In This Chapter
Working with the Pen tools
Using the Paths panel
Loading paths as selections (and vice versa)
Editing, saving, and selecting paths
Although the Marquee, Lasso, and Magic Wand tools are fun, friendly, and pretty easy to wield (see Book III, Chapter 1), sometimes they don't quite have the horsepower to make that really precise selection. So, either you spend a lot of time cleaning up what you've selected (see Book III, Chapter 3 for more on that topic), or you live with a ho-hum selection. That's where the Pen tool and its related cronies come to the rescue. The Pen tool creates paths — which you can then convert into selections.
Because the Pen tool (along with the related path-editing tools) offers control and precision, it can nail that accurate selection. The only problem is that the Pen tool is a far cry from fun, friendly, and easy. Many new users try the Pen a few times but end up muttering in disgust and returning gratefully to the Lasso tool. However, I guarantee that if you dedicate a good chunk of time to mastering the Pen tool, you can turn your elite little nose up at the simple Lasso tool.
Unlike the other selection tools, the Pen tool doesn't initially produce a selection marquee. When you select the Pen tool and start clicking and dragging around your image, you create a path. Paths have three types ...