Paths & the Pen tool in Adobe Photoshop Ep17/33 [Adobe Photoshop for Beginners]

Paths & the Pen tool in Adobe Photoshop Ep17/33 [Adobe Photoshop for Beginners]

October 5, 2019 36 By Peter Engel


(upbeat electronic music) (upbeat electronic music) (upbeat electronic music) – [Gareth] Hello and welcome
to this video tutorial Gareth here from TastTuts.com. Now as you create in Photoshop,
there will be many occasions where you will need to make
selections and create shapes in your composition. We learned in a previous episode how the lasso, marquee, and magic wand tools work to make selections in our document. And we learned how the shape builder tool can help us make common shapes fast. From selections made with
the lasso, marquee tools, and the magic wand, we can
copy parts of an image, modify part of an image,
erase parts of an image and build new creative elements. In Photoshop, there is another tool that we can use to make
selections and also build shapes within Photoshop. This is the pen tool. Now this tool works a little differently
to the selection tools and the shape tools. When using the pen tool,
we create the parts. In this tutorial I’m going
to discuss the pen tool and the concept of paths in Photoshop. I’ll be briefly discussing some examples and then demonstrating how the tool works. Where you will have the
option to follow along and have a go yourself. I will also be referencing
an additional video I have created previously. In this video I will only
be covering the very basics of the pen tool. Though in an additional tutorial, I will be going into more depth
of how to use the pen tool. So I strongly recommend you
watch this when we come to it. By the end of this tutorial
you will know everything you need to know about the pen tool. So to follow along with this video you will need to open this document I have prepared especially
for this tutorial. This document can be found
in the essential practice folder in the project folder. Now you can download this
project folder for free, the download link is in the description. So, with the project folder
open, click essential practice, open the pen and paths folder and open the pen and paths PSD. Then you should have something
that looks like this. Now, we are going to be
covering a lot in this video. The topics covered in this video are listed in the description
along with their times. So be sure to check that out. So, in this tutorial I’ll be
referencing the paths panel. To follow along you will need to have your paths panel visible. If you cannot see your paths panel, you can come up to window, scroll down, and activate it there. For the sake of this tutorial, I’m going to drag out my paths panel so you can see clearly
what I’m referring to. Now, before we begin I suggest you come to the top
right of your paths panel, click the top-right menu icon, come down and click on panel options. Up will pop the paths panel options, click on the bottom tab and click OK. This will make the paths thumbnails bigger in the panel for us to see. Okay, so what exactly is the pen tool? And what are paths? Well, the pen tool is used to
simply draw and modify paths. Paths are then used to perform
a series of creative tasks. Once a path is created, it can be saved and can be activated from the paths panel. Here we can see that there are currently quite a few paths in this document. Now, it’s important to
mention at this stage that paths do not exist on layers. A path can be activated regardless of which layer you have
selected in the layers panel. The information for each path
is stored in the paths panel and can be activated at any time. Later, we will be learning
how to use paths to create. Only then, do we need to
be conscience of layers in the layers panel. Now, if any of you are familiar
with Adobe Illustrator, the pen tool works exactly the same. But the way paths work is a unique concept to Photoshop. So, let’s begin by taking
a look at some examples. So, over here on the left I have a series of created elements. Some of these are raster layers and some of these have
been created by paths. So, these are here to
demonstrate some of the uses of the pen tool. So, the first example here is an apple. Now, if we come into the paths panel and click on the apple trace path, upon click, we will see
a thin gray stroke appear around the outside of the apple. This thin stroke is a path. Now, if I wish to select this path, I can come into the menu,
down towards the bottom, and choose the path selection tool. This tool is represented
by the black arrow. With this tool active, I can carefully click on the gray stroke. Upon click, we will see all
the anchor points that make up this path. So, this is a path that has been created by tracing around the photo
example with the pen tool and saved in the paths
panel as “apple trace.” So, if we look at the
example to the right of this, here I have a solid orange shape that looks like the apple to the left. Now, if we look closely
in the layers panel, this object exists on
the apple fill layer. We can see that this is an
ordinary raster image layer. If I come into the paths panel and click on the Apple fill path, we can see the path around this. And I’ll press A to activate
the paths selection tool. I’ll select the path and we
can see the anchor points making the path. So, this raster apple shape
has been created from the path that was made by tracing
the apple photo to the left. The traced path from the apple
image has been duplicated. And the orange shape has
been created from the duplicated path. And we shall be taking a look shortly how we can generate
raster shapes from paths. Now, if we come down to the next row, here we have an image of an origami bird. Now, if I come into the paths panel, and this time select the bird trace path, this time, we will see a
gray thin stroke around this image. And if I click on the stroke
with the path selection tool, again, we will see the anchor
points that make up the path. So, here, we have another path that has been drawn with the pen tool and saved as “bird trace”
in the paths panel. Now, moving over to the right, here, we have another solid shape. Again, if we look in the layers panel this layer exists on the bird fill layer and, again, is a raster element. If we look in the paths panel, we have another path
