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You can use four methods to turn your hand drawings into a vector with illustrator. you can use geometric shapes (ellipse, circles, rectangles, etc), you can use drawing tools (pen tools, brushes, etc), you can use a mixture of both, and finally, you can use Illustrator’s built-in Image Tracing. In this article, you will learn how to use the shapes to turn your hand drawing into a vector. Note that there will be some mixing of tools in places where they are needed.
Sketch the Drawing
Digitize the Drawing
Decide on Method to Illustrate
Save1] Sketch the Drawing
After you have planned the artwork that you want to draw, you can now get it on paper. For the best result, make sure to use very white paper with no lines. Also, try to make the lines as legible as possible, it would be even better to draw with a pencil and then trace over with a pen. Make the lines thick so that they will be easy to see after the drawing is digitized. Try to make as few mistakes as possible when drawing. Try to make the drawing stand out over the background as this will make it easier to see in Illustrator.2] Digitize the Drawing
Now that the drawing is completed to satisfaction, it is time to get it into Illustrator. There are a few methods to do this but scanning with a flatbed scanner is the best and easiest method. Scanning with a flatbed scanner will eliminate shadows and creases that may make the drawing unclear in Illustrator.3] Decide on a Method to Illustrate
There are four ways to convert the drawing to a vector, you can use geometric shapes (ellipse, circles, rectangles, etc), you can use drawing tools (pen tools, brushes, etc), you can use a mixture of both, and finally, you can use Illustrator’s built-in Image Tracing. The best and easiest method will depend on how complicated the drawing is. Your drawing may have a look that will make it possible to use geometric shapes in Illustrator to outline it.
Here is an image that is drawn, it is simple, and not much to it. It is kept simple for this article. Look at it and see which methods you think would best work on it.
We are going to explore using shapes to turn the drawing into vector art.Use Geometric Shapes
Open the drawing in Illustrator to begin working on it. After the file is placed in Illustrator, create a new layer to work on.
Choose the opacity percentage that best matches your preference.
Start by using the easiest shapes to identify, there may be a need to overlap shapes then use various other tools to cut, blend and match. The first geometric shape would be the Ellipse that matches the lower face. Put it in place and then fix it to match the chúng tôi two ellipses so that they shape like the lower part of the mouth then use the Shape Building tool and join them. Use the scissors tool to cut part of the shape created then use the Direct Selection tool to drag the points to make them overlap. You can use the Pencil Tool and the Smooth tool to make the shape fit as close as possible to the chúng tôi create the mouth, use the ellipse and try to fit it as close as possible to the shape of the mouth.
You then use the Scissors Tool to cut the ellipse and delete the unwanted parts. You could also use the Arc Tool for the mouth.
To get the eyes, use the Arc Tool and fit it to the shape of the eye as close as possible then use the Pencil tool to shape the Arc Tool to the curve of the eyes.
Use the Arc tool for the top of the head and use the pencil to get the arc to curve along the lines of the drawing, The nostrils can be made from the ellipse chúng tôi is the completed vector drawing, you can see the original sketch behind the vector drawing.
You can color the vector image to make it more attractive.4] Saving
After going through all that work to turn your hand drawing into a vector, it is only wise to keep it looking sharp. This means that you will want to keep it as a vector so that it can be scaled up or down without losing the quality. This means that you will want to save it in a file format that will keep it a vector. First, save it as an Illustrator file format so that it can be edited in the future. Then for sharing you can save it in any of the other vector file formats by going to File then Save as and choose PDF, SVG, AIT, or any of the others that will keep it a vector image.
If you wish to save it as a raster image you will go to File then Export then choose JPG or PNG or any of the other raster file formats. Note that the raster file will not keep the quality when it is scaled to a larger size, as raster images are made up of pixels that will begin to show as the file gets larger.
Read: How to warp and convert Text to Shape in IllustratorWhy is it Important to learn how to Save Hand Drawn Art to Vector?
Saving hand-drawn art as a vector is one way that you can preserve them. These artworks can be saved digitally and printed whenever you want. They can also be used to create a digital portfolio to showcase your talent to clients. They will also show others that you can use Illustrator to do illustrations for them.Is There Only One Way to turn Hand drawings into vectors?
There are four ways to turn hand drawing into a vector. The method used depends on your preference and how complicated or easy the drawing is. These ways sometimes overlap as there may be parts of the drawing that will work better with one over the other.
