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Lesson 10. Vector Masks, Paths, and Shap... > Subtracting more shapes from a shape...

Subtracting more shapes from a shape layer

After you create a shape layer (vector graphic), you can set options to subtract new shapes from the vector graphic. You can also use the Path Selection tool and the Direct Selection tool to move, resize, and edit shapes. You’ll add some stars to your “sky” (the blue rectangle you just created) by subtracting star shapes from the blue shape. To help you position the stars, you’ll refer to the Star Guides layer, which has been created for you. Currently, that layer is hidden.

In the Layers palette, click the box to the far left of the Star Guides layer to display the eye icon () for that layer (but leave the Shape 1 layer selected). The Star Guides layer is now visible in the image window.

In the Paths palette, make sure that the Shape 1 Vector Mask is selected.

In the toolbox, select the Polygon tool (), hidden under the Rectangle tool ().

In the tool options bar, select the following:

  • In Sides, type 9 and press Enter.

  • Click the Geometry Options arrow (immediately to the left of the Sides option) to open the Polygon Options. Select the Star check box, and type 70% in the Indent Sides By option. Then click anywhere outside the Polygon Options to close it.

  • Select the Subtract From Shape Area option () or press either hyphen or minus to select it with a keyboard shortcut. The pointer now appears as crosshairs with a small minus sign ().

Move the crosshairs pointer over the center of one of the white dots and drag outward until the tips of the star rays reach the edge of the faint circle around the dot.


As you drag, you can rotate the star by dragging the pointer to the side.

When you release the mouse, the star shape appears to fill with white. However, this is not a fill; the star is a cutout from the blue shape, and the white you see is the background layer underneath it. If the background layer were another image, pattern, or color, that’s what you would see inside the star shape.

Repeat Step 5 for the other three white dots to create a total of four stars.

Notice that all the stars have grainy outlines, reminding you that the shapes are selected. Another indication that the shapes are selected is that the Shape 1 vector mask thumbnail is highlighted (outlined in white) in the Layers palette.

In the Layers palette, click the eye icon for the Star Guides layer to hide it.

Notice how the thumbnails have changed in the palettes. In the Layers palette, the left thumbnail is as it was, but the mask thumbnails in both the Layers palette and Path palette show the slant of the blue shape with the star-shaped cutouts.



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