here called bird fill. So, again, this raster
shape has been created from a path traced from an image. Now, the next example is
something quite unique. This is where is begins
to get quite creative. If we look in the layers panel, we can see that this
layer, bird custom shape, has a shape layer icon
on the image thumbnail in the layers panel. Now, because this is a shape layer, we have some effects applied which can be toggled
up in the control panel when we select the shape
in the layers panel and select the shape with
the paths selection tool. Now, like the raster shape on the left this shape was created from the bird trace path created
from the photo example. In Photoshop, you can create non-raster custom shapes with the pen tool to be used over and over again. And we will be also seeing
how this is done shortly. So, if we come down to the next row and look carefully in the layers panel, here we can see we have
another shape layer and we know this because we have the shape layer icon on the image thumbnail. Now, unlike the shape example above, which was created from a traced path, this object here was
created using the shape tool in the menu. Now, both being shape layers, they both behave in the same way. For example, you can apply various color and stroke effects up
in the control panel. So, I’ll come over to
the final example here and, here, we have another
unique created element. If we look in the layers panel, we can see that this
is, again, a shape layer but, unlike the first shape layer example that was created from a traced path, and the second example that
was made from the shape builder tool, this shape was drawn
manually using the pen tool. And we will be also seeing
how this was done shortly. So, when you have a path
active in your canvas area, an easy way to deactivate
it is to simply press enter. Though, you will need to
have the path selection tool active first. So, a quick tip: to activate a path we can
simply select it in the paths panel. But to remove it from visibility, we can press A to activate
the path selection tool or the direct selection
tool and simply press enter. Try and keep that in mind,
as it will be useful. So, with that brief intro to paths, let’s now take a look at
how we can use the pen tool to create paths. So, let’s now come over to
the right-hand side of the worksheet where we will have
a go at using the pen tool. So, first, I’m going to
come into the layers panel and toggle at the example area group and toggle down the exercise area folder. So, in this folder, we have a layer called green bird raster image and we are going to start
by tracing this shape. So, the pen tool can be
found over in the menu about three-thirds of the way down. The pen tool icon is represented
by a fountain pen tip. Now, if we click and hold on the pen tool, we will see that the pen
tool is part of a series of five tools. Each one of these tools works
to build and refine a path once created. So, we are going to start with
the first tool: the pen tool. So, with the pen tool active, you will see the mouse
cursor has now changed to a fountain pen tip. So, now we are ready to draw out a path. So, before we start, I’m going to come into the paths panel and
make sure I don’t have a path currently highlighted. I’ll click into the space
below to deselect any path currently selected and
begin to draw a new path. So, I’ll begin by placing an
anchor point on the tip of the bird. When you click for the first time with the pen tool, you will
drop down one anchor point. So, I’ll move my mouse
up to the next corner and click again. Upon click, we will drop a
new anchor point and notice a gray stroke join them together. So, I’ll carry on, around the bird shape, dropping anchor points on
each of the corners like so. As I progress around the shape, I will begin to draw and create a path. Now, when I draw around a shape
and get to the other side, as I move my mouse cursor
over the first anchor point I dropped down, I will notice a
little O shape appear on the mouse cursor. This is Photoshop telling
me that, if I now click, I will click to join the
parts and create a shape. Now, if we look over in the paths panel, we will see we have a new path. So, I’ll double click on the
name in the paths panel and rename this to “green bird” and click OK. That will save the new path. Excellent! So, once I have created this path, I can use various tools
to modify this path. So, if I come down and choose
the path selection tool from the menu, the black arrow,
just like earlier, I can select the path. By using this tool, I can also
move the path around on the canvas area like so. If I use the arrow keys, I can
also move the path around in small increments. Now, should I wish to modify
a particular anchor point on the path, for this I will need
the direct selection tool. This can be located with the
path selection tool in the menu. By pressing and holding on the path selection tool, we can
choose the direct selection tool, the white arrow. With this tool selected, we
can click a particular point and move it around like so. Simple. Now, what if I want to modify the path and add another anchor point? Well, this can be done by
going back to the pen tool and from the series of tools,
I’m going to select the add anchor point tool. With this tool active, if I
move my mouse cursor over the path, notice the mouse
cursor change shape. As I move the cursor over
the path, it will change to a fountain tip with a plus symbol. This is indicating that if I click, I will add an anchor point to the path. So, I’ll click once and a new
point will be added to the path. Now, if I chose the direct selection tool, I can click on this new anchor
point and move it around to modify the path. Now, should I wish to take
and anchor point away, I can come into the pen tools
and click the delete anchor point tool. If I move my mouse cursor
over an anchor point, a minus symbol will appear and as I click, it will remove the point. Easy. So, that’s how easy it is
to create and modify a path using the pen tools. So, what can be done with
the path once it is made? Well, once created, you
can do a lot with paths. You can use them to create layer masks, new custom shapes, or raster shapes. So, let’s have a go at some
