Working with Shapes

Photoshop provides several tools that help add stylistic elements, such as shapes, to your work. You can add either a shape or a rasterized shape to an image. A shape is simply a vector object that keeps its crisp appearance when it is resized, edited, moved, reshaped, or copied. A rasterized shape is converted into a bitmapped object that cannot be moved or copied; the advantage is that it can occupy a small file size, if compressed. The disadvantage is that a bitmapped object is resolution dependent. You can add either kind of shape as a predesigned shape, such as an ellipse, circle, or rectangle, or you can create a unique shape using a pen tool.

Defining Clipping Masks and Paths

A clipping mask (also called a clipping group) creates an effect in which the lower layer acts as a mask for all other layers in the group. You can use a path to turn an area defined within an object into a separate individual object-like an individual layer. A path is defined as one or more straight or curved line segments connected by anchor points, small squares similar to fastening points.

Paths can be either open or closed. An open path, such as a line, has two distinct endpoints, anchor points at each end of the open path. A closed path, such as a circle, is one continuous path without endpoints. A path component consists of one or more anchor points joined by line segments. You can use another type of path called a clipping path services, to extract a Photoshop object from within a layer, place it in another program (such as QuarkXPress or Adobe Illustrator), and retain its transparent background.

Creating Paths

Using a path, you can manipulate images on a layer. Each path is stored on the Paths panel. You can create a path using the Pen tool or the Freeform Pen tool. Each pen tool lets you draw a path by placing anchor points along the edge of another image, or wherever you need them, to draw a specific shape. As you place anchor points, line segments automatically fall between them. The Freeform Pen tool acts just like a traditional pen or pencil. Just draw with it, and it automatically places both the anchor points and line segments wherever necessary to achieve the shape you want. With these tools, you can create freeform shapes or use existing edges within an image by tracing on top of it.

After you create a path, you can use the Path Selection tool to select the entire path, or the Direct Selection tool to select and manipulate individual anchor points and segments to reshape the path. Unlike selections, multiple paths can be saved using the Paths panel. When first created, a path is called a work path. The work path is temporary, but becomes a permanent part of your image when you name it. Paths, like layers, can be named, viewed, deleted, and duplicated.


Understanding the Clipping Mask Effect

If you want to display type in one layer using an interesting image or pattern in another layer as the fill for the type, then look no further. You can create this effect using a clipping mask. With a clipping mask, you can isolate area and make images outside the area transparent. This works very well with type, and can be used with a variety of images. Figure below shows an example of this effect in which type acts as a mask for imagery. In this effect, the (rasterized) type layer becomes a mask for the imagery. The image of the roses is masked by the text. For this effect to work, the layer that is being masked (the imagery, in this case) must be positioned above the mask layer (in this case, the type layer) on the Layers panel.

Rasterizing Text and Shape Layers

To use type or a shape in a clipping mask, the type or shape layer must first be rasterized, or changed from vector graphics into a normal object layer. Rasterizing changes the vector graphic into a bitmapped object, one that is made up of a fixed number of colored pixels. Vector graphics are made up of lines and curves defined by mathematical objects called vectors. The advantage to using vector graphics for shapes is that they can be resized and moved without losing image quality.

Using Transform Commands

Before you create a clipping mask, you might want to use one of the transform commands on the Edit menu to reshape layer contents so the shapes conform to the imagery that will be displayed. Samples of the transform commands are shown in Figure below. When a transform command is selected, a bounding box is displayed around the object. The bounding box contains handles that you can drag to modify the selection. A reference point is located in the center of the bounding box. This is the point around which the transform command takes place.

Transform a type layer for use in a clipping mask

1. Open any image from the drive and folder where you store your Data Files, save the file as Postage, then reset the Essentials workspace. The postage type layer is active.

2. Click Layer on the Application bar, point to Rasterize, then click Type. The postage layer is no longer a type layer, as shown in Figure below left.

3. Click the Move tool on the Tools panel.

4. Click Edit on the Application bar, point to Transform, then click Skew.

5. Type -15 in the Set horizontal skew text box on the options bar, as shown in Figure below middle, so the type is slanted.

TIP You can also drag the handles surrounding the object until the skew effect looks just right.

6. Click the Commit transform (Return) button on the options bar.

7. Turn off the guides if they are displayed, then compare your image to Figure below right. TIP There are two methods you can use to turn off the display of guides: you can hide them (using the Show command on the View menu) or clear them (using the Clear Guides command on the View menu). Hiding the guides means you can display them at a later date, while clearing them means they will no longer exist in your document. Unless you know that you’ll never need the guides again, it’s a good idea to hide them.

