In this beginner Photoshop tutorial, we’ll show you how to use the Pen Tool, which is a great place to start when it comes to exploring the capabilities and potential of the image editing software.

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1. The Basics

The Pen Tool has three main settings:

  • Creating a new work path
  • Creating a new shape layer
  • Fill pixels

photoshop pen tool

how to use photoshop pen tool

photoshop beginner tutorial

2. Using a New Work Path

Starting with “Create New Work Path,” which is the most commonly used option, select the “Add to Path Area” by clicking the icon in the bottom right of the palette.

Photoshop create new work path

3. Using the Pen Tool Set Anchor Points

Now use the Pen Tool to click on a blank canvas. You will notice that each click assigns anchor points. You can create a straight line between these points by holding shift when you click.

photoshop pen tool

Photoshop anchor point

Photoshop pen tool anchor point

Photoshop pen tool anchor point

4. Delete Anchor Point Tool

If you change your mind and want to edit or remove anchor points, right-click on the Pen Tool icon and select the “Delete Anchor Point Tool”.

Delete Anchor Point Tool

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5. Convert Point Tool

To alter the properties of the connecting lines and move anchor points around. Chose the “Convert Point Tool” and click on one of your anchor points and hold and drag. This will affect the curve of the line.

Convert point tool

6. Moving Anchor Points

With the “Convert Point Tool” active, you can also alter the location of anchor points by holding down the “CTRL” key while clicking on an anchor point and dragging.

Moving anchor points

7. The Tangent Line

The “Convert Point Tool” also creates a “Tangent Line” that enables you to control the curvature of your lines. You can create very sharp angles by simply clicking on one of the ends of the “Tangent Line” and dragging the mouse. You’ll notice the curve you created previously will bend sharply depending where and how far you drag.

The tangent line

8. Path Selection Tool

Finally, you can manipulate the whole path you have created by selecting the “Path Selection” tool from the toolbar. This will allow you to drag the whole path to a new location.

Path Selection Tool

If you’d like to continue exploring Photoshop, try out our other tutorials, including “Image Masking Using the Magic Wand Tool” and “A Beginner’s Guide to Using Layers.”

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Rokaiya Yeasmin Munni

As manager and head of digital marketing at Clipping Path India, Rokaiya wants to help retailers and photographers use marketing strategies and tactics that will elevate their business. She has an 18-year background in graphic design, content management and digital marketing.

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