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Making Shapes


Ok, this is the one thing I've always had trouble doing.

Square, round, triangle, etc, it's all easy enough, especially now in Photoshop with those wonderful guides.

BUT. I've always had a problem making quirky or non-regular shapes. I can do most other things, but always struggled with this.

What I'm trying to do is make something like this \/ but have no idea where to start.

I tried drawing 4 lines and shearing them, but that was never gonna work. I also thought about builing it from Shapes (ellipses etc) but don't think that will work either. It needs to be symmetrical through both planes.

Some pointers would be most appreciated.
Sorry for being a n00b [honesty]


For most symmetrical shapes I use a grid and guides. Change the settings of your grid what suits you best, make sure that snap to grids and/or snap to guides is selected and start drawing. For straight shapes it easy to use the Polygon Lasso tool. For irregular shapes, you can use the vector tools in Photoshop or use a program like Illustrator. If you have shapes that need some anti-aliasing, you can create a layer mask and blur the edges of the shape on this layer mask and add a levels adjustment.
It's also possible to draw shapes by hand using a mouse or a tablet. In all cases, working with guides/grid is an easy way to keep control over your symmetry. You can draw with selections, brushes, masks, vectors etc. You have to choose the method that suits you best.
Hey Dom-

I hope I read your sample and question right. To start off with. One of my fav. ways to get symetry is to copy the layer>edit>transform>then flip horizontal or vertical, then move to position either using info box to trace movement (found under WINDOW) or grids. I tried my hand at what I thought you were doing and here are my steps:
1. Hold shift and drag for circle
2. Draw a rect. marquee over half of the circle
3. Delete
4. Draw another rect. marquee over bottom portion of semicircle
5. Select transform and pull down toward desired length (this method causes fuzzy bottom edge, but I just delete it or cover it up later with 100% opacity layer)
6. With transform still selected rotate 45 degrees
7. Then the rest just like I said...copy>trans>flip (I merged the first two and then flipped opposite direction for the other side)

There is prob. a lot of different ways to get the same thing...some may be easier?
Don't worry about things you think are to simple. I think all of us enjoy helping as much as we enjoy help.:)

Hi Meehoo.

Thank-you kindly for taking the time to reply in such detail, much appreciated :)

I had another go at this earlier today, using the Guides and the Pen Tool (what a crazy thing that is!) and came up with the below.

It's not perfect for what I was aiming for, but near enough :)

I might get two version running tomorrow, one with your techniques, see what I can come up with B7

(Image is v much mid-production, so ignore details, just to show the shapes ;))
So many members on this board who can write a decent tutorial, something we all should be proud of!

Great work meehoo :perfect:
Thanks Gaussian! & thanks Mark and all other MODs and posters who make this board possible :D

Please share the final work.

PS- checked out web link...looks like its gonna be a cool website...good start with the interface, not such a nOOb afterall :\

By the looks of it you may like to take a look at this website as well:

meehoo said:
PS- checked out web link...looks like its gonna be a cool website...good start with the interface, not such a nOOb afterall :\
Mine? [confused]
There's only a front page atm. Tho, if you put index.php on the end, you can access the site :p
meehoo said:
By the looks of it you may like to take a look at this website as well:

That's a nice site there, cheers :)

I've got most of the layout sorted on mine now. Just sorting out the graphical side of things :)
Very nice tut Meehoo! I have a bit of trouble with shapes and you explained it very well. Thanks!
But what if....

Great tutorial. I had been wondering the same thing as a new user. But what do most people do if they want to draw a little more free handed-ly. I was reading Photoshop's 40 Most Wanted and they were using the picture of a leaf (Oak leaf) and i wondered 1) how did the free hand that in PS and then 2) how did they turn it into a selection which could then have the enclosed are filled with a color or gradient. Any ideas or thoughts.
Probably done with vector tools SilvrWolf and likely in Illustrator and exported to Photoshop. Like I mentioned earlier; the use of rulers and guides make life easier too. Add to that the fact that Illustrator has vector liquify tools (kinda like we have in PS for bitmaps), which are of great help too and I still hope that they introduce these in PS one day ;)

Also complex shapes can be made using the pen tool in the path palette then convert in to a work path, then choose make selection...etc.etc. This is especially helpful if you simply want to trace something like a leaf. I know I didn't explain too well, but I'm tired.:(

However this requires a little practice using bezier handles, but when you get the hang of it they're great.

Thanks for the tips gang. meehoo, I was kind of worried that someone would say it was used with the bezier tool. I have read several tuts about it but it still remains a hard tool to master, let alone get the basic concepts understood.
Yes, it's a really clumsy tool and the reason why I always Xara X for all my vector work and Illustrator when I need it, but I seldom use the vector tools in Photoshop.