You're reading How To Turn Hand Drawings Into Vector With Illustrator
These tips might not be as valuable as knowing how to build a fire, but they’re close. Matt Whitacre/Unsplash
This story was originally featured on Field & Stream.
Sometimes the best ideas are the simplest—which is certainly the case with this collection of outdoor tricks and gear hacks that readers have sent us over the years. In the next few weeks, we’ll be sharing our “greatest hits” of those reader tips, starting with this list of camping tips. From a toilet-paper protector to a modified mousetrap, these tips are simply brilliant.Make sure your toilet paper stays safe and dry
Say goodbye to wet, or mice-eaten, TP in the camp outhouse. Field & Stream
Two of the most annoying problems at my hunting camp are wet toilet paper and mice getting into toilet paper. But there’s a solution. Cut a long slit in one side of an empty plastic coffee can. Stick a roll of TP in the can and pull a bit of the paper through the slit. Make a hole in the lid and the bottom. Run string through the holes and hang the can out of reach of mice. — Mark A. Clark, Colorado Springs, ColoradoKeep parachute cord tangle-free
There are a billion uses for p-cord at camp—but it’s useless if it’s a tangled mess. Field & Stream
The best way to store 550 parachute cord is in an empty plastic peanut butter jar. Drill a 3⁄16-inch-diameter hole in the lid. Stuff the cord into the jar (careful not to overlap it), and thread the end about 4 inches through the hole you made. Screw the lid back on, and pull out as much cord as you need. Kiss tangles good-bye. — Jim Ratermann, Tipp City, OhioDry your boots with newspaper
Stuff yesterday’s news into your boots so they’re dry by tomorrow. Field & Stream
I stuff my boots with newspaper, which absorbs the moisture. Then I keep repeating with dry pages every 45 minutes, and they’re good to go the next day. — Marck Schwarze, Elk River, MinnesotaHaul firewood with a ratchet strap
Use a modifired ratchet strap to haul a night’s worth of firewood in just a couple of trips. Field & Stream
I took a broken 1-inch ratchet strap, cut off the end with the hook, and tied a loop at that end. I use this to gather firewood whenever I’m camping. I just lay the strap on the ground and pile sticks on it. Then I pull the male end through the female end and throw the bundle over my shoulder. I can carry twice as much wood in half the time. — Eddie Crane III, Richmond, IllinoisSet an inescapable mousetrap
A dab of peanut butter worked into yarn keeps mice from dining and dashing. Field & Stream
Here’s how to catch mice that steal the bait from a trap without setting off the trigger: Tie some yarn onto the trigger, leaving the cut ends about 1⁄4-inch long. Roll the ends to make them fuzzy. Work some peanut butter into the yarn and set the trap. The bait is tougher to get out of the yarn, and the mice will be more aggressive trying to get at it. — Richard J. Moncsko, Wilmington, New York
Shorts was introduced as part of YouTube’s move into the short video market, which has seen a boom with TikTok and Instagram Reels. The company’s largest platform for videos was introduced Shorts last year. The company is making it simpler than ever for video makers to make Shorts videos, with more than a year of YouTube Shorts in place. Shorts makes sense to do so now that it has 1.5 billion YouTube users per month engaging with it, particularly for brand awareness and reach.
Users will be able to take material from their library, make a Shorts video of it, and post it on YouTube as part of the company’s new feature. YouTube is enabling creators to convert existing long-form videos into Shorts, which is a fantastic strategy for getting more audiences.
Short, bite-sized videos are thriving on the internet due to people’s short attention spans, which is a rapidly growing content category.How to make a short out of your video?
YouTube’s ‘Edit into a Short’ function is the quickest way to transform a lengthy video into a short one. The step-by-step procedure is as follows −
Start by opening the YouTube app.
Choose the ‘Library’ icon located on the bottom right.
Select the ‘Your Videos’ icon near the top.
Navigate to the desired video and select it. The screen will now display the video and several options in the menu below.
The next step is to choose the ‘Create’ icon in the menu.
Select ‘Edit into a Short’ at the top.
Using the tool, users can clip the video into segments of up to 60 second’s total.
The short will start processing.
Furthermore, users can edit the Short by adding filters and additional footage with the camera or an imported video if the overall clip does not exceed 60 seconds.
When all the editing is done, tap ‘Next’ at the top right.
Set the visibility of the video. Schedule it if you want.
You can immediately publish it also after addig details to all parameters.
Select the audiences of the video.
