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How to Draw Vector Shapes in Photoshop?

  • Last Updated : 30 Jun, 2021

Photoshop is basically a raster-based image editing software developed and published by Adobe Inc. but in Photoshop we can also edit vector images. So in this article, we will learn how to draw different types of vector shapes, such as rectangles, circles, squares, ellipses, etc. We will also learn how to draw our custom shape and how to use the Pre-Build shape provided by Photoshop, and then we will learn about some cool properties and setting of vector shapes. 

Vector Tools

The vector tool is a way to create vector shapes in Photoshop. Although Photoshop is a raster-based image editing software, with the help of this tool, we can create vector shapes like rectangle, square, ellipse, circle, polygon, single-pixel line, and many more custom shapes. 

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So, to use this tool, we have to activate this tool in Photoshop by pressing U on the keyboard or you can select the vector shapes option on the toolbar of Photoshop. After selecting the tool, if you drag the mouse on the canvas by holding the Left Mouse Button then you can see the shape will be created. By default, the rectangular shape is selected but you can also change this. If you repeatedly hit shift + U on the keyboard, you can toggle among the different types of vector shapes or if you click and hold on the vector shapes icon on the toolbar panel then the small popup window will open where you can see the list of different types of vector shapes, simply select them to use. 



Now we discuss different types of vector shapes which you can draw on your canvas with the help of the vector shapes tool:

  1. Rectangular and Square Shapes
  2. Rounded Rectangular and Square Shapes
  3. Elliptical and Circular Shapes
  4. Single Pixel Line
  5. Polygonal Shapes 
  6. Custom Shapes and Library of Predefined Vector Shapes.

Rectangular and Square Shapes: The rectangular shape is by default selected shape for drawing. If you press Left-click and hold and drag the mouse on canvas, then a rectangular vector shape will be formed. The illustration of this tool is shown below image:

Square shape: The square shape is a sub-shaped rectangular vector shape. If you hold down the shift button on the keyboard while creating a rectangular shape, you will see that instead of a rectangular shape, a square shape will be formed, as shown in the below image:

Rounded Rectangular and Square Shapes: A rounded rectangular shape is a shape whose corners are not sharp but are in the shape of a smooth curve, so it is called a rounded rectangular shape. By pressing shift + U repeatedly you can select this shape. In the below image you can see the example of a rounded rectangular vector shape:



Rounded Square Shape:  Rounded Square Shape is another variation of Rounded Rectangular Shape. If you hold down the shift button on the keyboard while creating a rounded rectangular shape, you will see that instead of a rounded rectangular shape, a rounded square shape will be formed which is shown in the below image:

Note: Rounded Rectangular and Rounded Square shapes also have the extra shape manipulation property called the radius. You can adjust the radius of rounded corners by filling the radius input field which is located in the properties panel above. 

Elliptical and Circular Shapes: With the help of an elliptical vector shape we can create the shape of an egg. We also create both vertical and horizontal ellipse shapes with this tool. Elliptical shapes are very handy and useful shapes for graphic designing. You can see the simple illustration of Elliptical vector shape in the image below:

Circular shape: Like the variants of rectangular shapes and rounded rectangular shapes, this circular shape is also a variant of Elliptical vector shape. By pressing shift while creating an elliptical shape you can create the circular vector shape. In the below image you can see the circular vector shape:

Single Pixel Line: This option will simply create a single-pixel line that is straight and linear. If you press shift while creating a line shape, you can create a line with angle 0°, 45°, 90°, 135°, 180°, 225°, 270°, and 315° degrees from the origin point of the shape. Like as shown in the below image: 

Polygonal Shapes: In this option, we can create polygonal shapes like star, pentagon, and various shapes like as shown in the below image:



Library of Predefined Vector Shapes and Custom Shapes: This is a very important and very useful option for drawing vector shapes in Photoshop. Photoshop provides a Pre-Build vector shapes library in which we found various types of pre-build vector shapes. For using these pre-build shapes simply select custom shape option and right-click on the canvas, then the small panel will open where you can see the pre-build shapes simply click and use. 

but if you want more vector shapes, click on the small gear icon located on the top right corner of the opened panel. After you click on the gear icon, you can see several options regarding the shape tool. In the last section of the list, you can see the various types of shapes. For using this, simply click on one of those options, and a small popup window will open where you can either replace or append the new vector shapes in the shape panel. 

How to make Custom Vector Shapes?

