In Photoshop, you can also modify the corner radii of rounded rectangle shapes after they have been drawn. Photoshop once again displays only the initial path outline of the shape as I draw it. For example, I'll click on one of the anchor points with the Direct Selection Tool and drag it towards the left: I'll release my mouse button to complete the edit: We can also drag the direction handles to edit the appearance of the line or curve between two anchor points. They're actually made up of mathematical points, with the points connected to each other by either straight lines or curves. A path is really nothing more than an outline of a shape: It's only when I release my mouse button that Photoshop goes ahead and completes the shape, converting the outline (the path) into a vector shape and filling it with color: If we look in my Layers panel, we see the familiar Shape layer with its color swatch and vector mask thumbnail, letting us know that the path is now a vector shape: I'll delete the Shape layer from the Layers panel so we're again starting with just the white background in my document, and this time, I'll choose the Paths option from the Options Bar: With the Paths option selected, I'll again click with my Ellipse Tool inside the document to set a starting point for my shape, then with my mouse button held down, I'll drag diagonally to draw the rest of it. The biggest drawback with pixel-based images or shapes is that they don't scale very well, at least not when we need to make them larger than their original size. Its once sharp edges now look blocky and blurry, proving that pixels are no match against the scaling power of vectors: To quickly summarize, even though Photoshop gives us three different kinds of shapes we can draw, the best choice, and the one you'll want to use most often, is Shape layers. While they look the same at the moment, the shape on the left is a vector shape, while the one on the right is a pixel shape: A quick glance at my Layers panel shows the vector shape on the Shape layer (Shape 1) and the pixel shape on Layer 1: With the vector shape selected, I'll press Ctrl+T (Win) / Command+T (Mac) on my keyboard to bring up the Free Transform bounding box and handles around the shape: Then I'll scale the vector shape down in size by setting both the Width and Height options in the Options Bar to 10%: I'll press Enter (Win) / Return (Mac) on my keyboard to accept the change and exit out of Free Transform, and now the vector shape on the left appears much smaller: I'll do the same thing with the pixel shape on the right, first selecting Layer 1 in the Layers panel, then pressing Ctrl+T (Win) / Command+T (Mac) to access the Free Transform command and changing both the Width and Height of the pixel shape to 10% in the Options Bar. Every week, we send out useful front-end & UX techniques. Snell I'll choose the Ellipse Tool from the list, but everything we're about to learn applies to all of the Shape tools, not just the Ellipse Tool: Once we've chosen a Shape tool, we need to tell Photoshop which type of shape - vector, path or pixels - we want to draw, and we do that using the drawing mode options in the Options Bar along the top of the screen. Here I've drawn a circular path, when what I meant to draw was a Shape layer: Of course, I could just undo the step, select the Shape Layers option in the Options Bar and then redraw the shape, but why do that when I can easily convert the path into a Shape layer myself. Enlarge a pixel-based image or shape too much and it will lose its sharpness, becoming soft and dull. All we have is a solid shape filled with colored pixels on a normal, pixel-based layer. If you select multiple rectangles, the values for the top-most rectangle are displayed in the Properties panel. Notice that even though I've made edits to the shape, because it's a vector shape and vectors are based on math, not pixels, it still retains its crisp, sharp edges: Now that we've had a bit of a whirlwind tour of what we can do with vector shapes, including how editable and flexible they are, let's compare them to paths and pixel shapes, which we'll do next! These are known as direction handles. The path has successfully been converted into a Shape layer. Photoshop will open the Save Path dialog box asking you for a new name. If I printed the document, the path would not be visible on paper.
Before we switch to the Paths option in the Options Bar, let's take a step back for a moment and draw another vector shape so we can keep an eye on exactly what's happening as we draw it. I'll name mine "My elliptical path": Click OK when you're done to close out of the dialog box, and the path is now saved with its new name: Paths are every bit as editable as Shape layers (since Shape layers are really just paths filled with color). Vector shapes can be scaled to any size with no loss of image quality. Vectors, on the other hand, have nothing at all to do with pixels. We can draw vector shapes, we can draw paths, or we can draw pixel-based shapes. Sign Up Free Log In. Finding a custom shape that has already been created can save you some time and headaches in your design, and fortunately there is a very wide variety of custom shapes available. The third type of drawing mode in Photoshop is Fill Pixels, which lets us draw pixel-based shapes. All I need to do is click on the New Fill or Adjustment Layer icon at the bottom of the Layers panel: Then I'll choose a Solid Color fill layer from the list that appears: Photoshop will open the Color Picker so I can choose a color, which will become the color of my vector shape. We've already seen how to select an entire shape at once using the Path Selection Tool, but we can also select the individual points, lines and curves! The second shape has been deleted, leaving only the original shape. In the Properties panel or the tool options bar, click the Set Shape Stroke Type menu icon to open the Stroke Options panel. They're vector-based, which means they're based on math, not pixels, and that makes them very editable, flexible and scalable.
Paths, also vector-based, are simply outlines of shapes with no color fill. The outline that Photoshop displays as we're drawing a shape is a path.
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