We'll start by creating a new document. I'd like it to be six by four inches, 300 pixels per inch, with a white background, and click Create.
In order to access our shape tools we can tap the U key, or we can click to select the Rectangle Tool, the Rounded Rectangle Tool, the Ellipse, Polygon, Line, and Custom Shape Tool. Let's start with the Rectangle Tool. Up at the top I'm going to reset the tool by right-clicking and then choosing Reset Tool. We have the option of selecting either a shape, a path, or a pixels, so the shape and the path are both vector-based, the pixels will just be raster-based so I'm going to stick with the Shape tool because I actually want to create a shape layer every time I draw a new shape.
If I choose Path I'll just get a path. Now before I draw the shape I want to choose my fill and stroke. I can always change it later, but it's just easier to setup the tool this way. I'll click in the Fill swatch where I can choose from a fill of None, a solid color, a gradient, or a pattern. I'll choose Solid Color, and then I can either choose from my recently used colors, from the swatches, or I can click the icon in order to access the Color Picker and select a color from here.
In order to choose the stroke, I'll click on the Stroke swatch and then just like the fill I can choose from no stroke, or a solid color, a gradient, or a pattern. In this case I'll return back to the no stroke option. In order to dismiss this stroke picker, we'll tap Enter or Return. As soon as I click and drag out my first shape, the Properties panel will open by default, and it's going to continue to fly out every time I create a new shape, so I'm just going to undock it by clicking on the Properties tab and then just releasing it so that it's just floating here next to the other panels.
In the Properties panel I can change not only the width and the height, I can also change the XY placement, or its location on the canvas just in case I need to be really precise with the location of a shape. For example I might be doing screen design and need to place a button at a specific XY coordinate. I can also change the fill and the stroke options here, and because this is a live shape I can change the corner roundness. If I click and drag to the right you can see that the corners of the shape indeed are rounded.
If I want to change the shape of each one independently I can unlink them, and then click and drag with my scrubby slider, or enter in a numeric value in order to get the exact shape that I want. If we take a look at the Layers panel we can see that this rectange is on a shape layer all by itself. If I click and drag out another rectangle, it creates its own independent shape layer. If I know the exact size that I need a shape layer to be, I can click anywhere in the image area, and then enter the width and height, so I'll enter in 200 by 200, and tap OK, and there's my shape.
Now we don't really need these shapes so on the Layers panel I'll select them all, and then tap the Delete key in order to discard them. Let's take a look at some of the other shape tools. Just like the Rectangle Tool we have the Rounded Rectangle Tool and the Ellipse Tool. These are all live shapes, so that when I select them and drag out a shape, I get live shape properties on the Properties panel. Let's move on to the Polygon Tool. When I click and drag in the image area, I can rotate the polygon, and if I hold down the Spacebar, I can actually reposition it.
When I let go of my cursor, it creates its own shape layer in the Layers panel. We can also create more complex polygons either by using the gear icon in combination with the Sides option or I can just click anywhere in my image area in order to display the Create Polygon dialog. Let's create a polygon that's about 400 by 400 pixels. I'll change the numbers of sides to three, so that we would get a triangle. But I can also smooth the corners, so instead of a triangle, we get more of a guitar pick kind of shape.
I'll click again over here, and I'll enter in 400 by 400 again. I'll change the number of sides to eight. I'll unselect the Smooth Corners, but I'll select Star, and then I'll indent the sides by about 80%. I'll click OK and we get this great star shape. All right let's click again in the upper left. This time I'm going to decrease the number of sides to about, maybe six. I'll choose both the Smooth Corners and the Star, but I'll decrease the Indent Sides to 60%.
I'll enable Smooth Indents. When I click OK we get a shape that looks like this, and we can always reposition the shapes in our image area by selecting the Move Tool and then dragging them around. All I need to do is select the shape that I want to move on the Layers panel, and reposition it. If I want to modify the shape itself, then I can select the Path Select Tool or the Direct Select Tool. If I choose the Path Select Tool I can click on the path of the shape.
The entire shape will be selected, and I can move this around. You might be thinking, why not just use the Move Tool? Well there might be times when you have more than one shape on a shape layer, and you want to move them independent of one another. If I want to change the shape, then I'll switch to the Direct Select Tool, click on any of the anchor points. When the anchor point is solid it means it's selected. When it's hollow it's unselected, so now I can just move this one anchor point. I can click and drag across multiple anchor points, and move them together, and I can also click and drag on a line, and relocate that line, or reposition that line.
All right let's move on to the Line Tool. Now when you click and you drag out a line, you want to pay attention to the weight of the line. Right now it's one pixel so if I drag out a line, it's going to be very thin. If I change the weight of the line to 10 pixels, it doesn't affect the line that I've already drawn because that shape has already been created, but it sets the option for the next line. If I want to constrain this to a straight line I can hold down the Shift key. If I want to add arrowheads to the line, I can use the gear icon and choose to add them at the start or at the end.
This time when I click and drag, we can see that I've added an arrowhead. The last shape tool is the Custom Shape Tool. When I select that, and we click on the downward pointing arrow, you can see that I have a number of different shapes that I've loaded, and that's because I used the gear icon in order to load all of the shapes. If you haven't done this, go ahead and select All. It'll ask you if you want to append it. Since I haven't created any custom shapes, I'll just click OK, in which case it would replace them as opposed to add them, and then we can make this larger by clicking on the grabber handle in order to see all of the different shapes.
We can select any of these shapes and then click and drag in our image area in order to add that shape. If we ever want to change the color of the shape, we can double-click on the layer in order to bring up the Color Picker, or with a shape selected, we can change the Fill option, and pick a different color. I'll tap Return in order to dismiss that dialog. Now when you select a shape on the Layers panel the shape layer is automatically selected, and there's a path that's drawn around the shape.
It might be a little bit difficult to see in the video, but as I select these different shapes, there's a gray path that surrounds them all. If you ever want to hide that, you can use the keyboard shortcut Command + H to hide the path, and then to reveal it again, use Command + H. So there we are, an overview of the shape tools 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