Welcome to EarlK Design!

The EarlK Design blog consists mainly of entries that show how to do things using Adobe Photoshop that I hope you will find helpful and give your creative mind more tools to work with.

I use Adobe Photoshop CS6, and sometimes Adobe Illustrator CS5, Lightroom 5, and Corel Painter X. However, I believe that much of what I show can be done using Photoshop Elements.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Quick Tips with Earl Number 5

Here is a Quick Tip showing you how to use the Pen Tool to make a smooth curve to create a path. You can then stroke the path with a brush and have the brush follow the path. There is a lot more that you can do with the Pen Tool, but here I will show you how to create just a smooth curve.

I have opened a document that has a curve on it that I want to create. It is the curve that the stars follow. I reduced the Opacity of the layer to about 40% so that it would be easier to see what I do on top of it. But this allowed transparency to show. I added a new layer below the Believe layer and filled it with white. Then I selected the Pen Tool.

Then go to the Pen Tool Option bar and click on Paths. Now when you use the Pen Tool it will crete a path.

I will start in the center of the image to start the path. I clicked over the area near the first star in the curve. I just clicked at this point. You will see a little square at that point.

Then I click (don't let go) on a point that is around the curve where it is about where it would be a quarter of the way around a circle if a circle were there. Then I drag outward along what would be a tangent to the circle at that point. And I continue to drag and move the angle of this tangent line until the curve of the path is where I want it. Then let go of the mouse.

Then go around the curve again to about one quarter of the way where a circle would be. Click and drag to create the path between here and the previous point. Thinking of a tangent to a circle at the point helps you just drag straight out in the direction of the tangent.

Then go to the next place that is about one quarter around a circle and click and drag again.

And, do it again.

And, again.

And, one more time near the end of the curve that we want. This time we only have to drag just a little way to get the path to fit the curve we want.

Since that is the last point we want on our path, hit the Escape key to tell Photoshop we are finished with the Path Tool. And we see our path as the line on our document. It is a path. It is not a stroke.

Now, open the Paths panel. You will see that a Work path layer is selected. That is the path we just made. Double click on the words Work path to save the path.

You can just click OK and accept the default name of Path 1.

Now go back to the Layers panel and create a new layer at the top of the stack. This will be the layer that we put our brush along the stroke.

I go back to the Paths panel. Then I select the Brush Tool. From the Brush presets, I selected a flower instead of the star like on the ad. I then opened the Brush panel. In Brush Tip Shape, you can see the brush I selected. I set the Diameter to 64 px, the Spacing to 122%. These are values I used for this example. You may need to use other values for your brush.

Then, in Shape Dynamics, I set Size Jitter to 100% and Angle Jitter to 50%.

Then, in Scattering, I set Scatter for Both Axes and for 80%,

Make sure that the Path 1 layer is selected and that your Foreground color is the color you want the flowers to be, white in this case (even though you see mine is brown here; imagine it is white). Then click on the icon at the bottom to Stroke path with brush.

And you now have the flowers going along the path.

In order to see what we created more easily, I turned off the visibility of the original ad layer and created a solid brown layer below it. We see our flowers around the path. But, we can also see the line of the path.

All you need to do is go to the Paths panel and click below the Path 1 layer to deselect the layer. This turns off the visibility of the path.

And, there you have how to create a smooth curve with the Pen Tool and stroke the path to put your brush along the path.  This is just a beginning of how to use the Pen Tool. Hopefully you found it easy to use. Many of the more complex things that can be done with the Pen Tool are also easy once you see how it is done.

I hope you enjoyed this Quick Tip.


Rachel M said...

Thanks for sharing this Earl. I'll have to try it out when I'm playing later.

Juls~ said...

Earl, This is REALLY good. Love the wordArt. Wish you had on a video! So cute!

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