Photoshop CS4: Create Your Own Custom Shape CodeUnit 29 DEC 2009

Creating a custom shape in Adobe Photoshop CS4 is a lot easier than what you might think. After all you’ve seen all these silhouette custom shapes floating around the web, so how come can’t you just produce your own?

Well, let us start at the beginning then. First of all, find the image that you would like to trace, i.e. the source for your custom shape. For this tutorial I’ve gone with a picture of a crouching Tiger Woods, simply because he’s so topical right at this moment – What, he’s like easily 10 over par in terms of women at the moment isn’t he? ;)

crouch-tiger-woods

Any way, with your source picture located, open it up in Photoshop and create a new layer on top of it: Layer -> New -> Layer…

Next, select the Pen tool and make sure the options selected look as follows: (Hint, the Auto Add/Delete option is quite important here)

photoshop-pen-options

Now start tracing around the outline of your shape, starting from one point and then ending up at that same point again.

creating-custom-shape-outline

Once you’ve finished your outline, you now need to go back and cut out the unwanted inside shapes. This is done by changing the pen mode to subtract and then tracing the unwanted shape, exactly how you did with the initial outline.

select-subtract-option

With everything cutout, you can now go ahead and hide the original image layer, leaving only your tracing exposed:

crouching-golfer-outline

Next, access the Edit menu and select the Define Custom Shape… option:

define-custom-shape

Give your shape a name and save – that’s it. If you now access the available custom shapes after switching to the custom shapes tool, you’ll spot your newly created shape lurking in the bottom right of that menu!

completed-custom-shape

Oh, and if you want to keep if for prosperity, it might be a good idea to save the custom shapes list – just saying! :P

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About Craig Lotter

Software developer, husband and dad to two little girls. Writer behind An Exploring South African. I don't have time for myself any more.

  • nice article since i’m a photshop fan. way to go sir.
    .-= chanx12´s last blog ..Top 5 Mini Notebooks =-.

  • nice article since i’m a photshop fan. way to go sir.
    .-= chanx12´s last blog ..Top 5 Mini Notebooks =-.

  • Ah, so this is the way how to make a vector? Now I know it. Thanks for sharing this idea. But, isn’t it difficult to create one like this? Just curious.
    .-= Maria´s last blog ..Bodytronics ProCal Calorie Pedometer Review: An Advanced Pedometer! =-.

  • Ah, so this is the way how to make a vector? Now I know it. Thanks for sharing this idea. But, isn’t it difficult to create one like this? Just curious.
    .-= Maria´s last blog ..Bodytronics ProCal Calorie Pedometer Review: An Advanced Pedometer! =-.

  • Not difficult, just time consuming if you are shooting for a particularly complicated shape.
    .-= Craig´s last blog ..Tries and Bullseyes =-.

  • Not difficult, just time consuming if you are shooting for a particularly complicated shape.
    .-= Craig´s last blog ..Tries and Bullseyes =-.

  • Zlatan Halilovic

    Hey, I was wondering how to do this for days!

    Tnx for explaining it to us, mate :)

  • Zlatan Halilovic

    Hey, I was wondering how to do this for days!

    Tnx for explaining it to us, mate :)

  • Hey, no problem. Hope it makes things simpler for you now! :)
    .-= Craig Lotter´s last blog ..Cosplay Sundae: Kallen Stadtfeld (Code Geass) =-.

  • Hey, no problem. Hope it makes things simpler for you now! :)
    .-= Craig Lotter´s last blog ..Cosplay Sundae: Kallen Stadtfeld (Code Geass) =-.

  • Jasper

    Sorry, but how do I cutout the unwanted image? I can’t understand that part (english isn’t my fist language). Thanks in advance, this could be very helpful! :D

  • Jasper

    Sorry, but how do I cutout the unwanted image? I can’t understand that part (english isn’t my fist language). Thanks in advance, this could be very helpful! :D

  • @Jasper – I’m not sure exactly what you are asking, but to cut out the inside bits you trace them while having the pen tool set to subtract. (This removes the new selection from the first outline). To then “remove” the image itself, simply click on the view (eye) icon of the image layer in the layers widget.

  • @Jasper – I’m not sure exactly what you are asking, but to cut out the inside bits you trace them while having the pen tool set to subtract. (This removes the new selection from the first outline). To then “remove” the image itself, simply click on the view (eye) icon of the image layer in the layers widget.

  • i good at use the tool in the cs