After adding all details upload the short.
The shorts are uploading.
The shorts video is uploaded.
The Analytics of the short is opened.Customizing your shorts
Content producers have been quick to adapt their lengthy films into shorter clips since the introduction of YouTube Shorts. This is a fantastic way for YouTubers to expand their audience. Efficiency is critical when you consider how much time creators spend shooting and producing their work. Therefore, YouTube Shorts’ app was updated to include time-saving development tools. This procedure is straightforward to follow.
A green screen, music, effects, and subtitles are just a few of the extra video enhancements available. A maximum video length of 15 to 60 seconds is currently supported on the Shorts platform.
YouTube has been hosting short videos for almost a long time. The capability to generate shorts out of previously recorded videos is blooming a lot.Points to be noted while creating Shorts
When converting an original long-form YouTube video into a Short, there are a few things to consider.
The YouTuber’s original work must be the source of the short content.
If either the private or kid-friendly settings are enabled, the ‘Create’ button for shorts will not be visible in the menu.
Shorts that were created using YouTube’s tool will link the material to the original video, which is extremely important. Viewers will be able to jump directly to the attributing material and watch the whole video.
Shorts can now be created out of lengthy YouTube videos on iPhone and Android devices, thanks to a new feature. Hopefully, YouTube will launch this on the browser early.Conclusion
Given the increase in Shorts consumption and wider user preferences toward short-form video, it is a smart update, particularly as noted. Why shouldn’t it look to benefit from such, instead of giving up market share to the challenger app, if that is what people want and YouTube has it?
Any artwork can be enhanced with great fonts. Using fonts in Illustrator that fit the theme of your artwork can make it more interesting. For example, an artwork about water could use fonts that look like water. The more interesting fonts may not be available in Illustrator by default so they would have to be downloaded from trusted sources. Damaged or bad fonts can make Illustrator sluggish or make it crash or freeze. If Fonts are not working or showing, or are missing or create problems & issues for Illustrator, then this post will help you.How to fix Font problems in Illustrator
If Fonts are not working or showing, or are missing or creating problems & issues for Illustrator, then the following suggestions will help you resolve the issue:
Remove third-party font management plug-in
Clear the system font cache
Validate all fonts to identify the damaged ones1] Remove third-party font management plug-in
Before testing fonts, it is best to update or remove third-party font plug-ins. To access the third-party font plug-ins enable viewing of hidden files then do the following.
From the main window choose Program Files then Adobe then Adobe Illustrator then Plugins
Font management utility is Extensis, Suitcase, Font explorer, Font explorer Pro, RightFont, and NexusFont.
Copy the font management utility and paste it on the desktop. This will help if you need to return the folder to its original position.
Delete the plug-ins from the plugins folder.
Read: How to fix corrupted Fonts in Windows2] Clear the system font cache
Font caching allows an application to load from external memory only the letters required to show a string. This means that the whole font does not need to reside in the addressable flash or RAM, but can be stored on a larger file system.
Font cache service is a Windows service that optimizes the performance of applications by caching commonly used font data. Applications will start this service if it is not already running. It can be disabled, though doing so will degrade application performance.
To clear the system font cache do the following:
Turn on Hidden files and folders
Close all Adobe applications.
Navigate to C:WindowsServiceProfilesLocalServiceAppDataLocal.
Delete the DAT or chúng tôi files (~FontCache-S-1-5-18.dat).
When you open the Serviceprofiles, Localservice, Appdata, and Local folders, for the first time, they will each give a warning that You don’t currently have permission to access this folder.
Press Continue to open the folder anyway.
Read: How to rebuild Font cache in Windows3] Validate all fonts to identify the damaged ones
This step requires that you test the fonts in batches or one by one. This step may be time-consuming depending on how many fonts are installed.
Type Control Panel in Windows Search and press Enter.
In the Control Panel, open the Fonts folder.
Select all the fonts, and copy and paste them into a folder on the desktop.
Delete the fonts from the Fonts folder.
Copy and paste each batch of fonts from the desktop to the Fonts folder and launch the application. If you are unable to launch the application, the damaged font exists in the Fonts folder.
Identify and remove the damaged font, and relaunch the application.
If the problem recurs after you remove a font, continue to perform these steps until all damaged fonts are removed.
Read: How to edit individual letters in a word in Illustrator.
