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Pen Tool

Lesson 43 from: Practical Adobe Photoshop Basics

Khara Plicanic

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Lesson Info

43. Pen Tool

Next Lesson: Batching Files


Class Trailer

Class Introduction


Tips for Success


How To Undo Mistakes


Adobe Workspace


Using The Brush Tool


Using The Zoom Tool


Adobe Preferences


Correcting Exposure


Lesson Info

Pen Tool

in this example, we're going to draw some things using yet another tool that can create paths that can be filled with color, etcetera. And that is the pen tool. And if you've ever played with photo shop, um, this may not have been your favorite. Your favorite tool. It tends to scare people a little bit, but I can tell you it's not that scary. But it does take practice. So we're keeping this super simple because I'm not like a virtuoso with the pentacle myself. But I do like it, and I try to embrace it. And I try to warm up to it every day a little more, and it does have some some great capabilities. So I'm gonna return over in this document to my layers panel, and I have a rectangle shape here. So this was a shape that I created with the rectangle shape tool. So just if I press you, it's over here. It's just this tool right here. And it was used in shape mode. So I've got it in my layers panel. All right, So what I'm gonna do now, we're gonna pretend that this is a logo for a company a...

nd we're gonna draw a little mountain, and we're gonna put a snow cap on the mountain, and then we're gonna draw cloud and then we're gonna pretend that that's the best logo ever. Okay, so to do that, I've got the pen tool soapy for the pen tool. Looks like this. And I want to be using it in shape mode. The pen tool doesn't work in pixel mode, cause that just doesn't work. That's not a thing. But you could draw path or you could draw shape. So we're gonna drop shape, and I'm going to choose a fill for my shape. And in this case, I'm gonna select a gray color, something like groups like this. Now, here's what happens. That changed colors because I had the layer selected over here. Uh, so I'm going to de select it by command. Clicking or what I personally end up doing is I just make a new layer because what we're about to create is gonna end up on the layer anyway on its own layer. So I select a layer, get my pen tool, and now will change the color. So I'm gonna have a great Phil and no stroke and I'm just gonna draw mountain. So the pen tool I'm gonna show you different ways of using it. The first we're gonna keep it simple and just straw straight lines. OK, we can all do this. It's just a few clicks So I'll put my cursor wherever I want the top of my mountain to be And I'm just gonna click It will come down Teoh, where I want the bottom of the mountain and click I'll click over here and then I'll close the shape. It looks like a mountain right now already, but the shape is not closed and they really need to be closed. So we'll come up here and I'll click back where I started and I'll see that little circle there that tells me I'm closing it and I'll click and there's my mountain. Very simple will rename this shape. One is now Mountain, so we're gonna put a snow cap on this mountain. I'm going to make a new layer, even though when I start drawing with a pen tool again, I can tell it to make a new layer. But for me, that just doesn't work in my mind and I screwed up all the time. So, personally, I like to make my new layer myself. Now I'll go back up here. I've got the pen tool. I'm going to keep it in shape mode. I'm gonna change the fill to white, and that's all I'm gonna change. I'll just click to close that. And I'll just, uh, maybe zoom in so I can see what I'm doing. And I'll just click at the top of the mountain and click here, and I'm just drawing a little snow cap. Simple. Look what we just illustrated. Where illustrators. Now we illustrated amount in logo. Okay, this'll is about the extent of my illustrator skills. Um, but now we're gonna make a cloud, so now gets a little more complicated. So we'll make another layer. I'm gonna keep the pencil, and I'm gonna keep the fill white. And now, instead of just clicking, we're going to click and drag. Okay, so this is like the nuts and bolts of what the pencils really all about. And I love watching people who are great with the pen tool. I'm just a wannabe pen Tuller, but I try OK, so I could draw cloud and I'm gonna show you how to draw. Clap So we're gonna position are pen wherever we're making our cloud And we can, of course, transform the cloud later So I'm gonna click And instead of just clicking to draw straight lines, I've clicked I'm gonna hold it down and drag And what I'm doing is I have created this anchor point and now I'm pulling handles out of the anchor point. So when I let go, nothing happened. Except that I haven't anchor point now and I have handles. What does that mean when we think about what the's vector shapes are their math formulas? Okay, they make shapes that are a series of curves, and there's a fancy. There's a lot of fancy math that goes into this, and if you like that stuff, you can look it up and blow your mind. But, um, they're called busy a curves. So I've clicked to set an acre point, and I dragged out that handle. The handle is like tugging on the line that we're going to draw. So here's the next point. Now click over here and and make another point. And when I dragged you see what I'm getting between the points and getting a curve while I'm dragging. If I want to move my anchor point, Aiken, hold the space bar and I can move it around and then continue stretching this Handle these handles tell that line segment which way to bend and how far. So we're basically drawing a series of points. They're called points, and they all have lines in between. The line can be straight or it can be curved. The handles tell it how to curve. Okay, so I'm gonna drag it about here. Then I'm gonna hold down the altar or option key because I want to turn this this next point, like the next line side. When I'm about to draw, I want it to bend back on itself. So I'm gonna hold down all tor option and pull the handle this way. Oops. And then don't let go. Like I just did pull down, alter option and all pull it back here. And when I let go, I have, like, one little bump of the cloud made. But now when I draw the next point, I'm gonna click and drag again and we see that the handles air pulling that segment away from the inside of the cloud again. I'll hold Alter option to turn this into a corner and I'll come up here. And how many bumps on my drawing will draw Big bump like this, So I'll pull it, maybe move it down here. I hold space bar to adjust that point and then alter option two. Pull this handle back and make a corner. And now make one more little one over here. This cloud needs adjusting. We can adjust it something about like this, and now I'll click to close it. Now my cloud is looking lopsided because I told you I'm not the best pen drawer to adjust this and this is great. This is what's great about these shapes. Whether their shapes or just path, you can edit them by using these tools down here. This is the path selection tool and the direct path selection tool. So if I want to be able to, like, adjust some of these points, I congrats this white arrow right here and then I can click like what was I thinking here? I'm gonna click to select this to select the point, and then I can click and drag to move the point itself. And then I can If I want Teoh, I can come up here and pull the handles. So maybe like, that curve is just looking gnarly, so I can just edit it by clicking and pulling on these handles and, like, this point should probably come in a little bit so I can make my cloud cuter. And then when I'm happy with my cloud and it's acuteness, then I just leave it alone and click away, and I'm done with it. Okay, so that was the pen tool. Drawing these curves is, um, hard, I think I don't know people who are really good at it, I guess. I guess you get a feel for it. I'm waiting for that to happen. Still have gone better. I've definitely gotten better, but usually I curse a lot and get really frustrated when I'm trying to draw even a little cloud. So, um yeah, so don't feel bad, I guess if you are following along and you're like, this is making me nuts, it is a little bit nutty. So use the pen tool to make the points. If you just click like we did with the mountain. You get a straight line. So, like that super easy, the tricky part is managing these curves. So to do that, you click and drag. And when you drag your forming these handles and as you can see when I pull on them, they determine how this curve will will go. So it takes some practice. But then we have a cloud here. So if I want to move this now, I can grab my move tool. And maybe I'll put one cloud here. Maybe I'll duplicate it. I can do that by pressing commander controlled J to make a copy, and I can just drag it over here. Maybe now I want to scale the whole thing up because I'm like my mountain should have been maybe a little taller. I'll just select all of those in the layers panel and then press commander control T and scale it up, slide it over and we don't have to worry at all about resolution in any of this. It's all vector and we have that total freedom. Then we can turn on our little text in. Hey, we made a logo. Okay, so this is vectors and vector illustration and shapes if you wanna do like a signature for something that has your name on it on a little longer signature. Yeah, you do this there or with type with both. That's a good question. Well, if you want your actual handwriting, then you could use, like, the brush tool on just on a tablet or something and draw it if you want to fund. Yeah. Then you would just use the type, tool and type. Type it out. Um, and you could use it in a number of different ways.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Photoshop Keyboard Shortcuts
Photoshop Resource Guide
Practical Photoshop Basics (PS action file)
Word Art
Course Files

