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Shape Tools

Lesson 42 from: Practical Adobe Photoshop Basics

Khara Plicanic

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Lesson Info

42. Shape Tools

Next Lesson: Pen Tool


Class Trailer

Class Introduction


Tips for Success


How To Undo Mistakes


Adobe Workspace


Using The Brush Tool


Using The Zoom Tool


Adobe Preferences


Correcting Exposure


Lesson Info

Shape Tools

we're going to be working with this blank document that I have here, and what I'm gonna do is introduce you to the shape tools and the shape tools can be found down here at the towards the bottom of your toolbar. The keyboard shortcut is the letter you. And another reason why those keyboard shortcuts are so handy is because honestly, even when I'm working and I need the shape tool and I look at my toolbar and sometimes you don't even know what you're looking for because it shows you the last tool that you used of the family. So I might be looking for, you know, the custom sheep tool. But maybe I have the rectangle selected, and so I just feel like it's hard to find, and I can never I can never find it. So I always just hit you on my keyboard because then I can see where it is. So you compress you, and then I'm gonna choose, um, down here, this bottom option called custom shape tool. The custom shape tool gives us a lot of fun possibilities. So you may be surprised to see what we can ch...

oose from up in the options bar. We have a little drop down right here where we can choose a shape. So to do that, we click the little arrow and we get a list of shapes, and yours may look different if I reset the shapes here. This is probably what you see by default, and then it's not a whole lot when you just look at it like that. But if you come over and click this little gear icon, you can change not only the way you view it, but you can also choose from additional categories of shapes that we're not currently viewing. So I'm gonna just turn the all option on and photo shops gonna ask me if I want to replace the current shapes with the new shapes or add the new shapes. And I just want to replace it because other otherwise, I might have things in there twice. So now I'm looking at all the shapes, and you can see there's some really useful things in here, like there is the symbol for recycling is in here somewhere. If we scroll down far enough, we could find it. There's all kinds of useful icons of Here's the recycling thing. There's copyright symbols, registered trademark symbols. Um, so stuff that we sort of take for granted that you might need, and you can find them here. So for this example, I'm just going to grab the star shaped right here. So I'm gonna grab this by double clicking. And now I've selected the star shape. Okay. So, again, this is the custom shape tool and then choosing a specific custom shape once we've got a shape selected. If I come over here in the options bar and click this drop down, we'll see that there are three choices for exactly how we create the shape we could use regular pixels. We could use a shape or we could use a path. What is the difference? Well, we're going to create all three in this example, so we'll start with pixels because were at least somewhat familiar with those now. So all select pixels, and as always, I'll create a new layer to hold what I'm about to put on the canvas here. I'm also going to choose a color, so this is at least visually interesting. So I'll pop open my swatches and grab red hopes All right. So now all I'm gonna do is move my cursor over here and I'm gonna hold down the shift key and click and drag, and I get a star. When I let go of my mouse, the star releases and is filled in with the color that I had chosen. Okay, so what is this? Well, this is pixels laying around in the shape of a star, so I'll come back to this in a minute. We'll do the next example when we can compare the two. Next, we're going to create a shape star, so I'll click bad. And I'm going to change the color here now. Shape has ah, Phil and a stroke. So unlike this, but was just a pixel star. We just drew a star and it got filled in with red paint basically. But now we're gonna draw a shape not just pixels, but a shape of vector shape. So the vector shape can have a fill in a stroke. In this case, I'm going to change the fill color. Teoh. I don't know Orange. I guess so. I do that by clicking right here and then selecting a color, and then I can click here again to get rid of it. If I wanted to add a stroke to this, I could click right here and select a stroke. Stroke again is a fancy designer re term for outline, but I don't want an outline or a stroke, so I'm going to leave it set to none. And that's indicated by this white, the white Phil, Really the white color with a slash through it. Okay, so we'll just leave that as it is, and I can come over here and shift drag. And when I let go, I get an Orange Star. Now when we look at these, if I click away here and we look at them, they look the same and they are the same. But if we look in visually anyway, when we look in the Layers panel, we can see how they're different, at least initially. Here is our Red Star, and it's just like a normal layer. It's just pixels. It's as if I took a bait, a paintbrush and just painted a perfect star. Here, the shape layer We see this funny little icon on the layer that lets us know that this is a vector shape. So what that means is I can, um, scale this. If I wanted to, I could drag it huge and then drag it really small. And then three days later, I could come back and enlarge it again. And it would all be fine because it's vectors. There's no pixels, so nothing would get distorted or pixel e or anything like that. This star, However, because it's made of pixels, I can't just enlarge it. It will start to get Gar Billy looking. Also this star because it's pixels. If I target this in the layers panel and I grab my eraser brush, okay or a press E for eraser and I put my cursor over here because this is pixels, I can just erase through this as if I am a racing, you know, something I just painted. So that's just pixels. But if I target the shape layer star and I come over here, I get this. No symbol. Photoshopped leg. You can't even do that. Don't even try because there's there's nothing to erase. There's actually no pixel data here. All this is is a a path essentially that's filled in with with color. So there's no actual image data there came. If I want to change the color of the shape once I've already placed it on my document, I can switch over here, go back to that custom shape tool, and I come up to the options bar. And as long as the layer selected, I come up here and I could make it blue or burgundy or whatever color a one time I happen to like the yellow this'll. I could add a stroke to it. If I click right here, maybe we want to put an orange stroke on it. Then we can come up here, and here's where we determine how thick the stroke is. We could also turn that stroke from a solid line into