Shapes, Paths, Vectors and Selections in Photoshop

Hello, I’m Helen Bradley. Welcome to this
video tutorial. In this tutorial we’re going to look at the new vector tools in
Photoshop CS6. And we’re going to answer questions like what’s a
path, how do I find it, how do I turn a path into a selection,
how do I make a path from a selection, and how I can work with the new vector
tools. Photoshop CS6 has some new
vector tools and we’re going to have a look at those in this video. And we’re going to work out how you can
use those tools to do exactly what you want to do. Now the Custom Shape tool is in the
position it always used to be and it’s sharing a toolbar position with things
like the Rectangle, Rounded Rectangle, Ellipse, Polygon and Line tool. And all
of these are Path tools. But we’re going to select the Custom Shape
because it’s a little bit of an interesting tool. And here are my Custom Shapes so I can
select any of these custom shapes to draw on my space. Now I’m going to choose
a filled shape such as this one here and just click it so it is selected. Now I can draw it on my workspace, but
the way I draw it depends on what I have chosen here. And I can choose a shape, a path or
pixels, and we’re going to look at the shape and path options. So let’s start with shape. And let’s select some colors for this
shape because when you’re working with shapes
color is important. Now I have a shape selected I’m just
going to drag this flower shape into my workspace. If I hold the Shift key it’s
going to be constrained to the shape of a flower that was
originally drawn. If I don’t hold the Shift key you can see
that I can make it wide or tall. And if I draw it with the Alt key
pressed it’s going to be drawn around my initial starting point. Let’s just let go
of that for now and let’s click and drag here to start drawing my flower. Now if I
want it placed around the initial starting point
I’m going to press the Alt key and you can see that it jumps back into position. If I add the Shift key I can get it constrained to the right
shape. And only when I let go the left mouse button does anything happen. So what’s happening is I’m getting a filled flower. And we can see up here that
the fill is the current foreground color, but it can be changed. While this shape is
selected we can select a different fill for it. You can see that blue is now its fill but
that’s not the foreground color for our workspace. And you can see that it has no stroke
but we can add a stroke if we want to. So let’s add a pink stroke to this shape. At the moment the Stroke is 3 points
but we can increase that so we can make it thicker or thinner. And we can also change the nature of the
stroke. For example we could have a dashed stroke or a dotted stroke. And there are other options that we’ll look at in future videos. But this shape is a path, so we can actually make changes to it. I’m going to grab here the Direct
Selection Tool because that allows me to select points on this path. And you can see
by dragging over these points I can select anyone of these points. I’m just
going to turn the stroke off for the moment because I think it might be easier to see
the points without the stroke in the way. When one of these points is filled and
the others are empty this is the one that we’re going to affect. So let’s just drag out on that. And you
can see that my shape has now changed shape because I have altered that point. So it is a path that is able to be adjusted. But
still we can change the fill. And when we change the fill the fill of the entire
shape is affected. When we add a stroke back onto this the
stroke of the entire shape is being affected by our choices. Now there are some other things that
we can do with shapes. I’m just going to add a new layer to this
image, just put it at the top, and I’m going to
fill it with the red. Now let’s consider the situation where
we may want to for example cut out a shape from inside this red selection. So let’s go back and grab our custom
shape tool. And we have our same flower shape selected. And I’m going to draw the shape onto my
area. And because I was working with a red
fill it has a red fill. But let’s just color it green so that we can see it
clearly. Now let’s consider the situation where
really what we wanted to do was to create a path from this. Well, we don’t have to undo it and start
all over again, particularly if this is a complex shape because what we can do is go to the
paths palette. And here is our shape path, and we can do
with that anything that we could do with a path originally in Photoshop.
One of the things that we can do is click on it and load that path as a
selection. Now if that path is a selection then we
can do things with it. For example we could come down to this red filled
layer and we could poke a hole in this layer by
just pressing Delete. And that will delete the contents of the layer where this
selection is made. One of the other things that we can do,
I’m just going to Ctrl Z to undo that, one of the other things that we can
do with selections is we can stroke them. So we could choose Edit Stroke and we
could stroke this selection with a different color. So let’s stroke it around its inside. Let’s press Ctrl D to undo the selection, and you can see that now we
have a stroked flower because we’ve been able to stroke that selection. I’m just going to undo this again. And let’s go back to our shape up here. I
want to just make sure that we just have a red filled layer here and we have our shape up here. And here it
is as a shape. And it can be moved around because it is a shape. So we can move it around the workspace. Let’s go back to the Path’s tool and there’s
something else that we can do with shapes. What we can do in addition to
loading the path as a selection is that we can stroke it with a brush. But to do this we’re going to have to make
a work path out of the shape. So what I’m going to do is with the shape
selected I’m going to choose Edit Copy so I’ve copied the shape onto the clipboard. And now I’m just going back to this
layer here and I’m going to do Edit Paste. And look what happens in my Paths palette. This time I have a Work Path. And a work path not only can be turned into
a selection and not only can be filled with a foreground color, but I can also stroke it with a brush. Let’s go and get my Brush and let’s go
and get a brush to use. Now I’ve got lots of brushes here, but let’s create
something like this particular little leaf brush. And I’ve got it at a fairly small size.
I’m hoping that this is going to work just fine here for this particular image. We’ve got a foreground color so I’m
going to click Stroke Path With Brush. And what that does is it applies that
brush to the current path. But we need to of course make that into
a work path before that’s going to work. Now let’s have a look at how we can turn
a selection into a path. Let’s just go and get another filled
layer. I’m just going to get rid of everything that I have here right
now. Let’s fill this with white, and then we’ll just get rid of the Work
Path as well. So I’m going to press Alt Backspace on
the PC, Option Delete on the Mac, and I’m going to make up a selection
here. So I’m going to make a rectangle, and then I’m going to go and grab the
elliptical marque, and with Shift held down I’m going to add to that. So this is now my selection. Now let’s say I
want to make this into a shape that I can use over and over again. Well with the Paths palette open I can
create a work path from this selection. So I’m just going to click to
Make Work Path From Selection. And now this is a path. Now because it’s a path we can do all
sorts of things with it. For example we can click on it to select
it and we can change its points. And we can also do things like turn it
back into a selection, stroke it with a brush and fill it, and we can make it a shape. Let’s choose Edit and then Define Custom Shape. And this now becomes a custom shape in my
shapes collection. I’m going to call that a Tab shape and just click Ok. Let’s get rid of our Work Path. And now let’s go back into our shapes collection. So I’m going to click
on Custom Shapes. And this time I’m going to make it a shape and I’m going to give
it a fill and I’m going to give it a stroke. And let’s go into our shapes collection
and let’s go and grab our new custom shape. And now when I drag it onto the workspace it’s going to behave like any of the
custom shapes inside Photoshop. It has this stroke and we can adjust
the stroke size. We can adjust the type of stroke that it has. We could fill it
with everything that we can fill a regular shape with. So there’s the basic introduction to some
of the new shape and path features of Photoshop CS6. My name is Helen Bradley. Thank you for joining me for this video. You’ll find more of my video training
sessions on my YouTube channel.


