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Photoshop in 60 Seconds: Getting a Grip on the Pen Tool

This post is part of a series called 60 Second Video Tutorials.
Photoshop in 60 Seconds: How to Save Your Images Correctly
This post is part of a series called In 60 Seconds: Adobe Photoshop.
Photoshop in 60 Seconds: How to Save Your Images Correctly
About Adobe Photoshos Pen Tool

Welcome to our Photoshop in 60 Seconds series, in which you can learn a Photoshop skill, feature, or technique in just a minute!

Photoshop in 60 Seconds: The Pen Tool

Ever wonder how to use that unwieldy Pen Tool in Photoshop? Well if you've got a minute, I'll show you how!

The Pen Tool

In Photoshop, the Pen Tool can be used to create Shapes which is similar to how Illustrator's Pen Tool works, or to create Paths which are generally used to create vector masks. The best tip for learning how to use the pen tool is to open up the options and engage the Rubber Band option.

Photoshop Pen Tool Rubber Band Option

The basic concept behind the Pen Tool is that it creates a complex curve by using control points in tangent handles.

A single click creates a point with no tangent handles which therefore creates a hard corner for the curve, but if you click and drag, it pulls out symmetrical tangent handles which creates a curve going through that control point. The longer the handles are, the smoother or broader that curve is.

Creating Points and Curves with the Pen Tool

As curves are being pulled out, if you hold down the Alt or the Option key you can break that tangent handle thereby creating another hard corner that also has tangent handles influencing it.

Break Tangent Handles for the Pen Tool

Also you can readjust the tangent handles beholden on the control or the command key after they've been laid out. The Pen Tool allows you to create Selections that are smoother and more accurate than any other tool in Photoshop.

Use the Pen Tool to Create Selections

A Bit More Detail

Want to learn more about Adobe Photoshop's vast tools and settings? Check out these tutorials below:

60 Seconds?!

This is part of a new series of quick video tutorials on Tuts+. We’re aiming to introduce a range of subjects, all in 60 seconds—just enough to whet your appetite. Let us know in the comments what you thought of this video and what else you’d like to see explained in 60 seconds!

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