How to Use the Curvature Pen Tool in Adobe Photoshop

The Pen Tool has been the primary drawing tool in Adobe design software since the beginning, allowing users to create custom outlines. It has also been a source of frustration for many a novice because it involves various mouse techniques and keyboard shortcuts to create perfect curves. Photoshop now features a Curvature Pen Tool which simplifies the drawing process considerably.

This tool is new to Adobe Photoshop CC 2018

  1. It's useful to understand how the classic Pen Tool works. Lines and shapes are controlled by creating anchor points. There are corner points which connect straight line segments; smooth anchor which connect curved line segments and feature two Bezier handles for controlling the tangents; and connector points that connect straight to curved line segments, or curves that meet at an angle. Connector points can have either one or two Bezier handles.
    Anchor Points
  2. The new Curvature Pen Tool is located within the Pen Tool on the Tool Bar.
    Tool Bar
  3. Click and release in two spots in the image window and a straight line segment forms. The first line segment alway starts out straight, but will convert to a curved line as additional anchor points are added. To curve the first line, click and hold in the center of it, and "push" it to the desired curve. This creates an additional smooth point in that line segment.
    Curvature Pen Tool
  4. As you continue adding points, more curved line segments will form.
    Curvature Pen Tool
  5. If a corner point is needed, double-clicking the anchor point will convert it. If you know that corner point is needed up front, you can also double-click as you create it.
    Curvature Pen Tool

  6. Paths can be either open, in the case of a simple line, or closed, as in a shape. When making a shape, a small circle appears next to the pen icon when you get back to the point of origins indicating that the path is about to be closed. You can also press Esc at any time to close a path.
    Curvature Pen Tool
  7. The Options Bar has buttons for turning the closed path into a a Selection, Mask, or Shape.
    Options Bar
  8. Clicking the Shape button will create a new Shape layer in the Layers Panel.
    Layers Panel
Author: Kate Cahill

Kate Cahill is a graphic designer, writer, and creative director who has developed content for print and web. As creative director, she has produced award-winning work for agencies focused on the pharmaceutical and health and beauty aid industries. She has also served as production manager, with responsibility for the successful fulfillment of long-run print contracts. Kate has been delivering training for Webucator clients since 2010. Her enthusiasm for cutting-edge technology, combined with hands-on practical experience, brings an added benefit to her classes. Kate teaches real-world techniques and integration of Adobe software, as well as Microsoft PowerPoint, to produce a fully developed and cohesive brand identity.

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