Ratings and Reviews

Kim Williams

I tuned into this class hoping to glean what I cold since it was free. I ended up purchasing the class because it is FILLED with so much great information in a fun and easy to understand format. Khara is an amazing instructor - I thoroughly enjoyed every minute. Worth EVERY penny. Thank you Creative Live for offering such great material, at even more amazing prices.


What an unbelievable teacher Khara is. I have wanted to learn photoshop forever but was intimidated, overwhelmed, then I watched this course. OMG I learnt so much, more then I imagined. I am so excited now to start using Photoshop, I can't wait to try out everything she taught us. With the skills we learnt over these two days I think this course provides everything I need to know to feel and more. She was outstanding, the absolute perfect teacher for someone who has never ever used Photoshop. Also great moderation by Kenna. Thank you for this awesome, amazing, wonderful course. I am sure anyone who watches this course will agree it is incredible. I couldn't recommend it more. This course was just Smurfy!

Roz Fruchtman

I would highly recommend Khara Plicanic's Practical Adobe Photoshop Basics. The name of the class, implies that the class is for beginners, but that's not exactly true. Most of us learn Photoshop by the features we need to know at any given time. As many will agree, there are a number of ways to get to the same end. I can only speak for myself, but... I would bet that many of us don't know all the strategies that are taught in this class! Check it out, I doubt you'd be disappointed! Khara brings a fun and relatable approach to everything she does. She is very entertaining, while being a superb instructor. Last, but not least... This class brings with it a ton of useful bonuses. Warm Regards, Roz Fruchtman aka @RozSpirations

Student Work