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Geometry Options for Photoshop Elements 11 Shapes

By Barbara Obermeier, Ted Padova

Geometry options for your shapes in Photoshop Elements 11 help define how the shapes look. Click the down arrow at the end of the row of Shape tools on the Tool Options to access the Geometry options described in the following sections.

Rectangle and Rounded Rectangle Geometry options

Here’s what the Geometry options for the Rectangle and Rounded Rectangle shapes let you do:

  • Unconstrained: Freely draw a rectangle of any shape or size.

  • Square: Constrain the shape to a perfect square. (You can also hold down the Shift key to do the same thing on the fly.)

  • Fixed Size: Draw rectangles only in fixed sizes. Specify the exact size by entering a width and height.

  • Proportional: Define an aspect ratio, or proportion, for the rectangle. Type 3 into the W box and 4 into the H box to constrain yourself to drawing any rectangle size with fixed proportions in a 3:4 ratio.

  • From Center: Draw the shape from the center outward.

  • Snap: Align the edges of a rectangle or rounded rectangle to the pixels on your screen.

  • Radius: For rounded rectangles, use an inscribed circle of the given radius to round off the corners of a rectangle.

Elliptical-shape Geometry options

The Ellipse shape has many of the same options available for rectangles. Of course, rather than be able to create a perfect square, you can constrain the shape to be a perfect circle. Also, the Snap to Pixels option (available for rectangles) doesn’t exist for ellipses.

Polygon Geometry options

These are the Geometry options for the polygon:

  • Sides: Lets you indicate the number of sides for the polygon.

  • Smooth: Corners: Rounds off the corners.

Star Geometry options

These are the Geometry options for a star:

  • Indent: Determines the amount the sides indent inward.

  • Smooth: Indents: Rounds off the indents.

  • Smooth: Corners: Rounds off the corners.

  • Sides: Lets you indicate the number of points for a star.

Line Geometry options

The Line shape’s Geometry settings include whether to put arrowheads at the start or end of the line, neither, or both. You can also specify the width, length, and concavity settings, which affect the arrowhead shapes.

Custom Shape Geometry options

The Custom Shape options are similar to those you can find for the other shapes — with a couple of additions:

  • Defined Proportions: Draws a shape based on the original proportions you used when you created it.

  • Defined Size: Draws a shape based on its original size when you created it.

Editing shapes

You can edit shapes you create by using a variety of tools and techniques. Here’s a list of the things you can do to modify your shapes:

  • Select: Choose the Shape Selection tool in the Tool Options to move one or more shapes in their layers.

  • Move: Choose the Move tool (press the V key) to move the entire contents of the shape layer.

  • Delete: Select a shape and press Delete to remove it.

  • Transform shapes: Choose the Shape Selection tool and select your shape. Choose Image→Transform Shape and then choose your transformation.

  • Change the color: Double-click the thumbnail of the shape layer on the Layers panel. This action takes you to the Color Picker, where you can choose a new color.

  • Clone a shape: Hold down the Alt key (Option key on the Mac) and move the shape with the Move tool.

To convert your vector-based shape into a pixel-based shape, click the Simplify button in the Tool Options or choose Layer→Simplify Layer. Note that you can’t edit a shape after you simplify it, except to modify the pixels. But you can now apply filters to the layer.