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Custom Shapes for Adobe

速 Photoshop 速 and Photoshop 速 Elements

by Andrew Buckle (c) 2009-2011

Custom shapes manual Introduction Thanks for the purchase (or interest in) of the shapes set (collection or packs) for Photoshop 速 and Elements. Hope you find them of interest and use. If you are just consulting this manual because you want to learn more about custom shapes and their use in Photoshop, welcome also. All the shapes used in this document are from has many shapes sets: a collection of 12,000 custom shapes (which also includes 2000 gradients) and also 150 themed custom shapes packs. Find out more on Andrew

fig. A selection of examples of the custom shapes from the 12,000 custom shapes collection from

Unzipping shapes The custom shapes sets come in a ZIP file. If you have just downloaded / purchased a copy, to unzip the zip file you will need an unzip application. Modern OS applications should be able to unzip the file without any additional application but if not, I would suggest checking the web for various unzip tools. On the PC, something like PKUnzip or winzip might be useful; on the MAC, I would suggest Stuffit Expander but there are others. The shapes file is the CSH file, all the other items are support files such as PNG thumbnail gallery, EPS files (normally the same as the items in the CSH file and perhaps including additional variants)

Install for Photoshop速 Please place the shapes file (CSH) in the presets custom shapes folder of Photoshop. Or you can use the load / replace command on the shapes palette to find the CSH file to load. An easier solution is to use the file > open command to load the shapes into the shapes palette (only works with more recent versions of the application)

fig. Presets folder of Photoshop, listing custom shapes, brushes etc Place the shapes into the custom shapes folder (if you wish to access them via the shapes palette right menu)

Install for Photoshop速 Elements Please place the shapes in the presets folder [custom shapes] and access via the shapes tool (If you have lots of different shapes sets, you might prefer to place the shapes in a separate folder and drag into the presets custom shapes folder as required) You cannot use the browse to search for a custom shapes file via the custom shapes palette in Photoshop Elements, this option is only available with Photoshop. Alternatively, use the file > open command as with the Photoshop install.

fig. Use the open command (the easiest way, perhaps, of accessing the shapes)

Advanced note - Artwork / content The shapes (for PSE 5 and 6 and 7) can also be placed in the artwork gallery / content palette. However, no details can be given here on that. On XP, the shapes need to be placed in the documents and settings folder but with Vista, it is totally different. I would recommend only trying to add the items after consulting various web sites (such as Photoshop Elements Users) on how to achieve this. I still personally prefer to install via the presets custom shapes folder or use the open command

fig. Checkerboard designs from the checkerboard custom shapes pack

Install for Photoshop 速 You may wish to just place the shapes folder in a folder marked custom shapes and then access the shapes as and when required (via the load / replace functionality), or place the shapes in the presets custom shapes folder. If you have too many custom shapes files in the presets custom shapes folder, the custom shapes dropdown might not display all the files. Please note with the current OS and if you are using a basic user account you might need to enter your admin username and password, this is normal. Instead of using the application folder, you can always just add the item to the user accounts and browse for the file (this is not possible with Photoshop Elements though) Install folders: C:\program files\Adobe\Photoshop ...\presets\custom shapes (on the PC) i.e. c:\program files\adobe\adobe photoshop CS4\presets\custom shapes or CS5 HD:Applications:Adobe Photoshop ...:presets:custom shapes (on the mac)

fig. Custom shapes on this page are from the festive 3 custom shapes pack The set includes many different festive / Xmas designs and snowflakes, holly etc

Access custom shapes within application To access the custom shapes palette, select the custom shapes tool and this will display the custom shapes palette. The shapes can also be accessed via the shapes blur plug-in and also the cookie cutter tool (in Elements) or via the artworks palette (in Elements 5) First select the custom shapes tool, this will then display the custom shapes panel / palette. If you can’t find the custom shapes tool, it is hidden beneath the rectangle tool. Select the rectangle tool and then expand the tool icon to display the rounded, ellipse, polygon, line tool and at the bottom, the custom shapes tool. Select the custom shapes tool. In Photoshop Elements, the shapes can be accessed via the cookie cutter tool or the custom shapes tool

fig. Access the custom shapes tool also via the shape blur filter. Useful for some really unusual blurring effects and a great place to try out a whole range of different custom shapes designs

fig. The custom shapes tool (can be found under the rectangular shapes tool)

