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by Wendi Elizabeth Martha Scarth


Vector illustrations 
Adobe Photoshop


Draw Vector Cartoons/Pop-art Using The Pen Tool
Suitable for Adobe Photoshop CS, CS2, CS3, CS4, CS5, CS6 & CC
(This Is A Weekend MasterClass)
Skill Level - Advanced: Expert Pen Tool Experience Needed

Vector Illustrations Photoshop
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This tutorial demonstrates how to a draw a vector cartoon/pop-art illustration by tracing over a photograph with the Pen Tool. To work along, you are welcome to download the Start Images HereUnzip the file and open the image onto Photoshop’s workspace.

My vector illustration of Sacha, that is made up of over 800 layers, can be viewed here: the illustration has since been enlarged to poster size (20” X 30”), framed, and now lives on our lounge wall).

Understand Layers
Pen Tool For Beginners

Understand Photoshop’s Workspace And Palettes

Print Tip
You may find it useful to print this tutorial; and read it at your leisure before commencing, however, be aware, this tutorial contains 47 A4 sized pages.

What Are Vectors?
Photographs (or Bitmaps) are constructed of tiny square dots that are known as Pixels. Vector Objects (Vectors) on the other hand are not pixel based, and they comprise of independent, mathematical defined lines and shapes. Each object in a Vector image is stored as a separate item with information about its relative position in the image, its starting and ending points, width, colour, and curve information. This makes vectors more suitable for logos, fonts, and line drawings. An image in the Vector format is resolution-independent: this means, it can be resized without losing detail because it is stored as a set of instructions, not a collection of pixels. (Each time you display an image, you are in fact recreating it.

Zoom Into Your Work
You will find the Pen Tool’s application much easier if you Zoom into your work.

Save Your Work Regularly As A Photoshop (PSD) File
If you save your work regularly, as a PSD File, you can return to it at any time and edit it after Photoshop has been closed. If you don’t save your work as a PSD File, all of your hard work will be lost.

This tutorial can be broken down into three stages: first, you are going to create your main solid-coloured base Layers, (the Face/Neck, Hair, Ear and Earring etc) by tracing over your photograph. You will then create the main identifying features, such as Eyebrows, Eyes, Pupils, Eyelashes, Nose, Mouth (and Teeth). And finally, you will bring your illustration to life by adding highlights, shadows and contours to your Base-Layers, (Jaw Line, Chin, Cheeks etc).

The Pen Tool
The success of vector illustrations is greatly dependant upon creating smooth curved edges; and because there are no shortcuts, you must know how to operate the Pen Tool with
confidence, and more importantly, you must know how to create smooth Bezier Curves. If you are unfamiliar with the Pen Tool, please follow my Pen Tool For Beginners PDF (Extract A Tulip From Its Background). The PDF can be found the New Montages And Collages Folder. Beginners will also benefit from reading my Understanding Layers
PDF, and this can be found in the New Layers And Blend Modes Folder. Pen Tool beginners, please also take a look at my Create Bezier Curves PDF - this PDF can be located in the New Snap Type Around Paths Folder.

Vector Illustration Notes: Keep It Simple
An important point to remember when drawing vector illustrations with the Pen Tool is try not to fuss with the detail. Because you aren’t creating an exact replica and are drawing just a suggestion, you must remember to keep your vector drawing simple. Bear in mind, (unless it is your intention) you are not creating an exact facsimile of your photograph, and as a result, there is plenty of scope for artistic licence, if needed. It is still important, however, to choose your photograph with care: try to select a photograph with a decent resolution, and ensure it measures at least 700 Pixels X 700 Pixels. (The photograph I am working with is quite large and measures 4717 Pixels X 4444 Pixels). Remember, this is a Weekend MasterClass, and as such, is expected to take several days to complete, or longer if your photograph is complicated. It is crucial that you take your time, building your vector illustration slowly by first creating your solid colour bases - for example, Hair,
Neck, Clothing, Jewellery, Eyebrows, Nose, Mouth, Tongue, Teeth, Background Detail: then adding the Eyes, Eyelashes, Nose and Mouth: and finally adding the Highlights, Shadows and Contours Shading. Take plenty of breaks, and as soon as you feel eyestrain, or become fed-up, save your work as a Photoshop File PSD (to preserve your Layers), and come back to it later, or on another day. (A tired brain will cloud your artistic judgement).

