How to Create Paths without the Pen in Photoshop CS6

In Photoshop CS6 there is a fun way to create paths without using the Pen Tool You can grab any of the shape tools and create a path. However, be sure to choose the Path mode on the Options bar. Click and drag the shape tool of choice onto your canvas and presto, an instant path. These shapes can come in handy for creating small spot illustrations, logos, and web buttons.

Follow these steps:

  1. Open an existing image and select a shape tool.

    [Credit: ©iStockphoto.com/jeannehatch Image #3762590]
    Credit: ©iStockphoto.com/jeannehatch Image #3762590
  2. Choose a shape from the Custom Shape Picker drop-down panel on the Options bar.

    I chose a fish shape for my example.

  3. Choose Path mode on the Options bar. Using the Shape tool, click and drag a path in your image window. Press the Shift key while dragging to constrain the shape’s proportions.

    You can then use the Paths panel to load the path as a selection.

  4. Choose Layer→New→Layer via Copy.

    You just put the selection on its own layer. You can hide your original background image by clicking the eyeball icon in the Layers panel.

  5. If you want, add some type with the Type tool.

    Then, you can jazz it up — like this, for example:

  • If you want to give your type some motion, click the Create Warped Text button on the Options bar. You can also apply drop shadows, bevels, and other effects by choosing Layer→Layer Style.

  • For this example, the Arc style warp in the Warp Text dialog box was chosen.

  • Also applied was a Bevel and Emboss and Drop Shadow Layer Style to both the selection and the type.

  1. Delete the original image layer.

    [Credit: ©iStockphoto.com/jeannehatch Image #3762590]
    Credit: ©iStockphoto.com/jeannehatch Image #3762590
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