Load / replace shapes in Photoshop To load / replace the custom shapes files, use the replace (or load) command to load the CSH files into the custom shapes palette. The custom shapes can also be loaded via the preset manager (in the edit menu) in Photoshop 速

No load / replace in Elements In Photoshop elements, there is no load / replace functionality and you can only access the CSH shapes currently in the dropdown list. The items placed in the presets custom shapes folder will appear in the dropdown (within limits as you may have many CSH shapes files)

fig. Load shapes / replace shapes via the side menu on the palette

Open CSH files using file > open command The shapes can also be loaded via the file > open command in more recent versions of Photoshop 速 and Photoshop Elements.

fig. If the shapes are located in the path of the presets custom shapes then they will appear in the side dropdown / combo of the custom shapes palette (though this list might get very long - or fail - to appear all the items depending on the version of Photoshop) fig. You might find it easier just to load the shapes via the file > open command though there are limits to this. If you try to load too many shapes, Photoshop will display an error and say you have reached the maximum This seems to vary with version to version (with 6 it was only 500 shapes)

Deletion of shapes To delete the shapes, just remove from the presets shapes folder and then the shapes should not appear in the shapes drop down menu To delete individual shapes in the current shapes palette, simply right click and select the delete command from the menu OR hold the ALT command (or mac equivalent) and click the shape

Saving your own shapes You might prefer to only access a certain number of shapes or perhaps set up a set of shapes for a certain project, delete all the shapes in the current shapes palette, leaving the required shapes, and then use the save command (on the right of the palette / dropdown) to save the current set of shapes. The shapes will be saved in the format of your version of Photoshop, so if you are using 7, the shapes will be saved in 7 format, and the shapes will not be available to 6 (just a word of warning, and perhaps not necessary if you are only using one particular version of PS)

fig. To delete the shapes, select the shape and then right click or use the ALT-click or mac equivalent to delete the shape

Number of shapes in a palette The number of shapes allowed in a palette (in 6 anyway) is 500, this might vary from version to version. The more shapes you have in a palette, the more resource used and the slower (perhaps) the startup of PS. With the later versions of Photoshop the number of shapes is in excess of 3000 shapes in the palette (though this may depend on the machine, memory etc)

fig. Access the save shapes menu command via the custom shapes palette menu Saves the shapes file with the current version of CSH format (means you might not be able to access the shapes with an earlier version of Photoshop)

Version of shapes All the shapes on the were created in version 6 and can be used in all versions upwards (and sideways in terms of elements)

Serial number If you have purchased the shapes from, you will also have received a serial number. This is normally in a folder marked ‘serial number’ or equivalent, please just make a note of the code listed in the text file and use this to access updates or replacements of the shapes.

Royalty-free / shapes The shapes on are royaltyfree, however, the copyright is owned by Andrew Buckle. The shapes are non-exclusive, so be aware that others might use the same shape and designs. Shapes are (c) 1999-2011 Abneil Software Ltd (Andrew Buckle). Please check out the license and examples on the graphicxtras site for possible use of the shapes, there are only a few restrictions. You can use the shapes to create many 1000s of different designs and in 1000s of different ways. If you have any concerns, please contact us

fig. Examples of custom shapes from the faces custom shapes pack. All the designs are from renders using the Poser application.

Thumbnails of the custom shapes A complete display of all the shapes included with a can be seen in the supplied palette file (normally PNG file), you can find this in the folder ‘Thumbnail Gallery’. You might prefer to create additional thumbnail files and a good way to go about this is to use the ALT-print screen for each shape palette. You might also like to tryout a script to create files for all the shapes (possible??) or just print out the shapes by hand or save them to a format such as AI. Please contact Adobe if you wish to request a feature to display thumbnails of the shapes. It would be a cool feature to add to the application (I have added it a few times to their wish list)

Purchase of shapes If you are using the shapes as part of a sampler or freebie set, then you might like to purchase the collection or some of the smaller sets or perhaps a bundle of the shapes / brushes. Please check out the other custom shapes collection and packs All purchases on the site are via our buy buttons (the actual purchase is on / Element 5 - a secure sales site)

Installation issues If you have problems installing or using the shapes, please e-mail our tech support at

fig. The custom shapes on this page are from the embellishment custom shapes pack.