Final Defining Touches
Whilst creating your vector illustration it is important to bear in mind that it won’t come to life until you have added identifying features such as Eyes, Cheek Highlights/Shadows, Mouth, Jaw Line and Chin and the final Highlights and Shadows Shading. And remember, until you Flatten (or Lock) the Layers, nothing is permanent. This means, you can go back and reshape, resize, and reposition, or nudge a vector path at any time

Layers Notes
Throughout this tutorial you are going to accumulate dozens of Layers, perhaps over one hundred depending on your photograph: therefore, it is vital to keep your Layers organised and Name them as you work. In addition, after you have completed your illustration, play with different Layer Opacities and Blending Modes to see how they can improve and blend/soften your applied highlights, shading, contours and colours.

Navigate (zoom in and pan) your image using the Navigator Palette, or the Zoom Tool.

Activate The Hand Tool by tapping the Spacebar, keeping the Spacebar pressed, pan your image in the usual way.

1/ Vector Illustration Tutorial: Setting Up Your One-colour Base Layers
Open your choice of Start Image onto Photoshop’s workspace.

Expand your photograph’s grey workspace by left-clicking and dragging out one of its corners. Alternatively, (CS4 students) drag the image and attach it to the top menu bar, as I have done.

Tip: Snap Your Image To The Top Menu’s Horizontal Bar
Another way of centralising an image is to snap it to the top (horizontal) menu-bar by dragging your image towards it: as soon as you see a blue horizontal bar, your image should automatically snap to it.

Unlock the Background Layer by double-left-clicking over the Background Layer, then clicking OK to the subsequent New Layer dialogue box.

Optional Tip - Expand Your Photograph’s Canvas
If necessary, expand your photograph’s workspace by, from the top menu, choosing Image then choosing Canvas Size.

Now, duplicate your Layer (Layer 0), by dragging it over the New Layer icon, as illustrated below-left. Then repeat this once. You will now have three Layers, as illustrated below-right.


Activate the Middle Layer (Layer 0 Copy). Then double-left-click over its name to highlight it, then rename the Layer Desaturate. Then (still working on the Middle Layer), from the top menu, choose Image then choose Adjustments then choose Desaturate. (Shift + Ctrl + U). 


Then click over the Top Layer’s Eye Icon (to remove it, the eye icon); as illustrated below. This (temporarily) hides the Layer’s Visibility

Posterise Layer Note
You are applying a Posterise Filter to facilitate the final highlights and shadows shading. The Posterise Filter brings out your subject’s gradient shading/banding and acts as a visual guide that helps you to “draw” your image’s highlights and shadows with accuracy. When working with your own photograph, choose a Posterise Level that brings out your image’s shading/banding the best.  

Still working on the Middle Layer: from the top menu, choose Image then choose Adjustments then choose Posterise. From the subsequent dialogue box, select a Levels setting of around 11, or choose a setting that suits your image and resolution; then click

With the Desaturated/Posterised Layer still active: click the following Create a New Layer icon. (Ctrl + Shift + N). This creates a New Layer above the Desaturated Layer.

Naming the Layer Face/Neck helps to keep your Layers organised.

Now, return the Top Layer’s Visibility Eye Icon by clicking it.

Then from the Tools Toolbar, activate the Eyedropper Tool .

And hover your cursor over the facial area’s Midtones, and left-click. This collects
(samples) your first skin tone. The Foreground Swatch will now represent your choice of colour.


Now, click to remove the top Layer’s Visibility. (You will be toggling on and off the Visibility of this Layer throughout this tutorial).


You will find the Pen Tool’s application much easier if you Zoom into your photograph.

