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Posted: January 18, 2011, 10:21 AM  -- Last Edit: August 4, 2011, 10:28 AM by MLM
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Survival Guide: Pen Tool

The Pen Tool is one of the most mysterious and one of the tools that is usually learned last. Hopefully through this guide you will start using this tool earlier on!

The Pen Tool can be used for tracing an object with an odd shape. It can also be used to make a swirl around something. There are more uses but those two will be gone over in this tutorial.


If you want to follow along with the same shape or don't quite understand where to put the points and drag etc just download this psd!
Code: [Select]
I will be tracing this object(actually bigger):

1. Select the Pen Tool and make sure to put the it on Paths and Pen Tool (shown below)

2. Place a point on the edge of your object.

3. Click again around the bend and hold down the mouse. Bend and stretch until the line lines up with the edge - NOTE: The Pen Tool can not go more than 90 degrees - (If you mess up just undo and try again)

4. Push alt down and click the middle point(highlighted in a white circle)

5. Continue that process until you are at the last curve.  When at the last curve click the point you started out with instead of making a new point so the path is closed off.

6. You should now see a kind of shiny line all around your object. This is called a Path. You can use paths as a selection, etc. To use it as a selection go to Paths on the layer menu (shown below)

7. Ctrl + Click the mini picture of the Path to get the selection and do what you want!

8. Done - Didn't understand where to place points etc?: Download the PSD at the beginning of this section!


The swirl effect looks cool on almost anything. This is a pretty easy thing to do.

If you want to use the shape, etc that I am, download the PSD.
Code: [Select]
1. Select the Pen Tool and make sure to put the it on Paths and Pen Tool (shown below)

2. Place the first point off the edge a good amount at where you want to start the swirl.

3. Place another points diagonally down from that one and bend it to look better.

4. Keep going all the way down or until you want to stop. (should look like this)

5. Make your primary color white and select about a 17-19 px soft brush and turn the hardness to 0.

6. Select your Pen Tool again and right click in on top of the path(general). Click Stroke Path...

7. Select Brush from the menu and press "ok"

8. It should now look like this:

9. Go to Paths on the Layer Menu and delete the path.

10. Get your eraser out and erase every other pass over the object (delete blue in picture example)

11. You can also add an outer glow to it and give it some color!

12. Done - Download the psd if you wanted to follow a long or extra help
<3 Nerve, Sk8, Labradoodle, Austin
Posted: November 21, 2011, 4:48 PM  -- Last Edit: November 22, 2011, 3:09 AM by MLM
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Good Info, I wonder how you spent a lot of time on sharing useful information with others. Really appreciate that.