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Chapter 9. Mask Essentials > Building a Path

Building a Path

The following steps explain how to create a path. You'll probably want to start by creating simple straight segments. Then, as you become comfortable, you can try using smooth points to create curves, then corner points to create even more complex shapes.

To build a path:

1.
Do either of the following:

  • Open a Layer window for the layer for which you want to create a mask.

  • Select a layer in the Composition window.

2.
In Tools, select the Pen tool (Figure 9.20).

Figure 9.20. In Tools, select the Pen tool.


3.
In the Layer or Comp window, do one of the following:

  • To create an anchor point, click (Figure 9.21).

    Figure 9.21. In the Layer window, click to create an anchor point with no direction lines.


  • To create a smooth point, drag (Figure 9.22).

    Figure 9.22. In the Layer window, click and drag to create a smooth point with two continuous direction lines.


  • To create a corner point, drag to create a smooth point, select one of the smooth point's direction handles, and then drag again (Figure 9.23).

    Figure 9.23. Drag a direction handle to break the relationship between the two handles, converting the point into a corner point.


4.
Repeat Step 3 to create straight and curved segments between points.

Don't click an existing segment unless you want to add a control point to the path. Don't click an existing direction handle unless you want to convert it.

5.
To close the path, do one of the following:

  • Double-click in the Layer window to create the final control point and connect it to the first control point.

  • Position the Pen tool over the first control point until a circle icon appears , then click (Figure 9.24).

    Figure 9.24. To close the path, position the tool over the first point, so that a Circle icon appears next to the Pen tool . Click to close the path.


  • Choose Layer > Mask > Closed.

If the first control point is smooth, the path will be closed with a smooth point.

To leave the path open, stop clicking in the Layer window (Figure 9.25).

Figure 9.25. Continue clicking to create control points that define straight and curved segments. Stop clicking to create an open path.


You may want to choose a new tool, such as the Selection tool.


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