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In the following tutorial, you'll learn how to make shapes in Photoshop.

First, you'll learn how to draw shapes in Photoshop, and then, we'll focus on each shape tool. You'll learn how to use the Line Tool in Photoshop, how to outline a shape in Photoshop, and how to make custom shapes in Photoshop.

Once you've learned how to create shapes in Photoshop, make sure to check out Envato Elements, where you can find plenty of resources that will help you take your design to the next level. Here's a perfect example of how you can use basic shapes to create catchy photo effects.

shape photo effectshape photo effectshape photo effect

What You'll Learn in This Photoshop Shapes Tutorial

  • How to make a rectangle in Photoshop
  • How to make a triangle in Photoshop
  • How to make a circle in Photoshop
  • How to make a perfect circle in Photoshop
  • How to make a line in Photoshop
  • How to make a straight line in Photoshop
  • How to make custom shapes in Photoshop

1. How to Create Shapes in Photoshop

Step 1

To create a shape in Photoshop, you need to select a shape tool from your toolbar. Click and hold the shape tools group to get access to all six shape tools: Rectangle, Ellipse, Triangle, Polygon, Line, or Custom Shape.

Press the U hotkey to select the most recently used shape tool from your Toolbar. Press Shift-U to toggle between the six shape tools.

Once you've selected one, have a look in the Options bar (Window > Options), where you can:

  1. Set the Shape mode: Shape, Path, or Pixels.
  2. Set the Fill color for your shape.
  3. Set the Stroke color and settings.
  4. Adjust the Width and Height of a shape.
  5. Set the way your shapes interact with each other.
  6. Align and distribute shapes.
  7. Set the stacking order for combined shapes.
  8. Change the shape and path options—you'll get familiarized with these settings in the next steps as you learn how to make a rectangle in Photoshop.

Now that you have a shape tool selected, simply click and drag on the canvas to draw a shape. This will create a new shape layer in the Layers panel (Window > Layers).

shape toolsshape toolsshape tools

Step 2

Let's take a few moments to understand the other two shape modes that can be set from the Options bar.

Select Path to create just a path that's added in the Paths panel (Window > Paths).

Select Pixels to create a raster shape. In this case, you will need to have a layer selected. Keep in mind that this shape will be filled with the foreground color.

shape modesshape modesshape modes

Step 3

Before we focus on the first shape tool, let's learn how to outline a shape in Photoshop. Click that gear icon from the Options bar and focus on the Path Options. Using the Thickness and Color settings, you can set the width and the color for the onscreen outline of a shape.

shape path optionsshape path optionsshape path options

2. How to Make a Rectangle in Photoshop: Method #1

Step 1

Now that we've covered the general settings, let's concentrate on the first shape tool and learn how to add shapes in Photoshop.

Make sure that the Rectangle Tool is selected, and click that gear icon from the Options bar to open the additional options.

By default, Unconstrained will be checked. Using this option, you have the freedom to create a rectangle of any size. Just click and drag on your canvas to create it. Check the From Center box, and the center of the rectangle will be the point where you click.

rectangle unconstrainedrectangle unconstrainedrectangle unconstrained

Step 2

Check the Square box to easily create a square. Alternatively, you can keep the Unconstrained box checked and hold down the Shift key as you click and drag to create a square.

rectangle squarerectangle squarerectangle square

Step 3

Check Fixed Size and set the Width and Height values as you wish. Click and drag on your canvas to easily create a shape of that size.

rectangle fixed sizerectangle fixed sizerectangle fixed size

Step 4

Check Proportional and set the Width and Height values as you wish. Click and drag on your canvas, and the new shape will respect those proportions.

rectangle proportionalrectangle proportionalrectangle proportional

Step 5

Using the Rectangle Tool, you can also create rectangles with rounded corners. Just set the Corner Radius in the Options bar, and then you can create your rounded rectangle.

