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2.2 The Pen Tool

The Pen Tool is perhaps one of the most difficult shape creation tools for new designers. In this lesson, I'm going to show you how to use this very powerful tool.

2.2 The Pen Tool

Hello and welcome to this lesson where we're going to focus on the Pen Tool. So lets go to File, New. I'll just call this Pen Tool. And I'm gonna leave all values the same here, co, color mode RGB, 860 by 600 points and OK. And Ctrl+1 will get us to 100%. Okay, so the Pen Tool is located right here, and it has three other tools that are related to it, the Add Anchor Point Tool, the Delete Anchor Point Tool and the Anchor Point Tool. Which I'll show you how to use all of these. So basically the Pen Tool, the way you construct shapes is based on adding anchor points. Which, if I left click, is just one of these dots. Now I, we can see this little preview as we drag it here which is useful in determining, especially when it comes to Bezier curves which are actual curves instead of straight lines. Obvi, so if I, if I click over here and left click and hold it, let go, we can see now, we can have a rough i, er, and exact idea of where the next point will be, based on this Bezier curve here. So, of course you have two different types of anchor points. You have the types where you just left click once without holding and dragging, and then you have actual Bezier curves. So real quickly to release it, by the way, is just to hit M and that will make the selection basically solidified. So what we can do now just to show you some of these other tools here that are associated here with the Pen Tool we'll click on this real quick and select, click, and drag out, and choose Add Anchor Point Tool. So if you ever need to, for some reason, add an anchor point on a path, you can just by hovering over it and left clicking, very simple. You can add in multiple, as many as you want. Now, doing this gives you more control over the path itself. The way that you can move anchor points is by using the Direct Selection Tool up here. And you can just left click and drag it however wa, you know, wherever you want it to. You can also use your arrow keys. And you can also, of course, adjust the Bezier handles. [BLANK_AUDIO] So you can, you have full control over the path that you create after you create it, so it's always easy to make adjustments. So now we can also go to the Delete Anchor Point Tool. So if I just click on this, hit Delete, it has now gotten rid of that anchor point, along with any Bezier handles or, or directions that had it applied to the path. So yeah, very simple. Another very interesting thing here is, let me draw out another shape real quick with just some solid lines and some Beziers as well. Just like that, hit M. And let me show you the final tool up here. The Anchor Point Tool. So what this does is, say for example, you want to make this for some reason, this, this edge right here to be curved, or to have a Bezier curve on it. Well if you just click on it, you can see now we've converted it to one that has the Bezier handles. Which, this is definitely a useful scenario or a useful tool in, in several scenarios. Cuz I didn't personally always know about it so I was always stumped when, you know, when you tried to select an anchor point but there was no handles that showed up for it. Okay, so with that said many of those tools that you can, you can of course access when you're using just the standard Pen Tool as you're designing. So for, for instance, right now we're selected on a standard Pen Tool. If we hover over existing anchor points, we can just left click to delete them. So you don't always have to go to the, you know, Add Anchor Point Tool and Delete Anchor Point Tool. With the Pen Tool selected, we can just hover over a, any portion of the path, and add the anchor point. So that's, again, very handy. So just for some practice here, I'm gonna delete these few paths. And we're gonna go ahead and try to des, just design a heart shape, using only the Pen Tool, okay? So I'm just gonna left click here, just once, and I'm gonna hold Shift. And remember when you hold Shift, it allows you to do 45 degree angles, or 135 or perfectly horizontal or vertical. So we're gonna want the heart to come up this way, so I'm holding Shift. I'm gonna left click and hold it and drag up a little bit. [BLANK_AUDIO] And we're going to add another one. [BLANK_AUDIO] Roughly right around here. And then another one right down here, we can see the intersection point from the smart guides. And then I'm going to connect it back up to the center. All right? So, now all you have to do is hit Ctrl+C and Ctrl+F, that will make a copy of it. Right click > Transform > Reflect, and make sure it's on Vertical, so it flips it this way, hit OK. And then we'll move it over until we have the intersection point showing up in green in the middle. And then we can take this and we can go to Window > Pathfinder, and the Pathfinder, by the way, is something that we will be covering in another lesson very shortly, and Unite. And there you go. So that's how you can basically use the Pen Tool to create any type of shape imaginable. And so it does take a little bit practice getting familiar, you know, with using the you know, the getting familiar with figuring out how to best design or use it with the Bezier curves to create what you want. But ultimately the smart guides that we see here and the preview that we have is definitely helpful. And you'll essentially, with some practice, you'll become very good at it. There's some, also there's some different tricks that you can do with paths of course. It, it's not directly related to the Pen Tool, but if you go to Object > Path and Simplify you can simplify a path, which essentially will remove anchor points, based on your curve precision and angle thresholds. Hit OK, you can see it kind of make, smooth it out a little bit. And then conversely, you can also go to Object > Path, and, let me see here real quick, Add Anchor Points. And that will add a bunch of anchor points based on the existing anchor points that are there. So yeah that is essentially it with the Pen Tool. So like I said, it takes practice but definitely, definitely use it and utilize it. It will come in very handy for many different projects. All right. So in the next lesson we're going to take a look at the Shape Builder Tool right here. I'll see you then.

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