History Palette Tip
Whilst applying your Path, you can quickly revert a step by clicking a previous snapshot in the History Palette - (Window then click a tick before History).

Path Application Note
It is time to click a Path around the face and neck area. 

Still working on Face/Neck Layer: from the Tools Toolbar, activate the Pen Tool.

And enter the following Shape Layers settings into the Tool Options Bar.

Then slowly click a Bezier Path around the face and neck’s contours. 
Bezier Curve

Alt/Click Over Second Anchor Point
To Convert It: Then Continue 
To Click A Path Around The Face And Neck 

As you can see, this begins to apply the Foreground Swatch to your image.


In an anticlockwise direction, keep clicking Anchor Points, then curving the Path-segments between them: (remembering to Alt/Click to continue the Path application), until the face and neck area have been fully covered with flesh-coloured pixels. Once you have completed this, Close the Path by left-clicking once over the very first Anchor Point that you applied - as illustrated below.

Toggle The Top Layer’s Visibility
As you apply the Vector Path around the face and neck’s outer contours, toggling on and off the top Layer’s Visibility allows you to see just the Path, as illustrated below. (Hiding the Top Layer’s Visibility will again display the skin-colour fill).


Organising Your Layers
During the course of this tutorial you are going to create many Layers; therefore, in order to keep organised, it is a good idea to rename the Shape Layer Neck/Face - or something similar. In addition, when adding the final Highlights, Shadows and Contouring/Shading later, creating individual Layers and saving them into Groups, for example, Face, Neck, Hair, Ears, Jewellery, Clothes etc, helps to keep you organised. (Experienced Photoshop students, you may have developed your own Layers strategy: therefore, feel free to organise your Layers in a way you are comfortable with).

Now, click back the Top Layer’s Visibility


Then create a New Layer and name it Ear, and ensure it is placed above the Face/Neck
. Then activate the Eyedropper Tool, and hover your cursor over the ear’s
Midtone pixels, and press and keep pressed the Alt Key, then simultaneously left-click to sample a lighter ear colour. This sets the Background Swatch to your choice of colour. Now, swap the Foreground and Background Swatches, so the Foreground Swatch is set to the ear colour.


Now, click to remove the Top Layer’s Visibility. And working on the Ear Layer, activate the Pen Tool and trace around the ear - as illustrated below. 


How To Return And Reshape An Applied Path At Any Time
If you need to reshape an applied Path, for example the Face/Neck Path: then return the Top Layer’s Visibility by clicking back its Eye Icon (1st). Then left-click over the Shape Layer’s Rectangle to activate it - as illustrated below (2nd).

Then press your Keyboard’s Ctrl Key: and simultaneously left-click over your the Face/Necks’ Path - as illustrated below-left. You can then reposition the Path by pressing your Ctrl Key and gently tugging the Nodes (Anchor Points) - as illustrated below-right.


Hide The Path
To be able to see how your neck and face tracing is progressing without the Path getting in the way: first hide the Top Layer’s Visibility, then left-click somewhere below the Layers - as illustrated below. Alternatively, left-click to activate a different Layer.

Reshape/Edit Path
Remember, prior to Merging or Locking the Layers, you can reposition a Path (Shape Layer) at any time.

Opacity Tip
You may find the tracing easier to accomplish if you lower the Opacity of the Layer you are currently working on - as illustrated below.


Remember to save your work as a
PSD File on a regular basis.

At present, you are creating single-colour bases: therefore, after you have applied your Face/Neck and Ear colours: click back the Visibility of the Top Layer, and sample new colours with the Eyedropper Tool: and continue to create your single-coloured base Layers - (for example, Hair, Earring, Background). Remembering to keep it simple, slowly build up your vector illustration. Remember, this technique cannot be rushed: if you become tired, or run out of time - save your work as a Photoshop (PSD) File to retain the Layers, and continue with your illustration later, or on another day. Returning to your work and looking at it when you are less tired is hugely beneficial.

Whilst characteristic details are important, don’t be tempted to overdo detail: for optimum results, keep the detail simple.

