The Most Underused Tool In Photoshop
The Photoshop Custom Shape Tool
by Damien Andrews
Here are 16 of the hundreds of available shapes in the Custom Shape tool in Photoshop. Each was created instantly. The foreground color was set to white and the background is a basic green. Now all they need is some simple filter and/or effects work.
The Custom Shape tool in Photoshop doesn't get used much at all. Unlike some other Photoshop tools, the Custom Shape tool is not underused because it is difficult to learn, not at all. It is underused because people either forget that it is there or because they don't see its countless applications. The Custom Shape tool in Photoshop will sometimes liven up a photograph, but it is unsurpassed in spicing up artwork, especially titling artwork.
Basics of the Photoshop Custom Shape tool:
You can access the Custom Shape tool in Photoshop's Tools Palette. The icon looks like a star with rounded points. It is located in the same group of tools as the Line Tool. • The Custom Shape tool creates paths. • You can rasterize the Custom Shape tool artwork by right clicking on the layer and then clicking on rasterize. • If you want to make multiple shapes, each of which can be independently edited, moved, etc, create a new layer each time you make a shape. • Once a layer is rasterized, you can quickly select the artwork only by holding down the control key and clicking on the layer with the artwork. This is a great way to change the color of the artwork, including the application of gradients. • The Custom Shape tool will, by default, draw/fill with the selected foreground color. • If you want your shape to be perfectly proportioned, hold down the shift key while creating the shape.
The Custom Shape tool in Photoshop comes with a vast array of prepared artwork. The categories of the artwork are animals, arrows, banners, frames, music, nature, objects, ornaments, shapes, symbols, talk bubbles and tiles. Note: there are variations of Custom Shape tool artwork in different versions of Photoshop.
Some suggested uses for the Custom Shape tool in Photoshop:
If you're preparing a photograph to email to a friend or family member, try using one of the Custom Shape tool frames to quickly make the photograph stand out.
Try using one of the Custom Shape tool arrows to draw attention to something in artwork or a photograph. Rasterize the layer and change the color to suit your project, and then maybe make it more dynamic with a slight bevel or soft emboss.
Titling for videos and photo albums is one place where the Custom Shape tool in Photoshop really shines. For your daughter's piano recital, add some musical notes or symbols to the title. For vacation titles try the sun, snowflakes or, the clouds – if the weather didn't cooperate that year. Take some time to peruse the hundreds of available symbols and you'll surely find one or more that fit your needs perfectly!
The Custom Shape tool in Photoshop should be considered the starting point of the artwork. Use filters and effects to liven up the image. Play with it, have some fun. After you use it a few times, the Custom Shape tool in Photoshop will become one of your favorite Photoshop tools.
All of this simple artwork started with basic shapes from the Custom Shape tool in Photoshop. Some coloring was done, and some standard filters and basic effects were applied. The options are limitless.