Editor’s Note: Now that Apple’s third-generation has arrived in stores, that means a lot of earlier models of Apple’s tablet could find themselves looking for work. If you’re upgrading to a new iPad, you don’t necessarily have to sell your old tablet or give it away. This is the first in a series of articles in which we look at ways to give your old iPad a new purpose. In this installment, we focus on the iPad’s potential as a dedicated kitchen companion.
The App Store is stuffed with apps for planning out meals, organizing grocery lists, and discovering new recipes. So it’s little wonder that so many home cooks consider the iPad as indispensible a kitchen tool as a good chef’s knife. So why not take the next logical step and turn that aging iPad into a dedicated kitchen tablet? All it takes is a little bit of planning to find the hardware and software to fit your specific culinary needs.Flexible or permanent placement
There are plenty of gadgets for cooking with the iPad, from portable stands to wall-mounted systems. If you tend to move around a lot in your kitchen and want the iPad to move with you, Belkin’s $40 Chef Stand and Stylus is a good option to consider. Since the stand comes with a stylus, you won’t need to use any greasy fingers to navigate your kitchen iPad.
There’s a drawback to portable stands, though: They tend to keep your iPad in the splash zone, where they’re suscpetible to splatter from whatever you’ve got cooking. You can always waterproof your iPad with other accessories (more on that below). And Belkin’s $50 Kitchen Cabinet Mount is another moveable option that will hang from your cabinets, above the counter mess.
If you know exactly where you want your iPad to live in your kitchen, there are screw-in wall or cabinet mounts that will give your iPad a sleek look while you’re mixing ingredients and frying up your latest meal. This is a good option if you want to use your iPad to play music or videos while you’re cooking, or you’re the type of person who doesn’t need to constantly look at a recipe while baking or cooking (like I do).
Vogel’s RingO Holder and Wall Mount ($70 for the iPad 2 and $60 for the original iPad) offer a protective backing for your iPad that clips onto a raised, o-shaped wall mount, giving the iPad a cool, floating look. If you don’t have much wall space, permanent cabinet mounts like the $26 Original Kitchen iPad Rack, are a good way to give your iPad a permanent, but safe spot. The great thing about this rack is that while its placement is permanent, the actual iPad tray lifts out of the screwed-in brackets so you can stick it in a drawer when you’re not using it. Like Vogel’s wall mount, The Original Kitchen iPad Rack also gives your iPad a cool floating look because it’s made of clear plastic.
And finally, you can mount your iPad onto the refrigerator with one of the many available fridge mounts, such as Belkin’s $40 Fridge Mount or the $50 FridgePad Magnetic Refrigerator Mount.Keep it protected
The kitchen can be one of the messiest places in the house, especially while you’re actively chopping and stirring. While many of the iPad mounts and stands can keep your iPad further away from the counter, there’s still a high chance you’ll accidentally splash water or oil or worse onto your shiny tablet. Plus, touching your iPad’s screen with dirty fingers isn’t good for the iPad screen. Luckily, there are a few ways to protect your kitchen iPad from liquid terror and grease marks.
Protective sleeves like the Chef Sleeve, CleverWraps, and Locksaks fit tightly around your iPad while waterproofing the device. (For $20 you can get a 25 pack of Chef Sleeves, $15 gets you five CleverWraps, and a three pack of Locksaks costs $9.) All of these are fairly thin sleeves, so they don’t obstruct your iPad in most stands and mounts. Looking for a quick and cheap DIY option? Just stick your iPad into an appropriately sized plastic baggie, like Ziploc.Reset and load up on food (apps)
Like with any dedicated use of an iPad, it’s best to clear the device of anything that won’t be useful to you in that particular setting. For kitchen use, you might consider clearing out your email settings, games, and non-food related media and apps. You’ll be able to focus on exactly what you need from your iPad while you’re in the kitchen.
There are plenty of visually pleasing and interactive cookbook apps, such as Allrecipes, The Photo Cookbook, and Food Network’s In the Kitchen. The original 20 Minute Meals app for the iPhone featuring celebrity chef Jamie Oliver won an Apple Design Award for its meticulous organization two years ago, and the iPad-optimized follow-up—Jamie’s Recipes—is available as a free download. (You buy content packs of recipes through an in-app purchase.) Appetites also has an eye for the visual: The free app features video recipes, so you can see exactly how a dish should be prepared. (Again, you purchase recipe packs from within the app.) Martha Stewart Cookies, recently updated for the new iPad’s Retina display, is a must-have for anyone who enjoys baking. But iCookbook may take the most clever approach for a dedicated kitchen iPad: It features simple voice controls for navigating through recipes, so you don’t have to worry about dirtying up your touchscreen interface when working with raw food.