Once you start drawing in the features and adding the shading, your illustration will gradually come to life: and remember, you can go back and edit/reshape a Path Shape Layer) at any time.

Hair Example


Eyebrow Example



After you have applied the eyebrow’s upper arch: Alt/Click the Node (Anchor Point) circled above-left, then apply your final Path; - remembering to close it by clicking the first Node (Anchor Point).

After you have created the Face/Neck, Ear, Earring, Blouse, Hair and Eyebrows, you are ready to create the Eyebrows, Eyes, Irises, Pupils, Eyelashes, Nose and Mouth

There is no specific set order in which to create the facial features - I am creating each Eyebrow, then Eye, etc, etc: however, begin with the area you are comfortable with. What I would say is try to finish one area before moving onto the next.

15/ Trace Around The Eyes
In terms of recognition, eyes are an important feature: therefore, it is crucial to draw a reasonable reproduction: however, in order to be true to a vector illustration’s simplicity, don’t be tempted to draw in too much detail. Important points to remember are, (unless you are creating an exact photographic reproduction), the whites of the eyes (the eyeballs) should be solid white. (The only part of the eye that is naturally solid white are
reflections). Try not to overdue the eyelashes, as less is definitely more, and too many will result in an unnatural vector drawing. Finally, try to keep your Colour Palette simple.

Now, create a New Layer and name it Left Eye, then with the Eyedropper, sample a dark brown colour. And beginning with the lower arch, start to draw in the detail.

Vector Paths: Precision Tips
Once it has been applied, and alternative way of reshaping an applied Vector Path is to use the Transform/Path Tool. To transform a Vector Path, first, (in order to see your original photograph), lower the Opacity of the Face/Neck Layer. Then deactivate the Pen Tool by clicking the Move Tool. Now, activate the Shape Layer you would like to reshape, and from the top menu, choose Edit then choose Transform or Transform Path. Remember to press Return/Enter to complete the transformation, or click the Commit Tick.

        Repositioning  Lower Eye  Repositioning  Eyebrow 

Nudge Tip
You can nudge the Transformation Bounding box (or an applied Vector Path) into position pixel-by-pixel by tapping your Keyboard’s Arrow Keys .

Trace Around The Iris
To create the Iris, create a New Layer and name it Iris.  Then activate the Custom Shape Tool.

And enter the following Circle settings into the Tool Options Bar.

Now, with the Eyedropper, sample your photograph’s Iris colour. Then press and keep pressed the Shift Key, and drag out a circular Iris shape over the eye area.


Then from the top menu, choose Edit then choose Transform. Now, reshape and reposition the Iris over the eyeball. Then drag the Iris’s Layer below the Left Eye’s
, so the Iris appears to be behind the upper and lower eye-lines.

Lowering the Iris Layer’s Opacity will help you reposition it with precision: and
remember, it can be nudged into position (with precision) using the Arrow Keys.

Add The Pupil
After you have created both Irises: create New Pupil Layers and draw circular (black) Pupils onto each Layer using the Custom Shape Tool.


Create A Solid White Eyeball
Set the Foreground Swatch to Solid White (D Key then X Key). Then create a New Layer and drag it below the Left Eye Layers. Then click a (White) Path around the Left Eye. Because the Eyeball Layer is beneath both Left Eye Layers, the eye-whites will appear behind them, therefore they don’t need to perfect eyeball shapes.


Group Layers
You may find is helpful to Group certain Layers together: for example, Top Lid, Eyeball, Pupil, Iris, etc.

Draw In The Right Eye Detail
Now, (Zoom into your work), and draw in the right eye detail, just as you did with the left. After you have completed this, you are ready for the next step.

Save Your Layers Reminder
Now is a good time to preserve your Layers by saving your work as a PSD File.

Creating The Eye Highlight, Glints
Create a New Layer above the Left Pupil Layer, and name it Left Highlights. Then with the Foreground Swatch set to Solid White, carefully trace around the white reflections.

(Remember to keep the detail simple).


