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Photoshop CS5: The Missing Manual by Lesa Snider

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Editing Paths

All this talk about setting points, dragging handles, and creating shapes can sound a bit intimidating. But it's important to remember that the Pen and shape tools are very forgiving—if you don't get your path right the first time, you can always edit it by adding, deleting, and repositioning points and dragging their control handles. The trick lies in knowing which tool to use to make the changes you want. This section explains all your options.

Adding, Deleting, and Converting Points

At first, you may have a wee bit of trouble drawing paths that look exactly like you want (surprise!). But don't stress; just add more points, move them around, and adjust the curves until you get the shape you want. You'll need fewer and fewer points as you get more comfortable using the vector drawing tools. And if you've had yourself a point party, you can delete the extra ones.

Adding and deleting points is really easy since the Pen tool figures out what you want to do depending upon what your cursor is hovering over. For example:

  • To add a point, grab the Add Anchor Point tool (shown on Drawing Paths with the Pen Tool) from the pen toolset (it looks like the Pen tool's icon with a plus sign next to it). When you see a tiny plus sign appear next to your cursor, you can click an existing path to create a new point. You can also just grab the Pen tool, hover your cursor over an existing path (but avoid hovering over any anchor points) and your cursor turns into the Add Anchor Point tool ...

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