Tutorial: The Pen and Paths on Adobe Photoshop

This is an easy tutorial for anyone who want to edit and rearrange the images with the pen and path tools. How to use the pen tool and other features and functions on Adobe Photoshop will become very useful for future projects or artworks.

Tool and Features used are:

  • pen tool
  • Paths
  • layers
  • place
  • Free Transform

let’s get Started! 

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Step 1. Click file > New. Select sizes for example A4 sizes paper then click OK. change the orientation of the paper by image > image rotations > 90 CW. the paper will turn landscaper. This section is optional, use whether portrait or landscape.

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Step 2. Click File > ‘Place…’ it will open your computer files,  select one image then click  ‘Place’. The image will be place as new layer. Move the image or scale it larger or smaller by the corners of the image. Once you have decided, press ‘Enter’ on the keyboard.

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Note: the set the image completely, you have to click on the image with a brush tool (keyboard short cut ‘B’). A window will ask if you want to change it click ok. Now the image is set. Do not worry, you can resizes the image for later.


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Step 3. Click on the Pen Tool along the tool panel (normally on the left side) or (keyboard short cut ‘B’)

Next go to the Path layer on ‘The Optional bar’. Which is located nears to Layers  or click on Windows > Paths.

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Once you click on Paths, Click on the icon at the bottom to ‘create a new path’.



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Step 4. Zoom in or out Command ‘- + ‘(mac) Control ‘-, +’ (PC). With the pen tool start clicking around the figure making a trace. I started by clicking around the cats face. Do not click and hold as it will drag the lines.

If you made a mistake press command (MAC) Control (PC), Alt,  Z  to undo.

Note: You do not have to trace the whole image, just trace the area you want to focus on, for example, I just tracing the cats head.

Most importantly do not forget to save. Save project as a format file Photoshop (PSD)  to resume the project for later.


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Step 5.  Join the last dots with the first dot making a link together to complete the path.

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Step 6.  Click on “load paths as selections” located at the bottom of the Path layer.

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Step 7. click on Select > Inverse, then Edit >  Cut (control X PC/ Command X Mac)

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Ta Da! An accurate cut of the cat’s head, now we can get very creative by adding background or re scaling the image. Click back on Layers (key F7) on optional bar or go to Windows > Layers.


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Step 8. Right click on the selected layer, click on ‘Duplicate Layer’ to copy the layer.

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Step 9. Press V on keyboard for the Move tool. Click on the image and move it across. You will see to copies of the image but on different layers. Click back to the first layer and press command, T Mac / control, T PC for Free Transform  right-click > flip horizontal.

Note: To deleted a Layer just simple select the layer, right-click > delete layer.


silhouette (optional)

You have already create a path of the figure. why not add a silhouette of the cropped image

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New layer (Shift, command, N MAC / Shift, control, N PC) then go to Path tool on the optional bar as in Step 3 select the path layer you created earlier. At the bottom, Click on Fill path with foreground icon.

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Another cool tool on Path is stroke line, just click on Stroke Path with brush to create and outline. Make sure the foreground is not the same colour.


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That is the basic of using Pen and Paths tools on Photoshop. You can create very unique college. Practice and see what you will create.

Once you totally finished your work or practice. Click on File Save as… choose a different. File JPEG to save it as an image file.

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Choose the quaintly of the image you want it to be. the higher the quality the larger the file will be.

cat college

If you have any suggestion or feedback back on this tutorial please make comment. Also anymore Photoshop tutorial you want me to do on please make a suggestion or idea, i be very happy to do it.

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