Interactive book publisher Inkling also offers a full-length interactive iPad ebook of The Professional Chef by The Culinary Institute of America, packed with instructional videos, images, and note-sharing capabilities. While the $50 price tag is a lot steeper than cookbook apps, the book’s 36 chapters cover everything from nutrition basics to braising and stewing to charcuterie.
Beyond cookbooks, there are plenty of iOS offerings that can help you manage your food, shopping lists, and personal recipes. If you find that you’re fridge and pantry get overstocked with old produce and snacks, both the Fridge Police and StillTasty apps can help you keep track of when you need to toss out your food. (Both of these apps are iPhone apps that run on the iPad, though they will not be optimized for the tablet’s screen.)
For keeping track of your grocery list, ShopShop – Shopping List and Shopping List are both excellent apps that can sync across all of your iOS devices. (The latter Shopping List, however, is not optimized for the iPad’s screen.) I tend to remember when I need when I’m in the kitchen and realize it’s not there, so entering your grocery list onto your iPad and opening it back up on your iPad while in the store is really useful.
Of course, just because you turn your iPad into a dedicated kitchen tablet doesn’t mean you can’t use it elsewhere. Most of the stands and mounts mentioned above make it easy to attach and remove your iPad. But using your old iPad as your go-to tool to access all of your favorite recipes, cooking videos, and more right in the kitchen will certainly give the tablet a new and useful life.
[Alexandra Chang is a Macworld staff editor.]
If you’re not sure what a vector shape is and how it differs from a pixel-based shape, be sure to check out the previous tutorial in this series, Drawing Vector vs Pixel Shapes in Photoshop CS6 .
Most people think of Photoshop as a pixel-based image editor, and if you were to ask someone to recommend a good vector-based drawing program, Adobe Illustrator would usually be at the top of their list. It’s true that Photoshop doesn’t share all of Illustrator’s features, but as we’ll see in this and other tutorials in this series, it’s various shape tools make Photoshop more than capable of adding simple vector-based artwork to our designs and layouts!
This tutorial is for Photoshop CS6 users . If you’re using an older version of Photoshop, you’ll want to check out the original Shapes And Shape Layers Essentials tutorial.
We’ll start by learning how to draw basic geometric shapes using the Rectangle Tool , the Rounded Rectangle Tool , the Ellipse Tool , the Polygon Tool , and the Line Tool . We’ll learn how to choose fill and stroke colors for the shapes, how to change the appearance of the stroke, how to edit the shapes later thanks to the flexibility of Shape layers, and more! There’s a lot to cover, so this tutorial will focus on everything we need to know about these five geometric shape tools. In the next tutorial, we’ll learn how to add more complex shapes to our documents using Photoshop’s Custom Shape Tool !
In this tutorial, we’ll learn the essentials of how to draw vector shapes in Photoshop CS6 with its easy-to-use shape tools !Drawing Vector Shapes In Photoshop The Shape Tools
I’ll start by selecting the first one in the list, the Rectangle Tool:
Selecting the Rectangle Tool.Shapes, Pixels Or Paths
Before we draw any shapes, we first need to tell Photoshop which kind of shape we want to draw. That’s because Photoshop actually lets us draw three very different kinds of shapes. We can draw vector shapes, paths, or pixel shapes. We’ll look more closely at the differences between the three in other tutorials, but as we’ve already learned in the Drawing Vector vs Pixel Shapes tutorial, in most cases you’ll want to be drawing vector shapes. Unlike pixels, vector shapes are flexible, scalable and resolution-independent, which means we can draw them any size we like, edit and scale them as much as we want, and even print them at any size without any loss in quality! Whether we’re viewing them on screen or in print, the edges of vector shapes always remain crisp and sharp.
To make sure you’re drawing vector shapes, not paths or pixels, select Shape from the Tool Mode option in the Options Bar along the top of the screen:
Setting the Tool Mode option to Shape.Filling The Shape With Color
This opens a box that lets us choose from four different ways to fill the shape, each represented by one of four icons along the top. Starting from the left, we have the No Color icon (the one with the red diagonal line through it), the Solid Color icon, the Gradient icon, and the Pattern icon:
The four options for filling the shape (No Color, Solid Color, Gradient, and Pattern).No Color
As its name implies, selecting No Color on the left will leave the shape completely empty. Why would you want to leave a shape empty? Well, in some cases, you may want your shape to contain only a stroke outline. We’ll see how to add a stroke in a few moments, but if you want your shape to contain just a stroke, with no fill color at all, select No Color:
The No Color option will leave the shape empty.