Comments If you have any suggestions to how we can improve our products or manual, or if there is something that is hard to understand or badly stated, please contact us and we will try to correct any errors or misunderstandings in the next release of the manual. It is always great to hear your feedback.

System requirements Applications supported Adobe Adobe Adobe Adobe Adobe Adobe Adobe

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Photoshop Photoshop Photoshop Photoshop Photoshop Photoshop Photoshop

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CS5 CS4 CS3 (10) CS2 (9) CS1 (8) 7 6

Adobe Adobe Adobe Adobe Adobe Adobe Adobe Adobe Adobe

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Photoshop Photoshop Photoshop Photoshop Photoshop Photoshop Photoshop Photoshop Photoshop

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Elements Elements Elements Elements Elements Elements Elements Elements Elements

fig. Spiral shape from spiral shapes pack 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

Windows ™ 98 XP 2000 NT ME Vista ® Windows 7 + MAC OS X (10.2 10.3 10.4 10.5 10.6 10.7)

Minimum requirements At least 128 MB of memory, though some operations might require a lot more.

fig. Spiral shape from spiral shapes pack

Trademarks The shapes were created by Andrew Buckle, and copyright 1999-2011 Abneil Software Ltd (Andrew Buckle) (depending on the custom shapes pack / collection, varies) All products mentioned in this manual are trademarked or probably trademarked by their respective owners. Illustrator and Photoshop and Adobe and After Effects are registered trademarks of Adobe Systems Incorporated. Apple, Mac etc are registered trademarks or trademarks of Apple. Windows ME XP Vista etc are registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft. We have no connection whatsoever with Adobe or any of the above mentioned Adobe product screen shot(s) reprinted with permission from Adobe Systems Incorporated.

Company contact details UK (+44) 1622 688 375

fig. Borders custom shapes displayed on this page are from the borders custom shapes pack

Use of the custom shapes For every possible use of custom shapes, please consult your Photoshop 速 manual or various articles on the subject of custom shapes. You might also find information about shapes in magazines such as Layers magazine / macDesign and Computer Arts magazine (UK) and Digit, or in books such as Photoshop CS5 CS4 CS3 CS2 CS 6 7 Elements Wow! are potential sources of information. As are NAPP or the PhotoshopElementsUsers site or Scott Kelby books or information at Photoshop World Shapes can be used in a variety of ways throughout Photoshop. The shapes can be used as layers or as paths or as a fill. After that, there are nearly infinite ways of combining the shapes to create unusual and wow designs and more For a full (sort of) list of things you can do with the shapes, please check out the examples list

Hints and tips for shapes The shapes from Abneil Software Ltd can be used in many different ways There are three modes for shapes: as fill designs or paths or layers shapes. You can change the setting via the left section of the custom shapes panel.

fig. Clicking the shape layer button. There are two additional option, paths and fill pixels Each have their uses.

Shapes can be applied in multiple ways: either drag onto the document or placement in the center etc

fig. Path layers option, great for masks, selections etc

fig. Clouds custom shapes from the clouds custom shapes pack

fig. Fill pixels option (personally the one I use the most)

Shapes and transformation Shapes can be transformed either via the edit menu or the transform controls (if show transform controls check box is set to on)

fig. Basic star shape

Shapes can be used as is but they can also be transformed by edit menu transform command. The transformed shape can then be saved as a new custom shape for future use If the shape is a shape layer then the edit command becomes transform path and the path can be rotated, scaled, perspective applied, warped using the warping dropdown or custom warped using the warp mesh. If the shape is a path, the command is transform path and the path can be transformed in the same way as the shape layer. If the shape is turned into a selection then the selection can be transformed via the selection menu transform selection command though it does not offer as many features as the transform path etc If the shape is used as a vector then the shape transformations will have no impact of the quality of the shape. If the shape is a fill pixel then transformations may have an impact on the shape design The shape can be transformed as a fill pixel design either by creating the shape on a new layer and then using the edit transform command or creating the shape on a background, selecting the shape and then copying and pasting (again a new layer) and modifying the shape design via the transform tools. With CS5 + CS4 + CS3 + CS2 etc the fill pixel / layer can be converted to a smart layer via layer > smart objects and then you can transform repeatedly without any impact on the quality of the shape. You can always convert it back to a layer at any point

fig. Go to the transform command and select perspective, rotate etc to apply to the shape layer

