How to combine shapes in Photoshop tutorial

How to combine / unite / merge Photoshop custom shapes layers using path operations tutorial CC 2018 2017 2015 CS6 CS5 etc

Combine / merge shapes in Photoshop

How to combine shapes in Photoshop tutorial
  1. Create a shape using the rectangle or ellipse or CSH etc tools in Photoshop toolbar

  2. Keep selected the shape tool

  3. Goto to the top bar of Photoshop and click the add to shape area button (or combine with CC 2018 etc)

  4. Add a new design using the CSH or rectangle tool etc and that will be added to the current selected shape layer

Video tutorial on the subject by (youtube)


Add to (combine): Once you have this option (or any of the others in the list) selected then you can repeat the addition of paths until it is set back to the new layer option (or you change tools)


All the paths such as the stars and rectangles etc added are still all live and can be independently moved by using the path selection tool.


If you change your mind and would like to set the path to subtract from then you can. Select it using the direct selection tool and then set the dropdown to subtract.



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Path selection tool to move paths : pathsIf you don't use the merge, you can use the path selection tool to move the individual paths around until you finally do apply the merge command.


You can find the path selection tool in the toolbar (depending on the customization of the toolbar)


If you decide to change a path from combine to subtract etc via the same menu then you can once you have selected that individual path with the path selection tool.


Merge all the work : If you want it to become a single vector then you have to go to the same dropdown as the 'add to' etc and select the merge command and then you can define the new artwork as a new preset via the edit menu define command.


Once you have applied the merge, you cannot then move the individual paths - they are fixed


You should be careful when using the add to etc commands. Sometimes it goes back to new layer at odd times. If it does, simply go back to the menu and re-set it.


Unite : You can also use the menu commands. Select two or more layers in the layers panel and then go to the layers menu and down to combine and then select the unite command (or subtract etc). The paths are still live and can be edited.


You can then go to the merge components command as before to finalize the artwork


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