Here’s a quick example of what a shape with no fill color looks like. All we’re seeing is the basic outline of the shape, known as the path. The path is only visible in Photoshop, so if you were to print your document or save your work in a format like JPEG or PNG, the path would not be visible. To make it visible, we’d need to add a stroke to it, which we’ll be learning how to do after we’ve covered the Fill options:
Only the path of the shape is visible (and only in Photoshop) when Fill is set to No Color.Solid Color
To fill your shape with a solid color, choose the Solid Color option (second from left):
Choosing a fill color for the shape from the Color Picker.
Here’s the same shape as before, this time filled with a solid color:
A basic shape filled with a solid color.Gradient
Choosing the Gradient option at the top, then selecting a preset gradient.
Here’s the same shape filled with a gradient:
The shape filled with one of Photoshop’s preset gradients.Pattern
Choosing the Pattern option, then selecting a preset pattern.
The shape filled with a preset pattern.Adding A Stroke Around The Shape
By default, Photoshop will not add a stroke around the edges of your shape, but adding one is just as easy as adding a fill color. In fact, the options for Stroke and Fill in Photoshop CS6 are exactly the same, so you already know how to use them!
Selecting the Solid Color option for the stroke, then choosing a color from the swatches.Changing The Width Of The Stroke
Changing the width of the stroke.The Align Edges Option
If you look further to the right in the Options Bar, you’ll see an option called Align Edges. With this option turned on (checked), Photoshop will make sure the edges of you vector shape are aligned with the pixel grid, which keeps them looking crisp and sharp:
You’ll usually want to make sure Align Edges is checked.
However, for Align Edges to work, not only does it need to be selected, but you also need to set the width of your stroke in pixels (px), not points (pt). Since my stroke width is currently using points (the default measurement type), I’ll go back and enter a new width of 10 px:
For Align Edges to work, set your stroke width in pixels (px).
Here’s an example of a black, 10 px stroke applied to the shape:
A simple shape with a black stroke surrounding it.
The same shape, now with Fill set to No Color.More Stroke Options
The Stroke options.
Here’s the same stroke as before, this time as a dashed rather than a solid line:
The stroke type changed from solid to dashed.The Rectangle Tool
Now that we know how to select Photoshop’s various shape tools from the Tools panel, how to choose a fill and stroke color and how to change the appearance of the stroke, let’s learn how to actually draw vector shapes! We’ll start with the first tool in the list, the Rectangle Tool. I’ll select it from the Tools panel just as I did earlier:
Selecting the Rectangle Tool.
Dragging out a rectangle shape. As you drag, only an outline of the shape appears.
When you release your mouse button, Photoshop fills the shape with the color you selected in the Options Bar:
Photoshop fills the shape with color when you release your mouse button.Resizing The Shape After You’ve Drawn It
Once you’ve drawn your initial shape, its current dimensions will appear in the Width (W) and Height (H) boxes in the Options Bar. Here, we see that my shape was drawn 533 px wide and 292 px high:
The Options Bar showing the initial width and height of the shape.
Use the link icon to maintain the aspect ratio of the shape when resizing it.
With the link icon selected, entering a new width or height tells Photoshop to automatically change the other one to maintain the aspect ratio. Here, I’ve manually entered a new width of 500 px, and because I had the link icon selected, Photoshop changed the height to 273 px:
Resizing the shape.Choosing The Size Before You Draw The Shape Drawing A Shape From Its Center
Here’s a few simple yet very useful keyboard shortcuts. If you press and hold the Alt (Win) / Option (Mac) key on your keyboard as you’re dragging out the shape, you’ll draw it from its center rather than from the corner. This works with any of Photoshop’s shape tools, not just the Rectangle Tool. It’s very important, though, that you wait until after you’ve started dragging before pressing the Alt / Option key, and that you keep the key held down until after you’ve released your mouse button, otherwise it won’t work:
Press and hold Alt (Win) / Option (Mac) to draw a shape from its center.Drawing Squares
Press and hold Shift as you drag to draw a square.
