The Easy Path

5 06 2007

I’m sure most designers hate pulling an object out of it’s background, it’s tedious and never feels perfect. Some of you lazy bastards even use Magic Wand instead of Paths, for shame. Now Magic Wand is no-brainer automated tools, but it sucks for fine edges and is liable to leave a chunk of background sticking to your object or worse eat into the image you are trying to extract. Paths are the best choice, but it can be time consuming because most designers treat it like a neutered Illustrator Pen Tool, actually I find the Photoshop Pen tool easier to use than Illustrator’s. Lets see how to make a path super quick and more accurate. Most of you trying to shape the curve as you go along the edge of the object, jumping from pen tool to corner tool and that’s far too time-consuming.

Just do a sloppy trace of the object, put points in corners or areas where a curvature starts, just keep going around the whole object don’t worry about accuracy, we’ll clean it up on the second round.


Now still using the Pen Tool, go to two point holding CMD (CTRL on WIN) to jump to the Direct Select Tool and get them right where they should be.

Now release the CMD key and move the cursor to the midpoint between the two points and the cursor will change automatically to the Add Anchor Point Tool, click to add a point. That point will automatically be a Curve Point (bends) not a Corner Point (straight), holding the CMD key again to jump to the Direct Select Tool, drag the point to fit the curve.


Now go around the object snapping the path to the edges, you can even delete some of the old points to make the curves even smaller as your first round is always corner points. You can adjust the curve by holding down the OPT (ALT on WIN) to jump to the Convert Point Tool.




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