creative examples here. So, once a path is made, we
can use the path selection tool to move it around. So, I’ll just move it over to the right. So, in the layers panel, with
the green bird layer selected, I’m going to press Command
+ Shift + N to create a new layer. I’m going to call this layer “bird fill.” So, I’ll come over into the menu and click on the foreground
color and choose a purple. So with the path currently
active, I’ll come into the bottom of the paths panel and click
the icon on the far left: fill path with foreground color. Upon click, I will now
create a solid raster shape from the paths shape. Now, I’ll press enter to
make the path deactivate. I’ll press V to activate the move tool, which will now give me the
freedom to move my new shape around. So, using the path, I quickly
created a raster shape. Now, it’s important to
remember, to create a path, you do not need any layers selected. Though when you come to create
a raster shape from the path, you must first create a new
layer for it to be placed. So, that’s one creative use of a path. Another, is to make a selection. So, I’ll come back into the
paths panel and select the green bird path. With the path selection tool,
I’ll click on the path and move it down to the left. With the path still active,
if I carefully place my mouse cursor on the path and right-click, I have an option here
called make selection. Upon click, a menu will appear. I’ll make sure radius is
set to zero and click OK. Upon click, we now have an
active selection of the shape. Now, in a previous video,
I demonstrated how to make selections using the
lasso and marquee tools. This can be another way
to make a selection. So, with this selection, I
can copy part of an image, delete part of an image, or
mask part of an image away. On this occasion, I’ll press
Command + Shift + N to create a new layer. And I’ll call this “fade.” I’ll press B to activate the brush tool, I’ll right-click, choose a
feathered brush, and set the size to around 130. Up in the control panel, I’ll
change the opacity to 30%. I’ll choose a color from the
foreground color menu box, and I’ll just click into the
selection to paint with the brush tool like so. Once I’m done, I’ll press
Command + D to deselect, and, just like that, I have
created an interesting raster color effect. Now, another creative use for
paths is to create a custom shape. So, I’m going to come back
into the paths panel and select the green bird path. I will select the path
selection tool from the menu and select the path so we
can see the anchor points. Now, I’m carefully going
to place my mouse cursor over the path and right-click. From the menu that appears,
I’m going to select define custom shape. In the menu that pops up, I’m
going to call this “origami bird” and click OK. Now, check this out. If I now come to the shape
tool in the menu and select the custom shape tool, I can come
up into the control panel and select shape. From the shapes, I will find
my new shape I just created. And now I can click to make
as many of these as I like. But what’s great about this
is that this now a shape layer and not a raster layer. So I can scale the shape up or
down as many times as I like and I will not lose any quality. I can also apply fill and
stroke effects up in the control panel. So, should I want this as a
red stroke with a transparent fill, I can set this up
in the control panel. Creating custom shapes like
this gives us much more creative flexibility. Now, whatever shape you make with paths, be sure to save them. You can do this by coming
back to shapes with the custom shape tool active and clicking
the cog and choose save shapes. Now, if you don’t save your
shapes, you will lose them if you choose a different category. If this happens, you can simply
load in your shapes again by coming back to the cog
and choosing load shapes. Simply navigate to your saved shapes file and load them back in. Easy. Now, the last creative use for paths is to simply draw a shape layer. To do this is quite simple. For this, I will need the pen tool active. So, I’ll come over to the
menu and select the pen tool. Now, this time, before drawing a path, I’ll come up to the control
panel and over to the top-left. Here, there is a dropdown menu. By default, this is set to path. Now, if I click this and select shape, then come out and draw in the canvas area, I will now create a new shape
layer in the layers panel. To this new shape layer, I can
apply stroke and fill effects up in the control panel. And if I wish to modify my shape further, I can use the pen tools to
add new anchor points and take them away. I can also use the direct selection tool to click an anchor point
and move it around like so. Easy! So, that’s a brief introduction
on how we can build and use paths in a creative way. Now, there is a lot more to
be learned with regards to building paths and using the pen tool. If we take a look back at
the apple example here, I’ll click back into the apple trace path in the paths panel. I’ll select the direct
selection tool from the menu and select the path. We can see here, in this path,
there are a lot of curves. Now, if I click on an
anchor point on a curve, we can see we have these handles. If you would like to learn
more about the pen tool and how to create and refine
curved paths around more complex shapes, I recommend
you watch my other tutorial on the pen tool and paths. Simply click the screen or find
the link in the description. This is essential training
for any beginner to Photoshop. After watching this video,
you will have a complete understanding on how to use the pen tool. Now, in Photoshop, there is
a smart way of working with creative elements to help
maintain quality and a neat organization in your document. In the next video, I’m going
to be discussing the use of smart objects in Photoshop.
(upbeat electronic music) I’ll be discussing why we use
them and how to build them into a composition. See you in the next video. (upbeat electronic music) (upbeat electronic music) (upbeat electronic music) (upbeat electronic music) (upbeat electronic music) (upbeat electronic music) (upbeat electronic music) (upbeat electronic music) (upbeat electronic music) (upbeat electronic music)