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The Pen Tool

The Pen tool, which can be found on the toolbar and looks like the tip of an old-fashioned ink pen, gives you a result that more closely resembles the work of a pair of scissors than anything else we've covered in this chapter. If you're sloppy with it, the result will look very crude. If you take enough time with it, you can end up with a nice, crisp result, but you definitely wouldn't want to use this tool with an object that has a soft or blurry edge.

The Pen tool can be a bit tricky to learn because it doesn't work like anything else in Photoshop. Instead of creating shapes out of a grid of solid-colored squares (pixels), the Pen tool creates shapes from a collection of points and directional handles (Figure 13.73). If you've used Adobe Illustrator, then you might be familiar with paths, but just in case you're not, let's take a look at how they work. Before we get started creating paths, take a look in the options bar at the top of your screen (Figure 13.74) and make sure the Paths icon is active so you end up making a path instead of a shape layer. The Paths icon is the second from the left of the icons that appear just to the right of the Pen tool icon.


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