Be A Pen Tool Wizard in Photoshop | Tom Froese | Skillshare

Be A Pen Tool Wizard in Photoshop

Tom Froese, Illustrator and Designer

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10 Lessons (1h 12m)
    • 1. Class Trailer

      1:17
    • 2. Introduction to the Pen Tool

      3:06
    • 3. Making Basic Shapes

      4:33
    • 4. The Paths Panel

      2:50
    • 5. Making Layers from Shapes

      3:38
    • 6. Vector Masks on Layers

      4:48
    • 7. Vector Masks on Layer Groups

      25:44
    • 8. Making Better Shapes

      18:07
    • 9. Path Operations

      7:04
    • 10. Conclusion

      0:34
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About This Class

This is a free class! No Premium membership required. It is meant to supplement my other Skillshare classes, which make extensive use of the Pen Tool in Photoshop. Please enjoy!

Why on earth would you use Photoshop to illustrate with vector shapes? Isn't that what Illustrator is for? For pure vector illustration, yes, use Illustrator. But if you're working with both raster art and vectors in your illustration, Photoshop is the way to go. If you're used to the pen tool in Illustrator, you'll find a lot of similarities, but you'll also encounter some differences that at first can be frustrating and confusing. That's where this class comes in. Join illustrator Tom Froese as he guides you through the fundamental pen tool techniques he uses in his own work (and quite extensively in his other Skillshare classes such as Inky Illustrations and Inky Maps). This class is perfect for illustrators and hobbyists of all skill levels. While the content is rather technical, the skills you will obtain will be nothing short of magic. 