a dash line or a dotted line. There's a lot of different ways that we can, um, play with this. We can even change. Right now. We see the strokes happening on the inside of the star. We can change that here by clicking this drop down. This puts it on the center, and this puts it on the outside so there's a lot of different ways that you can play with this stuff. I mean, you could have a lot of fun with it, and this is a shape came. Now let's see how that's different still from if we come up here and choose path. So path is what we did in the other example. Working with the type we drew that circle path around the coffee mug that we put the text to follow that path. And, um, in that case we saw a circle and there was no stroke. And there was no Phil. There was nothing other than the skeletal outline. So in that case, we sort of used it like a almost like a template. Sort of like it was just sort of, ah, guide in a word. So in this case, I'm gonna choose path, and I'm going to tell it to make a Where is it new here? I'll actually just click to make the layer so you don't have any issues with that. So it's set to path and I'll just click and drag and I'm holding shift to maintain a nice star shape and then I'll just let go. And now there's no stroke. There's no Phil. There's nothing except this little skeletal outline. It doesn't even get a layer. I mean, I could throw layer to away and there's there's nothing is lost. It's not even on a layer. Where does this exist? Good question. Havens over here in the path. Uh, pickle. If you don't see the past panel, you could always find it by choosing window paths. It's one that I mean, a lot of people. Unless you work with vectors and do this kind of a lot. You probably have never really hung out in the PATH panel, so this may be totally new, even to the people who have played with photo shop a bit. So by drawing this star shape as a path over here, we've created what finish up calls a work path so we could get the type tool now and click with the type cursor to run text along the outside of this star. We could convert the start to a selection and use it for something. There's a lot of different things you can do with path, Um, but before we do any of that, a good practice is to come over here and rename this because Photoshopped calls us a work path. But it's It's a temporary thing. And if we ever think we're going to need to pull up this path again, we need to rename this this path. So I'm gonna come over here in double Click and just call it star. And now, um, now it's saved. So now it will always be here, and we can always get back to it if we need to. So what would you ever use this for? Well, one of the things we can do if we look down here a the bottom, we could turn it into a selection. That's one thing. But we can also having to go to the layers panel and make sure I have this blank layer. So there's nothing on this layer yet. I'll make sure it's on. I've got it selected, and I'm gonna grab my paintbrush, and I'm going to choose a brush that has something like noticeably interesting about it. I guess, um, we're all are my fun brushes down here. Maybe I'll do this bonus chunky charcoal brush, so I'll double click that. I'll use my left cursor to make the cursor smaller, My left bracket key to make the cursor smaller, like we learned about when we talk about brushes and I'm not actually going to brush this, but because I've chosen my brush and now will choose a color like orange. So I've chosen a paint and I've chosen a brush, and I've got my blank layer ready. If I go to my past panel and I have this path selected at the bottom, this little icon right here is the stroke, the past button stroke path with brush. So I just click it. And it just basically pains along that path with whatever brush I have active. And if I want to hide the path itself that blue outline, I can just click away from it. In the past panel in earlier versions of photo shop paths were not blue like this. They were just like a gray line. So now they are blue. That's a new thing, and it's kind of nice because you can see him a lot better, but it's also like like they are more annoying to me to see on my screen now. So now I want to click away to hide it when I'm done with it. But so that is one example of path Okay. So people use path when they're drawing illustrations, you draw them often with the pen tool or the shape tools or any combination of those things together. But also you can use paths to make selections. So if I wanted Teoh, I could select this path and then I could come down here. And if I click this button, it turns into a selection. So now I could use it to cut something out of a photo and paste it somewhere else if I wanted. There's all kinds of options. Eso pals are very flexible, and they are vector so you can scale the path as well. So that is a look at those different things. Yes. Quick clarification from Smurfy again. Thank you for so many questions. Murphy. If we created the Red Star and then later wanted to turn it into a vector, is that possible? Who? Um, when we you can convert this object into a smart object. But there's not a way to just click and say, Make it vector. You could trace it with the pen tool. Um, but in this case, because of the shape, I mean, you could just draw it again and make it factor. But there's not a way to just take something and vector rise it. Unfortunately, that would be great. Um, you can do in an illustrator, you can vector rise some things, but it depends what it is. And it usually will revolve some tweaking and and work afterwards. And it wouldn't work for a photograph. Any other questions on this specifically before we move to the next sector? Yep. Just one thing. I saw the shaves. Yeah, the shape on the bath. Kind of like, behaved similar between them. They dio they're not big sis, right? Right. So both the shape star and this path one over here. Both of them are vector. So the shape contains a path with, ah, Phil or a stroke or something. And the path itself is just the outline all by itself, like there's actually nothing there. So the shape is a path that could be filled with color or something, a stroke or whatever. So they're just different ways. You can use those shaped tools, So let's take a peek. Maybe this next we have another question. Yeah. Sorry. Before we move on, Catherine, just ask. Can a path be saved for later to use in a different image. Yes. So the path in your path panel you would just rename it because if it's called work path, it disappears. Um, but if you name it, it will be saved. And pounds are basically if you save your document as like an E. P s file, you can maintain those paths. Photoshopped will also Photoshopped format will save your path and all of that. But, um, E P s files are often the format that you would use Teoh save just the path and be able to export that.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Photoshop Keyboard Shortcuts
Photoshop Resource Guide
Practical Photoshop Basics (PS action file)
Word Art
Course Files