fig. Example here shows the perspective transform applied to star design

Styles and layer effects For use as a shape layer, you can apply any of the styles available (Abneil software ltd also supply a number of volumes of styles and they work effectively with all shapes). Styles can be applied to shape layers or you can apply a style to normal layer with a filled shape. Create a new layer, set shape tool to fill pixels and apply a shape design. Apply the styles / layer effects to that. Many different styles can be applied such as drop shadows. A basic drop shadow shape design can be applied simply by adding a darker color version of the shape fill and then applying the shape again slightly offset 1) Select shape tool 2) Set to layer mode 3) Apply shape 4) Go to the styles palette and apply OR 4) Go to the layer menu and layer style

fig. The basic spiral shape (filled with stars(

fig. The basic spiral now has had the yellow gel style applied to the shape (it was applied as a shape layer) If you wish to use the styles with the fill pixel you need to first create a new layer and then add the fill pixel

Intersect and combine custom shapes The shape layers can be added to, intersected and more. Set the shape as a path or shape layer, apply the shape. Set the shape combination to exclude etc

fig. basic shape (frame design)

fig. The basic shape with an exclude using a square shape layer

fig. The basic shape with subtractions applied using an ellipse.

fig. Add to shape area applied using a set of squares and circles

Shapes as a tube design / export A shape can be used quickly to create a tube or nozzle or a layer floater for export to another application. Just remember to save the alpha channel and the best format to use is probably TIFF or PSD Once exported, the file can be opened by various applications such as Paint Shop Pro, the selection is used to create the picture tube.

fig. Here the shape is exported as a PNG file via the save web command but you could easily as well use the save command and save as PSD TIFF etc, especially if you wish to save the alpha channel for additional use in PSP and 3D and other applications.

fig. Corner designs from the corners frames custom shapes pack

Fill pixels As a web design, you can just use the shape as a fill, just apply the shape to the document. You can also create a new layer and apply the shape fill to that. Or you can apply the shape fill using different blending modes, such as applying the shapes repeatedly using the difference mode (shrinking the shape on each application).

fig. Change the blending modes and then add the shapes for many different visual effects and uses.

fig. A selection of corner custom shapes from the corners custom shapes pack

fig. A selection of custom shapes applied in difference / darken / lighten etc modes

Rasterized shapes Shapes can be rasterized Create the shape as a shape layer and set a layer effect such as bevel or stroke Then go to the layer menu and rasterize shape command or others such as rasterize layer. 1) 2) 3) 4)

Draw shape layer Go to the layer menu Rasterize Select layer / shape etc as required

fig. A selection of possible raster options are available such as apply to the mask, layer etc

fig. The original grid design before being rasterized (or rasterised) and effects applied

fig. Raster shape command was applied above followed by a blur and layer bevel contour effect applied to the design

Point tools Tweak by the point tools : add anchor point tool; direct selection tool. Move the individual points, remove points, add points. Use to create unique shape designs. Modify the shape above using the direct selection tool ( A ) and also pen tools ( P ) and sub tools such as add anchor point and delete anchor point. With the direct selection tool, select a single point or multiple points (or all) and then drag the points to a new location. The direction points can also be modified creating a different curvature. Selecting just the points often results in a chunkier / rough result Personally, I prefer to modify the path’s points in Illustrator (as you can see from the various modifications in this section !) As mention, I often find it easier to use the pen tools to roughen an existing shape than any real editing of the design. The pen tools can be used to add additional points to the path or remove existing points The shape can then be re-defined as a new custom shape and saved for future use.

fig. Original path (contour shapes pack) before any points modification

fig. Useful selection tool, once selected go to the path and then manipulate the individual points of the shape layer or path layer (not any use with the fill pixels layer though!)

fig. Path has been modified, though personally I prefer to use Illustrator to manipulate paths, the paths can still be modified using Photoshop alone.

