Converting A Selection Into A Path
Selections are created in raster format, the quality of the selection is based on the quality and size of an image. This can be a big problem when you’re working with small images with a low resolution such as, Web graphics etc… When you convert a selection into a path, you can precisely reshape it, and this gives you more control over the final results.
Open up an image in photoshop then using the “Polygonal Marquee Tool” (L).
Make a selection around your desired element.
Open The Paths Window
Once the selection has been made, open the “Paths Window”.
Making The Work Path
Inside the paths window either click the the top right icon in the corner to extend the menu, inside the menu click “Make Work Path” OR, Click the little icon at the bottom shown in the image below.
Once the option has been selected you will get a “Tolerance” window. Low tolerance values create a path with many anchor points, and the path conforms precisely to the selection marquee, but low tolerances can cause printing errors (too much information). Higher tolerance values create a path with fewer anchor points, and the path will be smoother.
Because my image has a lot of nice straight edges, I’m going to enter 0.5. You may need to experiment a bit to get the right result for you.
Defining Your Shape
Close the paths window then select the “Pen Tool” (P), with the “Pen Tool” (P) selected right click and select “Define Custom Shape”.
Defining your path as a custom shape will enable you to use it later and when ever you need it. The custom defined shape now is also a vector object so when re-using you will be able to resize the path as big as you want with lose of quality.
Other options you can use are the “Create Vector Mask”. The vector mask allows easy manipulation or can be used when moving the vector over to illustrator.
Converting Photoshop Text To Vector
The same principles can be applied to photoshop text. Lets give it a try. Create a new (Ctrl + N) document and simply add some text to the canvas.
Once the text has been added go to “Layer > Type > Create Work Path”.
As before select the pen tool, right click and use the options available. Or you can export it straight into illustrator. Simply go to “File > Export > Paths To Illustrator”.
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Richard is a creative designer & blogger. He writes for Crayonify about Graphics, Creativity and UX Design. Richard loves to unlock his creativity with writing.