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Old 12-10-2009, 02:47 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Question Photoshop Experts: How to draw an open path?

I have spent the past two days going through the Photoshop documentation and online tutorials, and I cannot figure this problem out. I am able to do wonderful things with the Pen tool and paths, but only if I create a closed path. The below example shows three paths: A closed heart path, and two curved open paths.



If I follow these steps I can trace the closed path (the heart) exactly the way I want:
  1. With the layers tab open, pick the pen tool.
  2. CTRL+click the path to select it.
  3. Right-click the path, then pick Make Selection.
  4. Go to Edit > Stroke.
  5. Specify a 3-pixel center-stroke and click OK.

Beautiful. The problem comes in with the open paths. With an open path, the Make Selection command closes the path for you, picking an area that will never be what you wanted:



You DO have an option for drawing open paths, however it appears to be more limited than with closed ones.

You can do the following:
  1. On the Layers tab, pick the pencil or brush tool and select a 3-pixel (point?) pencil or brush.
  2. With the pen-tool, CTRL+click the path you want to draw to select it.
  3. Right-click the path, then pick Stroke Subpath
  4. Choose either the pencil or the brush from the selection list and click OK.

This final example shows the stroked closed path (perfect), followed by a penciled open path (ugly), and a brushed open path (too light). The Edit > Stroke method gives you a line that is anti-aliased like the brush, but bold like the pencil. However I can only make it work on closed paths.



How can I achieve the same look with open paths?
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Old 12-10-2009, 02:53 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Draw your path, choose a pen or tool you want to use to stroke, set it to the size, opacity and color you want. in the path panel, there is an icon to the left of the "make selection" icon at the bottom of that panel - this is the "stroke path" icon... just make sure you are on the correct path layer, and just click that icon.
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Old 12-10-2009, 02:56 PM   #3 (permalink)
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you're making a selection (the dotted line bounding box) it looks like. This is what you *dont* want to do when trying to 'stroke' an open path.

After making the path(or selecting it) right click anywhere on the canvas with the pen tool and do "Stroke Path"

Make sure the Tool is set to Brush, and Simulate Pressure is *unchecked*

This will stroke the path using whichever brush tip you have selected with the brush tool.
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Old 12-10-2009, 02:59 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Merlynn D View Post
Draw your path, choose a pen or tool you want to use to stroke, set it to the size, opacity and color you want. in the path panel, there is an icon to the left of the "make selection" icon at the bottom of that panel - this is the "stroke path" icon... just make sure you are on the correct path layer, and just click that icon.
Hmm, I think that's what I'm already doing with the lower examples in my post; I stroked the paths with pencil and brush. My problem is that neither of those tools look like the closed path I drew with Edit > Stroke.

The Edit > Stroke is more like a magic marker. I want a magic marker look on my open paths, not a pencil or a brush.
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Old 12-10-2009, 03:01 PM   #5 (permalink)
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what brush are you using? It strokes with whatever brush you have selected with the airbrush tool
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Old 12-10-2009, 03:05 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I have no idea. But I have used programs like Inkscape and Adobe Streamline to create paths that trace my line drawings. Inkscape is open source and Streamline was discontinued as a standalone program but you can find it in places. Inkscape saves in basic formats so you can just open files up in PS to finish them.
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Old 12-10-2009, 03:07 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ayumi View Post
you're making a selection (the dotted line bounding box) it looks like. This is what you *dont* want to do when trying to 'stroke' an open path.

After making the path(or selecting it) right click anywhere on the canvas with the pen tool and do "Stroke Path"
Well I showed that dotted-line selection as an example, but I'm definitely not using it.

I'm pretty sure I'm already doing what you suggest, however I'm unsatisfied with the look of either the brush or the pencil, as compared to the magic marker look of Edit > Stroke.

Messing with the brush options has not yet given me a look that matches Edit > Stroke, which sucks because I've got a composition half-finished with the Edit Stroke look and now all my open paths are barely visible in comparison.

Is there a way to make the brush darker/bolder without making it bigger?
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Old 12-10-2009, 03:11 PM   #8 (permalink)
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[quote]
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wildefire Walcott View Post
I want a magic marker look on my open paths, not a pencil or a brush.
are you using your solid brush (hardness set to 100%), rather than one of the feathered brushes?

you could try a trick -- duplicate the layer of the lighter path and set it's blend mode to 'mulitply,' and it will darken the path... then merge it down, if it is not dark enough, do it again.

Last edited by Merlynn D; 12-10-2009 at 03:39 PM.
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