Create a clipping mask

1. Drag the postage layer beneath the Stamps layer.

TIP Having multiple layers with the same or similar names is not a problem for Photoshop. To help out, try varying layer names or using upper and lowercase letters.

2. Click the Indicates layer visibility button on the Stamps layer on the Layers panel. The Stamps layer will serve as the fill for the clipping mask.

TIP It’s a good idea to first position the layer that will act as a mask above the layer containing the pattern so that you can adjust its size and shape. After the size and shape are the way you want them, reposition the mask layer beneath the pattern layer.

3. Display the Legacy workspace (created above).

4. Point to the horizontal line between the postage and Stamps layers, press and hold [Alt] (Win) or [option] (Mac), then click using the Clipping mask pointer, as shown in Figure below left.

5. Release [Alt] (Win) or [option] (Mac). The clipping mask is created. The stamps image becomes visible through the text.

6. Save your work, then compare your image to Figure below middle and the Layers panel to Figure below right.

7. Display the Essentials workspace.


Using Pen and Shape Tools

You have seen how you can use a clipping mask to create a mask effect. You can also create a path to serve as a mask by using any of the shape tools-the Pen tool, the Freeform Pen tool, or the Magnetic Pen

tool. You can modify a path using any of the following Pen and Path Selection tools: the Add Anchor Point tool, Delete Anchor Point tool, Convert Point tool, Direct Selection tool, and the Path Selection tool. Table 2 describes some of these tools and their functions. When you select a pen tool, you can choose to create a shape layer or a path by choosing the appropriate option on the options bar.

Creating a Path

Unlike temporary selections, paths you create are saved with the image they were created in and stored on the Paths panel. Although you can’t print paths unless they are filled or stroked, you can always display a path and make modifications to it. You can create a path based on an existing object, or you can create your own shape with a pen tool. To create a closed path, you must position the pointer on top of the first anchor point. A small circle appears next to the pointer, indicating that the path will be closed when the pointer is clicked. Figure below shows an image of a young woman and the Paths panel containing four paths. The active path (Starfish 1) displays the starfish in the lower-right corner. Like the Layers panel, each path thumbnail displays a representation of its path. You can click a thumbnail on the Paths panel to see a specific path. The way that you create a path depends on the tool you choose to work with. The Pen tool requires that you click using the pointer each time you want to add a smooth (curved) or corner anchor point, whereas the Freeform Pen tool only requires you to click once to begin creating the path, and places the anchor points for you as you drag the pointer.manipulate its individual anchor points without affecting the entire path.

Moving an anchor point automatically forces the two line segments on either side of the anchor point to shrink or grow, depending on which direction you move the anchor point. You can also click individual line segments and move them to new locations. If you are working with a curved path, you can shorten or elongate the direction handles associated with each smooth point to adjust the amount of curve or length of the corresponding line segment. Other methods for modifying a path include adding anchor points, deleting anchor points, and converting corner anchor points into smooth anchor points, or vice versa. Adding anchor points splits an existing line segment into two, giving you more sides to your object. Deleting an anchor point does the reverse. Deleting anchor points is helpful when you have a bumpy path that is the result of too many anchors. Converting corner points into smooth points can give your drawing a softer appearance; converting smooth points into corner points can give your drawing a sharper appearance.

Create a path

1. Click the Indicates layer visibility button on the postage layer on the Layers panel so that it is no longer visible. Hiding layers makes it easier to work on a specific area of the image.

2. Click the Mailbox layer on the Layers panel.

3. Click the Freeform Pen tool on the Tools panel.

4. Click the Paths button on the options bar if it is not already selected.

5. Click the Geometry options list arrow on the options bar, then adjust the settings so that your entire options bar matches Figure below left.

6. Use the Magnetic Freeform Pen tool pointer to trace the vertical and horizontal posts that hold the mailbox.

TIP If you choose, you can zoom into the image to make it easier to trace the posts.

7. Click when you reach the starting point and the small solid white square appears in the pointer.

8. Click the Paths tab, double-click the Work Path layer on the Paths panel, then type Post path in the Name text box.

TIP If you enlarged the work area prior to create the path, make sure you restore the zoom level.

