Transforming Path

You can resize, move and rotate path by using Free Transform control. See the example below:

transform pathLet's say you have this path that you want to transform.


transform pathSelect Path Selection toolpath selection from Tool palette and click on the path to select it.

path transformRight click the path and select Free Transform Path.

transform pathThe Free Transform Box will appear around the path.

Resize Path

resize pathYou can Resize the path by moving your mouse over the corner of the free transform box.

resize pathTo change the width of the path, mouse over to the side of the free transform box.

resize pathTo change the height of the path, mouse over to the upper or bottom side of the free transform box.

Rotate Path

rotate pathTo rotate a path, move the mouse to further corner until the cursor turn into rotation cursor.

rotate pathYou can change the anchor point of the rotation. So that the rotate done in different axis. Move your mouse to the middle of the Free Transform box.

rotate pathDrag the anchor point to different place, now try to rotate the path again, it will rotate around the new anchor location.


Duplicate Path

You can easily duplicate path by using Alt key,

duplicate pathFirst hold Alt key and mouse over to the path you want to transform.

duplicate pathWith the Alt key still holding, drag the path to other place, it will drag as a new duplicated path. The original path still in the original location.


Paths Palette

path palette

Paths actually do not exist in any layers, paths are stored in Paths Palette. Whenever you create paths, it is stored in paths palette, by default all paths are store in Work Path.

Work Path are temporally space for storing paths, you can your own work paths and rename it to more meaningful paths.

The icons at the bottom of the paths palette are:

path palette

Fill Paths,Stroke Paths,Load Path as selection, Make work path from selection, create new path and Delete current path.


Fill Path

To fill the path with color, just select one of the work paths from the Paths palette. Then press the Fill Paths button at the bottom of the Paths palette, it will fill the paths with your selected foreground color.

Stroke Path

To stroke the path with color, just select one of the work paths from the Paths palette. Then press the Stroke paths button at the bottom of the Path palette, it will stroke the paths with your currently selected foreground color.

Load Path as selection

One of the good usage of paths is it can be convert into selection. Because paths can be store as work paths and paths can be easily manipulated and extend, paths has become a very good tool to work as a selection.

To load your paths as selection, select one of the work paths from the paths palette. Then press the Load path as selection at the bottom of the Paths palette, a selection will be created according to your paths. Note that your original paths are still remain intake in your Paths palette.

Make Work Path from selection

Sometime you might decide to convert your current selection to work path to gain the rich feature of work path editing for your selection. To convert selection into work path, make sure your current selection is still active, go to the Paths palette and press Make Work Path from selection.

Create New Path

If you want to create new paths that store independantly from all the previous paths you created, click on the Create new Path icon. It will create a new Work path in the Paths palette, all your new path will be store in this new work path. Note that you can rename the new work path like how you rename the layers. Just double click on the label of the work path to rename it.

Question: Help! I can't get rid of the paths from my canvas!

Answer:Because path automatically store as a work path in Paths Palette, you should delete your path from Paths Palette instead of Layer palette. See the section below.

Delete current path

If you want to delete work path from Paths palette, Select the work path that contains your unwanted paths from the Paths palette. Click the Delete current path icon to delete your paths.

Question: What if I just want to hide the paths from my canvas, and I will still need to use the path later?

Answer: The trick to hide your current paths is to create a new empty work path in Paths Palette and select this new empty work path as active work path.

After you draw a straight line and click on the pen tool, you can start a new path independant from the existing path. What if you want to continue extend the first straight path? You can use Direct selection tool.

Using Direction selection tool to select Path

You can select Direction selection tooldirection selection tool on tool palette. But we will use short-cut here. With the Pen tool still selected, hold Ctrl and click on the path.

select pathHold Ctrl

select pathand click on the path to select it

Add Curve Path to existing Path

Before we adding more path to existing path, we need to tell the path which side we want the path to be extend. To extend path to the right end of the path, with the Pen tool still selected, mouse over to the corner point(small white rectangle) until the cursor turn to the icon as shown below:

extend pathmouse over with pen tool

extend pathclick on the corner point to select it.

When selected the corner point turn into black color, and the mouse cursor turn to a pen with a line, indicate that you may extend the path now.

extend pathnow click anyway on the canvas to extend the path, but we want to extend a curve path instead. To delete this path, press Backspace.

select pathafter deleted the new path, reselect the corner point again.

draw curve paththis time click and do not release the mouse.

draw curvewith the mouse still holding, drag the mouse to lower right as shown in the figure on the left.

draw curveto draw another curve path, release the mouse and click on the empty canvas area on the right.

curve pathsame to the first curve, drag the mouse to the lower right.

Adjusting Curve Path

draw curveWe can move the direction point to adjust the curve path. To move the direction point, hold Alt key and move the direction point.

direction pointFigure on the left show the adjusted curve. Feel free to move other direction point to adjust both curve until you satisfy with the result.

Extending Straight Path to Curve Path

If we try to extend more path from this point, it will always be curve path. To extend straight path from curve path, you need to remove the direction point. To remove the direction point:

remove direction point

Hold Alt key and click on the corner point. Note how the mouse cursor change when you hold Alt key and mouse over the corner point. It will remove the direction point to the right.

remove direction point

Note how the direction point on the right removed after click.

add straight pathNow you can add straight line to the path. Click on empty area to add a path.

Adjust Path by moving corner point

You may go back and adjust any corner point or direction point anytime. Hold Ctrl key and mouse drag the corner point or direction point to adjust the path.

adjust path

To complete the path, click on Pen toolpen tool on tool palette.

Why use Pen Tool?pen tool

Pen tool is good for selecting complext object, other selection tool force to made a full selection right after the first time your mouse release, this inevitably leave some unwanted regeon to clean up, while pen tool creates paths, which you can then convert into selections.

Pen tool offers control and precision, it is excel in selecting curve object when compare to other selection tools. However, this great tool require a greater learning curve.

The following figure show terms used in Photoshop Path.

photoshop path

Creating a Path with Pen Tool

We will be creating the Path shown on the left figure in this tutorial, start from the left straight line to the curves on the right.

First create a straight line path with Pen tool, select the Pen tool from the tool palette pen tool or press P key. We want to create a straight line that marked as 1 as shown in figure on the left. Start from the left of where you want the line begin, click once and then move your mouse to the right end of the straight line and click once as well.

If you want to draw a exact horizontal, vertical or 45 degree angle line, hold Shift key as you click. To complete the path, click on the Pen tool pen tool button again.

Photoshop Tutorials

Pen Tool

Home <