15 Replies Latest reply on Feb 25, 2010 2:05 PM by Kurt Gold

    Tracing with the pen tool

    RayTaylor1 Level 1

      Hi, I am trying to trace a cartoon animal with the pen tool.  How do you start and stop without messing up the design, when you have to start at a new location in the design, if that makes sense.

       

      Thanks,

       

      Erica

        • 1. Re: Tracing with the pen tool
          Jacob Bugge MVP & Adobe Community Professional

          Erica,

           

          To start a new path, instead of continuing the current one, you have to switch from the Pen Tool to something else and back again. You may do that by using the keyboard shortcuts with the non mousing hand, and keep the mouse and your attention (more or less) in position.

           

          P is Pen, the easiest switch is to press O then P, and then you can start the new path (O is Reflect, but that does not matter in this connexion).

          • 2. Re: Tracing with the pen tool
            Scott Falkner Level 5

            Please give more information. What do you mean by “messing up the design?” What are you doing? What is the result? How is this different from what you expect?

            • 3. Re: Tracing with the pen tool
              RayTaylor1 Level 1

              Scott,

               

              I am trying to trace a cartoon elephant. When I stop to start at another location the first place I started from automatically connect to the ending point.  Example, if I am tracing the face and now I am trying to trace the eyes, the point that I stopped at automactically connects to where I end.  I hope that is not confusing.  Thanks for  your help in advance.

               

              Erica

              • 4. Re: Tracing with the pen tool
                Wade_Zimmerman Level 6

                Jacob's comment, though correct is at the same time a bit weird! I mea that in a nice way!

                 

                When you are working with the pen tool ,on the Mac you generally use the command to access the selection tool,which one depends on which was last selected before switching to the pen tool. On the PC you access a selection tool by holding the Control key while in the pen tool and then you can click to any where to deselect the path you just drew with the pen tool let go of the Control or Command key and you get the pen tool back and you ca start creating a new Path with the pen tool.

                 

                If you hold the Option Key (Mac) Alt (PC) you get the anchor conversion tool while you are in the pen tool which is handy if you re having difficulty after making a corner anchor after you have made curved anchors.

                 

                If working with the pen tool it is customary to work with the control or command key and often with the option or alt keys as well.

                 

                this doe not address this particular use but shows somewhat how to use the pen tool I will expand on it if you do not get it.

                 

                http://mysite.verizon.net/wzphoto/Pen.mov

                 

                Notice in the movie, except when I goofed I am clicking on the canvas with an arrow which is one of the selection  tools which I am accessing
                by holding the command or control keys while I have the pen tool selected.

                1 person found this helpful
                • 5. Re: Tracing with the pen tool
                  RayTaylor1 Level 1

                  Jacob,

                   

                  I will try that.  Thanks!

                   

                  Erica

                  • 6. Re: Tracing with the pen tool
                    RayTaylor1 Level 1

                    Wade,

                     

                    Thank you for the video it was very helpful as well.

                    • 7. Re: Tracing with the pen tool
                      Jacob Bugge MVP & Adobe Community Professional

                      You are welcome, Erica. Did it work, in its own weird way?

                       

                      Weirdness may be hard to deny: any attempted disproof may seem to be further proof. And if you are, is it possible to know?

                       

                      Maybe it is unwise to state this, but further pondering has revealed no any easier way to switch from/to the Pen Tool than clicking two adjacent keys with the other hand and just mouse/style on.

                      • 8. Re: Tracing with the pen tool
                        Wade_Zimmerman Level 6

                        It is a bit strange that you do not use the control or that would be the command key on the Mac to access the selection tool when using the Pen Tool.

                         

                        Considering the location of the location of the alt key in relation to it. This gives you temporary access temporary access to the selection to and convert anchor point tools.

                         

                        It is kind of basic and why it was made to be that way.

                         

                        I understand this is your way of doing things I use to do it the same way until it was pointed out to me that I had more power when using the command and option keys.

                         

                        For the OPs otpions,

                         

                        Select the Pen Tool and then press the Control Key if you are on Windows, now let go will see it toggles back and forth from the Pent Tool to the Selection tool.

                         

                        FYI it will toggle from any current tool you have select to the selection tool if you hold the Control key down and letting it go will get you back the the selected tool. This simplifies the need to select a or v to get to the selection or direct select tools.

                         

                        BTWf you actually have the selection tool selected if you hold the command key down the other selection tool will be temporarily available to you.

                         

                        Jacob I have some of my own weird habits as well and the one we are talking about here was one of them and when someone pointed out to me that it was weird I simply changed because it as kinda weird.

                         

                        If you don't learn from your mistakes you don't learn.

                        • 9. Re: Tracing with the pen tool
                          Jacob Bugge MVP & Adobe Community Professional

                          Wade_Zimmerman wrote:

                           

                          It is a bit strange that you do not use the control or that would be the command key on the Mac to access the selection tool when using the Pen Tool.

                          This only breaks the drawing of a continuous path with the Pen Tool if you click somewhere else, unrelated to your drawing the path, in other words one keystroke and one click (two entirely different actions involving both hands and causing an actual break in drawing) instead of two neighbouring keystrokes (done with one hand causing no break in drawing with the other hand).

                           

                          Jacob I have some of my own weird habits as well and the one we are talking about here was one of them and when someone pointed out to me that it was weird I simply changed because it as kinda weird.

                          Some of us are too old to change habits, or too weird to recognize the weirdness. And what if weird is simpler and more efficient?

                           

                          If you don't learn from your mistakes you don't learn.

                          True, but hopefully that is not the only source of learning; and not all learning is good learning.

                          • 10. Re: Tracing with the pen tool
                            Wade_Zimmerman Level 6

                            Funny when someone pointed out that i was doing something a bit weird and pointed me in the right direction, I simply thanked them.

                            • 12. Re: Tracing with the pen tool
                              Kurt Gold Adobe Community Professional

                              • Get the Pen Tool and draw

                              • Press the P key to interrupt; draw again

                               

                              No O or Cmd Deselect necessary.

                              • 13. Re: Tracing with the pen tool
                                Jacob Bugge MVP & Adobe Community Professional

                                Now that was an improvement.

                                 

                                Hi Kurt.

                                • 14. Re: Tracing with the pen tool
                                  Wade_Zimmerman Level 6

                                  Yes kurt that is a good way of doing it there was a time when i did but found that I use the selection tools and the convert anchor point often when I drew with the pent tool as well as zoo and pan so it seems and feels more intuitive to stay in that area o the keyboard especially since I use my right hand for the stylus and the left hand is conveniently in the area with all of that and the copy paste functions as well. And of course the shift key.

                                   

                                  So it seems that it makes more sense to click.

                                   

                                  What is your take on it?

                                   

                                  Of course if you could program the stylus to have one of its buttons to be a P then that might make it worthwhile.

                                  • 15. Re: Tracing with the pen tool
                                    Kurt Gold Adobe Community Professional

                                    My hands are hovering above my keyboards, hopping to any alluring key, Wade.

                                     

                                    Your advice is useful as well, of course.