9. Click OK, then compare your path and Paths panel to Figure below right.

Modify a path

1. Zoom into the mailbox so the zoom factor is 200%, then click the Add Anchor Point tool on the Tools panel.

2. Click a point near the curve at the top of the mailbox, then drag a handle so the curve conforms to the left side of the mailbox, using Figure below left as a guide. As you drag the new anchor points, direction handles appear, indicating that you have added smooth points instead of corner points. You can drag any of these points so they conform to the shape you want for the path.

3. Zoom out to the 100% magnification, then click the Eyedropper tool on the Tools panel.

4. Click the mailbox to sample its color.

5. Click the Paths Panel options button on the Paths panel, click Fill Path, modify the settings in the Fill Path dialog box using Figure below middle as a guide, then click OK.

TIP The Mailbox layer on the Layers panel must be selected or the Fill Path option on the Paths panel will not be available.

6. Deselect the path by clicking a blank area of the Paths panel.

7. Save your work, then compare your image to Figure below right.


Using Shape Tools

You might find that the imagery you are working with is not enough, and you need to create your own shapes. There are six shape tools on the Tools panel for creating shapes: the Rectangle tool, the Rounded Rectangle tool, the Ellipse tool, the Polygon tool, the Line tool, and the Custom Shape tool. A shape can occupy its own layer, called a shape layer. When you select a shape or pen tool, three buttons appear on the options bar to let you specify whether you want your shape to be on a new or existing shape layer, be a new work path, or be rasterized and filled with a color. Shapes and paths contain vector data, meaning that they will not lose their crisp appearance if resized or reshaped. You can create a rasterized shape using the Fill pixels button, but you cannot resize or reshape the rasterized shape.

Creating Rasterized Shapes

You cannot create a rasterized shape on a vector-based layer, such as a type or shape layer. So, to create a rasterized shape, you must first select or create a non-vector-based layer, select the shape you desire, and then click the Fill pixels button on the options bar. You can change the blending mode to alter how the shape affects existing pixels in the image. You can change the opacity setting to make the shape more transparent or opaque. You can use the anti-aliasing option to blend the pixels on the shape’s edge with the surrounding pixels. If you want to make changes to the content of a shape’s blending mode, opacity, and anti-aliasing, you must make these changes before creating the rasterized shape; since the rasterization process converts the detail of the shape to an object layer. After you rasterize the shape, you can make changes to blending mode and opacity to the layer containing the shape.

Creating Shapes

A path and a shape are essentially the same, in that you edit them using the same tools. For example, you can modify a path and a shape using the Direct Selection tool. When selected, the anchor points are white or hollow, and can then be moved to alter the appearance of the shape or path. When you click a shape or path with the Path Selection tool, the anchor points become solid. In this case, the entire path is selected, and the individual components cannot be moved; the path or shape is moved as a single unit. A shape can be created on its own layer and can be filled with a color. Multiple shapes can also be added to a single layer, and you can specify how overlapping shapes interact. (Painting tools are used when individual pixels are edited, such as by changing a pixel’s color on a rasterized shape.)

Embellishing Shapes

You can apply other features such as the Drop Shadow and the Bevel and Emboss style, or filters, to shapes. Figure below left shows the Layers panel of an image containing two layer shapes. The top layer (Shape 2) has the Bevel and Emboss style applied to it. and clicking when the pointer turns to. Note: When the Puppet Warp command is selected, the options bar for the currently selected tool is replaced with the Puppet

Creating Custom Shapes

Although Photoshop comes with many interesting custom shapes, you still may not find the one you’re looking for. If that’s the case, consider creating your own using characters found within any symbol fonts installed on your computer, such as Warp options bar shown in Figure below right.Wingdings or Webdings. First create a type layer using the symbol font of your choosing, and then click Layer on the Application bar, point to Type, and click the Convert to Shape command. Use the Define Custom Shape command on the Edit menu to create your own custom shape. The Shape Name dialog box opens, allowing you to name and save the shape. Select the Custom Shape tool, click the Click to open the Custom Shape picker list arrow to see the shape you just created at the bottom of the panel.

Create a shape

1. Click the Rectangle tool on the Tools panel.

2. Click the Shape layers button on the options bar.

3. Make sure the Style picker list arrow displays the Default Style (None).

4. Display the rulers in pixels and display the guides.

5. Verify that the Mailbox layer is active.

6. Drag the Marquee pointer from approximately 0 X/520 Y to 555 X/700 Y using the guides to draw the rectangle. Compare your Paths panel to Figure below left.

