The Pen Tool ... Explained
Every once in awhile I would bravely select the tool and then try to figure out just what the heck it was good for experientially (by that I mean I would use it and hope its purpose would become clear through the end results).
It never did ...
Even using the pen tool was a
It seemed to have a mind of its own so after a few minutes of frustration it was returned to its little hidey-hole on the tool bar and ignored for months.
I have recently come to learn that it is a very useful tool if you want a precise selection with a very sharp, well defined edge.
As a matter of fact, there are those who insist that the Pen Tool is the best selection tool in Photoshop!Let's find out if it's true ...
The Pen Tools
The Pen Tool lives in the tool bar and when you click the flyout you will see all of the different ways it can be used.
The one we will use to do most of the work is the top one.
Less time will be spent with the other ones as they are mostly used for editing the path we create (Adding, Deleting and Converting Anchor Points).
The Freeform Pen Tool acts very much like the Magnetic Lasso because it tends to cling to edges but when the path is completed the result is not as accurate as the Pen Tool.
There are also some options that need to be selected on the Options Bar at the top of the screen. They are highlighted on the screen shot of the Options Bar.
There are a few very powerful reasons why this tool is so useful and so powerful.
You have to know that the first few times you use the Pen Tool you will likely find it confusing and annoying. The darn thing does not act like any pen you have ever used.
NOTE: this is the perfect project to use a Wacom Bamboo or Wacom Intuos pen and tablet because precision is important and any Wacom tablet is a extremely precise tool.
Ready to learn how to use the Pen Tool? OK - let's get going ...
You see that little Mustang insignia in the middle of the grill? That's what will be cut out and removed.
Now maybe you are thinking that you could do a better job with one of the selection tools - probably not.
How To Use The Pen Tool
Making The SelectionTake a look at the Paths Palette. The completed path is called the Work Path - if you double click on it you can change the name to something else - in my case the new name could be "badge".
Now when you save the file the path will be saved as well because you have changed the name - neat, huh? If you do not change the name and close the file then your path is gone and you will need to re-do it.
OK - now to the selection - see the little red square in the paths palette image? That is the Convert Path To Selection button. Click it and your path becomes a selection!
Now switch over to the Layers Palette and press Ctrl-J (Windows) or Cmd-J (MAC) to create a new layer with the selection.
Turn off the Background layer (click the little eyeball) and you will see the results of your diligent work!
This is my selection placed on a black background.
Two Videos - One Simple, One More Complex
This video shows how to use the Pen Tool to create a nice simple path.
Practice, Practice, Practice
The only way to become proficient with the pen tool is to work with it over and over. Soon enough you will be able to zip around pretty much anything with your Wacom pen and create the perfect cut out!
The Pen Tool Uses
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