The Pen Tool
Okay, this week I am going to show you the
basics of the Pen Tool. As a Photoshop
Artist, I am asked to explain the Pen Tool
more than anything else. I will show you how to
create a neat little star using it. It requires a
great deal of patience, as we will be using very
specific coordinates to gain a perfect star. I would
set this tutorial at a Beginner's Level, but
one with a great deal of patience.
First, we begin by starting a new image, 640x480
with a white background - and then turn on the
Grid Option (Control + ").
Notice those lines that are covering the background
? These will help us align our image perfectly.
Now, enable the Snap To option (View >
Snap To > Grids). This will make
adding Anchor Points easier.
Next, we select the Pen Tool (P).
Choose a point on the grid, somewhere near the
middle. It doesn't have to be perfectly centered, as
long as you set your beginning point on top of a
line. Preferably, at the section where the
Vertical Line and the Horizontal Line
connect. At the Crossroad, so to speak.
Click the Crossroad with the Pen Tool.
You will get a tiny point.
Now, move your mouse left one Grid Section,
and down Three Grid Sections. Do not drag the
mouse. Click on the Crossroad at this
Next, we move the mouse left three Grid Sections,
and click the Crossroad Point there.
Now, starting from our current position, we move
down one and a half Grid Sections and two and
a half Grid Sections to the right.
Now, starting from the next Large Grid line
below our current position, we move down two and a
half Grid Sections and left one Grid
Section. This brings us between two Large
Grid Sections. Click it.
Now, starting from the nearest Grid Section
on top of our current point, we move up one and
three quarter Grid Sections, and right three
Grid Sections. Click it. We should be on the
same grid line as our first point, just about 5
No worries, we are two quarters of the way there
(pun intended). The rest will be easy.
Next, we move right two and a half Grid Sections
and down to the same level as the Lowest Point on
our star. Make sure they line up Horizontally.
Now, we move left one Grid Section and up
three Grid Sections. It should also line up
with its Mirrored Half. Click it.
Right two and a half Grid Sections and line
it up with the Mirrored Half. Click it.
Next, left three Grid Sections and click it.
Now, back to the starting point and click.
A perfect star, if all went to plan.
What do we do with it?
Go to the Toolbar and Right Click the
Pen Tool. Choose the Add Anchor Point Tool.
Now, go to the top portion of our star. Go down two
Grid Sections. Click it once on the line
surrounding the star. Now, hold your mouse over the
area, and click it again, this time don't let up.
Drag the mouse outward one quarter of a Grid
See it ? It created a near rounded curve. Repeat
this proccess across the rest of the star. Make sure
to click to add an Anchor Point, let up and
the re-click to manipulate it.
Turn off your Grids - (Control + "). Now, our
star is starting to look nice, yes ? Here are some
of the designs I just threw together for this
Tutorial. I hope you enjoyed it, and maybe even
learned a thing or two. To save yourself some time,
go to Edit > Define Custom Shape >
Name Your Shape to turn it into a Custom
But, keep in mind that there is much more to this
tool than is stated here. The best way to learn it
is to take a half an hour with it, and just start
messing around with the options. Trying seperate
mouse movements and drags. The Pen Tool
coupled with The Grid and The Ruler
can be a very powerful combination.