7. Compare your image to Figure below right. The shape is added to the image, and the Rectangle tool is still active.

Create a custom shape

1. Click the Layers tab, then make the Button layer active and visible.

2. Click the Custom Shape tool button on the options bar.

3. Click the Click to open Custom Shape picker list arrow, then double-click Envelope 2.

4. Drag the Marquee pointer over the flat surface of the button from approximately 390 X/470 Y to 510 X/505 Y.

Modify a custom shape

1. Click the Set color for new layer button on the options bar, click the pure yellow swatch (first on the right in the fourth row) on the Swatches panel, then click OK to close the Pick a solid color dialog box. Compare your image to Figure below left.

2. Verify that the Shape 2 Vector mask thumbnail on the Layers panel is selected.

3. Click the Add a layer style button on the Layers panel.

4. Click the Drop Shadow, verify that Bevel and Emboss is selected, then click OK to accept the current settings.

5. Save your work, turn off the guides and rulers, then compare your image to Figure below middle.


Converting a Selection into a Path

You can convert a selection into a path so that you can take advantage of clipping paths and other path features by using a button on the Paths panel. First, create your selection using any technique you prefer, such as the Magic Wand tool, lasso tools, or marquee tools. After the marquee surrounds the selection, press and hold[Alt] (Win) or [option] (Mac), and then click the Make work path from selection button on the Paths panel, as shown in Figure below.

Converting a Path into a Selection

You also can convert a path into a selection. You can do this by selecting a path on the Paths panel, and then clicking the Load path as a selection button on the Paths panel.

Choosing the Right Method

Are you totally confused about which method to use to make selections? You might have felt equally at sea after learning about all your paint tool choices. Well, as with painting, you need to experiment to find the method that works best for you. As you gain experience with Photoshop techniques, your comfort level- and personal confidence-will grow, and you’ll learn which methods are right for you.

Using the transform control to create shadows

You’ve already experienced using the Transform command to change the existing shape of an object or type. You can also use this command to simulate a shadow. To do so, you simply duplicate a layer containing the shape you want to have a shadow, and then fill the shape (that will be the shadow) with black using the Paint Bucket tool or the Fill command on the Edit menu. Make the black copy the active layer, and then use the Transform command to skew the object. Figure below shows an example of this technique.

Convert a selection into a path

1. Display the postage layer and the Stamps layer.

2. Click the postage layer on the Layers panel.

3. Click the Magic Wand tool on the Tools panel, and verify that the Contiguous check box is selected.

4. Click anywhere in the burgundy color behind the word postage.

5. If necessary, click the Add to selection button on the options bar, click the open areas in the letters p, o, a, g, and e, click Select on the Application bar, then click Inverse. Compare your image to Figure below left.

6. Click the Paths tab.

7. Press and hold [Alt] (Win) or [option] (Mac), click the Make work path from selection button on the Paths panel, then release [Alt] (Win) or [option] (Mac).

TIP Pressing [Alt] (Win) or [option] (Mac) causes the Make Work Path dialog box to open. You can use this to change the Tolerance setting. If you don’t press and hold this key, the current tolerance setting is used.

8. Type 1.0 in the Tolerance text box, then click OK.

9. Double-click Work Path on the Paths panel.

10. Type postage path in the Name text box of the Save Path dialog box, then click OK. Compare your Paths panel to Figure below right.

Stroke a path

1. Click the Eyedropper tool on the Tools panel.

2. Click the black swatch on the Swatches panel.

3. Activate the Shape 2 layer on the Layers panel, then create a new layer above it.

4. Click the postage path on the Paths panel, then click Brush tool on the Tools panel, and select the Hard Round brush tip with a size of 9 pixels with 100% opacity (if necessary).

TIP You can select a path as a selection (rather than as a path) by holding [Ctrl] (Win) or (Mac) while clicking the name of the path. When you do this, marching ants surround the path, which indicate that it’s a selection.

5. Click the Paths Panel options button on the Paths panel, click Stroke Path, verify that the Pencil tool is selected, then click the Stroke path with brush button on the Paths panel.

6. Click anywhere on the Paths panel to deselect the path, then compare your panel to Figure below left.

7. Click the Layers tab, then compare your Layers panel to Figure below middle.

8. Compare your image to Figure below right, then save your work.

9. Close the file and exit Photoshop

Clipping Mask