PHOTOSHOP TUTORIAL: The Pen Tool made EASY

PHOTOSHOP TUTORIAL: The Pen Tool made EASY


– [Glyn] Hi folks, Glyn here
and in this short video, I just wanna take a few minutes
to talk about the Pen tool or as it’s commonly called,
the Dreaded Pen tool, because if you’re anything like me, when you first encountered the Pen tool, it just seemed really
confusing, it was intimidating, I used to get frustrated
with it to the point that for a long time, I
avoided using the Pen tool, but if you’re around this
kind of stuff long enough, all this kind of retouching
stuff in Photoshop, you’ll hear it all the time, people telling you that the
Pen tool is the ultimate way to make crisp, clean, sharp selections, now I’m not talking
about making selections on things like hair,
you know, flyaway hair, because within Photoshop,
we have so many ways that we can use to make
great selections of hair, for example, the Refine
Edge and Refine Mask does a brilliant job most of the time, when I come to talking about the Pen tool, we’re talking about making
selections of things that have got straight
lines or curves in them, you cannot get better than it, so my goal by the end of
this very short video, is just to give you a couple of pointers, that I’m really hoping will help clear up a few of the questions and frustrations, that you have about using the Pen tool. Now there’s a lot you
can do with the Pen tool, you can make shapes, you can make paths and all kinds of stuff,
but all I want to do in this short video is talk about using the Pen tool for making selections. So when you first open up your
Pen tool from the Toolbar, make sure in the Options at the top here, you have it saying Path,
you can either say Shape, Path or Pixels, we’re gonna choose a Path, now when you started using it, you realised that you could put dots down and the Pen tool would
just join them together and that’s pretty damn good,
but that’s no different to using something like
the Polygonal Lasso tool, the Pen tool comes into its own, when we start making curves, but that’s where the confusion comes in, because we know again, we put
a dot down, another dot down, then we start being able
to pull these handles out, when we’re going round
a particular object, but it’s pulling these handles around, that starts to make things go
all kind of funky and weird and we kind of lose track of where we are, so we end up deleting
it and just carrying on using another method of the Pen tool, once we’ve got frustrated with it. So, one thing I want you to do, before you start using the Pen tool, come over to your Toolbar
and in the Toolbar, choose the Path Selection tool, that’s got a keyboard shortcut of A, now when you go to that, in the top, you’ll have some options available to you and it all depends what version
of Photoshop you’re using, now I’m using Photoshop CC, people who are using CS6 also might notice that the Constrain Path Dragging, which is the one that
we wanna look at here, there’s no tick in the box, if
you’re using CS5 and beyond, sorry, before then, you’ll probably notice that it already is ticked,
well, we need it to be ticked, in the newer versions,
they’ve stopped putting a tick in there, which changes things and makes them go a little bit funny, so before you do anything,
put a little tick where it says Constrain Path Dragging and that’s gonna make a
massive difference now to how you use the Pen tool. So for example, recently
I did this picture of an Aston Martin and I’ve
done a couple of videos, you might have seen them
on my YouTube channel, where I’ve done like this
cartoonish kind of look, but another one where I
showed how I put in the sky and to do the sky, which
wasn’t the original sky in the picture, I had to
make a selection of the car, not an easy thing to select, I couldn’t use the Quick Selection tool and the reason being is it
made a pretty good selection, until it got to the roof
line, ’cause the contrast between the sky and the
roof was pretty similar, so it did struggle to do it, so the Pen tool is the
way that I went with it. So look, here’s how we’re gonna do it, we know we need to know when
we’re using the Pen tool, two keys on your keyboard,
that’s all I want you to know and whether you’re using Windows or Mac, the first key you need to know
is the Command or Control key and the other key, Alt or Option key, those are the only two
keys that you need to know, whoops, turn that off, only
keys that you need to know be able to master the Pen tool, it’s also worth knowing how
you can kind of step backwards, if you do something wrong,
so know the keyboard shortcut or you can just come to
the menu at the top here and go the long way round
be able to step backwards, but here now is how I’m
gonna make a selection of this roof line, which
is slightly curved, but make it easy using the Pen tool. So what I’m gonna do is
I’m gonna put a little dot just at the bottom of this aerial and I’m gonna choose a
part on the roof line here and experience will tell you
how far along you can go, but I’ll choose maybe around about here, so before I let go, I
need to tell Photoshop which way to go, because when
we’re using the Pen tool, we’re in control, Photoshop
wants to be clever, but we’re gonna tell it
exactly where we want it to go, so before I let go, I’m
gonna tell Photoshop we need to move over,
carry on coming this way, we need to come to the
right, so what I’m gonna do is drag out just a small
line to tell Photoshop this curve carries on going
round to the right-hand side, now once I’ve done that, obviously if I look at the line I’ve laid down, it’s virtually straight and it doesn’t follow
the line of the roof, but to make it follow
the line of the roof, all I need to do is hold down
my Command or my Control key and click on the line
and then drag upwards and you’ll notice that it starts to curve, what you’ll also notice
is over on this side here, this bar is extended, now
