Selections With The Pen Tool

 

Selections in Photoshop®

 

Lesson Info

Selections With The Pen Tool

Okay the pen tool is the best and the worst tool inside of PhotoShop. It's the best tool because this is the most accurate way of creating a selection. You want to get a pixel perfect, like you want to work in the magazine industry, print industry, you better learn the pen tool because this is gonna give you the cleanest, sharpest, precise edge you can get out of any tool inside of Photoshop and you're asking right now how does it work with hair? You can combine these techniques, just to let you know. So you can do, what I normally do is I'll work on certain areas that are hard areas and if it's, it has to be precise, I'm gonna use a pen tool. And then you go around there and then you save that as a mask and then you've got soft areas you can remask those areas later. So combine what I'm teaching you, don't just use one method all the time. Okay so now the pen tool, is the best tool because of that and the other thing about it is a vector. A vector means it uses mathematical informatio...

n rather than pixels. Which that means if you scale the image up or you scale the image down, that is gonna scale and it's not gonna lose any quality because there's no resolution attached to it. So you know our vector is resolution independent, which means that scale it up, it looks great, scale it down and it looks great. It doesn't affect its quality. And a little trick, I'll just tell you just a tip, we're not gonna do it, but sometimes if you're working a humongously massive picture, sometimes you can use the pen tool on a smaller version of it and then once you've got the path, which I'll show you in a little bit, once you've created that path, just copy the path into the huge one, scale it and boom you don't have to spend as much time working in humongously massive images. I've done a couple of billboards in my life and I learned some things like that. Alright so why don't we start. Now we're gonna grab the pen tool which is gonna be the P key. P for pen. Come on guys, come on guys. I need coffee, we haven't even had lunch yet. You know, everything makes sense, you know, the P for the pen tool, you know, the M for the marquee tool. Q for quick mask, T for Type, G for gradient, S for stamp, so you know all these tools, it's worth learning these tools. And then of course there's a couple that make absolutely no sense at all, but. But I would recommend if you're working in PhotoShop, I would take the time to memorize those tools. You don't have to remember every keyboard shortcut but I would definitely remember the ones for the tools because that'll save you so much time. Alright so here we are, we're inside the pen tool. And I could be using my graphics tablet here dura dura da da! Or I could be using the mouse, it doesn't really matter. Because there's no pressure sensitivity with the pen tool. Okay so why don't I talk to you a little bit about because everyone's so intimidated by this tool. I'm gonna show you a couple of basic ways how it works and then I'm gonna show you how I use it. And I use like one feature. But first of all, you do need to understand how it works. So what I'm gonna do is I'm just gonna add a point here. So if I add a point, it doesn't do anything. But you know, that point right there, you know what that, I saw Jim do this. He was walking down and he stood on a piece of gum. So okay now what? What do we do? We could call him a gumshoe, but you know. That maybe he doesn't know it's there, so he's gonna take another step. So here's the thing, depending on which direction he goes is gonna influence the direction that that gum is gonna stretch, right? So let me show you what I mean by that. So if I add one point it does nothing, right? But if I click and drag this direction this is Jim's shoe and it's dragging that gum, see how far? Forget the one on the other side, just from that point I added to that point where we are there. That's the direction we're stretching that gum. And then we're gonna release. You're not gonna see anything yet because that gum is just stretching out and it's in the air and it's on his shoe, right? Right now Jim's got that gum attached to his shoe and it can move around just like we did. But once he steps down then he's gonna create a gum trail. So if I go here and I click, boom there's the gum. And if I drag down, see how it influences the curvature of that? So you've gotta have two points and the direction you were traveling when you added that is the direction that that curve is gonna go in. So let me show you. If I undo this and I start dragging this way and then I click here, notice, see? It doesn't look right. So what you've got to do is click and drag in the direction that you want to start. So if we click and drag that way, we say hey we want the curve to start going this way and then we go that way, we've got the curve. Notice I'm dragging down, that means if I go back this way I'm gonna get a nice S curve. And notice I'm almost pulling that in that direction before I release it. So that's really the key. It's that simple. If you want to just create points, like more like straight lines, then you're just gonna click, click, click, click, click, and don't drag. So the dragging that, the direction you start dragging is the direction it's gonna go in that curve. Okay so that's basically two things, there's one other thing that you need to know and then you're basically gonna understand curves. So if we click and we drag and we know if we click and drag here we're gonna create that, and then we go back, we're gonna create an S right? So here's a trick, I probably shouldn't have released it yet. Let me click and drag, okay so here's the thing. If you hold down the alt or the option key notice it independently changes these handles. So now I'm gonna say you know what? I want it to be going this way now. I release it and I click and drag now we get an M shaped curve. So all it is is these handles are telling us which direction it's gonna go just think of it as gum, you're just clicking and dragging gum on your shoe. And everyone's gonna love you for that. Alright so what we're gonna do now is I'm gonna show you how to apply the curve to this particular image. Alright so we got three options under here. Once we grab the pen tool, path, shape, and pixel. There's no pixel option in the pen tool but some of the