Updated: February 28th, 2015
Thousands of Photoshop custom shapes for CC 2014 CS6 CS5 CS4 etc and standalone Adobe Photoshop 15 14 13 12 11 10 9 8 7 6 and PS Elements 13 12 11 10 9 8 7 etc, royalty free all for commercial use, CSH PC and MAC OS X. All the custom shapes are by graphicxtras.com / Andrew Buckle and can be used royalty free, no time limits. Great for cookie cutters as well as shapes. Some sets also include PDFs for use in many other apps such as Illustrator.
Hearts / Romance
Type / text / letters
People / faces
Circular / curved artworks
Frames / edges
Embellishments / swirls
What are custom shapes ??
They are the most usable resource in Adobe PS and PSE. You can use them as a source for 1000s of different artworks, resources, presets and much more. Really easy to use by adding to the presets palette and then selecting via the toolbox, they can be added as layers and as paths and just fills in any color and, most importantly, any size as they are vectors. They are an amazing feature of PS and PSE. They are native to PS and stored in CSH format files. Same for PC and MAC
Photoshop custom shapes for 32 bit / 64 bit CC CS6 CS5 etc
You can use the Photoshop custom shapes in 32bit and 64bit. They work just as well. If you use the 32bit version (of CS5 CS6 CC) you will have to place the presets in the x86 folder of the program files on the PC.
You don't have to store the items there but it probably makes it a whole lot easier. You can also just store them in a totally separate folder from all your versions of PS and PSE and then right click the items and select the open with option - you can then decide whether or not to load the items into PSE or PS etc.
Use as a layer
The Photoshop custom shapes can be used as a layer and layers can have a layer effect applied such as metallic or blue gel creating stunning metal / gel / wood / plastic and more. layers can also be transformed, distorted, slanted, scaled, rotated and much more. The transform path menu and warp can be used to warp the preset into an arc / twirled form and more. Modify the applied effect via the layer effects menu
If you have a lot of CSH Photoshop custom shapes files then it becomes tricky to find a particular vector graphic. You can load many different exciting graphics into a single palette but there is a useful tool from Tumasoft called the Presetviewer breeze. It allows you to quickly search through 1000s of images as well as export them to PNG. You can also browse for ABR and PAT etc files. You can use the tool on the PC and MAC.
Use as paths
You can create in three different modes, layers and paths and fills. The one trouble with the path option is that there is no fill so all you can see is a very thin line and if this is applied against a messy background it is often hard to see the path. The path can be converted into a selection via the paths palette. The selection can then be transformed, filled, used as a selection for effects. So even if they initially appear to be the least useful, they can be used to create many different exciting graphics. You can also export the paths into Illustrator for further modifications.
CC 2014 & CS 6 5 4 3 2 1 & Elements 13, 12, 11, 10 to 1
Use for ??
Video and more
Fills and presets
The presets can be applied as a layer but you can also add them as a fill / pixel (it is the third option on the option bar of PS). The CSH tool is found beneath the rectangle tool, ellipse tool, line tool etc. Once you have selected the tool, the available CSH presets for the fill are made available via the dropdown on the option bar (to load new presets, use the load / replace functionality). To add it as a basic fill, just set the color for the fill via the foreground color and then add to the document / image.
They can be added once or multiple times and can fill the entire document or just a small part of the document.
You can also use them as a source for a brush (edit menu define brush) and then add via the brush stroke or perhaps the blur tool or smear or dodge tool and more. The fill / stroke is added with the current opacity and mode setting (you can set the mode to normal, difference, multiply, darken and other modes). You can then combine multiple fills by using the blend modes or opacity.
You can also create a new layer and apply as a fill on that layer, this does have an advantage of allowing the transparency to be used with layer effects and drop shadows and bevels (otherwise the normal fill is just a flat graphic). The fill can also be further modified, either added on the background or on a layer, via PS effects such as adding gallery / filter effects as well as blurs and distortions.
The fills can also be constrained by the selection tool / marquee tool or other selection tools found via the select menu. If you try and apply the fill outside of the selection, nothing will be applied - only the part inside the selection will be filled. You can also use the fill to create masks which can then be used to create complex and exciting selections.