Ratings and Reviews

Kim Williams

I tuned into this class hoping to glean what I cold since it was free. I ended up purchasing the class because it is FILLED with so much great information in a fun and easy to understand format. Khara is an amazing instructor - I thoroughly enjoyed every minute. Worth EVERY penny. Thank you Creative Live for offering such great material, at even more amazing prices.


What an unbelievable teacher Khara is. I have wanted to learn photoshop forever but was intimidated, overwhelmed, then I watched this course. OMG I learnt so much, more then I imagined. I am so excited now to start using Photoshop, I can't wait to try out everything she taught us. With the skills we learnt over these two days I think this course provides everything I need to know to feel and more. She was outstanding, the absolute perfect teacher for someone who has never ever used Photoshop. Also great moderation by Kenna. Thank you for this awesome, amazing, wonderful course. I am sure anyone who watches this course will agree it is incredible. I couldn't recommend it more. This course was just Smurfy!

Roz Fruchtman

I would highly recommend Khara Plicanic's Practical Adobe Photoshop Basics. The name of the class, implies that the class is for beginners, but that's not exactly true. Most of us learn Photoshop by the features we need to know at any given time. As many will agree, there are a number of ways to get to the same end. I can only speak for myself, but... I would bet that many of us don't know all the strategies that are taught in this class! Check it out, I doubt you'd be disappointed! Khara brings a fun and relatable approach to everything she does. She is very entertaining, while being a superb instructor. Last, but not least... This class brings with it a ton of useful bonuses. Warm Regards, Roz Fruchtman aka @RozSpirations

Student Work