Home > Adobe, CS3, CS4, CS5, Photoshop > Photoshop Vector Shape Layers

Photoshop Vector Shape Layers

You can make complex vector shape layers and masks straight from Photoshop! Most of the controls are in the Control Panel, and is context sensitive. So make sure you are in you Shape Tools [U].

Control Panel/Options Bar with Shape Tool Selected

Control Panel/Options Bar with Shape Tool Selected

Control Panel/Options Bar for Shape Tool

  • Tool Presets lets you select a tool saved as a preset.
  • Drawing Mode lets you draw as shape layer, paths, or pixels.
  • Tool Options lets you define parameters for a given tool (confine to circle, square, etc)
  • Tool Modifiers lets you add to shape, subtract from shape…etc.
  • the Link Icon I have no idea what this does. Someone explain it to me please.
  • Style lets you decorate your shape from one of the saved Graphic Styles.
  • Color Yes. You can has color.

Drawing Modes

  • Shape Layers creates a vector mask against a solid color adjustment layer. You can draw separate shapes on a layer! This is what we’ll talk about for the rest of the post.
  • Paths creates just a plain path in the Paths Panel. You know, before Photoshop had vector shapes and vector masks.
  • Fill Pixels create the shape as pixels. Plain ‘ol pixels.

Drawing Tool Modifiers

  • Create a New Shape Layer does what it says. Creates a new layer to make a new shape. Like lots of layers called “Shape #”? This is for you.
  • Add to Shape Area add the vector path to the current layer. If your new shape is going to be the same color and style as your existing shape, why not do this instead of creating a new layer? Click on the icon before drawing a new shape, or hold down [shift].
  • Subtract from Shape Area subtracts shapes from each other while drawing multiple shapes on the same layer, use this modifier. hold down [alt/opt].
  • Intersect Shape Areas shows only the parts where the two shapes overlap. [shift+opt/alt].
  • Exclude Overlapping Shapes shows only the parts where the two shapes don’t overlap.
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  1. 2011/07/10 at 5:44 pm

    My photoshop doest not show that shape bar, how can i activate it?

    • Canvai
      2011/07/14 at 7:56 pm

      You have to make sure you have the Application Bar turned on (under Window), and then make sure you are using one of the Shape Tools [U].

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