Once you've created it, you can adjust the Radius values from the Properties panel (Window > Properties), or you can use the Path Selection Tool. Focus on your shape, and you'll notice some round icons in each corner. Click on one of these icons and drag to easily adjust the roundness. Hold down the Alt key as you click and drag to adjust the roundness for a single corner.

rectangle corner radiusrectangle corner radiusrectangle corner radius

3. How to Make a Rectangle in Photoshop: Method #2

Besides the classic click and drag technique, you can also create a rectangle using the Create Rectangle window.

Make sure that the Rectangle Tool is selected and just click on your canvas to open the Create Rectangle window. In this window, you can set the size of the shape, the Corner Radius, and you can set this new shape to be drawn From Center. Once you're done, click OK to create your shape.

Let's continue and learn how to draw a circle in Photoshop.

create rectangle windowcreate rectangle windowcreate rectangle window

4. How to Create a Circle in Photoshop: Method #1

Select the Ellipse Tool, click that gear icon from the Options bar again, and you'll get the same options that are available for the Rectangle Tool.

Check Unconstrained whenever you need to create an ellipse of any size, check Circle to create a perfect circle, check Fixed Size to create an ellipse of a certain size, check Proportional to create proportional ellipses, and check From Center when you wish to set the center of the circle at the point where you click. Again, you can keep the Unconstrained box checked and hold down the Shift key as you click and drag to make a perfect circle in Photoshop.

ellipse toolellipse toolellipse tool

5. How to Create a Circle in Photoshop: Method #2

As with the other tools, besides the classic click and drag technique, you can also create an ellipse using the Create Ellipse window.

Make sure that the Ellipse Tool is selected and just click on your canvas to open the Create Ellipse window. You can easily set the size of the shape and then click OK to create it.

Let's continue and learn how to draw a triangle in Photoshop.

create ellipse windowcreate ellipse windowcreate ellipse window

6. How to Make a Triangle in Photoshop: Method #1

Step 1

Select the Triangle Tool, click that gear icon from the Options bar again, and you'll get the same options that can be also used for the Rectangle Tool and the Ellipse Tool.

Check Unconstrained whenever you need to create a triangle of any size, check Equilateral to create a triangle with all the sides equal, check Fixed Size to create a triangle of a specific size, check Proportional to create proportional triangles, and check From Center when you wish to set the center of the triangle at the point where you click. Again, you can keep the Unconstrained box checked and hold down the Shift key as you click and drag to create an equilateral triangle.

triangle tooltriangle tooltriangle tool

Step 2

You can also create triangles with rounded corners. Adjust the Corner Radius from the Options bar and just click and drag to make your triangle with rounded corners. Once you've created it, you can adjust the corner radius from the Properties panel or directly on the shape using the Path Selection Tool.

triangle corner radiustriangle corner radiustriangle corner radius

7. How to Make a Triangle in Photoshop: Method #2

As with the other tools, besides the classic click and drag technique, you can also create a triangle using the Create Triangle window.

Make sure that the Triangle Tool is selected and just click on your canvas to open the Create Triangle window. Set the size and the corner radius, check the Equilateral box if you need an equilateral triangle, and then click OK to create the shape.

Let's continue and learn how to create polygons in Photoshop.

create triangle windowcreate triangle windowcreate triangle window

8. How to Create a Polygon in Photoshop: Method #1

Step 1

Select the Polygon Tool, click that gear icon from the Options bar again, and you'll get the same options that can be used for the Rectangle Tool, the Ellipse Tool, and the Triangle Tool, along with some extra ones.