Transcripts

1. Class Trailer: Hi, I'm Tom crows. I'm an illustrator and I teach here on Skillshare. I teach a few classes here on Skillshare. One of the most popular classes is EP illustrations and the other more recent one is EPmaps. Both of these extensively use the Pen tool in Photoshop. A lot of people, especially starting out, get stuck specifically on how to use the pen tool the way I do. So I thought I'd just go and make a full class dedicated to using the pen tool. There's no fancy project out there, but I think if you really want to understand the little things that I do with the pen tool that maybe aren't so clear in my other classes, hopefully will be more clear in this. So I really go through the basics, what the pen tool is, what it does, how to make shapes, how to use the Paths panel, the difference between the Paths panel and the Layers panel and so on. So follow along and hopefully this answers most of your crazy ventral questions and by the end, I guarantee it, you'll be a pen tool wizard. 2. Introduction to the Pen Tool: This is just a rundown of the essential Pen tool skills that I use in my illustration. Now I'm talking about the Pen tool in Photoshop. The Pen tool in Photoshop and the Pen tool in Illustrator both work very similarly, but most of these tips are very specific to working in Photoshop. The overview of the Pen tool is this little guy here in the toolbar. You can press P to activate it as well. The Pen tool is just a way of creating vector paths by clicking points and every click you do extends that path and if you come right round to the first point you made, you can call this a path. If you're familiar in Illustrator, you know that the Pen tool makes shapes that usually have colors, right now this path exists only, it's not as a layer, it's not as art or anything, you can see in the layers here, there's nothing really that relate specifically to this path, but if you look in the past panel, which I've conveniently already placed up here in my workspace but you can find that pass panel by going to window paths. You see this little guy here. This almost looks like a layer, it says Work Path, that's the path I just created. As long as that path is selected in the paths panel, you can keep adding to that shape watching the little thumbnail as I create more paths. You'll notice that they appear in that tiny thumbnail and that means just that all these shapes are in the same, for lack of better word, they're the same shape, or the same layer if you're using the layers analogy. What you do at this point, if you have a work path, what do you do with paths with the Pen tool? Ultimately, it's for creating nicely controlled vector shapes. I have this work path here, and I can actually create shapes out of it, for instance that and I'll get more to this in a little bit. I'm just going to delete this and we'll get to this in a bit. The Pen tool basically creates these paths. Let's look at the different shapes, for instance, that you can make with the Pen tool. 3. Making Basic Shapes: [MUSIC] So by just using your mouse or stylus, you can just click a point and a straight line is drawn between the last point you made and the most recent point you made. So you can make polygons effectively. Here's octagon, square, a pentagon, you can even do things like stars. That's using straight lines. Now, let's clear this out, and I'll show you how I clear this out, also in a second. You can also make curvy lines with the pen tool simply by clicking and then dragging on each point. Simply put, if you click without dragging, it creates a point. If you click while dragging, it creates a curve. Use your pen tool to practice these kinds of shapes. To make a circle, what I would do is start at the top and drag, then start somewhere down below, this would be the diameter of the circle, click and drag, and then you come right back at this top and just click. Right now it's an oval or an egg shaped, make this a circle. I find these straight parts at the very extreme edge of the right-left side of this shape, and that's going to be, I think it's called the extrema of the shape, I could have that wrong, but I believe that's what it's called. I just click a point, just one click on each of the extrema of that circle. What I do now is there's a tool in the Tools Panel here called the Path Selection tool and the Direct Selection tool. If you hit Shift and tog hit "A", it toggle between the path election in the direct selection. What we want is the direct selection because we want to directly select the individual little points or nodes here, and we just drag them out. So we're almost done our circle shape, but we want to do is smooth it out, and you just pull on these little handles. These handles will appear when you've selected one of the points, and you can get that circle mostly right in that way. Of course you could also just use the perfect circle shape tool, which is also available. If you go here in the Tools Panel, go the Ellipse Tool. Well, here you can see that there's a variety of shapes available to rectangle, rounded rectangle, Ellipse Tool, etc. Mostly, I don't use these shapes, I do everything using the pen tool, because I'm tracing sketches and not piecing together pre-made shapes. But, just for example, I'm going to show you the Ellipse tool. If you just click and drag, you get a nice perfect circle, especially if you hold shift where you got the perfect circle. If you don't hold shift, then you can skew your circle shape. While you're holding Shift and you press "Option", you can create your circle from the circle's center point. That sometimes is easier to control. So anyway, that's a perfect circle using the Ellipse Tool shape, and then this circle here, I'm going to just use my direct selection tool here, or my Path Selection Tool. Now I'm using my Path Selection Tool. This is a circle that I made using the pen tool. So all of these end up being on this. You can see in the work path. 4. The Paths Panel: Let's talk a little bit about the Paths panel. For the most part, you don't really see the paths panel. It's invisible for most people, but it comes in handy just in terms of knowing what path you're working with. Let's just say we really liked this shape, we thought it was interesting and we wanted to do something with it later. We could just double-click that and save that as a path name. Let's just call it First Paths. In the Paths Panel, when you click out of that, just somewhere in this gray area beneath, it clears the screen basically. Now if we go back to our Pen Tool, you can hit "P", you start creating another shape. Every new shape that you make goes in what's called the Work Path. The Work Path is like the