With the creative cloud update (October 2014), you can also now quickly add the filled image to the library feature and use any added item in future projects as well as quickly use the same items over in Illustrator
Used as overlays
They can be applied to an image with 100% opacity, you can use the preset as an overlay with say 50% opacity. This also means the presets can be used as a watermark over an image
1) Select tool in PS
2) Select fill pixel option (top bar of PS)
3) Set opacity setting to 50%
4) Apply current selected
5) Re-apply (great for creating a blurry artwork or smudged look)
Tutorials on the subject of the Photoshop custom shapes
Use with PS scripting
Modify the vector artworks / CSH files
The presets can be used as is but they can also be modified by warp and slant and perspective as well as by individual points of the path can be modified and pulled in or out and angled and this can result in a totally different vector graphic. This can be saved via the define command in the edit menu.
The best way to modify the vector graphic is to copy it via the pasteboard into Illustrator and back again. Illustrator is definitely the best tools to modify the paths as you have a whole range of vector tools (such as the curvature tool and pen tool etc) as well as third party plugins such as MirrorMe and VectorScribe and WidthScribe you can manipulate the vector into all kinds of forms.
You can also store the vector paths into the library feature (if you have the latest subscription of the CC with Adobe) as the artwork can then be quickly imported back and forth between Illustrator and PS - the paths can be changed in 1000s of ways and saved as a selection of graphic resources.
Use with text
They can be combined with text. The text needs to be converted to a layer and then additional vectors can be added to the text via the pathfinder options to add to the layer or exclude or subtract.
Use visual effects
They can can be blurred, stain glass filter applied, distorted, lens flare, oil paint, camera raw filter etc; either as a layer or as a selection (path) and as a fill. The layer needs to be rasterized before it can be blurred (sharpened isn't perhaps as useful for a vector) or a better solution now is to use the presets as a smart object (convert via the layer menu) and use with the filters as smart filters. Smart filters order can be moved up and down, the settings can be changed, the smart filters can also be duplicated as well as removed or disabled.
Use to create edges
Use them to create an edge. One approach is to use multiple copies of the vector paths and align them as a frame (use the alignment tools to create a row and column of the vectors if using as layers). You can also use transformation tools (rotate) and transform again command to create a circular selection of the paths. You can also duplicate multiple paths and place them randomly but all distributed around an image and this is a great way of create an unusual frame. You can also use the pathfinder / unite / subtract / intersect etc options to create all kinds of vector layer frames and these can be transformed and distorted as well as stored as a new CSH file. You can also store the edges into the library (creative cloud) for use in future projects.
You can also a single path and use the subtract tool to use other paths to remove (distress and mottle) from the vector and this can be then be combined with an image as a mask.
Use in animations
You can use the presets in animation in PS. Add, transform, use visual effects etc and apply them across new layers. Go to the animation palette and use the 'create from layers' command to create a basic animated film from a set of presets. Export to GIF or even SWF or a movie format. Personally, the animation features in PS is a little clunky and it is probably better to export the images and use them in Adobe After Effects
Cookie cutter tool / scrapbooking in Photoshop Elements
They can be used with the cookie cutter tool in PS Elements. The cookie cutter tool offers a number of features such as feather, skew, scale, rotate etc. The cookie cutter can be used once or multiple times. The resulting layer can be modified by effects, adjustment layers etc
Use with PS actions
You can use the presets with actions. Just click the record action and add them as you wish. The action stores the name of the preset and not the preset itself so if you want to create with a different preset you will have to change the name to match the item in the action. There are 1000s of actions available for PS on the web.
1) from Iryne Cummins (of Pixlwrks Studio): "I LOVE YOUR STUFF!!! I have the craziest uses for all of this -- I'm a jewelry creator, and using the layers and strokes to make jewelry has been phenomenal! I going to write to PS User and tell everyone to your stuff "
2) from Ann Brown (annbrownphotography.com) "Thank you for having enough time on your hands to sit and create all these lovelies, Andrew. There are zillions of them and they are very affordable. I'm sure I will find many uses for them"
3) From Carol Goodell Bingham Farms, Michigan, USA Member: MacGroup Detroit/NAPP: "From my perspective, using tools from Abneil Software Ltd/tools, leads me to places and art I would never have arrived at without them. The path itself is exciting and allows my artist's soul to play freely and happily."