Shapes and warps Many different warp designs can be applied such as arc, arch, bulge and others. You can also create your own custom warp transformation. The transformation commands are accessible via the edit menu 1) Select shape tool 2) Set to path or shape layer 3) Draw shape 4) Edit > transform path > warp (options include arc etc or even a custom warp

fig. Warp menu - apply warp to path etc

fig. Original path before warp

fig. Warp transformation warped Many different designs can be created The design can be defined as a new custom shape if required (for future use)

fig. Transform applied to path, this time using the wave - there are also additional settings that can further modify the wave (or arc etc warp)

Shapes and text Shapes can also work in conjunction with text. Create the text and turn into a shape via the layer menu. 1) Type some text (set font etc) 2) Go to the layer menu 3) Type 4) Convert to shape 5) Define as custom shape if you wish to save the shape design Apply a shape via the shapes tool, set the combination option to exclude / subtract etc The custom shape can be combined with text (converted to a shape) as well as other shapes such as a rounded rectangle and circle. Combine the shapes in many 1000s of ways to create unique shape designs. The shapes can then be defined as a new shape and used at a future date. The text cannot be edited at a later time, the process is destructive

fig. Convert text to a shape and then you can always save the text as a custom shape for future use, perhaps an entire page of text etc

fig. The text has been converted into a custom shape (this is purely arial text)

fig. The same text custom shape has been further manipulated using the direct selection tool in Photoshop

Shapes and channels Shapes can be applied to individual channels. Select the channels palette. Click the red channel, apply shape. Click green channel, apply shape. Select two channels and apply shape. Note the channel / shape use is only for the fill pixel and not the shape layer and path option. If you try to modify the shape layer and you are only on the red channel, Photoshop will display a composite channels warning Use different channels and the same shape (or different shapes) to create in seconds a distressed rough image effect. As with the fill pixel custom shape on the RGB composite, the shape can be applied to the red channel and an effect such as a blur can be applied, the green and blue channels applied without a blur.

fig. Shape applied across all current channels

fig. Now only one of the channels has been selected (green).

Shapes and LAB CMYK document modes etc Opening a document in Photoshop you are offered a number of document modes: if you are working to create things for print then you might set the document to CMYK; if it is for the web then you might set the document to RGB (you actually might not even notice that there are other color modes and always use a default such as RGB). Custom shapes work well in RGB Grayscale etc

fig. Examples of image document modes such as RGB CMYK Grayscale etc

Frame and custom shapes You can use shapes as a frame in a number of ways. Some work better as frames than others. You can use the shape as a selection, invert the area and replace the area with black or white etc 1) Select the shape tool 2) Draw shape in path mode 3) Go to the paths palette 4) Use the make as selection command 5) Select > inverse 6) Fill as black or white etc or perhaps use the layer > fill as layer and fill with pattern or gradient, rescale as required.

fig. Basic radial shape

Another approach is to draw the shape in layer mode and then select the rectangular shape tool (or ellipse) and then set the mode to exclude (at the top of the screen - you will see options to add, subtract, intersect, exclude etc to the shape layer) and apply 1) Draw shape as a shape layer 2) Select the rectangular tool 3) Set to exclude 4) Apply across the original shape 5) You should then have a frame design that can be saved as a new custom shape via the edit menu

fig. The radial shape is applied as a path over an original image. The path is converted into a selection via the path palette and then the selection is inverted A fill layer of triangle patterns is applied

fig. In this case, the radial design is applied as a layer, a rectangle shape layer is applied in exclude mode to create a ‘framing’ shape This can be added at any time above an existing image. It can also be saved as a new custom shape

Selection / paths and shapes If used as a path, the shape can be converted to a feathered selection. You can then fill and apply various 3rd party effects. 1) Select the shape tool 2) Set the shape option to path 3) Apply shape 4) Go to the paths palette 5) Make selection command 6) Edit > fill selection etc

Or as a path, the path can be stroked with any of the brushes (even more creative effects can be achieved with the latest version, which includes an expanded range of brush options) 1) Select shape tool 2) Set to path option 3) Apply shape 4) Go to the path palette 5) Stroke path 6) Select tool such as pencil etc The current brush is applied to the path

fig. The B shape (it is a path via the path mode) and the stroke path option is applied via the path palette. The current brush size / settings are applied

Use the path palette and make a selection. Once you have a selection, you can then fill / invert etc the selection to create a frame, or apply a stroke to the selection.

fig. End result being a stroked B design. The path is still there so you can also re-apply the path with a different stroke or perhaps move the stroke or apply a fill etc instead

Brushes and shapes Shapes can be converted into a brush (or vica versa). Shapes can be very useful as brush designs. Start with any shape, simply draw as a fill design or draw as a shape layer and flatten You can use the single shape, or perhaps overlap with other shapes, perhaps blur, smudge, etc the shape design. Go to the edit window and define brush

fig. Original arrow custom shape

1) Select shape tool 2) Set fill option 3) Set color 4) Apply shape to document 5) Repeat or change shape and repeat 6) Apply effects if required etc 7) Edit > define brush The custom shape will now appear in the brushes palette. You can then select the brush while using various tools such as the paint tool and the impressionist and clone tool. Apply as required

fig. Repeat applies of the arrow custom shape is made to the document, in this case a 300 x 300 document. The document is then used as a source for a brush via the edit > define brush command

fig. The arrow generated brush is now applied as a paint brush using different colors.