default path and it gets created automatically if no path is currently selected in your paths panel, and you start using the Pen Tool. That's Paths Panel. The Paths Panels actually really, for me, it's useful in overcoming one of the quirkiest things about Photoshop that I've encountered. That's if you create a path and then make a layer out of it, and again, I'll show you that what I'm doing here in a second. Then you hit the Pen tool and you want to start creating new shapes within that layer. You can control whether you're adding to the shape that you just made or simply adding to the Work Path. If you find that while you're making your paths and you think you should be adding to a shape with color in it and you just get something like this, is a good chance that your Work Path is selected and not the current shape layer. Again, I'm going to get to what I mean here. The bug that I find in Photoshop is that oftentimes both are selected like this, and you think that you're working on, like I think that I'm going to add more red here, but I can't because both of these are selected and what I'm doing is actually adding to the Work Path. What you have to do is just click the shape that you actually want to be adding to and then you're good. 5. Making Layers from Shapes: Let's talk a little bit about what I'm doing here. How did I get this color here? If you look in my layers panel, I have a layer called color fill one. If you look at my past panel, I have a layer called color fill one. This mostly happens automatically. Now, I just want you to observe what happens when I delete or when I do this from the ground up. I'm just going to delete all the layers just to be super clean, I'm going to create a, let's do it like this. I'm going to use the pen tool. I'm going to create a moon shape. So far, the only thing I've created is a work path. Now, I want to create a layer of color in it. In the layers panel, right in the center at the bottom, there's a filler adjustment layer thing here. If you just select the first thing in the menu, solid color, it gives you the option to or it gives you the ability to fill that with a color and suddenly get a layer called color fill one. That layer is created by using that path you just made, and just giving it a color. That color is always changeable. You can always go back, double-click it, changed what color it is. Now, I will go back to my red. Now again, looking in the past menu, you can see that the word path that I made is exact same shape as the what is now called the color fill shape path. That corresponds to this layer here. If I were to rename this layer to moon, that automatically gets echoed in the past. That shouldn't make it pretty clear. Work path, or we'll call this the moon layer, and the path is just automatically called moon layer shape path. Let's just say I want to add a star to this moon here and the same color. As long as my moon layer sheet path is selected, I can do this. If my work path is selected, if I add something to that, I'm not going to get anything. If my work path is selected, and I'm making this shape, and then let's just say I tried to do that solid color thing I did again, what you get is a duplicate of whatever shapes are in common between the layers. Now, let's just delete this black shape that I made and so we have a moon and a star. If you want to get the star on a different color, let's just say you want the moon to be red and the star to be yellow. Then use the path selection tool, so press A or you just go over here in the toolbar, select to make sure that just the one shape is selected and it's selected when you can see all the control points. You can just cut that with a Command X, and then start a new layer, and then paste that down on the new layer and then do our color fill thing. You may want it to make that yellow. 6. Vector Masks on Layers: Now what's different up here in this layer is that you get this layer mask thumbnail, and for some reason, and I don't know why this is, if you created a path first in the past panel, I'm now going to create a mini moon. If you create that path first in the past panel, and then create a solid color from that, you get this layer that there's no layer mask thumbnail. But if you created a new layer first and then created a path, I'm going to create another star, and you cut that path and pasted it onto the layer, it creates what's called a layer mask element over top. The results are identical, whether you do it by creating a path in the past panel or just over a layer directly, two different ways of skinning the card effectively. Let's just say we have some art, some raster art. As you might already know, Photoshop, obviously it's native format is raster. Illustrator is the more well-known for its vector graphics. So using past in Photoshop is a bit of an outlier for what Photoshop probably is most popularly known for. I'm just creating a raster shape here. This is not a vector. It's not a path, it's just something you can erase and stretch and smudge and all that thing. Let's just say I want to mask this off in a star shape. I could create a star shape with my pen tool, and then I can cut that, and then as long as my raster layer that I just created is selected in what we call as orange ball, and I paste that on that shape that I just made on to it, it masks the raster shape beneath. I'm just going to do it one more time just so it's clear. I'm going to create a new layer. This time I'll do blue and a blue ball, and if I want to create a shape, let's just say we want to make that circle a square, I'm going to make a square. Any old wire on the canvas here, I'm going to cut it and making sure that nothing's stuck in the past panel, but my blue layers here, just going to paste that. Now, where did my blue shape go? We can see that the shape we made exists. So if we select the layer and then use the path selection tool, there it is. What happens if we just grab that shape and moved it over to where we drew that blue ball? There it is. You can see that I'm using this [inaudible] as a window or a mask to view only a portion of it. Think of it as cutting a hole out of paper and then you lay the paper over the top of painting and that you only see that part of the painting. Now you can manipulate the shape to view the art that it's masking below. You can use the direct selection tool here, or if you use the past selection and select the whole thing and use the transform tool. You hit "Command T" then you can resize the whole thing at once. You can also, if the whole layer is selected, as long as your path isn't selected, using the transform tool, you can actually make the whole thing bigger and not just the path. If the path