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This chapter is from the book

This chapter is from the book

Customizing the Shapes Feature

Shapes were introduced way back in Photoshop 6. They are vector designs on a palette, and typically, you create a vector mask layer when you create a shape in an image window, as is being done in Figure 3.23. Don't worry about Shapes right now; they are covered in Chapter 4, "Layers and Channels." What we're doing here is showing you how to access different shapes.

Replace Shapes is selected in Figure 3.23. The reason? We've put some really inventive Shapes palettes on the companion CD, and to access them, you need to choose either the Replace Shapes or Load Shapes command. Then again, as you can see in the figure, Photoshop ships with a bunch of different shapes themes, which are listed at the bottom of the palette menu.

To try your hand using different shapes, do this: Click on the down arrow next to the Shapes icon on the Options bar. Then click on the menu flyout button and choose Replace Shapes. Navigate to the Examples\Chap03 folder on the companion CD. Click on Icons.csh, and then click on Load.

Open a new image window, and click on the Shape layers icon on the Options bar. Select a shape, and then marquee drag the shape in the image window (hold Shift to constrain proportions of the shape). Fun, eh? And best of all, shortly you'll learn how to make a shapes palette of your own.

If you click on the down arrow to the right of the Shapes icon, the Custom Shapes Options appear (see callout a in Figure 3.24). This dialog box enables you to choose options for the shapes you create. If you toggle off the link icon (callout b in the figure), whatever the shape allows to peek through under the layer will not move in sync if you choose to move the shape on the layer.

Figure 3.23Figure 3.23 Choose the Custom Shape tool, and then on the Shapes palette, choose Replace Shapes.

Finally, callout c shows that no style has been chosen for the shape. A style is a combination of different effects that produce gem-like or stone-like qualities. With no style, what shows through the shape is the underlying foreground color. Double-click on the left thumbnail on the Layers palette, and you will see that you can change layer colors by making the change in the Color Picker.

Shape Styles and Their Components

In Figure 3.25, you can see that a shape has been given a style, specifically one of the Glass Button collection styles. All you do to add a style to a shape is click on the style icon; either select it from the drop-down palette on the Options bar or from the Styles palette (F6).

Why don't you create a shape now in a new image window? That way, you'll see what goes into a style.

Figure 3.24Figure 3.24 Use your own shapes with Photoshop's Shapes feature.

Figure 3.25Figure 3.25 You can drag a style icon and drop it on top of a shape, or you can simply click on the style icon.

As you can see in Figure 3.25, a down arrow appears to the right of the Shape thumbnail on the Layers palette. Click on the triangle, and all the effects that go into making the current style are revealed to you. You can change any aspect of the style that has been applied by double-clicking on a style effect and then changing the default settings. Changing a component of a style applies only to what you added it to in the image window; a style on a palette cannot be changed unless you explicitly delete or otherwise modify the style.

Adding Your Own Shape to Photoshop

So far, we've touted the Shapes tools as the best thing since those wash-off tattoos; however, we didn't tell you that you, too, can make a collection of shapes and use them. Now, we assume that you have not read Chapter 6 yet, and therefore, you are not familiar with the Pen tool. That's okay; this chapter is on customizing. The working knowledge of tools comes later. But now, we're going to walk you through the process of using the Pen tool to create a simple shape, so you can learn how to add your custom shape to Photoshop CS.

Start by clicking on the Pen tool. Draw anything you like—a doodle is fine—and close the path by clicking on its origin point, the point you started with. If you're not familiar with the Pen tool, attempt a simple shape for now, such as a rectangle, by clicking at the points that make up the corners.

You can now add the shape to the current shapes palette in two easy steps:

  1. Choose Edit, Define Custom Shape.

  2. In the Shape Name dialog box, type the name of the shape, as shown in Figure 3.26. Done!

You might want to use the Blank.csh file in the Examples\Chap03 folder to populate a palette with your own designs. This palette has only one shape that you can delete after adding at least one of your own creations (palettes have to have at least one object).

If you're wishing now that you had the same control over defining brush tips as you do now with vector shapes, well, you do!

Come on—let's take a trip to the brush tip controls.

Figure 3.26Figure 3.26 Creating a new shape on a Shapes palette is as easy as 1-2-3, without the 3.

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