Pen Tool

The Pen tool, ah sucha wonderful friend of mine. The pen tool can be used to do many things. You can use it to create a design on a shirt, create sharp shadows and highlight on an avatar, give your avatar a nice smooth edge around the shoulders/arms/legs or you could even draw hair with it. I’m sure there’s lots more things the pen tool can do. I use it mostly for creating sharp shadows/highlights and cleaning up ugly edges. When I’m making clothes, I use the pen tool to create the shape of the piece of clothing I’m making. For example, the shape of a tank top. It just makes it easier for me.

Using the pen tool is pretty easy. It might seem tricky at first but you’ll get the hang of it as you practice. It’s all about paths and anchor points. The anchor points are little squares that you can drag around to make the path you want. You can create an anchor point ON the path by just left clicking on it. To curve the path just press the CTRL key and click on the anchor point and drag. You can create a shape this way or make the path go along your avatar’s edge. Create anchor points where ever you want to curve or shape the path.

CLEANING UP EDGES:
For this tut, I’m using a picture of my avatar’s arm.

anchorpointpic
Step 1. – Having the Pen tool selected, Click on an area on the image, it will create an anchor point. Then click somewhere else, this will be where the path ends.

Step 2. – Click somewhere on the path to create an anchor point. For the picture I used, I made a few anchor points. One right on the middle of the path and dragged it towards the elbow, and 2 more along the arm to help me shape the path nicely along the edge, outlining the arm.

anchorpointpic2

Step 3. – Click away from the avatar, then right click and choose “Make selection”. Then press Delete and that’s it. Much better!
Yes, the Pen tool is like a select tool but on steroids, lol. Your edges should look better and smoother.

anchorpointpic3

CREATING LINES/CURVES:
Here I’ll show how to create curvy lines. Lines can be as thin or as thick as you want, just change the size of your brush.

Step 1. – Set the brush size, hardness level and color.

Step 2. – With the pen tool, create the shape you want.

Step 3.– Right click on the path and choose “Stroke path“, then on the window that pops up, check the ” simulate pressure” box. Also make sure that the brush is selected on the drop down menu. Simulate pressure makes the line fade off as if it was done with a pen tablet. I’ve created hair with this method, but you can also make glow effects around a subject and other types of designs.

shape1

NOTE: For the Simulate Pressure option to work, you have to have your brush set to Pen pressure. Go to your brushes window , click Shape dynamics and choose and set the controls to Pen pressure.

Step 4. – Right click and choose “Delete path” and you’re done. Below is an example of what you can do with this. Pretty easy and looks cool.

curves