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Making Your Own Shapes

Making your own shapes is fairly simple:

  1. Start with a new blank document.
  2. Choose the Pen tool and click the Paths option in the Tool Options bar.
  3. Click the image to start the shape; then click a second point to create a line. If you click-and-drag the second point, you can make a curved line.
  4. Continue clicking or clicking-and-dragging until you complete your shape by clicking the starting point again (see Figure 4).
    Figure 4

    Figure 4 Use the Pen tool to create a simple shape by clicking and dragging to make curved lines.

  5. To edit the shape, click the Direct Selection tool and click the shape to see the nodes. Drag the nodes to move them, or drag their handles to change the curve.

With a few small adjustments, you can make a heart shape from just two points, as shown in Figure 5.

Figure 5

Figure 5 A simple heart shape can be created with the Pen tool, using just two points.

When you have a shape you like, save it so you can reuse it. With the Direct Selection tool selected, choose Edit > Define Custom Shape. The thumbnail image shows the shape you’ve made. Type a name for the shape and click OK. You can now select the shape from the Custom Shapes list and use it any time.

To create a hollow shape, create one path inside another. We’ll use the heart shape for this example:

  1. Click the Direct Selection tool and click somewhere on the path
  2. Hold down the Alt key (Option on the Mac) as you drag on the path to create a duplicate path.
  3. Size the second path smaller than the first, and place it inside the first.
  4. Select the Path Selection tool and drag over both shapes to select them.
  5. Click the Exclude Overlapping Shape Areas option.
  6. Click Combine to combine them into one shape.
  7. With the shape still selected, click the Intersect Shape Areas option.
  8. Create your shape by choosing Edit, Define Custom Shape. This time the thumbnail will display the shape as a hollow rather than filled, as shown in Figure 6.
Figure 6

Figure 6 Creating a hollow shape.

If you’re unsure what the shape looks like, display the Paths palette—the area that’s colored white is the current shape. Keep an eye on the Paths palette as you experiment with the Add, Subtract, Intersect, and Exclude from Shape Area options on the Tool Options bar to create your shapes.

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