The shape drawing process

The act of drawing a shape can be as simple as dragging with a tool. When you're done, Photoshop creates a new shape layer. However, should you decide to invest more time, the program offers you a wealth of additional controls. Just for the record, here's the long way to approach the process of drawing a shape layer.

STEPS: Creating a New Shape Layer

1. Specify the foreground color. Select the color for the shape from the Color palette. If you want to fill the shape with a gradient, pattern, or image, you can do that after you finish drawing the shape, as I explain in the upcoming section "Editing the stuff inside the shape."

2. Select the shape tool you want to use. Remember, U is the keyboard shortcut for the shape tools.

3. Specify how you want to draw the shape. Pictured in Figure 14-3, the first three buttons in the Options bar determine what the shape tool draws. Selected by default, the first button tells Photoshop to draw an object-oriented shape layer. (This is likewise the button you select if you want to draw a shape layer with the pen tool.) Click the second button if you want to add a path to the Paths palette, great for drawing circular or geometric clipping paths that are a pain in the neck to create with the pen tool. Finally, click the third button to draw a pixel-based shape. Photoshop doesn't add a new layer; it merely recolors the pixels on the active layer.

New shape layer

New work path Filled region

Geometry options

Custom shape presets

Blend mode

Layer style presets

Opacity

New work path Filled region

Layer style presets

Opacity

Figure 14-3: Use the options in the Options bar to specify the appearance of a shape before you draw it.

4. Modify the geometry options. Click the down-pointing arrowhead to the right of the tool buttons in the Options bar (labeled "Geometry options" in Figure 14-3) to see a pop-up palette of options geared to the selected shape tool. These permit you to constrain rectangles, ellipses, and custom shapes; indent the sides of a polygon to create a star; round off the corners of a polygon or star; and add arrowheads to a line.

The one unusual option is Snap To Pixels, which is associated with the two rectangle tools. Object-oriented shapes don't have any resolution, so their sides and corners can land in the middle of pixels. To prevent potential antialiasing in rectangles, select the Snap To Pixels check box to precisely align them with the pixels in the image.

5. Modify other tool-specific settings. Depending on the tool, you may see options to the right of the geometry options arrowhead. The polygon tool offers a Sides option; the line tool offers a Weight option. When drawing a custom shape, click the shape button to display a pop-up palette of presets, as shown in Figure 14-3. You can load more shapes from the Photoshop CD-ROM by choosing the Load Shapes command or a predefined presets (.csh) file from the presets palette menu.

6. Apply a layer style. When drawing a shape layer, you can assign a layer style to your shape before drawing it. The Layer Style pop-up palette offers all presets available in the Styles palette, as discussed in the "Saving effects as styles" section at the end of this chapter.

7. Blend mode and opacity. Specify the blend mode and opacity of the new layer by selecting options or pressing the keyboard equivalents covered in the previous chapter.

8. Draw the shape. If you set the tool to draw a shape layer in Step 3, then Photoshop automatically creates a new layer. As shown in Figure 14-4, the Layers palette shows a colored fill (labeled "Layer contents" in the figure) with a clipping path to the right of it, masking the fill. If you assigned a layer style, a list of one or more effects appears under the layer name.

Layer contents Clipping path

Layer contents Clipping path

Shape layer - Layer style indicator Layer effects

Figure 14-4: A shape layer is actually a clipping path that masks a color or other contents directly inside Photoshop.

Shape layer - Layer style indicator Layer effects

Figure 14-4: A shape layer is actually a clipping path that masks a color or other contents directly inside Photoshop.

9. Switch tools and draw more shapes. Photoshop adds each new shape that you draw to the existing shape layer. This means that they all get filled with the same contents. If you prefer to create a new shape layer with a different fill, click the clipping path thumbnail in the Layers palette to turn off the clipping path. Or click the check mark in the Options bar. Either way, you'll notice the clipping path turn off when the double outline around the thumbnail is replaced by a single outline. Then draw a new shape.

Tip You can dismiss the clipping path from the keyboard by pressing Escape or

Enter. To activate the clipping path, click its thumbnail or press Enter.

That's it. You now have a shape layer that you can use as you please. From this point on, it's a matter of editing the shape, as explained in the following sections.

Understanding Adobe Photoshop Features You Will Use

Understanding Adobe Photoshop Features You Will Use

Adobe Photoshop can be a complex tool only because you can do so much with it, however for in this video series, we're going to keep it as simple as possible. In fact, in this video you'll see an overview of the few tools and Adobe Photoshop features we will use. When you see this video, you'll see how you can do so much with so few features, but you'll learn how to use them in depth in the future videos.

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