is selected, use the command tool, you're only changing the size of the vector mask itself. But if your path is not selected but the entire layer is, then you're changing the size of the whole kit and caboodle. So there's that. 7. Vector Masks on Layer Groups: Let's just say this is our sketch of a guy with the hat and some hair. I want to create a nice clean version of this using path. I'm just going to set the capacity of this down a bit so we can see the path as we talk. So I'm going to trace the shape of the head that I just made using the pen tool. You see it there in the path panel. Let's just create the layer from that. So there's a guy's head. Now we're going to do his hat. Now, I've just created a new layer and work path is still selected. So if I go to make his hat shape and fill this in. We're going to get a duplicate. Some weird things are happening and that's because I didn't click out off the work path before I started working on his hat. So I'm just going to go back to where we were. So we've just created the head using a shape and the layer. Now, I'm going to add a new layer for the hat, and I'm going to this time click out of the work path. So nothing's selected and then create the shape of his hat. Now I want to create his hair, and his hair will go under that hat. So I'm just going to create one layer between the head and the hat. Just click "New", again, I'm going to click out of the work path. Now I'm just going to draw his hair, and, hit "Okay". If I turn off my sketch, you can see, you have the basic shapes of this guy. This is kind of an aside, but I'd probably just use some brush or something for the brim of his hat and of course for his eyes. But those are not specific to the pen tool. So we'll figure those out in a second. But if you look closely at the guy's head here, there's some overlap. What if I wanted to get this round part of the hat exactly in the shape of my sketch, kind of perfectly match with the head shaped below. What if I want that there to be no extra overlap there and now same with the hair. So I want everything to fit within this shape. How would I do that? This is where we get into not just masking layers, but entire groups of layers or layer groups. So let's just take all these head parts here. We're going to select them all in the layers panel by hitting "Shift "and selecting "All". I'm going to hit "Command G", or you can just click this folder. I'm going to hit "Command G" to create a layer group and I'm just call it head. Nothing visibly happened, really all this does is it conceptually organizes things into this folder so they are kind of all in one place. But here's where the trick is. Let's go back to the head shape here. We're going to go to the path selection tool and just copy the shape of that head. Now we're going to go back up to the head layer, layer group at the top. We're going to actually paste that shape and it masks everything within this common shape. Now the bottom layer, here, which is also the head shape, is a bit redundant because you already have the shape of the whole head being defined at the top level here. So we could actually delete that bottom layer and do a fill of the head color down below, and that avoids redundancy and any chance for there to be some kind of misalignment between the identical shapes that we had before. They're identical shape being the shape of the overall layer group mask, and the shape of the head itself. This layer down below moved a bit. We get some weird shapes. To avoid this kind of weird business, we just delete this layer altogether and then we create a whole color fill layer down below, and effectively that's just a flood of the color and because it's within the head layer group, it gets masked off nice and clean like that. Now, if I wanted to add that brim of the hat, however, you want to do it, in my art I often use a simple digital brush into something like that. If you want to do something like that, you can't do it within the layer group. If I were to add that brim here, the actual brim part gets masked off. So I just pulled that out of the group, and as long as it sits on top, it will be visible. Anything else like eyes features can be added within the layer group though of course. If you want it. Let's just say, have some eyebrows and mustache these things. If you're drawing with another group, you'll get that nice clean mask and nothing coming out of the edges. Which is really great if you want that kind of control. So this is masking layer groups, and you can mask layer groups within groups. So let's just say, I wanted to make his cheeks a bit rosy. Then I think, "Oh, that's too big." I kind of want to mask that off. I'm not sure I'd want to do this, but for argument sake, I can make a path within there and just mask that off. So I've just masked this layer within the layer group or I could even group that and then put the path on that group inside the group, and you can just nest infinitely until Photoshop breaks. The last thing that I want to talk about is using the Pen tool to get nice shapes. There's an old adage that says you're only as strong as your weakest link, and that's true here. You want to start off with a good sketch. That comes from practice, comes from you, comes from a steady hand and stuff like that. But let's just say I want to create a few simple shapes. I'll do some more interesting shapes to a circle, a square, and you can see these are not perfect. I don't know. Let's make an ice cream cone. The more defined your actual shapes that you sketch are, the more potential your ear path shapes have to look great. What about a cat? I'll see if I can draw a cat without a reference. Good enough. Let's use the Pen tool and make these the best shapes they can be. I'm just going to bring this down here to the bottom, because it's going to be my sketch and I'm going to set back the opacity a bit just to make it easier to see the shapes I'm making. I'm going to first do the circle. I want to get this circle. Let's just say I want the circle to be exactly as I've sketched it with a little bit of work to it. It's just not a perfect circle. The tendency when you're first learning a Pen tool is to just keep making points. But the thing is, the more control points you have on a path, the harder it is to control. That's the paradox of the Pen tool. Let's just say I wanted to try and correct this shape, every shape affects every other shape, especially the adjacent ones, and you get into this endless. Actually, I add another point here just to adjust this little part here and you get these weird. I'll just fill it so you can see, we'll compare it with the next one. That's what I made using many paths and it gets very