The Pen Tool
You've all heard of it. some of you try to
keep your distance... Thats not good. here, in this simple
tutorial, you'll learn easily how to use the pen tool.
These are all of the seven pen tools. The most important
one is the actual pen tool. The first tool in the
pen's drop down menu. This tool is used to create the anchor
points for your path. Anchor points are the points that your
lines/curves will be guided by. The curve of you line
depends on the direction lines of your anchor points. But
more on that later.
Any active anchor point will be solid (or a filled in
square), while non-active anchor points will be hollowed out
(or an outline of a square). A closed path is a solid shape
and an open path is a line/curve.
The Freeform Pen tool. The second tool in the
pen's drop down list. This is used to draw freely (freehand)
were it's much like the lasso tool. I dont like to use this
one mainly because i dont have a steady hand. So the outcome
Add Anchor Point Tool. The third tool in the pens
drop down menu. This tool is used to, of course, add anchor
points to existing paths. If you hover over a path, your
mouse pointer will automatically turn into this tool if you
have the "auto add/delete" option checked.
Delete Anchor Point Tool. 4th tool in this group
of tools. This tool is to delete anchor points on paths.
This will also automatically show when hovering over an
anchor poiont if the auto add/delete option is checked.
The Convert Point Tool. The last of the pen tools,
thi is used to modify the curves on paths by editing the
direction lines. To remove the curves of a line, just click
on an anchor point with this tool.
Next, are the Path Selection Tool and the Direct
Path Selection Tool. This tool is used to move full
paths. Just click on the path to select it, and drag to move
Direct Selection Tool. Used to move line segments,
anchor points, or entire paths like the Path selection tool.
To move the anchor points or line segments, you must click
on whatever it may be, and start dragging.
So now you know all the pen tools and have a vague view
on what the tools can do. But now is were we use those
tools. So Open a new image. Any size, just long enough to
practice. I would use a image around 300 x 200 pixels. Use a
white background. Then, select the pen tool. and create
three anchor points. Try to seperate them evenly. To make
them strait, hold down shift and try to keep you pointer as
strait as you can
Once you got the three anchor points down & strait, hold
down the "ctrl" key. Your pen tool changes to the "direct
selection tool". Click and move the middle anchor point just
a little bit up, very little. Then, still holding the ctrl
key, press shift too and then move it up some more. So you
get a sharp pointy shape.
Were going to make this shap a curve, what the pen tool
should be used for. If you havent already, let go of all the
keys you've been holding down. Hold down the "alt" key.
Click the middle anchor point and move a very little to the
right. Hold down shift and move it some more. You notice
it's not the anchor point youre moving, but lines are coming
out of it. Those are the guide lines. That's what controlls
Now that the guide lines are out, you can change then
seperatly by holding down the alt key and movignn around the
small dot at the end of the guide line. Experiment for a
while to get the hang of it.
Now you can make a curve, and you can now make real
vector graphics. But keep working cause it might be hard to
memorize which buttons to hold down to do what. But after a
while, you dont even gotta give it thought, it becomes easy