Check Unconstrained whenever you need to create a polygon of any size, check Symmetric to create a polygon with all the sides equal, check Fixed Size to create a polygon of a specific size, check Proportional to create proportional triangles, and check From Center when you wish to set the center of the polygon at the point where you click. Alternatively, you can keep the Unconstrained box checked and hold down the Shift key as you click and drag to create a symmetrical polygon.

polygon toolpolygon toolpolygon tool

Step 2

Focus on the Options bar to set the number of sides or the corner radius for any polygon shape that you wish to create.

polygon corner radiuspolygon corner radiuspolygon corner radius

Step 3

Click that gear icon again, and let's explore those extra options. Check Freeform and set the Radius for your polygon, and then you'll be able to rotate the new shape around the point where you first clicked on the canvas.

freform polygonfreform polygonfreform polygon

Step 4

Lower the Star Ratio below 100% to easily create a star shape.

polygon star ratiopolygon star ratiopolygon star ratio

Step 5

Check the Smooth Star Indents box to add some roundness to the star indents.

polygon smooth star indentspolygon smooth star indentspolygon smooth star indents

Step 6

As with other polygons, you can also set the Corner Radius for a star shape.

polygon corner radiuspolygon corner radiuspolygon corner radius

9. How to Create a Polygon in Photoshop: Method #2

As with the other tools, besides the classic click and drag technique, you can also create a polygon using the Create Polygon window.

Make sure that the Polygon Tool is selected and just click on your canvas to open the Create Polygon window. You can set the size, Number of Sides, Corner Radius, Star Ratio, check the Symmetric box when you need a symmetric polygon, or check the Smooth Star Indents to add roundness to the star indents. Once you're done, just click OK to create the shape.

Let's continue and learn how to add lines in Photoshop.

create polygon windowcreate polygon windowcreate polygon window

10. How to Make a Line in Photoshop

Step 1

Select the Line Tool and focus on the Options bar. Using the Weight setting, you can set the thickness of the line. Click that gear icon to open the additional options.

Check the Live Shapes Controls and, after you create a line, you'll get access to transform controls that allow you to rotate and resize lines directly on the canvas.

Hold down the Shift key as you click and drag to make a straight line in Photoshop.

line toolline toolline tool

Step 2

Check the Start and End boxes to add arrowheads to a line.

line arrowheadsline arrowheadsline arrowheads

Step 3

Use the Width value to adjust the width of the arrowheads.

line arrowhead widthline arrowhead widthline arrowhead width

Step 4

Use the Length value to adjust the length of the arrowheads.

line arrowhead lengthline arrowhead lengthline arrowhead length

Step 5

Use the Concavity value to adjust the concavity of the arrowheads.

line concavityline concavityline concavity

For more tips and tricks on how to draw a line in Photoshop, check out this tutorial and video from Monika Zagrobelna: How to Draw a Line in Photoshop.

11. How to Make Custom Shapes in Photoshop

Step 1

Select the Custom Shape Tool, focus on the Options bar, and click the Shape thumbnail to open the list of available custom shapes.

custom shape toolcustom shape toolcustom shape tool

Step 2

Select a custom shape, click that gear icon from the Options bar again, and let's check out the additional options.

Check Unconstrained whenever you need to create a custom shape of any size, check Defined Proportions to create a custom shape that uses predefined proportions, check Defined Size to create a custom shape that uses the original size of the shape, check Fixed Size to create a custom shape of a specific size, and check From Center when you wish to set the center of the polygon at the point where you click.

Alternatively, you can keep the Unconstrained box checked and hold down the Shift key as you click and drag to create a custom shape that respects the predefined proportions.

create custom shapecreate custom shapecreate custom shape

Step 3

As with the other tools, besides the classic click and drag technique, you can also create a custom shape using the Create Custom Shape window.

Make sure that the Custom Shape Tool is selected and just click on your canvas to open the Create Custom Shape window. Set the size, check Preserve Proportions to use the predefined proportions, and then click OK to add your custom shape.

create custom shape windowcreate custom shape windowcreate custom shape window

Congratulations! You're Done!

Now you know how to draw shapes in Photoshop. I hope you've enjoyed this tutorial and can apply these techniques in your future projects.

You can find some great sources of inspiration at Envato Elements, with interesting solutions on how to add shapes in Photoshop and make them part of a catchy design.

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Popular Assets From Envato Elements

Envato Elements can be an excellent resource for inspiration. Here's a short list of some of the most popular resources that you can find.

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Want to Learn More?

We have loads of tutorials on Envato Tuts+, from beginner to intermediate level. Take a look!

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