wobbly and quirky looking. You might want that as an effect. But generally speaking, if you want a more perfect shape, this is how you do it. On a circle, you'll need four points. You can just do 1, 2, 3, 4, and back home. With these four points, you can control almost every aspect of the shape that you need. Plus, because you have so few control points, it smooths out some of the irregularities in your handmade shape that are undesirable anyway. A rule of thumb here is, and I learned this actually through lettering and type-face designers is that the control points for the bottom of a curve and the top of a curve go perfectly horizontal. Then the control points on the, like these handles on the left and right side go vertically. That's the first rule of thumb. The second rule of thumb is that one of these handles here, they should never go past the trajectory of the next path over. In this case, I have the top handle here flying past the trajectory. That's the sort of if I were to extend this all the way this way, they cross. You want them each meeting each other halfway to get that shape between them right, so they're collaborating. This path and this path are collaborating to create this curve properly, and one should never dominate the other, because then you start getting this weird tension, and it doesn't work out so well, so try and even the mode as much as possible. In some cases, you actually have to bring one a lot more down, then the other goes over. As long as they don't cross each other's trajectories, you're good. The other rule of thumb, so this is the third rule of thumb, is that if you hold Shift while pulling your control handles here, the handles go perfectly perpendicular. Zero degrees this way and 90 degrees up and down. Instead of having something like this on an angle, if you press Shift, it locks in to a nice perpendicular angle. Again, that helps make everything perfect. Even when you have a wonky shape like we'll do with the ice cream cone and the cat, it creates some really great results. You can have this perfect path that defines an imperfect shape. The square, it's pretty simple. If you want to actually follow the exact placement of those corners on that square, you can do that, or you could do something a little bit more good if you want that little curve. Let's just say I want to follow these curves, and I hit each corner of the square. Then let's just say I want to get that slight curve. What I do is click and drag. Then to get the corner again, I just command and I get this little v-shape, click that, and it gives me a corner again. Let's just say I want to do that again, I get that curve, click and drag, command, and then click, and again here. Do it like this. Close point. Now, this is getting into quirky territory. But here, you have just four points controlling the shape of this pin cushiony box. You can do it like that. You can also, if you wanted, add more points to give it a bit more control. But again, every control point you add, somehow gives you less control over the overall shape, and it starts to look a little bit sloppy. I just created those two on the same path. Click into Work Path. Let's do an ice cream cone and just create a new layer here. I usually start in a corner, so I can just click once without having to drag, and I go right to the next curve, the top of the curve. At this point, I'm not holding Shift, and that's mostly because my style is whimsical, so I'm not too concerned about everything being perpendicular. Now, I've come down to the bottom here, and I've drag to bring the curve around. I'm just going to keep going, really just going into the corners, and then the extrema of each curve or arc, and then going back into the corner, and then going to the extrema and clicking and dragging and back in, clicking and dragging at the extrema here, and then back in. Now, I can go back and make these a little bit more perfect. What I do is I get my Direct Selection tool. My goal here is to simply follow the shape as perfectly as possible without having any awkward overlaps. Here's a weird thing happening here. I don't need this. I'm just going to use my Pen tool, command, and click that, and go back to my Direct Selection tool, and pull that handle, and I get a little bit cleaner of a line. Now, if I want, I can even get more obsessive here and have that perfect perpendicular feeling that I did with the circle, where my control handles only go 90 degrees up and down and zero degrees left and right. I'll show you what I do. I just leave my shape as is, and then I find the extrema of each curve. Right here, it's an extrema. I've already got my top one. There's one here, there's one here, there's one down here, and one down here, as far as I can tell. Then I delete all the other ones that I made. An extrema only applies to curvy parts of the path and not to the cusps or these little points. The next thing I do is, I go back to my Direct Selection tool and I hit "Option" while clicking and dragging this, and Shift as well. Option, Shift, and clicking and dragging at the extrema. It's going to get worse before it gets better. But effectively what I've done is I made these all perfect. I am going to Command-click that because that was an outlier. You don't want any of these cusps having a control handle, just the point. All my points are perpendicular now. Now I have some things like this where the trajectories are overlapping. I'm just going to hold Shift and let these work as a team a little more. These trajectories overlapping, so I'm going to let these handles collaborate a little more. There's a control point on this side because the curve actually comes around and out, and then comes back in. Whereas on this side, arguably it does that right here, but it's so minuscule I'm ignoring it. But strictly speaking, we can actually scientifically see what's happening here. This control handle right up here actually does shoot over a little past the point down here, which means that there's probably a tiny little extreme area down here. What we could do is just nodge it over a bit, but actually it doesn't. Here for our purposes, bring it out over. You don't really need a control point down there because it's such a small area. Even over here, technically, if you wanted, you could just remove that and still get the shape you want. There's the rule of having a point on every extrema, but then there's a clean up after that where you can say, "Well, the shape still works without even having that point on the extrema, so maybe you don't need it." But here I can actually really get into making the shape as perfect as possible. By perfect, I mean it follows the contours that I drew with my hand, and