that’s what you would have done, if you were very familiar
in using Photoshop, you’d have just put that dot
down and dragged that out, got another dot, dragged it out and you’d do it automatically, so this is like a way you can learn to see how those bars affect the curve by us clicking and dragging
up in the middle of it, so once you’ve done
that quite a few times, you’ll move on and just start
dragging out these bars here, so that you can create your
curves a lot, lot quicker, but let’s just carry
on making the selection of the roof line, so I’ve
done that little curve there, I’m gonna choose maybe over
here and then before I let go, I’m gonna tell Photoshop
we’re gonna carry on going this way to the right-hand side, again that bar there needs to be curved to follow the line of the roof, so I’m gonna hold down my Command key, click in the middle and drag it upwards and you can see that it starts to curve and those bars on the
dots the other side of it come outwards, so let’s just carry on making the selection of this roof line, so I’m gonna click, Photoshop
needs to go that way, drag it in the middle, click up and drag and I’ll just carry on working
my way round like this, now I’ll just keep going, keep going round to the right-hand side, click in the middle,
pull up to make it curve, I’m gonna carry on
coming all the way down, until I reach the wing
mirror, so click, drag it, tell it we’re coming down this way here, that line needs to be made
to curve just a little bit, hold down my Command or Control key, click in the middle and drag it upwards, until eventually it follows
the line of the roof, all the way down here,
it’s not too curved now, but I’m gonna still keep telling Photoshop which way we’re going, click in the middle,
drag it up to curve it, until eventually we’re gonna come to the bit at the bottom here, now, where the wing mirror
is, there is no curve, this line here needs to take
a sudden turn to the left, so that we can go upwards, so
now I need to tell Photoshop, right, hold on a second, we’ve
got to make a sharp turn here and this is where we use
Alt or our Option key, so rather than us dragging off the direction of the
curve, we need to say, right, put your brakes on,
hold down your Option key, click on that dot and tell it, we’re not gonna go down that way, we’re gonna come round this way and you can see when you hold down your Alt or your Option key, you can create very, very sharp turns, so again, I’m gonna bring
it round to tell Photoshop we’re gonna continue up this
way, up the wing mirror, so I only need to drag just
a little bit like that, I’ve come up a little bit
further on the wing mirror, I’ll say right, click there and the curve continues
round the wing mirror to the right and just
up a little bit like so and again, I can come in with
my Command or Control key, click and move this curve out
and that’s all you need to do, just take control of Photoshop by dragging out a little
bit on these lines here to say which way your
curve’s gonna continue to go, then use your Command or Control key to click in the middle
and drag it upwards, so that you can line it up
exactly where you want it to be, something like that. Okay, so just to recap then, we know that when we’re using the Pen tool to keep things nice and simple, we just need to know two
keys on our keyboard, the Command or Control key
and the Alt or the Option key, now when we’re using the
Alt or the Option key, we know that we can create
really tight corners now, so if I hold that Alt or Option key, click on the little point, we can tell it we need
to make a sharp turn, we know when we use the
Command or Control key, I can use that if I hold it down, I can click on the line
and change the curve and just map it to where I’m trying to make a good selection around, another use of the Command or Control key is if you find that you put a
dot down in the wrong place, you can hold down your
Command or Control key, click on one of those dots
and you can reposition it, so that’s really, really handy and a flexible and easy way to work. Now let me just make a very,
very quick path around here, just to join these two ends up and just to say that
whenever you make a path around an object within Photoshop, that path will show up in the Paths panel over on the right-hand side here, when you’ve got the default
layout within Photoshop and just like in layers, you
can double-click on the name and you can rename it, now if you wanted this path here to be turned into a familiar selection, where you have those marching ants, just at the bottom of
the Paths panel here, we’ve got this icon, the third
one from the left-hand side, if I click on that, you’ll see that it becomes
the familiar marching ants, now as a little side note,
the great thing about that is if you’re the kind of person, that only works on JPEG images and you like to save
your images as a JPEG, if you want to make sure that any time that you’ve spent making a
selection is nice and safe, you can actually save your
selections in the JPEG, now you’re not normally able to do that, however, if you do make a selection, like you’ve got the marching ants now, you then come to the Paths panel and then click on the fourth
icon from the left-hand side, that’ll turn your selection into a path and you can then save that in your JPEG file for use later on, so you can also work non-destructively in your JPEG images. So there you go, just a quick
video, hope that’s handy, any questions you have
for me, drop me a line to Glyn at GlynDewis.com,
otherwise I’ll see you next time. Oh and before I go, don’t
forget if you haven’t already, make sure you click on the
big Subscribe button now, so you don’t miss out on any videos, any short ones like this that I put out and also the weekly episodes of my Photography, Photoshop
and Lightroom podcast. Right, I shall see you next time.