For making custom vector shapes you need to have some knowledge of the Pen tool in Photoshop. The pen tool is the most important tool in Photoshop, with the help of the pen tool you can create selection, path, and shapes in Photoshop. So, first of all, select the pen tool by clicking P on the keyboard or select pen tool into toolbar panel and set the pen tool to the path to shape.

and make your desired shape on the canvas. After making the shape with the help of the pen tool, right-click on the canvas, and select the Define Custom Shape option in the option window, after clicking the option, you need to provide the name of your custom shape and save it. 

Now for using this custom shape re-select the Vector shape tool and left-right click on the canvas then you can see the library shapes window form where simply select your custom shape in the library panel. In case your shape doesn’t appear in the library panel, then click on the gear icon on the library panel and load your custom shape. 



Options for Vector Shapes

Like other tools, in Photoshop the vector shapes tool also has various types of options/properties like the color of the shape, size of the shape, opacity, etc. So below is the detailed explanation of options/properties of vector shapes.

1. Types

In the types option, you can select either Path, Shape, or Pixel. In the path option you can only create the path or outline of the shape. With the help of this type, you can make a selection of shapes which are formed by this tool. in the shape type, you can make shapes with the fill color. 

2. Fill Color 

This option is the most useful option for vector shapes. This option specifies what color the shape should be which you are going to draw. With the help of this option, you can decide the color of the shapes. To use this option, click on the color option in the options panel above, which will open a color window in which there will be different types of colors, now you can select your favorite color from this color window also you can fill in the gradient and patterns in the shape. And if you want to make your own custom color then you can also do this by clicking on the color picker icon located in the top right corner of the color window. 

3. Stroke and Color of Stroke



Stroke is used for making outlines of the shape or boundary of the vector shapes. By default, stroke is not applied on the shapes, but if you want to apply the stroke in your shape, then simply click on the Stroke option in the options panel and choose your desired color for stroke from the popup window. 

In the below example, you can see how to select a color for the stroke:

4. Width of Stroke

This option is used for adjusting the width of the stroke. You can give the value of the stroke in the form of pixels. you can decide the width of the stroke. With the help of this value, you can decide how thick or thin the stroke of your shape is going to be. 

5. Type of Stroke

Type of stroke is decide that what the style of your stroke will be such as linear, doted and long dotted line, etc. By default linear line is selected for the stroke. You can select different line type for stroke by simply clicking on the icon shown in the below image:

Example:

6. Height and width of shape

With the help of the height and width option you can set the size of the shape in pixels. For setting the size of the shape you need to fill the value of height and width in the input boxes in the form of pixels. 

7. Addition, Subtraction, Intersection, and Extrude the overlapping Shapes

This option is the most useful and common option for making shapes. In this option, you can add, subtract, intersect or extrude the overlapping area of the two shapes. You must have at least one shape on your canvas to use this option. 

Let’s talk about all the options one by one:

  • Addition of shapes: After selecting this option you can add two or more shapes together. If you want to add a rectangular shape to the circular shape then you should use this option. Working of this option is shown below:



  • Subtraction of shape: With the help of this option, you can easily subtract one shape from another shape. the overlapping area of two shapes and the second shape will be removed after this operation. Let’s check how it works in the below image:

  • Intersection of shapes: If you want to intersect one shape with another shape then you should use this option. After selecting this option, if you draw a new shape on the other shape, then the common or overlapping area of the two shapes will remain and the extra area of two shapes which is not overlapping is removed. Below is a simple illustration of this operation:

  • Extrusion of Overlapping area: This option is totally opposite to the intersection of shapes option. in contrast to the way the overlapping area was saved in the intersection of shapes option, only the overlapping area of the shape is deleted in the extrusion of shape option,

8. Alignment

This option is quite useful. if you want to align the shape in a particular order then this is very useful. With the help of this option, you can align the edges of the shape vertically left, right, or center and you can align the edges of shapes horizontally on the top or bottom of the canvas or you can align the center. 

9. Order of shapes 

Every vector shape in Photoshop has a different layer, as we go on making shapes. Then each new layer is added on top of the previous layer in the form of a stack and, with the help of this property, we can change the order of these layers.

  • Bring shape to front: After selecting this option, the layer of the selected shape comes on the top of the layer stack.
  • Bring shape to forward:  After selecting this option, the layer of the selected shape comes on the top of the layer above it.
  • Send shape to backward:  After selecting this option, the layer of the selected shape goes under the layer below it.
  • Send shape to back:  After selecting this option, the layer of the selected shape moves to the bottom of the layer stack.



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