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How to use the Photoshop Pen tool?

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  • Last Updated : 11 Jul, 2022
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A pen tool is a standard tool used in Photoshop which helps create paths and shapes of various sizes to create selections that can later be used to make and manipulate selections. The pen tool is the most accurate way to create selections, better than the brush tool and pencil tool. In a pen tool, an anchor point is a point that can hold the curvature path to a single spot, you can even move the anchor point along the path according to your liking. The keyboard shortcut for the pen tool is “P”. Depending on your version of photoshop software there are 6 tools namely pen tool, freeform pen tool, curvature pen tool, add anchor point tool, delete anchor point tool, and convert point tool. 

  • Curvature pen tool: This tool automatically detects the curve that you want to draw between two points and creates the line accordingly without any click or drag.
  • Freeform pen tool: This tool is used to create paths freely instead of clicking and placing points. 
  • Convert point tool: This tool is used to manage the directions and paths of various curves. However, the pen tool must be used before using the convert point tool.
  • Add anchor point tool: This tool is used to add more anchor points to the given image to create better curves.
  • Delete anchor point tool: This tool is used to delete unnecessary anchor points. 

The symbol of the pen tool is-


How to use the pen tool in Photoshop?

As we know that, the pen brush is used to create paths and shapes of various sizes. So now let’s understand this in detail with the help of an example:

Step 1: Open a new document in Adobe Photoshop.

Step 2: Use any sample image in Photoshop. 



Step 3: Go to the Menu bar -> Windows -> Path to create a selection later. Use the pen tool in the tools bar or simply click “p” on your keyboard. By just clicking at certain intervals you can create points. Keep clicking from the start point and join up to the endpoint. to make a selection. Use undo option for any immediate mistake you make.                                                                            



Step 4: To make a perfect selection, use the curvature pen tool, and using this tool drag each line accordingly to create a perfect selection. You may zoom in (Ctrl and +) for a better view. Do note that the curvature pen tool adds more anchor points on the path.


Step 5: If you feel your path needs more anchor points to make the curves in the paths even better, use the add anchor point tool and click on certain points in the path where you want to create better curves. Or if you feel your path is messy due to lots of anchor points and you wish to get rid of some of them click on the delete anchor point tool, click on those unnecessary anchor points and then continue with the curvature pen tools.



Step 6: After creating your desired shape using the pen tool, right-click on that shape and select Create Vector Mask, to show only that selection.





Step 7: This is your final image after using the pen tool.


Step 8: Using the Convert point tool- Using this tool, allows the user to manage the directions and paths of various curves. However, the pen tool must be used before using the convert point tool. With this tool, you can drag anywhere and create your own unique shape and size.



This is the shape created after using the convert point. 



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