Overlays and shapes Use the shapes as an overlay or watermark or color effect. Set the shape options to fill pixels and set the opacity to about half and then draw over the current image. 1) 2) 3) 4) 5)

Open image Select shape tool Select shape Select fill option Set opacity

You can also apply the overlay but apply to a newly created blank layer, apply a blur etc or stained glass effect and then modify the opacity of the layer or the original application of the shape.

fig. The basic arrow custom shape before being applied

fig. The shape is now applied as a fill using an opacity setting of 50%

Shapes and patterns The shapes are useful as a source for patterns and displacement maps. Open a document. Select a shape and apply. As long as you apply the shape within the document and don't pass over the edge of the document, the design can be saved as a seamless pattern. Use the define pattern command (found on the edit menu). You can also make more complex design by using the offset filter. If you have created a document of 300 x 300 then set the offset filter to -150 150 and set to wrap around

fig. Original path applied as a fill pixel (more complex designs can be created but this is an example of a pattern design only)

fig. Define pattern command applied to the above right design

fig. Use the offset filter (half setting to the size of the pattern tile) to create more complex (but still basic) patterns

fig. The above pattern after the define pattern and applied as a fill layer with layer scaling to set to 10% of the original ‘size’ of the design (the shape is a vector so the pattern source can be small or huge)

fig. Using the shape but now with offset applied repeatedly and using different colors of apply of the shape, followed by define pattern

Shapes and path export to Illustrator ÂŽ Shapes can saved to Illustrator AI format in a number of ways 1) Apply a shape layer and then save the vector mask via the file > export > paths to Illustrator command

fig. Set to path or shape and then create path layer

2) Apply the shape as a path and then fill > export > paths to Illustrator 3) With the fill pixel option, there is no vector shape but you can always create the shape on a new layer and use the layer transparency and then convert to a work path via the path palette and then use the file > export > paths to Illustrator command. Another alternative with the fill pixel option is to create the shape on a background layer and then use the magic wand tool or the selection tools to select the shape region and then export the work path to Illustrator The AI file is saved in Illustrator 3 format and is editable in Illustrator as well as usable in Painter and Fontographer and many other applications (definitely useful in Fontographer as it cannot use Illustrator 5 etc and above format) Once saved to Illustrator, the shape can be further manipulated and then copied and pasted back into Photoshop.

fig. Another option if you are using Photoshop and Illustrator combination Use the copy command

fig. Go to the file > export > paths to Illustrator command (if you haven’t got this filter then please check your installation or online notes on how to install it)

Shapes and applying to document / custom shape options Shapes can be applied simply by selecting the shape from the palette and clicking the document and dragging the custom shape tool from one position to another and releasing the mouse click to release the shape There are a number of settings available via the shapes bar / palette in the custom shape options palette If you use unconstrained then the shape can be sized as required during initial application; the shape can be distorted, squeezed, stretched etc If the defined proportions is set then the shape will be applied proportional to the original defined size such as 50% of the original or 75% but it will not be distorted (based against the original design)

fig. Access the shapes via the shapes palette. Select and apply

If the defined size is set then shape will be the size of the original created shape, which might be small or huge. If fixed size is set then you can define the shape to be 5 cm 5 cm etc and then just click the document to generate the shape. This is useful if you wish to fill the design quickly with 100s and 100s of the shape design. You can always change the foreground color etc between clicks to change the color of the designs. You can always just move the position of the click and release the mouse to place the shape. This works for shape layers, fill pixels etc and can be quite effective in creating a nozzle / hose / spray effect in Photoshop. Useful combined with a new layer and fill pixels so you can simply click adding shadow or bevelled layer fill pixel shapes.