that's really important when you're talking about having a style and your work has more of a personal look than a computer aided digital look to it. It's following your curves without being distracting or having weird things like what we did with this circle here, and it looks a little bit amateurish. I'm going to just create that ice cream top, and then of course the cone below. In my style, I like to just simply do direct paths and get a nice, crisp, straight line to contrast with those curves. Here's a Band-Aid colored cone. That's better. If you're ever wanting to click out of a shape down here in Paths mode, another thing you do is just hit A and then Enter, and it automatically de-selects your path. There's the ice cream cone. Now let's do the kitty cat. Of course, you can be as technically obsessive as I was on the ice cream part of ice cream cone, getting everything on the extrema, but in the course of the day, you don't always need to do that. You don't always want to do that. What I aim for when I'm illustrating or creating paths around our complex forms, is just the minimal amount of paths. You want to define a curve and then want to define a point and let them collaborate together and then keep going. I know that there's some quirky things with the tail there right now, but I will get to that in a bit. Always one on the curve, and then one on the cusp. Now here's where the temptation is to go right to the end of the foot and create a pot, and then the curve, and then up like this. But what you get is this weird not flat part where the foot should be flat in my particular sketch. What you do is you do need to add just one extra control point just before you get here. We can go on and fix that in a second. It's the same in this curve here. Those are curves and not cusps, so what I'm doing is I'm going to get up here, I'm just starting again, is just before I stopped short just before the curve, do a tiny little drag right to the cusp of the nose, and then Option-click. Then I can go right. I could do a curve here if I want, or I could go right to the end and do the curve from there. Here, the reason I did this curve here is so I can get the flat before coming around to the curve. If I didn't do that then it rounds out the bottom there, and that often doesn't look right to me. I also want to make sure that these trajectories don't cross each other. These trajectories cross each other here. Again, you can be as anile as you want, or you can just eyeball it. The important thing is that you don't have a zillion control points that end up being impossible to edit. Let's go back to the tail where I made some shapes that didn't quite match the tail. I'm using my Direct Select Tool and just pulling my handles a little bit. Now here's a funny one here where if I pull this handle in, and this here, if you wanted to trace the tail perfectly, you get a little bit of this weird curve in there that maybe not be quite what you want. I'm going to add just one in the middle to mediate between the two, and that helps me control down here without affecting what's happening up there. So adding an intermediate point between two curves that are going in opposite directions, it allows you to just independently control one point without affecting the other. But of course, you also have to make sure that that middle one is in the right place too. Same here. Not always necessary, but something in your toolkit. Let me put one here. 8. Making Better Shapes: The last thing that I want to talk about is using the pen tool to get nice shapes. So there's an old adage that says, "You're only as strong as your weakest link", and that's true here. So you want to start off with good sketch and that comes from practice, comes from you, comes from a steady hand and stuff like that. But let's just say I want to create a few simple shapes and I'll do some more interesting shapes too. A circle, a square, and you can see these are not perfect. I don't know, let's make an ice cream cone. So the more defined your actual shapes that you sketch are, the more potential your ear path shapes have to look great. What about a cat? I'll see if I can draw a cat without a reference. Good enough. Let's use the pen tool and make these the best shapes they can be. I'm just going to bring this down here to the bottom, because it's going to be my sketch. I'm going to set back the opacity a bit, just to make it easier to see the shapes I'm making. So I'm going to first do the circle. Let's say I want the circle to be exactly as I've sketched it with a little bit of work to it, or it's just not a perfect circle. So the tendency when you're first learning a pen tool, is to just keep making points. But the thing is, the more control points you have on a path, the harder it is to control. So that's the paradox of the Pen tool. So let's just say I wanted to try and correct this shape. Every shape affects every other shape, especially the adjacent ones. Try add another point here just to adjust this little part here and you get these weird, I'll just fill it and so you can see, we'll compare it with the next one. So that's what I made using many paths and it gets very wobbly and quirky looking, and you might want that as an effect. But generally speaking, if you want a more perfect shape, this is how you do it. On a circle, there are four. You only need four points. So you can just do 1,2,3,4, and back home. With these four points, you can control almost every aspect of the shape that you need. Plus, because you have so few control points, it smoothes out some of the irregularities in your handmade shape that are undesirable anyway. A rule of thumb here is, and I learned this actually through letter designers and lettering and type face designers, is that the control points for the bottom of a curve, and the top of a curve go perfectly horizontal. Then the control points like these handles on the left and right side go vertically. So that's the first rule of thumb. The second rule of thumb is that, one of these handles here, they should never go past the trajectory of the next path over. In this case I have the top handle here flying past the trajectory. If I were to extend this all the way, this way, they crossed you want them each meeting each other halfway to get that shape between them right. So they're collaborating. This path and this path are collaborating to create this curve properly. One should never dominate the other, because then you start getting this weird tension and it doesn't work out so well. So try and even the out as much as possible. In some cases you actually have to bring one a lot more down than the other goes over, and as long as they don't cross each other's