Creating The Eyelashes
Now, hide the Top Layer’s Visibility. Then create a New Layer, ensuring it is above the Left Eye Layer. Then sample an eyelash colour from the photograph using the Eyedropper Tool: and with the Pen Tool, create individual eyelashes - ensuring the lower lashes are smaller than the top eyelashes. To create an eyelash, left-click over the edge of the eye to apply the first Anchor Point (Node). Then hover your cursor over the area you want to apply the second Anchor Point: then left-click and drag the Path into a gentle
curve. Now, press the Alt Key and Left-click over the second Anchor Point to convert the Anchor Point. Then continue the clicking and dragging process until you have created your eyelash. Although this is not difficult, it may take a couple of attempts to perfect. 

Now, repeat this until you have drawn all of the eyelashes.


Transform Eyelash Tip
Click back the Top Layer’s Visibility Eye, then activate the Move Tool - and using the Transform Command, transform each eyelash so it fits over the eye in a natural direction, as illustrated below-right.

(Top menu, then Edit then Transform - or Ctrl then T).

Duplicating The Eyelashes
To save time, instead of creating multiple eyelashes, you can duplicate the Eyelash Layer and reposition it next to the previous eyelash (s) using the Transformation Tool: (Edit then Transform - or Ctrl then T). You will find the duplication easier if, after duplicating, you immediately separate the duplicated eyelash by tapping your Keyboard’s Arrow Keys.

 Then complete Path by clicking 
on the first Node (Anchor Point)

After you have applied the top and bottom eyelashes to both eyes, you are ready to create the Nose.

Repositioning Notes
Don’t worry if you notice the Shape Layers’ elements are not quite perfect - for example, the Pupils are not quite in the right place. Prior to Merging or Locking the Layers, any Layers’ element can be reshaped and repositioned using either the Pen Tool, Move Tool, Transform Tool or by tapping your Keyboard’s Arrow Keys - (or by implementing all of the aforementioned Tools and Commands).


Nudge The Eyelashes Into Position
Remember to nudge each eyelash into position by tapping the Keyboard’s Arrow Keys.

Trace Around The Nose And Mouth
Now, click back the Visibility of the Top Layer: then create a New Layer and name it
Nose. Then sample Nose-colour Pixels with the Eyedropper Tool - and with the Pen Tool, carefully trace around your image’s Nose. Carry out the same steps: this time tracing around the Mouth/Lips to create your Mouth and Lips Layers.


Shading Notes: Opacity Slider And Layer Blending Modes
To create the Nose and Mouth shading, sample different parts of the nose (and mouth) to pick up lighter and darker pixels. And remember, you can alter the shading’s appearance by lowering a Shape Layer’s Opacity, or changing its Layer Blending Mode. As you work, keep toggling on and off the Top Layers Visibility to see how your work is progressing.

Change The Colour Of An Applied Shape Layer
To change a Shape Layer’s colour (at any time): first activate its Layer, then
double-left-click over its Colour Swatch - as highlighted below. Then from the subsequent Pick a Solid Colour dialogue, change the colour either by clicking over the
left-side colour picker area, or by typing exact values into the right-side dialogue box: then click OK

Your shape will then change to reflect your new choice.

Updated Nose Shadow Note
After I completed this tutorial, I realised the nose shadow (above) was much too strong for this type of vector artwork, and I subsequently changed it into the slimmer Nose Shadow illustrated below, by creating a New Nose Layer, and hiding the Visibility of the original Nose Shadow.

Create The Mouth, Highlights, Shadows And Lip Gloss
To trace around the lips, first, create a New Layer and name it Lips. Then collect a nice Midtone pink colour using the Dropper Tool, and trace around the lips. Then, create New Highlights and Shadows (Lip) Layers, and trace around the highlight and shadows. To create the lip shine, create a Lip Highlights Layer and apply Solid White Highlights to areas that are naturally shiny.



Closed Mouth Example


Activate The Posterise/Desaturated Layer
When adding your image’s Shadows, Highlights and Contours, you will find it helpful to use the Posterise/Desaturated Layer as a guide. To display the Posterised/Desaturated Layer, left-click and drag the Posterised/Desaturated Layer all the way to the top of the Layers Stack, then toggle its Layer Visibility on and off as necessary.