Again, you’ll see only a path outline of the square as you’re dragging, but when you release your mouse button, Photoshop fills it with your chosen color:
Photoshop always waits until you release your mouse button before filling the shape with color.The Shape Options
If you select either the Fixed Size or Proportional options and enter width and height values, they will affect the next shape you draw, not one you’ve already drawn. Also, you’ll need to remember to come back and reselect the Unconstrained option when you’re done, otherwise every shape you draw from that point on will be set to the same size or proportions:
The options you see will depend on which shape tool is selected.Editing Shape Layers
Earlier, we learned that to draw vector shapes in Photoshop, we need to make sure we have the Tool Mode option in the Options Bar set to Shapes (as opposed to Path or Pixels). When we draw a vector shape, Photoshop automatically places it on a special type of layer known as a Shape layer. If we look in my Layers panel, we see that the shape I’ve drawn with the Rectangle Tool is sitting on a shape layer named “Rectangle 1”. The name of the layer will change depending on which shape tool was used, so if I had drawn a shape with, say, the Ellipse Tool, it would be named “Ellipse 1”:
Each new vector shape you draw appears on its own Shape layer.
An easy way to tell the difference between a Shape layer and a normal pixel layer is that Shape layers have a small shape icon in the lower right corner of the preview thumbnail:
The icon in the preview thumbnail tells us it’s a Shape layer.
Then I’ll choose a different color for my shape from the swatches:
The color of the shape has been changed without needing to redraw it.
And, if we look again in the Layers panel, we see that the preview thumbnail for the Shape layer has also been updated with the new color:
The shape preview in the Layers panel also updates when we make changes.The Rounded Rectangle Tool
Let’s look at the second of Photoshop’s shape tools, the Rounded Rectangle Tool. I’ll select it from the Tools panel:
Selecting the Rounded Rectangle Tool.
The Rounded Rectangle Tool is very similar to the standard Rectangle Tool except that it lets us draw rectangles with rounded corners. We control the roundness of the corners using the Radius option in the Options Bar. The higher the value, the more rounded the corners will appear. You need to set the Radius value before drawing your shape, so I’ll set mine to 50 px:
Use the Radius option to control the roundness of the corners.
Dragging out a rounded rectangle after setting the Radius value in the Options Bar.
When you release your mouse button, Photoshop completes the shape and fills it with color:
The shape is filled with color when you release your mouse button.
Here’s another example of a rounded rectangle, this time with my Radius value set to 150 px, large enough (in this case anyway) to make the entire left and right sides of the rectangle appear curved:
A higher Radius value produces more rounded corners.
And here’s a rectangle but with a much lower Radius value of only 10 px, giving me very small rounded corners:
A smaller Radius value gives us less rounded corners.
Unfortunately, in Photoshop CS6, there’s no way to preview how rounded the corners will appear with our chosen Radius value before we actually draw the rectangle. Also, we can’t adjust the Radius value on the fly while we’re drawing the shape, and Photoshop doesn’t let us go back and make changes to the Radius value after it’s been drawn. All of this means that drawing rounded rectangles is very much a “trial and error” situation.
If you draw a rounded rectangle and decide you’re not happy with the roundness of the corners, all you can really do is go up to the Edit menu in the Menu Bar along the top of the screen and choose Undo Rounded Rectangle Tool (or press Ctrl+Z (Win) / Command+Z (Mac) on your keyboard) which will remove the rounded rectangle from the document. Then, enter a different Radius value into the Options Bar and try again:
The same keyboard shortcuts that we learned about for the standard Rectangle Tool also apply to the Rounded Rectangle Tool. To force the shape into a perfect square (with rounded corners), begin dragging out the shape, then press and hold your Shift key. Release the Shift key only after you’ve released your mouse button.
To draw a rounded rectangle from its center rather than from the corner, begin dragging out the shape, then press and hold your Alt (Win) / Option (Mac) key. Finally, pressing and holding Shift+Alt (Win) / Shift+Option (Mac) will force the shape into a perfect square and draw it out from the center. Release the keys only after you’ve released your mouse button.The Ellipse Tool
Photoshop’s Ellipse Tool lets us draw elliptical or circular shapes. I’ll select it from the Tools panel:
Selecting the Ellipse Tool.
Drawing an elliptical shape with the Ellipse Tool.
Release your mouse button to complete the shape and have Photoshop fill it with your chosen color:
The color-filled shape.
