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Chapter 8. Painting and Drawing > Understanding Shapes

Understanding Shapes

In Photoshop Elements, you create shapes not by rendering them with pixels, but by constructing them from vector paths. In Photoshop Elements, those vector paths are actually vector masks. We’ll use some simple circle and square shapes to illustrate what that means.

Each time you draw a shape with one of the shape tools, Photoshop Elements is performing a little behind-the-scenes sleight of hand. Although it may appear that you’re drawing a solid, filled circle, for instance, what you’re really creating is a new layer containing both a colored fill and a mask with a circle-shaped cutout (Figure 8.78). When you move, reshape, or resize a shape, you’re actually just moving or reshaping the cutout and revealing a different area of the colored fill below it (Figure 8.79). When you add to or subtract from a shape by drawing additional shapes, you’re simply revealing or hiding more of the same colored layer (Figure 8.80).


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