Photoshop has a pretty good selection of built-in, vector-based shapes, which are perfect for adding artistic embellishments or using as vector masks (discussed later in this chapter). They include a rectangle, a rounded rectangle (great for making round-edged selections; see The Vector Shape Tools), an ellipse, a polygon, a line, and a gazillion custom shapes (Using Custom Shapes). These preset goodies are huge timesavers because they keep you from having to draw something that already exists. And since these preset shapes are made from paths, you can also use the techniques described later in this chapter to morph them into anything you want.
The shape tools work in all three drawing modes (see Photoshop's Drawing Modes). This section focuses on the first mode: Shape Layers. Just like any other kind of layer, you can stroke, fill, and add layer styles (Layer Styles) to Shape layers, as well as load them as selections.