How to Use the Custom Shape Tool in Adobe Photoshop

MakeUseOf | 5/20/2019 | Shianne Edelmayer
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Sometimes—when you see a cool design that was created in Photoshop—you might wonder what tool was used to make it. You’ll invariably discover that the design was created with Photoshop’s Custom Shape Tool.

Custom shapes, you think? The only shape designs you’ve seen look like stock art. But this robust tool can offer so much more, and its versatility is often underutilized. So here is a beginner’s guide to using the Custom Shape Tool in Photoshop.

Thing - Document - Photoshop - Purposes - Program

The first thing you’ll want to do is set up your document in Photoshop. For the purposes of this tutorial, simply open the program and pick the Default Photoshop Size.

Next, you’ll want to drop some basic color onto your background, so you can see how your shape interacts with it (more on that later).

Image - Orange - Gradient - Darker - Layer

For this image we’ve decided to add a simple orange gradient. I then made that gradient darker by applying a Layer style.

If you don’t know how to make a gradient, check out our tutorial detailing how to make a custom gradient in Photoshop.

Custom - Gradient - Using - Photoshop - CC

How to Create a Custom Gradient Using Photoshop CC

In this article, we'll walk you through how to create a custom gradient using Photoshop CC in four simple steps.

Custom - Shape - Tool - Shape - Tool

Next, you’ll want to go to your Custom Shape Tool. Your Custom Shape Tool can be found in the left-hand toolbar.

You’ll recognize the Custom Shape Tool by the little splatter pattern of its icon, almost like a puddle. Click on this icon to make sure your Custom Shape Tool is active.

Custom - Shape - Tool - Toolbar - Top

After your Custom Shape Tool is active, you’ll see the toolbar along the top of your workspace change to fit its parameters.

The most important part of the Custom Shape Tool is choosing the shape itself. To pick a shape from Photoshop’s library, go to the Custom Shape picker menu, seen here highlighted in...
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