How to use Live shapes in Photoshop and change to live shape to regular tutorial > How to use Photoshop live shapes and how to change live shapes in Photoshop to regular shapes tutorial

Live shapes tutorial

Live shapes

What is a Photoshop live shape ? Well, the live shape is basically the same as a normal path but as a live shape (and this is only for rectangles and ellipses) they can be combined with other live shapes and remain as before. You can use it also on it's own such as just using the properties for width / height etc


You can also change a limited set of properties such as the rounded corner setting for rectangles.


The live shapes made of multiple live shapes can be moved and modified in numerous ways using the path selection tool as well as the path scaling command.


Set operations for the Photoshop live shapes

You can also alter the set operation for the selected live shape so if you have it currently 'unite' you can set the selected item to 'subtract' etc or back again and this can be repeated over and over. You can select a couple of circles, say, and move the top circle to above the other (using the path selection tool) and then you can go to the properies and change it from unite to subtract to create a quick ring. You can also select the top item and then use the alt key and duplicate the path multiple times and then change the individual items from unite to subtract etc and position them with the path selection tool to the center of the bottom path or perhaps around the edge to create a more mottled design. You can also use the circle with rectangles which can be moved using the path selection tool to create thin slices out of the circle (if using subtract) etc. There are infinite combinations of these set operations and infinite possible creative artworks


live rectangles using the intersect and combine and unite features of shapes in Photoshop to create an abstract red and white line design teeth like skyline perhaps

Above, Using set operations on a live rectangle


Editing the live

If you wish to edit the above then you will get a warning saying that it will be turned into a regular path and the live aspect will be removed and also the ability to shift the paths or modify the rounded corner setting.


If you edit the Photoshop live shapes using a tool such as the direct selection tool, a message will appear warning that you will be turning the object into a regular path.


As a regular path, you can also then use the "define custom shape" command to capture the artwork. You can then also use features such as the shear and perspective and warp which cannot be used as a Photoshop live shape.


You can also convert it by selecting the CSH tool in some cases but you may find the define is not available. Again, go to the direct selection tool and select all the points and then that forces the define command to be available via the edit menu. Of course, it will again not be live but you can then use it as a vector via the CSH panel.



Another option to be able to access the "define custom shape" command is to use the direct selection tool and then go to the top bar and set options menu and select the merge command and then you will get the same message that you will turn the live into a regular path. Click yes and then you can define the CSH via the edit menu command (as well as a brush preset or pattern)


rounded rectangles smooth curve designs in Photoshop live shapes in blue on a white background multiple interlocked designs

Above, live rounded rectangles and set operations


Other live paths

The rounded rectangle and ellipse tool are the only ones available with CC 2015.5 and before but sadly the polygon tool is not live nor the line tool and has nothing that matches the features in Illustrator such as arcs and also the ability to change the number of polygon sides (though it only goes to 10)


intersect shapes using Photoshop pathfinder features abstract panda bear like design of circles in black on an orange background

Above, multiple circles and intersections to create a very abstrat panda


Video tutorial on the subject

[Youtube] Live shapes / merge