With the introduction of Ps CS6, a claim was made by Adobe that a Shape layer is now a wonderful special type of layer. Blame the marketing dept, I guess. It didn't take long for us to see through the BS and find that the new Shapes are really the same old Fill layers with vector masks, but with interface changes and the addition of a stroke attribute. Unfortunately, the deception has created a bunch of disruptions to workflow in exchange for no discernable benefit (aside from the useful stroke attribute).
You can draw the individual Shapes, target the layers then press Cmd+E to merge them into one Shape layer. (In earlier versions, the merge would create a raster layer.)
Well marketing needs to keep their nose out of the product and only market it once a design is done. It's probably the same guy who thinks a toaster needs 15 features where toast and bagel is more than sufficient. Defrost? Are you kidding me? Who defrosts a single slice of bread? hahahaha
Anyway, it's good to know I'm not the only one and that I'm not just being dumb. Thanks for the merging without rasterizing tip as well. It would have taken me quite a while before I found that one out.
I am fairly certain it's a bug though. So many of the other buttons in that bar lead you to believe you can draw more on the same layer, like new path operations, aligning, and path arrangement. Surely they don't expect those to only be used after you merge layers.
I agree that it's odd and inconvenient that we can't draw additional paths inside a Shape layer with tools other than the Pen Tool in Path mode. However, I'm not sure whether it's a bug or deliberate since the whole mess of the "new Shapes" deception is deliberate to some extent.
well the default rectangle still ends up on path, but just moves to a working path that you can't even see. So any path newcomer would just think they aren't drawing anything and be frustrated. So whatever you call it, it's just another name for "mistake."