Using The Pen Tool - The Basics

by Steve Tolley

This tutorial is more for the beginners of Photoshop on how to use the pen tool and what you can do with it, although some more advanced with Photoshop may also find this useful, it is just a quick tutorial today as I am currently working on a new WordPress layout for this website so I am quite occupied with that, but I will still be doing tutorials every other day whilst I am doing this.

Step 1 - Find Image

First of all find the image that you want to use in this tutorial; I have used a picture of a Buggati Veyron and open it up in Photoshop, now choose the pen tool on the left toolbar (as shown below) but before we use it I am going to explain what it does and the benefits of using it:

Original Image:

Pen Tool

The pen tool allows you to make “paths” which can be used to cut out certain parts of images or so that you can make a range of different shapes.

Advantages of Using the Pen Tool

The pen tool offers more flexibility over other tools (e.g. Polygonal Lasso Tool) because the pen tool not only creates anchor points but when you have clicked where you want the anchor point to be, if you hold down the button and drag you can create a curved shape which can be used to draw around curved objects.

Step 1 (Continued…): Now back to step 1, with the pen tool selected at the top of the window you will see the below toolbar which shows the settings of the pen which can be used, if you hover over each setting it will explain what they do, for now use the settings below and you can experiment whenever you want to:

Step 2 - Using The Pen Tool

Now zoom into your image and click on the canvas around the edge of your chosen object, this is the starting point of your selection now when you click at the next point in your object notice that it makes another small square (You might notice you can’t click on the adjustment bar ends. That is, until you hold the CTRL key. When you hold the CTRL key, your cursor will change to a solid white arrow, the Direct Selection Tool. Now you can click on the adjustment bar ends and adjust the curve of your selection. Now try holding the ALT key. You should get a two-sided arrow when you mouse over your adjustment ends, the Convert Point Tool. Click and drag to adjust only one aspect of your curve. This is how you make sharp edges with your Pen Path.) Now keep clicking around the edge of your chosen object and remember if you want a curved line, click and hold and then drag in the direction of the curve.

Step 3 - Connect The Two End Points

When you get the hang of it, it is really easy to use, once you have gone around the whole outer edge of your object join the starting point and ending point together, you will now have a “Path”

Step 4 - Make Selection

Now right click in the path and choose “Make Selection” as shown below,

Step 5 - Make Selection Menu

This will bring up a menu showing some different settings, but leave this as default as they don’t need to be changed.

Step 6 - Drag And Drop Image Onto New Background

With your path now selected you will see the crawling ants around the edge of your image, now when you choose the move tool you can see that your selection can be moved around etc…Now open up a new background in a new document and simply drag and drop your selection into it as shown below:

Crawling Ants:

Drag And Drop:

Step 7 - Play Around With The Final Image

You can now play around with different shadows and options to get just the right look and once I had done this I had something that looked similar to below:
(This final image does look rubbish but that was not the point of this tutorial, the point was to show you that there are other ways to extract an image rather than using the eraser or magic wand tool, if I had more time i would have made this final image look better, but it will do to illustrate my point)


This tutorial was just the basics of using the Pen Tool but there are lots of other different things which it can be used for, so go and play around with it and see what you can create.

If you have any problems with this tutorial then don’t hesitate to leave me a comment or email me at: and I will help you as much as I can.

How To Use Adjustment Layers - The Basics

by Steve Tolley

This tutorial explains what an “Adjustment Layer” is and also the benefits of using one instead of just adjusting it normally, and how to best use it so that you get the desired effect that you want.

First of all what is an adjustment layer?

Well an adjustment layer is a layer that you create in Photoshop where you can apply any adjustments (e.g. Hue/Saturation, Levels etc…) to the image that you want to manipulate.

What are the benefits of an adjustment layer?