  1. Helen Bradley September 24, 2012 at 1:56 pm

    New #Photoshop CS6 video on working with paths, shapes, selections and vectors using the new tools in CS6 – they are awesome.. so enjoy!

  2. genv Tumbaga December 13, 2012 at 12:55 am

    thank you

  3. genv Tumbaga December 13, 2012 at 12:55 am

    machine operated. 😛

  4. AaronMichael206 February 7, 2013 at 10:35 am

    Love your videos. They're straight forward and easy to understand for a beginner like myself. Keep up the good work!

  5. 27oslec April 21, 2013 at 8:34 am

    mam, can you help me teach how to draw a shape like the head part of a rook in chess? I am a beginner in photoshop and your reply will help me a lot. Tnx in advance. Best regards

  6. Max Mattersmusic August 11, 2013 at 4:33 pm


  7. Adamu B. Adamu August 20, 2013 at 12:05 pm

    Simply Stunning!

  8. reinatena September 5, 2013 at 11:41 pm

    Thank you

  9. Airborne September 9, 2013 at 7:13 am

    Learned a thing about custom shapes that I didn't know so good tutorial!

  10. adnainho youssef December 19, 2013 at 9:22 am

    than you very much , that was really helpful .

  11. DiDi Di January 29, 2014 at 3:14 pm

    I miss the shape tool, what should I do?

  12. Edlyn Molina January 30, 2014 at 11:19 am

    there is no SHAPE TOOL in my Photoshop …. how do u put it??

  13. Paulo N. Leão March 10, 2014 at 10:28 pm

    Muito muito obrigado eu sabia que era possível criar uma nova forma a partir de uma seleção mas não sabia como faltava uma luz e essa luz era você. OBRIGADO

  14. Paulo N. Leão March 10, 2014 at 10:28 pm

    Very many thanks I knew it was possible to create a new form from a selection but did not know how missing a light and that light was you. THANK YOU

  15. GA aeroga June 3, 2014 at 2:02 am

    can you help me on when you let go fro a mouse button my paper turn all black can you help me remove it

  16. NinaH June 23, 2014 at 10:10 pm

    By far, the best Photoshop tutorials 🙂

  17. Morgan Field November 8, 2014 at 6:47 pm

    I have not used Photoshop in a while.  Your tutorial was very helpful in re-familiarizing myself with these features.    

  18. Md. Nijam Uddin November 23, 2014 at 6:13 am

    How can  i apply brush, dodge,Burn, eraser or any other tool, when i create shape using  pent tool shape mood,

  19. Gearoid Mac uait January 16, 2015 at 1:05 am

    Very good tutorial Helen, well explained.

  20. Dave_Slam January 28, 2015 at 6:00 pm

    "Draw" or Drawer?  😛

  21. HAPPY TUTORIALS March 2, 2015 at 5:45 pm

    good video helen.. 🙂

  22. ram adhikari August 17, 2015 at 6:56 am

    thank you very much ;;for ,,to make it vedio  ,,,.keep it  up ,.

  23. renderuthis September 15, 2015 at 5:38 pm

    In PS CS 6 may path selection works sometimes sometimes it does not. It just makes a box. no vectors nothing.
    Its fixed. I got it now. simple mistake.solved.

  24. Sam Dave Pollard April 2, 2016 at 6:27 am

    3+ years on, and this is still a very useful tutorial.
    Thank You for sharing your knowledge, Helen.

  25. Raisul Islam April 27, 2016 at 6:21 pm

    Thanks a Lot.

  26. Mahmoud Gaber May 8, 2016 at 1:39 pm

    hi .. how can i select a shape ..??

  27. Moor El October 3, 2016 at 10:45 am

    Thank You For Your Videos!!

  28. EMILIO INOCENTES February 9, 2017 at 9:11 am

    Thank you Helen. I am learning more about path.

  29. JackTheRocky June 27, 2017 at 6:54 pm

    1.55 press what?

  30. Alfredo Santos September 17, 2018 at 10:01 am

    Very quick and really helpfulll tutorials, Thanks a lot!

  31. gomes032 August 28, 2019 at 11:18 pm

    Thank you SO MUCH!!!!!!!

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