photoshop creative

Master the pen tool (part 2)

Posted in:
Tips & Tutorials, by Mark White
October 19, 2014

Part 2 of our cool Pen Tool tutorial!

11. Using the tool

With the Convert Point tool selected, you can start smoothing out your path by rotating the lever up or down to build a much smoother angle. You can repeat this every time you notice a mistake that you made while tracing over your original images.

12. Delete Anchor Point tool

Hide your original drawing to see the shape better. Another handy tool within the Pen toolset is Delete Anchor Point. Its function is within its name; the tool allows you to remove unwanted anchor points.

13. Begin to delete

Select the Delete Anchor Point tool (which is inside the Pen tool group) and click on the anchor point tool to smooth out your curve by selecting the anchor point that was beside the anchor point you just eliminated.

14. Add Anchor Point tool

When you are editing your vector point where you would like to to add an anchor within your existing path. To do this, select the Add Anchor Point tool and click at the point where you want to place your new anchor.

15. Working the new anchor

After you have created your new anchor, you can edit it just like all your original anchor points. Just hold down Shift (to activate the Direct Selection tool) and move the point to alter your shape slightly.

16. Create more vector shapes

Once you are satisfied with your first vector shape it is time to move on to your next shape. Select the Pen tool once again and then repeat steps 4-15 in order to trace the rest of your image.

17. New layer

Every time you close a path to begin a new vector shape, a new layer will automatically be added to your Layers palette. Here’s a tip: select a different foreground colour before you begin work each new shape, as this will make identifying which shape is which easier later on.

18. Creating depth

Once you have finished tracing your original illustration with the Pen tool and editing your path, it is time to add some depth to your vector shapes. Start by setting the background colour to a purple (#7f297c) and the foreground to a pink (#d70b7d).

19. Gradient Overlay

Using the Path Selection tool (A), select one of the bigger vector shapes (this will automatically select the correct layer). Then go to Layer>Layer Style>Gradient Overlay. Keep the default settings the same, but change the Gradient option to Foreground to Background and then press Return to apply.

20. Orange and red gradients

This time, make your foreground colour a red (#d81f27) and your background an orange (#ea8b2b), and then select another vector shape. Again, go to Layer>Layer Style>Gradient Overlay and change your Gradient option to Foreground to Background. Repeat these steps to add gradients to the rest of your shapes, and why not vary the colours slightly and have fun with it?