To draw a perfect circle with the Ellipse Tool, begin dragging out the shape, then press and hold your Shift key. To draw an elliptical shape out from its center, press and hold Alt (Win) / Option (Mac) after you start dragging. Pressing and holding Shift+Alt (Win) / Shift+Option (Mac) will draw a perfect circle out from its center. As always, release the keys only after you’ve released your mouse button:
A circle drawn with the Ellipse Tool.The Polygon Tool
The Polygon Tool is where things start to get interesting. I’ll select it from the Tools panel:
Selecting the Polygon Tool.
While Photoshop’s Rectangle Tool is limited to drawing four-sided polygons, the Polygon Tool lets us draw polygonal shapes with as many sides as we like! It even lets us draw stars, as we’ll see in a moment. To draw a shape with the Polygon Tool, first enter the number of sides you need into the Sides option in the Options Bar. You can enter any number from 3 to 100. I’ll leave mine set to the default value of 5 for now:
Enter the number of sides you need into the Sides option.
A 5-sided shape drawn with the Polygon Tool.
Setting the Sides option to 3 in the Options Bar gives us an easy way to draw a triangle:
A simple triangle drawn with the Polygon Tool.
And here’s a polygon shape with Sides set to 12. Like the Radius option for the Rounded Rectangle Tool, Photoshop does not let us change the number of sides once we’ve drawn our shape, so if you made a mistake, you’ll need to go up to the Edit menu at the top of the screen and choose Undo Polygon Tool (or press Ctrl+Z (Win) / Command+Z (Mac)), then enter a different value into the Sides option and redraw the shape:
A twelve-sided polygon shape.Drawing Stars With The Polygon Tool
A 5-pointed star drawn with the Polygon Tool.
Changing the Sides value to 8 gives us an 8-pointed star:
Control the number of points with the Sides option.
We can create a starburst shape by increasing the Indent Sides By option beyond its default value of 50%. I’ll increase it to 90%. I’ll also increase my Sides value to 16:
Creating a starburst by increasing the Indent Sides By value.
And here’s the result:
A starburst drawn with the Polygon Tool.
By default, stars have sharp corners on the ends of their points, but we can make them rounded by choosing the Smooth Corners option:
Turning on Smooth Corners.
Here’s a standard 5-pointed star with the Smooth Corners option enabled:
The Smooth Corners option gives stars a fun, friendly look to them.
We can smooth the indents as well and make them rounded by selecting the Smooth Indents option:
Turning on Smooth Indents.
With both Smooth Corners and Smooth Indents selected, we get more of a starfish shape:
A star with Smooth Corners and Smooth Indents turned on.The Line Tool
The last of Photoshop’s basic geometric shape tools is the Line Tool. I’ll select it from the Tools panel:
Selecting the Line Tool.
The Line Tool allows us to draw simple straight lines, but we can also use it to draw arrows. To draw a straight line, first, set the thickness of the line by entering a value, in pixels, into the Weight field in the Options Bar. The default value is 1 px. I’ll increase it to 16 px:
The Weight option controls the thickness, or width, of the line.
Hold Shift as you drag to draw horizontal or vertical lines.Drawing Direction Arrows
Here’s a line similar to the one drawn previously, this time with an arrowhead on the end:
The Line Tool makes it easy to draw direction arrows.
If the default size of the arrowhead doesn’t work for you, you can adjust it by changing the Width and Length options. You can also make the arrowhead appear more concave by increasing the Concavity option. I’ll increase it from its default value of 0% to 50%:
Change the shape of the arrowhead by increasing its concavity.
Here’s what the arrowhead now looks like. Make sure you change the Line Tool options before you draw your shape since they can’t be adjusted afterwards (if you need to make changes, you’ll need to undo the shape and start over):
An arrowhead with a Concavity value to 50%.Hiding The Path Outline Around The Shape
As we’ve seen throughout this tutorial, whenever we draw a shape using any of the shape tools, Photoshop displays only the path outline while the shape is being drawn. When we release our mouse button, that’s when Photoshop completes the shape and fills it with color. Problem is, if you look closely after drawing the shape, you’ll see that the path outline is still there surrounding it. Here, we can see the thin black outline surrounding the shape. This isn’t a big deal because the outline will not print or appear in any saved file format like JPEG or PNG, but it can still be annoying to look at while you’re working.
The path outline is still visible even after the shape is drawn.
To hide the path outline in Photoshop CS6, simply press Enter (Win) / Return (Mac) on your keyboard and it disappears:
Press Enter (Win) / Return (Mac) and the outline is gone.
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