fig. Apply shapes using different options each have their uses

The fixed size can be in centimeters, pixels etc (sadly not % of the document size, which perhaps would be a useful setting combined with scripts or actions The placement can also be defined from the center instead of the top left of the shape via the checkbox from center. This is probably a helpful setting to set when using the fixed size as it is easy to click off screen using the top left shape application.

fig. shapes applied using defined size option (great for a ‘spray’ effect)

EPS / AI files Some of the sets (created 2009 onwards) contains EPS (as well as AI files). Not all the sets (as well as the collection) contain the EPS files or AI files. The EPS files are variants of the CSH custom shapes pack or in some cases, exact copies. To use the EPS or AI files, start Photoshop and use the file > open command or the place command. Use the EPS file as a layer. Using the open command, on selecting the EPS file, Photoshop will display a dialog to rasterize the EPS import. Set the size etc as required. You may wish to use the file > open as a smart object to avoid any issues with reduction in quality of the design. Using the design as a smart object also means you can edit the EPS file in another application such as EPS and resume editing in Photoshop. Select and copy the design and paste as a layer into an existing document

fig. Open the AI (if included) or EPS files via the file > open command or the place command

You may also wish to just use the design (EPS or AI file) as a layer, in that case just use the file > place command. The place command leaves the EPS design as a smart object and can be transformed etc with any loss of quality. However, with smart objects, you have to convert to a normal layer before you can apply filters etc. (though you can use the smart filters and smart objects to avoid this issue) The placed design is displayed by cross hairs. You can re-size it at this point (as it is displayed as a smart layer, it can be re-sized and rotated later also) so it doesn’t have to fill the existing image, it can extend beyond the current document or be reduced to a very small size. You cannot edit the EPS or AI files in Photoshop but if you have a copy of Illustrator, you can modify the designs there. Another advantage of the EPS / AI files (over the CSH format file) is that the EPS files etc can be used in many other applications such as Corel ® Paint Shop Pro ®

fig. If opened via the place command, the design appear appears as a layer (smart layer) The significance of that is the smart layer can be re-sized etc with any issues, also smart filters can be applied as well.

Shapes and text path You can use the shape as a path for text. 1) Select shape tool 2) Select path option 3) Draw shape path 4) Select type / text tool 5) Click path at entry point for the text and type

fig. The original design before type was added

fig. The type was added to the frame path just by clicking the path at an insertion point and then typing (the type itself was then turned into a custom shape via the layer > type > convert to shape

3D Tool (Photoshop Extended) 1) Create shape layer 2) Go to the 3D menu 3) New 3D postcard from layer command 4) 3D Rotate tool or one of the other 3D tools to manipulate the layer 5) Rotate etc as required

fig. Original shape layer before conversion

fig. Convert via the 3D menu to a 3D postcard

fig. Go to the 3D tools such as 3D rotate

fig. Layer has been rotated in 3D

3D Layer (continued) 1) 2) 3) 4) 5)

Create shape, apply style etc Go to the 3D menu New shape from layer Select cylinder etc Use 3D rotate tools to manipulate

The shape is now changed into a texture / surface for a cylinder, sphere, pyramid etc

fig. Style applied to the path

fig. 3D menu and new shape from layer command - in this case cylinder was used but it could equally be sphere etc. Use the 3D tools to rotate etc and render

fig. The original shape before being turned into a 3D object

Creating new custom shapes Personally the best tool is Illustrator but if you haven’t got Illustrator then there are the pen tools etc in Photoshop.

fig. Pen tool etc also other tools such as freeform and convert point tool

fig. path created using the freeform pen tool in Photoshop. Can be used to create many interesting designs (also comes with some options such as magnetic etc) Useful for tracing an image etc

fig. Using the freeform pen tool with the magnetic setting to follow the line of the image - the above example is a copy of a silhouette of a face

fig. Using the pen tool to create a frame design by adding points and manipulating the curve of the design, also apply an inner path using the exclude option (button) to create a frame design

Elements The design of the screen for Photoshop Elements is slightly different than Photoshop, most of the functionality is the same but there are definitely differences and some of the more useful editing features etc are not available in Elements. Access the shapes palette by clicking the shapes tool or the cookie cutter tool (the shape blur is not part of the Elements application) 1) Click custom shapes tool found beneath the rectangular tool OR 1) Click the cookie cutter tool Go to the custom shapes palette (the shapes can be found in the right side menu or you will have to use the file > open command to load the CSH shapes

fig. Custom shapes appear in the shapes palette. Go to the right side menu to select the shapes files (if located in the presets custom shapes folder) - otherwise use file > open command to load CSH files

fig. Or use the shapes via the cookie cutter tool

fig. Select custom shape tool from the toolbox

Cookie Cutter The cookie cutter is a useful tool, the shape can quickly cut an image into an interesting framed design.