trajectories, you're good. The other rule of thumb, so this is the third rule of thumb, is that if you hold "Shift" while pulling your control handles here, the handles go perfectly perpendicular, zero degrees this way and 90 degrees up and down. So that instead of having something like this on an angle, if you press "Shift", it locks in to a nice perpendicular angle, and again, that helps make everything perfect. Even when you have a wonky shape like we'll do with the ice cream cone and the cat, it creates some really great results. You can have this perfect path that defines an imperfect shape. The square, it's pretty simple, if you want to actually follow the exact placement of those corners on that square, you can do that, or you could do something a little bit more [inaudible] you want that little curve. So let's just say I want to follow these curves, and I hit each corner of the square. Then let's say I want to get that slight curve, what I do is click and drag, and then to get the corner again, I just command and I get this little V-shape. Click that, and it gives me a corner again. Let's just say I want to do that again, get that curve, click and drag, Command and then click, and again here. Do it like this, close point. Now, this is getting into quirky territory. But here you have just four points controlling the shape of this pin cushion-box, and you can do it like that. You can also, if you wanted to add more points to give it a bit more control. But again, every control point you add somehow gives you less control over the overall shape. It starts to look a little bit sloppy. I just created those two on the same path, clicking into Work Path. Let's do an ice cream cone, I'll just create a new layer here. I usually start in a corner. So I can just click once without having to drag, and I go right to the next curve, the top of the curve. At this point I'm not holding Shift, that's mostly because my style is whimsical. So I'm not too concerned about everything being perpendicular. So now I've come down to the bottom here and I've tried to bring the curve around. I'm just going to keep going. Really just going into the corners and then the extrema of each curve or arc, and then going back into the corner. Then go into the extrema and clicking and dragging. Then back in, clicking and dragging at the extrema here, and then back in. Now I can go back and make these a little bit more perfect, and what I do is I get my Direct Selection Tool. My goal here is to simply follow the shape as perfectly as possible, without having any awkward overlaps. So here's a weird thing happening here. I don't need this, I'm just going to hit, use my pen tool, command and click that and go back to my direct selection tool and pull that handle and I get a little bit cleaner of a line. Now if I want, I can even get more obsessive here and have that perfect perpendicular feeling that I did with the circle where my control handles only go 90 degrees up and down and zero degrees left and right. I'll show you what I do, I just leave my shape as is, and then I find the extrema of each curve. So right here, it's an extrema, I've already got my top one, there's one here, there's one here, there's one down here, and one down here. So as I can tell, and then I delete all the other ones that I made. An extrema only applies to curvy parts of the path and not to the cusps or these little points. The next thing I do, is I go back to my direct select tool, and I hit "Option", well, clicking and dragging and shift as well. "Option", "Shift and clicking and dragging at the extrema. It's going to get worse before it gets better. But effectively what I've done is, I made these all perfect. You are going to Command click that. That was an out layer. You don't want any of these cusps having a control handle, just the point. All my points are perpendicular now. Now, I have some things like this where the trajectories overlapping. I'm just going to hold Shift and let these work as a team a little more. These trajectories' overlapping. I'm going to let these handles collaborate a little more. There's a control point on this side because the curve actually comes around and out and then comes back in, whereas on this side arguably it does right here. It's so minuscule, I'm ignoring it. Strictly speaking, I mean, we can actually scientifically see what's happening here. This Control handle right up here actually does shoot over a little past the point down here. Which means that there's probably a tiny little extreme array down here. What we could do is, just emerge it over a bit. But it actually doesn't hear it for our purposes, bring it out over. You don't really need a control point down there because it's such a small area. Even over here, technically if you wanted, you could just remove that and still get the shape you want. There's the rule of having a point on every extrema but then there's a clean up after that where you can say, "Well, the shape still works without even having that point on the extrema." Maybe you don't need it. Here I can actually really get into making the shape as perfect as possible. By perfect, I mean, it follows the contours that I drew with my hand. That's really important when you're talking about having a style. Your work has more of a personal look than a computer aided digital look to it. It's following your curves without being distracting or having a weird things like what we did with this circle here. It looks a little bit amateurish. I'm going to just create that ice cream top and then of course the cone below. In my style, I like to just simply do direct pass and get a nice crisp, straight line to contrast with those curves. Here's a bended colored cone. That's better. If you're ever want it to click out of a shape down here and pass one another thing you could do is just hit A and then Enter. It automatically selects your path and use ice cream cone. Now, let's do the kitty cat. Of course you can be as technically obsessive as I was on the ice cream part of ice cream cone getting everything on the extrema. I mean, in the course of the day, you don't always need to do that. You don't always want to do that. What I aim for when I'm illustrating or creating pass around or complex forms is just the minimal amount of paths. Usually, one to define a curve and then one to define a point and let them collaborate together and then keep going. I know that there's some quirky things with a tail there right now, but I will get to that in a bit. Always one on the curve and the one on the cusp. Now, here's where the temptation is to go right to the end of the foot and create a part and then the curve and then up like this, but what you get is this weird