Chapter 5. Using the Photoshop Pen Tool
In This Chapter
Putting shape layers to work
Working with a path as a selection
Creating clipping paths
The Pen tool is the ultimate method to make precise selections. You can also use it to create vector shapes and clipping paths (silhouettes). In this chapter, you see how to take advantage of this super multitasking tool. This chapter also shows you how to apply paths made with the Pen tool as shapes, selections, and clipping paths. If you're interested in the fundamental principles of creating paths with the Pen tool in Illustrator, check out Book III, Chapter 5, where we cover the Pen tool in more detail.
We recommend that you use the Pen tool as much as you can to truly master its capabilities. If you don't use it regularly, it will seem awkward, though it gets easier! Knowing how to effectively use the Pen tool puts you a grade above the average Photoshop user, and the quality of your selections will show it. Read Chapter 9 of this minibook to find out how to use the Pen tool to create layer masks and adjustment layers.
Using Shape Layers
When you start creating with the Pen tool, Photoshop automatically, as a default, creates a path. But you can also choose to make a vector shape or, in the rare instance that you might need it, a fill (which essentially creates pixeled, nonvector shapes and paths. Select the Pen tool and note the default setting on the left side of the Options bar. You can choose from the following options:
Shape layers: Creates ...