Pen tool in Adobe Photoshop tutorial

How to use the pen tool in Adobe Photoshop CC 2017 2015 CS6 CS5 CS4 etc tutorial for vector paths

Basic pen tool

pen tool for Photoshop tutorialYou can find the pen tool in the toolbar. You may have the pen tool in a different location from my pen tool as you can now customize the toolbar in Photoshop (to move tools to different locations or hidden from view) but the pen tool will still be there somewhere. Select it and then apply the pen tool. What does it create, not much but a path and that is the key - it is a path and to use the pen tool it is handy to have the path panel accessible in Photoshop so you can see the work path because as soon as you move away from the path you can be sure that the hard worked path vanishes. Select the work path to see it again.


I always use the pen tool in Photoshop with the grid, I don't know why but I love to display the grid and in many cases, I like to snap to the grid View menu and snap to grid) but you don't need to and for some things it will probably get in the way but it is a nice feature to use especially if you are creating grid like designs or rectangular forms with the pen tool but the grid can also be useful for all kinds of curves etc


There are other tools related to the pen tool in Photoshop but you really don't have to use them as you can access them all by a combination of keyboard controls such as alt / option as well as cmd / ctrl and shift. OK, just start, simply click on the grid / document and apply your first anchor point and don't hold it down or drag etc unless you want to create a curve.


pen tool for Photoshop squareYou can create some really interesting square designs using the pen tool just by clicking and release and then click again in a different position.


The pen tool has a tendency to always want to create a closed path but you don't need to do that, simply stop clicking and go and select something like the move tool and that is that for the path and you (unless you clicked the start point) will have an open path to work from and that will be displayed in the path panel (though it should be said that an open path is not much use for a fill or selection etc)


Custom shapes

You can always use the result of the pen tool as a great source for custom shapes (which can be combined with shapes sets on this site such as doodle and sketch and scratchy custom shapes and dash and dots custom shapes and teeth and edge Photoshop custom shapes It should be possible most times to create a custom shape but I have had the occasional program error there so perhaps it is best to save the file to PSD and re-try if you have any issue with the paths


Other tutorials

1. how to set the fill color and properties for custom shapes in Photoshop

2. how to use shape fragments or parts of a custom shape in Photoshop

3. how to draw irregular shapes in Adobe Photoshop tutorial