100 thoughts on “PHOTOSHOP TUTORIAL: The Pen Tool made EASY”

  1. Excuse me ! after i drew an anchor and used the command key Ctrl and click on the line as you it could not work. Can you please tell me the solution πŸ™

  2. I have literally watched video after video on this and yours is the only one that explained the why behind the tools and explaining how they work instead of just telling me what they were. It took me all of three clicks after watching your video to understand and nail this tool, when it took me hours on other videos and still being unable to figure it out. I can't thank you enough.

  3. [hundreds of how-to-use-the-pen-tool videos later]: OMG…I GET it now! THAT is how to use the pen tool!! Thanks so much for that excellent explanation that even I understand!!! πŸ™‚

  4. another cracking tutorial Glyn. Now to break free from the mouse and start to use the tablet that has been sat bored next to my keyboard for about 4 years lol.

  5. Your videos are fantastic. They're very very clear and not too rambly! You're my 'go to' when I want to hack my photoshop skills quickly! Thanks for your hard work!

  6. thank u very useful. the other dude above this video with a lot of photoshop tutorials has a weird personality and voice haha but. your accents on point mate

  7. What I want to know is how do you make a new path going in a different direction but starting at a new anchor point on an existing path. For instance, I'm trying to make a custom shape from an image so I can use it again and again. In the image there are black borders and some of the borders cross over each other or start off of the other. I can't simply just trace around them because of they way they connect. If I just trace around them, there will be lots of open ends.

    So, how do you start a new line off of an existing line?

  8. This is just fantastic! Words and demonstration simplified to allow this photographer to get to grips with the **%$Β£ pen tool. Thank you so much.

  9. Hey Sir how r u kindly help me whenever i can draw a logo in photoshop using pen tool. In document i check my logo whatever i draw the sketch of the logo is looking good in psd file whenever i save it as a jpeg then its pixelated
    sir please help me im in trouble
    im waiting for your ans plz give me a moment.
    Thankx

  10. Photoshop CC 2017 doesn't seem to have "Constrain Path Dragging", is there a equivalent alternative. Meanwhile, still frustrated with the pen tool πŸ˜–

  11. I've watched about 7 different pen tool tutorials and this is the one I was looking for. Expertly explained to make the core simple concepts of the process clear and understood as to why you do what you do. Thankyou

  12. thx for this tutorial Glyn, i did not understand how the pen tool worked, but now in 10 minutes i know it all !

