Photoshop CS6 has new tools for working with Paths and Shapes. Learn how to use these and how to turn shapes into paths and how to fill and stroke paths and shapes.

Check out all our tutorials on our YouTube channel.

Complete transcript of this video:

Hello, I’m Helen Bradley. Welcome to this video tutorial. In this tutorial we’re going to look at the new vector tools in Photoshop CS6. And we’re going to answer questions like what’s a path, how do I find it, how do I turn a path into a selection, how do I make a path from a selection, and how I can work with the new vector tools.

Photoshop CS6 has some new vector tools and we’re going to have a look at those in this video. And we’re going to work out how you can use those tools to do exactly what you want to do.

Now the Custom Shape tool is in the position it always used to be and it’s sharing a toolbar position with things like the Rectangle, Rounded Rectangle, Ellipse, Polygon and Line tool. And all of these are Path tools. But we’re going to select the Custom Shape because it’s a little bit of an interesting tool.

And here are my Custom Shapes so I can select any of these custom shapes to draw on my space. Now I’m going to choose a filled shape such as this one here and just click it so it is selected. Now I can draw it on my workspace, but the way I draw it depends on what I have chosen here.

And I can choose a shape, a path or pixels, and we’re going to look at the shape and path options. So let’s start with shape. And let’s select some colors for this shape because when you’re working with shapes color is important. Now I have a shape selected I’m just going to drag this flower shape into my workspace.

If I hold the Shift key it’s going to be constrained to the shape of a flower that was originally drawn. If I don’t hold the Shift key you can see that I can make it wide or tall. And if I draw it with the Alt key pressed it’s going to be drawn around my initial starting point. Let’s just let go of that for now and let’s click and drag here to start drawing my flower.

Now if I want it placed around the initial starting point I’m going to press the Alt key and you can see that it jumps back into position. If I add the Shift key I can get it constrained to the right shape. And only when I let go the left mouse button does anything happen.

So what’s happening is I’m getting a filled flower. And we can see up here that the fill is the current foreground color, but it can be changed. While this shape is selected we can select a different fill for it. You can see that blue is now its fill but that’s not the foreground color for our workspace. And you can see that it has no stroke but we can add a stroke if we want to.

So let’s add a pink stroke to this shape. At the moment the Stroke is 3 points but we can increase that so we can make it thicker or thinner. And we can also change the nature of the stroke. For example we could have a dashed stroke or a dotted stroke. And there are other options that we’ll look at in future videos. But this shape is a path, so we can actually make changes to it.

I’m going to grab here the Direct Selection Tool because that allows me to select points on this path. And you can see by dragging over these points I can select anyone of these points. I’m just going to turn the stroke off for the moment because I think it might be easier to see the points without the stroke in the way.

When one of these points is filled and the others are empty this is the one that we’re going to affect. So let’s just drag out on that. And you can see that my shape has now changed shape because I have altered that point. So it is a path that is able to be adjusted. But still we can change the fill. And when we change the fill the fill of the entire shape is affected.

When we add a stroke back onto this the stroke of the entire shape is being affected by our choices. Now there are some other things that we can do with shapes. I’m just going to add a new layer to this image, just put it at the top, and I’m going to fill it with the red.

Now let’s consider the situation where we may want to for example cut out a shape from inside this red selection. So let’s go back and grab our custom shape tool. And we have our same flower shape selected. And I’m going to draw the shape onto my area. And because I was working with a red fill it has a red fill. But let’s just color it green so that we can see it clearly.

Now let’s consider the situation where really what we wanted to do was to create a path from this. Well, we don’t have to undo it and start all over again, particularly if this is a complex shape because what we can do is go to the paths palette. And here is our shape path, and we can do with that anything that we could do with a path originally in Photoshop.

One of the things that we can do is click on it and load that path as a selection. Now if that path is a selection then we can do things with it. For example we could come down to this red filled layer and we could poke a hole in this layer by just pressing Delete. And that will delete the contents of the layer where this selection is made.

One of the other things that we can do, I’m just going to Ctrl Z to undo that, one of the other things that we can do with selections is we can stroke them. So we could choose Edit Stroke and we could stroke this selection with a different color. So let’s stroke it around its inside.

Let’s press Ctrl D to undo the selection, and you can see that now we have a stroked flower because we’ve been able to stroke that selection. I’m just going to undo this again. And let’s go back to our shape up here. I want to just make sure that we just have a red filled layer here and we have our shape up here.

And here it is as a shape. And it can be moved around because it is a shape. So we can move it around the workspace. Let’s go back to the Path’s tool and there’s something else that we can do with shapes. What we can do in addition to loading the path as a selection is that we can stroke it with a brush. But to do this we’re going to have to make a work path out of the shape.

So what I’m going to do is with the shape selected I’m going to choose Edit Copy so I’ve copied the shape onto the clipboard. And now I’m just going back to this layer here and I’m going to do Edit Paste. And look what happens in my Paths palette. This time I have a Work Path. And a work path not only can be turned into a selection and not only can be filled with a foreground color, but I can also stroke it with a brush.

Let’s go and get my Brush and let’s go and get a brush to use. Now I’ve got lots of brushes here, but let’s create something like this particular little leaf brush. And I’ve got it at a fairly small size. I’m hoping that this is going to work just fine here for this particular image.

We’ve got a foreground color so I’m going to click Stroke Path With Brush. And what that does is it applies that brush to the current path. But we need to of course make that into a work path before that’s going to work. Now let’s have a look at how we can turn a selection into a path. Let’s just go and get another filled layer. I’m just going to get rid of everything that I have here right now.

Let’s fill this with white, and then we’ll just get rid of the Work Path as well. So I’m going to press Alt Backspace on the PC, Option Delete on the Mac, and I’m going to make up a selection here. So I’m going to make a rectangle, and then I’m going to go and grab the elliptical marque, and with Shift held down I’m going to add to that. So this is now my selection.

Now let’s say I want to make this into a shape that I can use over and over again. Well with the Paths palette open I can create a work path from this selection. So I’m just going to click to Make Work Path From Selection. And now this is a path. Now because it’s a path we can do all sorts of things with it.

For example we can click on it to select it and we can change its points. And we can also do things like turn it back into a selection, stroke it with a brush and fill it, and we can make it a shape. Let’s choose Edit and then Define Custom Shape. And this now becomes a custom shape in my shapes collection. I’m going to call that a Tab shape and just click Ok. Let’s get rid of our Work Path.

And now let’s go back into our shapes collection. So I’m going to click on Custom Shapes. And this time I’m going to make it a shape and I’m going to give it a fill and I’m going to give it a stroke. And let’s go into our shapes collection and let’s go and grab our new custom shape.

And now when I drag it onto the workspace it’s going to behave like any of the custom shapes inside Photoshop. It has this stroke and we can adjust the stroke size. We can adjust the type of stroke that it has. We could fill it with everything that we can fill a regular shape with.

So there’s the basic introduction to some of the new shape and path features of Photoshop CS6. My name is Helen Bradley. Thank you for joining me for this video. You’ll find more of my video training sessions on my YouTube channel.



Helen Bradley