August 5, 2009
When using either the magnetic Lasso or the Magnetic Pen, the following shortcuts can help to quickly change tool options:
[ or ] decreases/increases the lasso width
[ or ] + Shift goes to the minimum/maximum lasso width
‘,’ (comma) or ‘.’ (period) decreases/increases the edge contrast
‘,’ (comma) or ‘.’ (period) + Shift goes to the minimum/maximum edge contrast
‘;’ (semicolon) or ”’ (apostrophe) decreases/increases the frequency
‘;’ (semicolon) or ”’ (apostrophe) + Shift goes to the minimum/maximum frequency
July 23, 2009
In order to create a more even stroke of paint than you might be able to accomplish when painting “freehand”, first create a path in the shape of the stroke (with the Pen tool). Next, select the desired options for the Brush (to be used to paint the path), and, from the Paths panel fly-out menu, select Stroke Path. Choose Brush from the drop down menu and Voila, your path is strokes perfectly! You can even choose to check the Simulate Pressure option to simulate pressure sensitivity of the tool.
You can see from the tools listed in the Stroke Path dialog that you can use this technique to stroke with a variety of painting tools making this technique equally useful for dodging and burning, cloning objects etc.
When recording actions, this method enables a workaround for painting as brush strokes can’t be recorded, but stroking paths can be.
July 22, 2009
When the Freeform Pen tool is selected, try checking the Magnetic option (in the Option bar) to have the Pen tool analyze edge areas in images. To customize the Magnetic settings, in the Options bar click the downward facing triangle to the right of the Custom Shape tool icon and customize the “Width” (how many pixels to look at), “Contrast” (what determines an edge) and “Frequency” (how often to lay down anchor points).
July 21, 2009
With the Pen tool selected, in the Options bar click the downward facing triangle to the right of the Custom shape tool icon, and select Rubber Band. This option will preview the direction of the path that will be drawn as you move your cursor in the image area. (This is a great learning tool!)
July 20, 2009
To quickly find the center of a path or shape layer, select the path and choose the Move tool. In the Options bar, check the “Show Transform Controls” option. The transform controls can also be used to transform your path – simply drag the anchor points (shift -drag to constrain proportions). Don’t forget to apply the transformation (tap Return (Mac) or Enter (Win), click the check icon in the Option bar or double click within the transform controls.
Note: if the selected path is a vector mask, the transform controls will be displayed around the layer contents (not the path). Select the path, and then choose Edit > Transform Path.
It’s also worth mentioning that you can transform paths (and therefore shapes) outside of the visible image area and Photoshop will keep track of them.
July 17, 2009
After drawing a path with the Pen tool, Command (Mac) / Control (Win) + Return (Mac) / Enter (Win) crates a selection from the path. Note: this shortcut works with any selected path (shape layer, vector mask etc.).
July 16, 2009
With a path selected, Option (Mac) / Alt (Win) -drag the path in the image area to duplicate it.
July 15, 2009
To select multiple paths (or delete them from the selection if they are already selected), shift-click the path with the Path Selection tool. Click and drag in the image area to select multiple paths with the Path Select tool, or click and drag to select multiple line segments with the Direct Selection tool.
July 14, 2009
To select an entire path, use the Path Selection tool. To select segments of a path (including anchor points, direction lines etc.), use the Direct Selection tool. Instead of switching tools, adding the Option (Mac) / Alt (Win) + click on a path/anchor point with the Direct Selection tool will select the entire path.
July 13, 2009
When using the Vector tools in Photoshop, keep the following in mind. First, The Pen and Shape tools can be used to create Shape Layers, Paths, or Filled Pixel regions. Be sure to select the correct icon (in the Options bar) before starting to work, or you might have to backtrack or go through extra steps to correct it. Also, the Pen and Shape tools can have Styles applied, so if you’re not achieving your expected results, make sure that the Style icon (in the Options Bar) is set to “No Style”.
June 8, 2009
Clicking on the Vector mask icon in the Layers Panel will toggle the path’s visibility. When the path is hidden, drawing with the Pen or Shape tool(s) creates a new path/shape – as oppose to adding to the mask.