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Mastering Pen Tool Paths in Photoshop


The Pen Tool is one of the most important Photoshop tools for retouchers. Using Pen Tool Paths you can achieve a high degree of control and make precise selections much faster than brushing on a mask. In this tutorial we focus on setting up the Pen Tool and Path for a good start and then how to make closed paths for selection. You'll learn all about the curves, handles and how to edit a path easily. You'll learn why paths can go wrong and how to avoid path wobbles and lost paths.

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31 min
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About this tutorial

This Gry Garness Photoshop tutorial, Mastering Pen Tool Paths in Photoshop, takes a close look at the use of the Pen Tool during the retouching process. This tutorial strats from the basics and moves on from there. We’ll compare the Shape Layer to a Path and focus on the behaviour of the curves made by the Pen Tool. The tutorial includes a couple of exercises to help you understand the Pen Tool’s behaviour and then a closed Pen Tool path is created on an actual image for figure selection. Gry demonstrates how you can edit on the fly, control the handles, segment points and convert corner points to smooth points. How to save and load a Path is covered, as well as re-activation and shortcuts to edit.

Gry points out how paths can go wrong and shows you how to avoid these mistakes. Knowing how to master the Pen Tool paths in Photoshop will save you lots of time and it’s one of the secrets to professional retouching.

What you’ll learn

  • – Paths Versus Shape
  • – Rubber Band And Settings For Pen Tool
  • – New Path Versus Workpath
  • – Bezier Curve Behaviour
  • – Corner Points
  • – Smooth Points
  • – Handles And Segments
  • – Editing A Path As You Go
  • – Adding And Deleting Points
  • – Hiding And Reactivating A Path
  • – Making A Selection From A Path
  • – Converting Corner Points To Smooth Points And Vice Versa
  • – Loading And Using A Path