Mastering the Pen Tool and Shape Layers

Lesson 4 of 5

Shape Layers in Photoshop

 

Mastering the Pen Tool and Shape Layers

Lesson 4 of 5

Shape Layers in Photoshop

 

Lesson Info

Shape Layers in Photoshop

The other side of the pen tool is going in and creating really cool vector graphics, okay. Vector graphics in Photoshop. Yes, vector graphics in Photoshop. You mean not those little crunchy pixels? No, actual vector graphics here, seriously vector graphics. So, the difference is with the vector graphic, I start up a document here, and you see when I start up a new document here, everything's square pixels. I can't start up and create a vector document in Photoshop, but I can do vector artwork, and vector artwork is nothing more than pads that are just simply filled with a color, and we know those as a shape layer. So since this is our pen tool, we have all of our different shapes right here, and we can draw these shapes. And I know every once in a while, you've gone in and have used the pen tool here, and something's happened. You've drawn with the pen tool here, and all of a sudden it starts to fill with color. And you're just like, "What's going on?" That's a shape layer. It's a path...

that is basically defining the area and it allows us to fill it with a color. How that works is, when I was doing a path to turn into a selection, I had my pen tool selected, my control bar, and I was actually doing a path. And nothing was happening with that path. Nothing was being filled in, because that path was going to be used as a selection. Well now I wanna do this as a shape. So as I draw this shape it's going to fill with a color. So I can set my fill color up here from my swatch panel. And I can fill with gradients everything else. And one of the newest features is I can actually put a stroke around this as well. So now if I go in and I draw a shape, it's going to fill with a color and I can actually go in and say, okay, put a stroke around my object, and I can control the point size. This is relatively new, we couldn't do this in CS6. We could have shape layers in CS and they looked slightly different. A shape layer in CS6 actually came up with my image here, and then it was actually drawing a vector mask over here. They've changed that for the Creative Cloud. This tells me it's a shape layer, 'cause I mean it looks just like a pixel-based layer, doesn't it? It tells me it's a shape layer because of this little tool in the lower right-hand corner. So, this is vector, right? Absolutely, so I zoom in, does that look like vector? No, because Photoshop cannot display vector in here. It's always displayed as pixels. And I can tell you years ago when I started using this, we got into really big arguments, and people said, "That's not vector." Yes, it is. Because if I go in to edit this shape right here, and I click on the shape, I can use my pen tool to go ahead and edit this shape, okay, there it is. Yes it is vector. Because it couldn't be raster or else I couldn't do it this way. If this were raster, I would have to use all of my raster editing tools, the paint brush, the clone stamp tool, the eraser, okay. If I go in and I use the eraser, uh-uh, because it's not pixel-based. Yes it looks pixel-based, it is not, okay. How's that for confusing? Just when you thought you knew what you were doing, Photoshop is like nope, this is what it looks like. So this is all shape layers. Couple drawbacks of shape layers is, I can only have one color on my shape layer. If I have my shape layer, and I draw other shapes here, everything is gonna be exactly the same, okay. I can't go in and make this blue and this one red and have it be on the same layer. It doesn't work, okay. Everything that I do on that layer is going to be that color. So if I go in and I change my fill on that object, everything that's on that shape layer will be filled differently as well. On my pixels where I can fill anything anywhere on that layer with any color, that's not how it works with a shape layer. But the fun part with this is, I can go in and I can use my awesome shape tools here, rectangle, rounded corner rectangle, and make this work. Big advantage. I wanna do a rounded corner rectangle. And I draw my rectangle right there and it comes up, and, oh guess what? I can go in and I can round my corners. When I do this before I draw, or after I draw, it doesn't make any difference, the link goes together so I can see, I do that and now I can round my corners. Try that with a raster-based one, okay. So I want to go in, and I would like to do a raster-based shape that looks just like that. I go in and I wanna round my corners. Well how do I round my corners on something that's pixel-based? So I draw a shape, I go in, and I sample that color, I fill that shape. And now I wanna round my corners on a pixel-based item. So I take my eraser and I round my corners. Go in, set the opacity up right there, and I round my corners, okay. That's pixel-based. Then the client comes back and says, "Oh, could you round it less?" Sure, I can take my paint brush here, gonna sample that color, and now I can round it less. There we go, that's less rounded. (audience members chuckle) So having this be an actual shape layer here, I can now edit this with my pen tool and I can click on any of this and my properties come up here, and I can edit it right here. I wanna make it slightly taller, well, I can go in and I can take that shape and I can make that slightly taller as well, and I have that and now I can go in and if I wanted to make this slightly taller and not mess up my corners, I would transform