fig. Using the cookie cutter tool using the current selected shape

fig. X designs pack

Shapes and effects Shapes can be modified by effects and filters. The effects can be applied to a rasterized layer or fill pixel design.

fig. Original X shape

fig. Lighting effects plugin applied to the shape design (on the background layer)

fig. The shape layer has been flattened, the layer blurred and a stained glass filter applied.

Further examples of custom shapes The following pages show examples of the custom shapes included in the shapes packs and custom shapes collection from The designs can be used in millions of ways in Photoshop as well as Elements. The designs are all vectors so can be used to any size. The sets all contain many different shapes, the examples only show a select few designs (not the best nor the worst, just a selection) The shapes can be colored in many ways, the shapes can have layer effects applied, plugins effects applied and more - the shapes on the following pages only show the basic design, none of the embellishments possible with Photoshop

fig. people shape set

fig. Edges shapes pack

fig. Letters shape pack

fig. Arrows shapes pack

fig. Radial shapes pack

fig. Goth shapes pack

fig. Goth shapes pack

fig. Goth shapes pack - cat

fig. Borders shape pack

fig. Faces shapes pack

fig. Space shapes pack

fig. Mottled shapes pack

fig. Polygon shapes pack

fig.Rosettes shapes pack

fig. Overlays shapes pack

fig. Starry shapes pack

fig. Sketch shapes pack

fig. Drops shapes pack

fig. Embellish shapes pack

fig. Embellish shapes pack

fig. Embellish shapes pack

fig. Christmas baubles - custom shapes pack 105

fig. Christmas bauble - now re-colored in Photoshop.

fig. Shear / transformation applied to shape.

fig. Lens flare applied to a Christmas bauble shape from the custom shapes pack 105.

fig. Ring shapes from pack 109. Many different ring shapes are included in the set. The shape can be re-colored, modified etc

Repousse - found in 3D menu in Photoshop Extended. Use the layer mask option or selected path option to create an instant 3D effect with any selected shape (in CS5 Extended)

fig. Wavy line from pack 112

fig. Dot pattern applied to the wavy line figure from pack 112 Any pattern can be applied to the shape - apply the shape as a path and then go to the path palette and turn the path into a selection. Go to the layer > new fill layer > pattern command to fill with any patterns currently in the patterns palette.

fig. The pattern fill can also be re-colored

fig. The wavy line pattern can be combined, re-colored etc in countless ways to create any kind of designs

fig. Use the wavy line from pack 112 (and there are many included in the set) to create a quick frame design

fig. Wavy line has been combined to create a single shape. The shape has been duplicated and filled with two different colors (blue and black)

fig. Pack 115 abstractions shape

fig. shape re-colored fig. Multiple copies of object

fig. Individual parts re-colored

fig. Individual parts filled and broken apart and scaled

fig. Polka dot shapes

fig. Turtle shape (pack 123) - animal shape sketch render

fig. People shapes - pack 128

fig. Multiple faces - Pack 128

Pack 142 Dinosaur shape

fig. Optical illusion - or just very extreme contour / circles shapes

fig. Optical illusions and parts of the shape cut or clipped

fig. The shapes can be combined to create a line or divider

fig. The shapes can be distorted and then cut. The same shape can be used to create 1000s of new unique shapes - they can then be defined as a new custom shape

fig. Parts of the shape can be re-colored - not all has to be red or green

fig. Easter egg shapes pack 149

fig. The shapes can be exported to other applications such as Xara Photo and Graphic Designer to create a 3D extrude effect

Custom Shapes Manual for Photoshop (R) and Photoshop (R) Elements  

Manual for custom shapes collection / packs from Custom shapes are vector designs for use in Photoshop (R) CS6 CS5 CS4 CS3...

Custom Shapes Manual for Photoshop (R) and Photoshop (R) Elements  

Manual for custom shapes collection / packs from Custom shapes are vector designs for use in Photoshop (R) CS6 CS5 CS4 CS3...