not flat part where the foot should be flat in my particular sketch. What you need to do is, you do need to add just one extra control point just before you get here. You can go on, fix that in a second and same with in this curve here. Those are curves and not cusps. What I'm doing is when I get up here, I'm just starting again. It's just before I stopped short, just before the curve. Do a tiny little drag, rate to the cusp of the nose, then Option click. Then I can go right. I could do a curve here if I want. Or I could go right to the end. Do the curve from there. Here, the reason I did this curve here, so I can get the flat before coming around to the curve. If I didn't do that rounds out the bottom there, and that often doesn't look right to me. I also want to make sure that these trajectories don't cross each other and these trajectories cross each other here. Again, you can be as zillion as you want or you can just eyeball it. The important thing is you don't have a zillion control points that end up being impossible to edit. Let's go back to the tail where I made some shapes. It didn't quite match the tail. I'm using my Direct Select tool, and just pulling my handles a little bit. Now, here's a funny one here where l if I go plus handle in this here you get this. If you wanted to trace the tail perfectly, you get a little bit of this weird curve in there that maybe not quite what you want. I'm going to add just one in the middle to mediate between the two. That helps me control down here without affecting what's happening up there. Adding an intermediate point between two curves that are going in opposite directions, it allows you to just independently control one without affecting the other. Of course you also have to make sure that that middle one is in the right place too. Same here. Not always necessary, but something you need to look at. Now, here I have put one here. 9. Path Operations: Final thing that will make you a Pen tool wizard is learning about path operations. Path operations, it's like the Pathfinder, or it's exactly like the Pathfinder in Illustrator. Path operations are how we combine different shapes to create new shapes. There are, I think, four different path operations that you can do. Let's just create a circle. Let's just say I want to copy this circle and paste it so it overlaps. With your Path Selection tool, you can click and drag, and effectively you get two identical shapes on the same path in the Paths panel, and on the same layer in the Layers panel. This is one layer made of two ball shapes. Let's just look up at the top here. We have, on the status bar, Combined Shapes, Subtract Front Shape, Intersect Shapes Areas, and Exclude Overlapping Shapes. Those are the four basic path operations. The default is to combine the two shapes. If you wanted to, say, take a bite of one of the shapes using the other, select just the one that will be the biter, and then you go into your path operations and you select Subtract Front Shape. Because the path was selected, meaning the control points are visible, that's the path that ends up taking the bite out of the other one. It's also hard to see, well, you can't see it at all in Photoshop, but the latest path you made is the top shape. If I were to take this shape here and cut it and paste it on, some weird stuff happens. That just has to do with the order of the layers in which they were made. There you go. We have used one shape to subtract from the other. If we set it back to combine, its back the way you'd expect. Now, let's just say we want to do something like create the middle of the Venn diagram shape. We select both layers, and select Intersect Shape Areas, and you got the intersection. You can do the inverse by selecting both those paths and selecting Exclude Overlapping Areas, and then where they intersect is effectively transparent or nothing, it's just a window. Now, this is just helpful, these path operations, especially Combine and Subtract. They're especially helpful just for cutting. Let's just say you wanted to make a face with two holes for eyes in it. These are all in the same shape path. I'm only selecting the eye shapes. If you subtract, you cut out these holes. This is one shape. I'll prove that to you by creating something behind it, or I'll just activate the layer behind. They basically cut out a hole from that shape. I'll show you what happens if we create a shape using the Subtract Front Shape mode off the bat. Let's just create a shape. It'll be a [inaudible] airplane. I've created this beautiful [inaudible] airplane shape, and now I'm going to create a shape of it on my layer. What the heck happened? You get the opposite of what you were expecting. You can see that I've actually created a window to whatever artwork is behind it. That is because we created using the Subtract Shape. We basically create a negative image of our shape. To get us back to a positive shape is, we select that shape in the Paths panel, make sure it's activated using the Paths Selection tool, and then you just reset it to combine shapes. Now, a quick little trick that will save you lots of time if you're using these techniques in the future is, when a path is selected and you hit minus, it subtracts, and when hit the plus sign on your keyboard, it combines or adds, minus, plus, minus, plus. That's super helpful if, let's just say, we're just working on our shape here and I wanted to cut out a window, [inaudible] shape. I'm going to hit minus for the window. I'm still in cut out mode, and I can just cut some windows out, some designs, if that was what you wanted to do. I'm going to just hit A and Enter just deselect that shape. That's effectively how use the path operations. It should just be said that path operations are different from how two different layers interact. If we create a new layer, let's just say I create those circles that we were just talking about. I've created using Subtract, so I'm just going to hit plus, making sure my Color Fill layer and Paths panel is selected, and then hit plus. I'm going to copy this entire layer just by dragging it to the new little sheet there. We actually have two different pieces, one on each layer. I'm just going to make this one an ace teal. These are two different layers, totally independent paths. One is not the other, and one cannot cut out the other. These, on the other hand, can interact with each other through blend modes instead. That is a subject for a different class. 10. Conclusion: All right guys, so that's it. I hope you enjoyed the class, just let me know what you think. If you have any extra questions, just leave them down in the discussions portion of this class. Always remember, the pen tool is cool.