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? ;)


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)


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


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.


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


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


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!


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