  13. Brilliant Glyn. When I step back to check the instructions the voice is easy to listen to. Very helpful for someone who needs to review the steps taken.
    Many thanks.
    Andrew F.

  14. A big thank you Glyn. Most eloquently explained. Very easy to understand. Finally I get it.
    A big thumbs up and subscribed !

    Just found your book 'The Photoshop Workbook' – Going to buy it, looks fantastic. Scott's foreword feels very right and would'nt be surprised if it most accurately described the book.
    You are clearly a master of your trade. Well done !!!

  15. This was great. I never had success at using the pen tool, but you made it really easy. I followed your instructions, and it worked great. Thanks again

  16. Great video, many thanks for posting – I've only just found it! Is there any way to make the path line easier to see? It is very thin and disappears into the background.

  17. Excelente!Simple and easy! From here you can start learning all the tricks and secrets of this tool! Muy bien, Sr!!!

  18. Great tutorial!! This tutorial created my 'aha' moment for using the pen tool. It finally clicked. Thank you!

  19. Bestes Tutorial aller Zeiten, Danke Glyn!

    This "weird" pen made easy in 5 minutes and taking away my German Angst was an experience! I am looking forward to hearing and seeing from you, Glyn!

  20. bro you are a life saver, you the only one who actually took the time to explain it and you showed us the easy way to do the curve, there is no other video that shows it like this and I feel sorry for those who havent found this video yet cuz the pen tool is so frustrating but thanks to you i can finally use it cuh we lit!

  21. this is the best pen tool tutorial I've come across. no one ever says anything about the alt key. I'm glad I found this video

  22. I subscribed straight after you said: the dreaded pen tool, hahahha. Just how I feel right now, so hopefully there will be a progress soon.

  23. OMG Man you just saved my life where were you before I wish Ive seen this before oh god thanks a lot bro. You are the best one on youtube now πŸ™‚

  24. Thanks Glyn, that would be the simplest description how to use the pen tool I've seen so far. I'm definitely going to try this technique.

  25. I really enjoyed this Glyn. It really used to frustrate me whenever I use this tool, but after watching your tutorial and listening to your explanation that all I have to use is "Command" & "Option", it's as simple as 1-2-3.

  26. Spent years using photoshop and the pen tool has never clicked in my brain, despite watching tons of tutorials… and then I came across your video… WOW !!!! It all makes sense.. Thank you so much !!!! πŸ™‚

  27. Really you made it easy. I have been frustrated for the last two days. Evan a few tutorials I referred in Youtube didn't clear my doubts. Now I got it crystal clear. Thanks

  28. The lines drawn are so thin and in a bright picture it become so difficult to see the line. Is there any option to make the line little thicker or in a contrast color?

  29. You sir are a legend! Thank you so much. I finally know how to use the damn pen tool. Truly an indispensable tool to have in your arsenal.

    Now I'm going to try and create an illustration from a photograph with the pen tool.

  30. I have watched quite a few videos on using the pen tool in photoshop and after just watching your tutorial I feel that I can actually use the pen tool. I was so frustrated before and you make it seem more simplified. Thank you so much for your help.

  31. You have no idea how many times I have walked away from the pen tool after a video tutorial ! Thank you Sir finally the penny dropped…Awesome

  32. Best video about the Pen Tool, as said by so many. I wish you had one about the Clipping Path and placing objects over others/backgrounds. Many thanks.

  33. BRILLIANT VIDEO!!

    Just like anything else in life – if you can explain it simply, you UNDERSTAND IT. If you can't, you're just pretending.

  34. 𝕴 π–π–šπ–˜π–™ π–Œπ–”π–™ π–’π–Žπ–“π–‰π–‹π–šπ–ˆπ–π–Šπ–‰ π–‡π–ž π–•π–Šπ–“ 𝖙𝖔𝖔𝖑 π–™π–šπ–™π–”π–—π–Žπ–†π–‘ π–›π–Žπ–‰π–Šπ–”

  35. The best pen tool tutorial video I've ever seen. I'm now eager to use it often, instead of ignoring it for not having understood its usefulness and ease of use. Thanks a lot.

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