other, you know, shapes, vector shapes and different things like that will give you a pixel. But in this case we're gonna do a shape or a path. If we do a shape it's gonna fill it, is a shape layer. If you're gonna be using it for selection you're gonna do path. Alright so what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna show you exactly how to use it. So this is how I do it. I'm gonna do this roughly just for the sake of time but this is how I would select this with a pen tool. I just like click and drag up to start here and go down there, it's looking good. And I'm not even trying to get it perfect, I'm just doing good enough, go up here. Add that point, woops I went too far. Hit the alt or the option key, drag it back, I just messed that one up. By the way to get rid of it, just hit the delete key. It will get rid of the last path. So we're gonna drag it up, option key, change direction. Click down there, and you know what I'm not even trying to get this perfect. This is how I do it. And I go here, I know I want to change direction I'll option key because I want that sharp edge. Go up here, drag it up, oh let's do the alt, we're going that other way, see that? So it's not perfect. I'm making it, it's just really rough. It's bad, I normally do better. But this is gonna work. So I'm dragging that up, and see what I'm doing with the curve here? I'm just applying this, just tapping it, placing it down. Now some people will go right up and get this perfect while they're doing it and you can do it that way, that's a perfectly viable way of doing it. I'm gonna get that curve there, nice. And then click. Okay so we've added the curve, it looks horrible, but then what I'll do is I'll zoom in here and then, this is how I do it. And then I use the plus tool. So if I tap here it's gonna select that path, see that? And then I just grab that handle, I pull it in. And now it's looking good. And there's looking not bad, let's just pull it around. See what I'm doing? Is I'm pulling it and just using these handles. Now notice as I'm moving this handle see how the top and the bottom are moving together? Makes it hard. So what I'll do is I'll set the curve at the top and then I want to move just the bottom. I'll hold the alt or the option key, because remember that splits it. And look at that, now I can just clean up that curve there see. So I need to go in there, once again, just drag these around. And if you get a curve where, you know, you want to add more than one you just tap with the plus and you can just drag another one out so that's why I use the plus tool. See what I'm doing? I'm not gonna go through and do this whole image I just want to show you how it works. And see all I'm doing is just cleaning it up. So I don't know, does that seem so scary? It's kind of like a game. You know, all we're doing. See if I pull that further it's more of a curve if I pull it shorter it's more of a straight line. So all you're doing is just kind of playing around with that. And you know, it's all weird, just shorten that line, it becomes a straight line, see that? Now there are tools in here, there's one other tool that I do need to show you. Is if we go down to the convert point tool and I click there, see that will make that curve into a straight line. So when you click on it now to take, make a straight line back into a curve line use the same tool and just drag. See? So you can change the direction of that now. So the converter will enable you to convert a curve into a thing, so it is easy, yeah. It's not as hard as people think. So essentially, you know, that's what we're doing with the curves there. I'm gonna click on that point, drag it out. Now I'm not gonna take the time to get around the whole image. But that's essentially, you know, we've done half of it. So usually what I'll do is depending on how accurate I need to be, I'll zoom in, sometimes I'll be in at you know three or 400% on certain images where they have to be pixel perfect. And then other times, you know, you'll zoom out. So once you've done that to create the selection, obviously I haven't selected the whole thing so it's not gonna look perfect for right now. Go to the paths panel. And the paths panel shows the work path right there. We could save this, which is a good thing to do a lot of the time. Pretty much all the time, just click here to save it. And then I'm just gonna control click. And by control clicking notice it converts that now. It changes that path into a selection. So you know, and then we go to selection and we've been talking about selections all day. And I want to create a mask. I'm just going to click here to create the mask. But look at this, if I look at these edges, let's zoom in, look at how clean those edges are. You're not gonna get that with any other selection tool inside of PhotoShop so when you need to get really really really precise you want to jump in there and work with those, with that pen tool. So I just want to let you know, in here I've got some things for you. Open up here, so if you go to photoshopCAFE.com/CL, could be upper or lowercase it doesn't really matter. I've got an ebook that I wrote on layer blending modes. It's like a 25, 26 page ebook where I show every blending mode, how it works, examples of things to do with the blending modes. And I created that, I was gonna sell it, decided to give it away, and I've had almost a million people download it right now. So you guys, I'll be happy to give that to you. And then also I've got some new color profiles. We're actually gonna be talking about that in the next segment. I'm gonna give you some free color profiles and some different things like that. So if you go there's some free resources. So anyway, thanks for having me.

Class Description

One of the most important tasks you’ll do in Photoshop® is working with selections. Selections are used for a wide variety of purposes, such as isolating an area in a photograph so you can edit it without affecting the rest of the image and cutting out objects to create composites. In this class, Colin Smith will show you all the ways to make selections in Photoshop® using the multitude of amazing tools at your disposal. He’ll do a deep dive into the newest selection tools, including Select Subject and Select and Mask refinements, so you can get nice clean edges when making the most difficult selections.

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