Adding Highlights, Shadows And Definition Continued
Once you begin the task of adding contour detail by tracing around your photograph’s highlights and shadows, (using the Posterised Layer as a guide), your artwork will gradually start to come to life. However, it is easy to become carried away and add too much detail. When creating this type of pop-art illustration, you must remember to keep the lines simple. Because it defines the face, an important feature to get right is the chin’s shadow line, (jaw line): therefore, when drawing in this area, take special care to produce a good replication.

Grouping The Layers
By now, you will have accumulated many Layers, therefore, if you have not done so already, you may like to Group similar Layers together.

Quickly Locate/Activate A Specific Layer
To quickly activate a Layer in the Layers Palette, first, activate the Move Tool and ensure
Auto-Select is marked. Then left-click over an area of your photograph - this in turn will activate the corresponding Layer in the Layers Palette.


16/ Adding Final Adjustments And Highlights/Shading/Contours
Now, remembering not to add too much detail: continue adding the highlights, shadows and contours, until you are happy with your work: perhaps experimenting with different Eye Shadow or Eye Liner colours. Remember, until the Layers have been Merged or Locked, you can still reposition, reshape or transform/nudge the Path into position using either the Move Tool, Pen Tool, Transform Tool, and Keyboard Arrow Keys. In addition, if you don’t like a certain colour, you can quickly change it by double-left-clicking the corresponding Layer’s Colour Swatch.

17/ First, Save Your Work As A PSD File Then Merge The Layers
When you are absolutely happy with your work, (after again saving it as a Photoshop File to preserve the Layers), Merge Flatten your image. 

Congratulations, your pop-art vector illustration is complete and
ready to save or to print.

Draw An Open Mouth (With Teeth) Notes
When drawing in teeth, you will find it helpful if you a draw the mouth area in three separate stages, by first tracing around the Top Lip, then the Bottom Lip and finally, drawing in the Teeth/Gums. Because you are creating an illusion of teeth, try to remember to keep your drawing simple. To add teeth, first trace around the Top Lip then Bottom Lip (placing them onto individual Layers - as illustrated below). Then Zoom into your image, and click a Path around each individual tooth, remembering to Alt/Click to pick up the Path once each Path-segment has been curved around a tooth’s outer contour.


Example after tracing around the Top Lip then the Bottom Lip.

Now, create a New Layer and name it Teeth: and drag it below the two Lip Layer. Then click a Solid White Path around the lips, as illustrated below.


Then create a New Layer and name it Teeth Outline, and set the Colour Swatch to a
gum colour (or shadow colour), using the Eyedropper Tool. And with the Pen Tool, carefully and slowly draw in the shadows/gaps between the teeth. Remember, keeping this step uncomplicated by drawing just a few gum-lines will not compromise your final work. 


Using a gum/shadow colour, start tracing around each individual tooth - as illustrated below.

Intricate Teeth Outlines
Creating more than just a hint of teeth involves a little more Pen Tool work.

Example of adding the gum-colour below the teeth.

As you can see, creating intricate teeth and gums can quickly build up your Layers.


Reshape And Reposition The Path
Remember, prior to Merging (or Locking) the Layers, you can reshape, reposition (or nudge) a Path at any time either by reactivating the Path and reshaping it with the Pen Tool, or by activating the Move Tool then activating the Transform Tool, (Edit then Transform - Ctrl then T).

Optional Skin Shading Notes
When building up the highlights, shadows and contours, lowering a Shape Layer’s Opacity setting will produce smoother blends. In addition, creating multiple Shape Layers lets you create sophisticated, controllable vector illustrations. Therefore, study your artwork and begin picking out patches of highlights, shading and contours, and create individual Shading Layers, remembering to lower the Opacity when needed. Funky shapes can work well: and remember, you don’t need to follow the photograph exactly;- think of your artistic licence, a little abstraction can go a long way to producing eye-catching and unique vector illustrations.

