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How to use the Pen Tool in PhotoShop Part 5 (Tracing around an object)


Now it's finally time to do something useful with the Pen tool. You will draw around an object to select it. We'll draw around this cat mask, which you can down load from the exercise file link at the bottom of the page. Then create a selection out of it. First things first select the pen tool. If you want to pan around hold down the space key on the keyboard then use the mouse to drag around. Make sure you zoom in to make it easier for you to see and manage.

Here the blue dots are the points on which you click and the pink dots are the points to which you drag. If there are yellow dots you can hold down the alt key and drag to the yellow dot to change the direction of the curve.

So click on A and drag to the control handle then click on B and drag to the control handle then to change point B into a corner point hold down the alt key and click point B to convert.

Now it's a matter of drawing around the rest of the catmast. when you get to point G change that into a corner point by holding down the alt key and clicking on point G. When you get to point H click the blue dot and drag down to the pint dot to take care of the previous curve. Then hold down the Alt key and drag to the yellow dot to the left of point H to change the direction of the following curve.

For the final dot hold down the alt key and then click and drag in the opposite direction to create the curve and close your shape.

Look to the right of your screen and note the work path. Double click on it and type in cat face to save the work path. Once your work path is selected you can fill path, fill stroke or fill a selection which is what we're going to do so click on that.

See the selection on the screen. Swap to the background layer. Then go to filter - stylize - solarise to create an interesting effect.

Paths are really handy as you have just seen. You can also export your paths to illustrator which is handy for when you want to use the basic selection tools in photoshop, such as the quick selection tool. Then convert it to an illustrator vector file.

If you want to know more check out our Photoshop CC beginners training course or our Illustrator CC beginners training course

Other videos in this series:

Tracing round an object exercise file

You will need Photoshop to complete this exercise.