Learn to draw simple shapes using the Pen tool in Photoshop
The Pen tool is far from the easiest tool to use in Photoshop but being able to use it will open up a world of possibilities. In this video I will show you how to use the Pen tool in Photoshop. Starting with how to find the tool, I’ll show you how to draw straight sided figures by clicking with the pen tool. You’ll see how to fill the shape and then how to stroke its edges using a Brush.
Then you will learn how to draw curved shapes such as a heart and how to draw S shape curves and M shape curves. You will also see how to draw a perfectly symmetrical shape by drawing half of it, duplicating it, flipping it and joining it all back together – it’s much easier than it sounds, I promise.
You will also see how to save a path you have drawn with the pen tool as a Custom shape in Photoshop so you can draw that same shape at any time in the future just as you would any of Photoshop’s own shapes.
You will learn all about anchors and how to add and delete them and about handles so you can drag on them to reshape a curve. By the time you have completed this video you will be able to confidently use the Pen tool in Photoshop to make shapes and fill and stroke them. This video is suitable for beginner Photoshop users as well as anyone who uses Photoshop a lot but who is not familiar with the Pen tool.
Sometimes I get so wrapped up in complex design solutions I forget the simple things. Like making patterns! So here is a quick and easy solution to turning any jpeg image (or indeed any image you can open in Photoshop) into a repeating pattern. These aren’t seamless repeats – but not everyone wants them to be seamless – sometimes all you need is to make a repeating pattern from something! So here’s how to do it – just make your selection – save it as a pattern and fill a new document with it – it is quick and easy.
I’ll show you how to do this with text and with a photo, they both work exactly the same.
There’s a lot been written about sharpening your images and traditionally when you sharpen you’ll choose a low radius value. In fact, Photoshop will let you choose really large radius values when sharpening even though, for correct sharpening what you need is a Radius of around 0.5 – 1 for a sharp image and just a little larger for an image that lacks sharpness.
So what is the value of being able to select really large radius values? The answer lies in a technique known as high radius low amount sharpening. It’s a way to add a huge visual impact to your images.
To see it at work, choose Filter > Sharpen > Unsharp Mask. Reduce the Amount to around 30 and push the Radius value up very high. You’ll need to keep the Threshold amount very low.
What Amount does is adjust the amount of sharpening so you don’t want a lot of this type of sharpening. By setting the Radius to a high value you’re pushing the sharpening halos away from the edges in the image into the image content areas so that everything is being given a significant contrast boost.
The Threshold setting is an amount representing the difference between pixels on the edges that you want to effect. It works the opposite to how you might think it would work – a small value gives you much more impact than a large value. So a value of 1 or 2 up to 10 is sufficient.
Once you have a high Radius and low Threshold value set, adjust the Amount to suit your taste.
While this feature works really well on color images particularly busy color images, it also gives black and whites a really big shot in the arm.
And while you’re in Photoshop, know that this is the only place you can apply this fix. You cannot do this in Lightroom or in Camera RAW. The reason is that both Lightroom and Camera RAW allow a maximum radius setting of 3.0 and here, because we want to crank up the radius really high, Photoshop is our only option.