Now It’s Over To You
Now you are familiar with this popular and sophisticated technique, you can have lots of fun creating unique vector illustrations for friends, family and even professionally.

Hiding the Visibility of the Bottom Layer (Layer 0), lets you see what you have created.


Pen Tool Notes
Photoshop has numerous tools that facilitate the removal of objects from their backgrounds. However, when extracting intricate objects from backgrounds, for precision and complete control - the Pen Tool is the best tool to implement. There is a learning curve; however, with a little time, patience and practise, you will be creating intricate paths in no time.

When drawing with the Pen Tool, you build a path by left-clicking to apply individual Anchor Points - (tiny rectangles), around an object. Photoshop then automatically connects the Anchor Points with Segments, which are simply straight, or curved lines. Unless you are using the Freehand Pen Tool, it will be hard not to drag; therefore, when learning to use the Pen Tool, in order to create perfect paths, be prepared to reapply your Path several times. Adobe uses the term Anchor Points, rather than Points because the Points Anchor the Path into place. However, most students prefer to call then Points. (I prefer to call them Nodes).
Anchor Points anchor (fix) the path into place, and all Paths are named Bezier
(Bay-zee-ay) paths; meaning, they reply on the same Mathematical Curve Definitions that make up the core of the PostScript Printer Language. 

Bezier Curves are named after their inventor Pierre Bezier.
The Bezier curve model allows for zero, one or two Levers to be associated with each Anchor Point within a path. These levers are known as Bezier Control Handles; and you can move each handle in relation to an Anchor Point, enabling you to bend and tug at the curved segment, as if it were a piece of soft wire.
Adding Segments: to build a path, you left-click to create one point, then left-click to apply a second, and third.... and Photoshop automatically applies a segment (Path) between each Anchor Point - a bit like joining up dots in children’s books.

Closing The Path: if you are looking to convert the Path to a Selection Marquee Outline, you need to complete the path in a circuit by clicking the very first Anchor Point you applied. Every Anchor Point will then have one segment entering it and a second segment exiting it. Such a Path is called a Closed Path because it isolates the desired area, or an object - for example, the Tulip.

Leaving The Path Open: if you plan to apply the Stroke Path command, you may not want to close your Path. To leave the Path open, so it has a specific beginning and ending, deactivate the path by Saving it - from the menu within the Paths palette.

Extending An Open Path: to reactivate an Open Path; click, or drag one of its End Points, (last Anchor Point), Photoshop then draws a segment between the End Point and the next Anchor Point you create.

Joining Two Open Sub Paths: to join one open Sub Path with another, click, or drag, an End Point in the first Sub Path, then click, or drag, an End Point in the second.

Deactivate And Retrieve Paths: to deactivate a Path (at any time), press Enter (Return), and the Path will be hidden. To retrieve the Path, click it’s name (Work Path), in the Paths palette. Alternatively, press Ctrl then H to hide the Path, then click the Path Tool (in the toolbar) to reactivate the path.

To Edit Paths After They Have Been Applied: press Ctrl, then hover your cursor over an Anchor Point. After the cursor has changed to a white tipped arrow point, (keeping Ctrl pressed), gently pull the anchor point to any position, and the Path will move with it. Note - The white arrow will change to the following black arrow.

Alt-clicking over an Anchor Point displays the following Bezier Control Handles.

Enabling you to grab a handle, and swivel it so the Path curves in different directions.

If you then Ctrl-click one of the Bezier Curve Handles, you can further swivel the Path.

To delete an Anchor Point without breaking the path, activate the following Delete Anchor Point Tool.

Then left-click the Anchor Point (or Points) you wish to remove.

Rubber Band option: to see how the Pen Tool works - after you have applied a path, or a segment - click the following arrow on the Options bar - then click a dot into the Rubber Band box.

Now, when you apply your next segment, you are able to stretch the path (in any direction) - as if it were an elastic band.

Rubber Band

Disable the Rubber Band by removing the Rubber Band dot.

Wendi E M Scarth.
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