An adjustment layer gives one main benefit when creating your image; say for instance that you wanted to change the colour of this IPod and you were going to use the Hue/Saturation adjustment then you would go to Image > Adjustments > Hue/Saturation and set it to colorize and then play around till you have the colour that you want like below:


Adjustment Menu:


But the problem is that when you get later into your project and you then may decide you don’t like the colour that you set, there is no way in changing it again if you have run out of undo’s, whereas with an Adjustment layer you can do the same Hue/Saturation on a separate layer so it can be deleted later like below, to make an adjustment layer click the black and white circle under the layers window and choose from the options also shown below:

Adjustment Layer Menu:

Adjustment Layer:

As can be seen the adjustment is on a separate layer so therefore can be deleted or hidden if you decide you want to change the colour again later on in the project or if you want to go back to the original.

If you have had any problems with this tutorial and would like some help then don’t hesitate to contact me either by leaving a comment below or e-mailing me at:

How To Round The Corners of A Shape Using Levels

by Steve Tolley

This tutorial shows you how to simply and easily round of the corners of any shape, using layer masks and levels…

Step 1: Create a new document (the size doesn’t matter, but for this I used 500 x 500), when the document is ready make sure that you have the default colours set (although this is not essential it helps with this tutorial) and create the shape that you want to smooth the edges of (make sure that you right click and choose rasterize layer)

Step 2: Now hold CTRL and click on the layer in the layers tab where a preview of the layer is shown (the little box where the shape can be seen, next to the layer name) and this should select the whole of the shape, this can be seen by what look like little ants crawling around the edge:

Crawling Ants:

Step 3: Now go to the layers window and click the “Add Vector Mask” button as shown below:

Step 4: With this layer mask selected go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur and set it to a desired pixel amount (the higher the blur the bigger the curves radius, here I have used 20px)

Step 5: Finally go to Image > Adjustments > Levels and play around the triangles so that you get a nice curve on the shape, try to get them all in the middle as this gives the best results, and when you are happy with the curve then press “Ok” (alternatively use the Level settings as shown below), to finish right click on the layer mask and choose “Apply Layer Mask”

Final Image:

If you have had any problems with this tutorial and would like some help then don’t hesitate to contact me either by leaving a comment below or e-mailing me at:

Making Text Follow A Path

by Steve Tolley

A very simple 3 step method to make normal Text follow a drawn path, can be used in many situations with good results.

Step 1: First open up a new document (any size you want) and simply choose the pen tool and draw the desired path by clicking the start point and then clicking again where you want the line to bend (to bend click and drag in any direction to the desired size) do this until you are happy with the shape of the line.

Step 2: Now simply choose the Text tool and move the cursor to the start of your line and when the cursor looks like the one shown below click and then start typing, if done right the text should follow the line/path you have drawn.

And there you have it, Text that follows a Path:

Step 3: Now apply this method to any image to get a good effect that really stands out:

If you have had any problems with this tutorial and would like some help then don’t hesitate to contact me either by leaving a comment below or e-mailing me at:

How To Use The Extract Filter

by Steve Tolley

This Tutorial explains how to properly use the “Extract Filter” in Photoshop

Step 1: First of all get the image that you want to extract loaded up onto Photoshop, for this tutorials I am going to extract this Coca Cola Can from it’s background and place it on a black background.

Step 2: Next go to Filter > Extract and wait for the filter to load.

Step 3: This is where we start to extract the image first of all zoom into the image so you can clearly see the outline and set the brush size to a suitable size and then simply draw around the outline of the coke can so that there are no gaps.

Step 4: Now we can fill in the area which we want extracting to do this select the bucket/fill tool on the left hand toolbar and simply click inside of the drawn outline.

Step 5: Now press “OK” in the top right of the window and you should go back to the normal photoshop window, and if you did the last steps correctly you will have an image of a coke can without a background, if all done correct the edges will look fine, if not then you may find some discrepancies which can simply be erased.

Step 6: Finally fill in the background with a black colour and add some text to give you the final image.

Final Image:

Hope this has helped, if you have any problems with this tutorial then feel free to e-mail me or leave me a comment and I will respond ASAP