this, and of course I stretch my corners. And you see this all the time when people, people make buttons. I was at the store yesterday, the little pin pad there, they had created these nice little buttons, somebody had created them and then stretched them. So it looked just like that. It had these really flat and then really fast corners. That's why, because it was pixel-based. Now I can render any of these as pixels if I want to, but for editing capabilities, shape layers are really awesome. And with any shape layer that I have here, get back to my actual shape right there, okay. I can go in and have my shape, just draw another one here, I'm gonna draw some fun shapes here, gonna go to my shape tool, and I can have all these custom shapes come up here. This is pretty cool. So I have all these custom shapes and I can draw something like that, and there's my shape, fully editable with the pen tool, with the direct selection tool, there I have it, okay. Put a stroke around it as well. Great, awesome, fun, whatever, got that. Here's all my shapes. You want more shapes? Click on your shape, go ahead and call this up, animals, arrows, frames, grime vector pack, light bulb, music, nature, objects. Ooh objects, I'm gonna add that to my list there. Cool, look at all those objects. Ooh, puzzle pieces, wow! Puzzle pieces, great! I can do a bevel and emboss, an inner-outer glow, all that other stuff on these as well. And this is gonna be really cool, alright. (long inhale) Wow. Now if I change this shape just by going in and using my pen tool, I can edit that shape and select that point, and I can edit that shape, and of course, everything goes along with it. If I wanna put multiple shapes on one shape layer. You'll see that every time I draw a new shape here, and I select a new shape, it automatically puts it on its own layer, okay. Automatically does. So I could go through here and I could actually have it so that it doesn't go onto a new layer here. I can actually combine the layers together so that I can keep drawing on one layer. So if I wanted several hearts on one layer, I could just say, okay combine the layers, and I can keep drawing and drawing and drawing all on the same layer. But just like using any other vector shape here, if I would like to knock these out, and then I draw like another heart over the top of it here, it combines together. Or, I could go in and say subtract the front or intersect or exclude overlap there, so I can get different outcomes of my vector, okay. So I have the overlap and it does a little, what I call the donut feature where it overlaps and knocks it out there. If I go ahead and subtract from that there, anything that I draw will then subtract from the front. So a lot of different ways that I can combine these two together. I don't have to do everything on the layer, I just do what's selected. So I can put them on the layer, knock them out, merge them together, have them be multiple shapes together. Pretty awesome stuff. But I can do absolutely anything that I want. If I wanted to do a gradient or something here, I can't use my gradient tool because it won't let me apply gradient, 'cause gradient is pixel-based, which is where the layer effects really come in handy, because then I could into my layer effects here, and I could actually do a gradient overlay on my vector here. And with that gradient overlay, and let me get that out of the way, I could go in and I could apply that, and then I'd make it appear as if I have a gradient on top of this. It's now a layer effect. But I can't paint on this layer at all. There are no pixels to paint. So therefore I can't do a gradient because a gradient is just like a fill and now I have a vector that's gonna go through and still give me those cool effects. Now, because I have my vector shapes right here, if I wanna go in and I wanna change the color of everything right here, I could double-click on my layer and I could change the color, and of course it's going to go in and change the color overall. I have my gradient effect on there so I couldn't see. I double-click on that layer, and that's gonna change every single item on the layer. Editing, simple. My pen tool, my direct selection tool, I can click on any one of these, and these are my pull handles, my bezier curves, everything else, simple, and easy to go. So infinite editing capabilities here. I can use my pen tool once I master that. And then if you know anything about Illustrator, I can just just use vector shapes, awesome. I can also change the type of lines that we have here. This is something that we couldn't do very long ago. CS6 and I don't even think, I could be wrong with the Creative Cloud, 'cause now we're on Creative Cloud 2014, But they definitely improved this.

Class Description

The Pen tool doesn’t have to be your enemy. Find out how useful, versatile, and easy-to-use it can be in Mastering the Pen Tool and Shape Layers with Jason Hoppe.

In this class, you’ll learn how to:

  • Drive the Pen tool like a pro
  • Make perfect curves
  • Steer the handles with ease
  • Make quick and easy selections 
You’ll also learn how Shape Layers can make building vector based shapes a breeze.


Software Used: Adobe Photoshop CC 2014.2.2

Reviews

Janie Parks
 

Great instructor, good voice. The pace is good and I like the way Jason quickly repeats an instruction.

deBrady
 

Jason is one of my favorite instructors...great sense of humor and breaks down the most complex processes into yummy, edible pieces for easy consumption! Highly recommend.

LeCompte
 

Crisp, clean, dry humor, ton of info. Recommend for sure