115. Draw on a Photo with a Pencil
111 About Tool Options
112 About Preset Manager
120 About Drawing Shapes
The Pencil and Brush tools are close cousins. You can use either to draw on a picture. The main difference is that the Brush tool is intended to create often fluffy strokes of color; the Pencil is designed to create hard-edged lines. You might use the Brush to add a swath of color or pattern across an image. A typical use of the Pencil would be to annotate a picture, such as pointing to a critical element.
Select the Pencil Tool
Open the image in the Editor in Standard Edit mode and save it in Photoshop (*.psd) format. In the Layers palette, select the layer on which you want to draw.
In the Toolbox, select the Pencil tool. You can click the tool's icon, or you can press the keyboard shortcut N.
Select Options When you select a preset, other options in the Options bar are adjusted as necessary to reflect the selection. For example, selecting a three-pixel preset automatically sets the Size option to 3 pixels.
The Pencil tool draws freehand lines, so the Options bar lets you select from a variety of preset pencil lines and patterns. You also can select a blend Mode and Opacity setting. These settings are explained in 111 About Tool Options.
To choose a pencil tip, open the first drop-down list in the Options bar. In the palette that appears, from the Brushes list, choose a library or leave the current library set to Default Brushes. Scroll the list to see examples of each tip and choose one by clicking directly on the example. Here, I selected the second preset from the top, which was indicated by a tiny, hard point and the number 3. This selection results in a pencil tip that applies a line three pixels wide.
The Auto Erase option is unique to the Pencil tool. When this option is enabled, the Pencil paints the background color whenever the pencil stroke begins on a spot containing the foreground color. If you carefully select the foreground and background colors, you can use this option to replace one color with another.
The Brushes list obviously shows preset options that apply to the brush tools as well as to the Pencil tool. Among these options are several soft and fuzzy strokes, which appear to contradict the definition of the Pencil tool as a device for hard-edged lines. You can choose a soft-edged brush tip for the Pencil tool; however, when you apply it, you'll note that none of the softness of that tip is applied to the Pencil. A chosen tip might be as wide or as spotty as shown in the list, but never as soft when used with the Pencil.
Apply the Pencil to the Image
Begin the pencil stroke by clicking and holding the mouse button where you want to start drawing. For a pen tablet, position the pointer by hovering the pen, then tap and hold the pen where you want the stroke to begin.
To draw a freehand stroke, continue holding the button down as you drag the mouse. The mark you draw will follow your pointer.
To draw a straight horizontal or vertical line, press Shift now and continue dragging the mouse. The Editor senses whether you intend for the line to move up, right, left, or down, by the general direction in which you're moving the mouseit doesn't have to be exact.
To change pencil tips at any time, right-click the image. The Brush Presets palette appears. Choose a new tip from the Brushes list then click the X button to dismiss the palette.
To draw a straight line between points, release the mouse button. For a pen tablet, lift the pen. Move the pointer to where you want the end of the line (or, to be geometrically accurate, the "line segment") to appear. Press Shift and then click this point. You can continue drawing from hereeither a freehand mark or another straight line segment.
Your image might have many layers whose contents simultaneously occupy a single point on an image. While you're drawing, if you need to see a list of all layers that have contents at a given point, hold down Ctrl and right-click that point. A pop-up menu lists the names of all layers at that point. Select a layer from this list and continue.
View the Result
After you're satisfied with the result, make any other changes you want, then save the PSD image. Resave the result in JPEG or TIFF format, leaving your PSD image with its layers (if any) intact so that you can return at a later time and make different adjustments if you want.
Here, I used the Pencil tool to help create some basic callouts for a diagram. The textual callouts, of course, were produced with the Horizontal Type tool; but once those text passages were in place, I was able to select the Pencil tool, choose a foreground color, pick up a nine-pixel wide tool tip (which is actually quite narrow for an image with high resolution), click next to the text, hold down Shift, and click what I wanted the callout text to point to. The entire job took just seconds.