The Pen Tools


The Pen tool is really the only path tool you ever need, or to be precise the only tool you need choose, because you can access the others by pressing modify keys and specifying Pen tool optionssee "Adding and Subtracting Anchor Points" and "Converting Anchor Points" later in this chapter.

The Freeform Pen tool is designed to let you create paths quickly by drawing freehand. If you check the Magnetic Pen option, the Freeform Pen tool behaves like the Magnetic Lasso tool and follows an image edge. If you're new to the Pen tools, the Freeform Pen will likely seem more intuitive, but don't be seduced by its ease of use. It will never give you the Pen tool's degree of control and flexibility. Persevere with the real thing.

Figure 1.33. The Pen tools.


To set Pen Tool options, check the Options bar before you start drawing with the Pen. Select the Paths button and verify that the Pen tool is active. The Pen tool's alternative behavior is to create a shape layera layer filled with your foreground color and with a vector layer mask (see below) defining the shape of the path you draw. While these can be handy if you need crisp vector shapes, they are no use when drawing paths that you intend to convert to selections. Choose from these options:

Figure 1.34. Pen Tool options.


  • Auto Add/Delete allows the Pen tool to automatically switch to the Add Anchor Point tool when positioned over a path segment, or the Delete Anchor Point tool when positioned over an anchor point.

  • The Rubber Band option (click the triangle to the right of the shape tools on the Options bar) lets you see where the line is going to be placed before you place it. If you're new to the Pen tool, this may be useful.

  • The four buttons to the right of the Pen tool options determine how subpaths interact with each other.

    Figure 1.35. The triangle and semicircle are distinct components of the same path. These four paths have been filled to show the different ways subpaths can interact: Add to path area (example A). Subtract from path area (example B). Intersect path areas (example C). Exclude overlapping path areas (example D).




Adobe PhotoShop Unmasked. The Art and Science of Selections, Layers, and Paths
Adobe Photoshop Unmasked: The Art and Science of Selections, Layers, and Paths
ISBN: 0321441206
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2004
Pages: 93
Authors: Nigel French

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