Drawing a new shape using vectors
Drawing a new shape
To draw a new shape layer using the Vector tool , choose Insert > Vector from the toolbar or press V. Click anywhere on your Canvas to create your first point, the click again to create another point.
The line between all points in your shape is called the path. The part of the path that lies between two points is a segment.
You can create as many points as you like to draw a shape you want. To close the path, click on the first point again.
If you click and drag when creating a point, you’ll create a mirrored point and curved path (or Bézier curve), which you can control using the handle that appears connected to the point.
Hold ⇧ to snap a point at 45° angle increments from the previous point.
Editing an existing shape
To edit an existing shape in vector mode, double-click on the shape layer, or select it and press Return ⏎. You can also select multiple shapes and edit them at the same time.
Press Return ⏎ on a vector shape to enter vector editing mode, then click on any point on the shape to select it.
To select multiple points in a shape, hold ⇧ and click on each point. To deselect, click on a selected point again.
To jump from one point to the next, press Tab — or ⇧Tab to jump to the previous point.
While in vector editing mode you can also click and drag from outside of a shape to select points inside it. Press ⇧ as you drag to deselect any selected points or add new points to your selection.
To select points in open shapes while in vector editing mode, press X and then click or drag over the points, or enable the Selection button in the Inspector next to the X and Y fields.
You can also select multiple points across different shapes by clicking and dragging, so long as you’ve selected them all and are in vector editing mode.
To select all points in a shape while in vector editing mode, press ⌘A, or select Edit > Select > Select All from the Menu Bar.
To move a point, select and drag it. You can also use the arrow keys on your keyboard, or change its X and Y values in the Inspector. You can hold shift to move points along a single axis, just like moving layers.
You can also use the Distribute and Align tools to equally distribute or align multiple vector points.
Changing point types
When you select a point, you can change how it affects the path by selecting from four different point types in the Inspector:
- Straight is the default point type which gives you a straight path without any handle control points. If you want to create rounded corners on a Straight point, drag the Radius slider. You can set individual corner radii for every point on your shape.
- Mirrored points create curved paths (or Bézier curves) and have two handle control points. You can drag a control point to adjust your curve, which the other point will mirror. To create a Mirrored point, click and drag with the Vector tool , or double-click on any existing Straight point.
- Disconnected points have handles that are completely independent of each other. To change your curve into a straight line, select either handle control point and press Backspace ⌫ to delete it. You can disconnect any point by holding ⌘ while you drag one of its handle control points. When you hold ⌘ and create a new point after a Mirrored or Asymmetric point, you’ll make that point Disconnected. This won’t affect the curve leading to it.
- Asymmetric points have handles that can be different distances from the vector point, but share the same angle.
Holding ⇧ while you drag a handle control point will change its distance from the vector point without changing its angle, which is handy for fine-tuning your curves.
You can quickly change the point type of any point you’ve selected by pressing:
To quickly see all the handles that control curved points in a vector shape, select it and hold ⌥.
You can insert a new point anywhere along a path by clicking on it. Alternatively, click and drag to create a curved path . To create a point in the exact center of two existing points, hold ⇧.
Bending a segment
Hold ⌘ then click and drag on any segment (the path between two points) to bend it. This will add handle control points to the points either side of it.
Opening and closing paths
A shape’s path can either be closed or open. When a shape is closed, the path connects the first and last points. Open paths have a gap between the first and last points.
To close a path by connecting the first and last points, choose Layer > Path > Close Path in the Menu Bar, or by pressing ⌘⌥O. You can use the same method to open a closed path.
To create an open path, add your points, then press Finish Editing in the Inspector or press Return ⏎ to leave vector editing mode. The next time you edit this shape, you can continue where you left off and place your next point after the last or before the first point.
You can also use the Scissors tool to open a path and cut away a segment between two points.
When you’re editing an open path and click on the opposite end point, you can choose in Settings > Layers whether that closes the path or selects that point.
If you add a fill to a shape with an open path, the fill will still act as if the path was closed.
Select two or more open paths and choose Layer > Path > Join from the Menu Bar to combine them into a single path. The bottom-most path will stay in position while the paths above it may move slightly to fit together.
How points snap to pixels
When you’ve selected a vector shape, you can click the vector snap icons near the top of the Inspector to select whether vector points snap to full pixel edges , half pixels , quarter pixels — or choose not to snap them at all .
To get a better idea of where your points are snapping to, zoom in and enable the Pixel Grid by selecting View > Canvas > Show Pixel Grid on Zoom, or pressing ⌃X. When you zoom in, you’ll see points snap to the pixel level you selected as you move them.
Turning a border into outlines
Select any shape with a border and select Layer > Convert to Outlines or press ⌥⌘O to turn that border into a shape with its own fill.
To expand or contract a shape’s outline, select it and choose Layer > Path > Offset. As you drag the slider in the Inspector, you’ll see a preview of the offset path on the Canvas. You’ll also see an outline of the original shape to help you compare your changes to your shape’s original size. You also have the option to make your offset a duplicate layer.
You’ll also find the Offset Path option in the Tools dropdown menu in the Toolbar. You can even add Offset Path as a custom Toolbar item via View > Customize Toolbar and dragging the icon to the Toolbar.
Reversing the order of a path
If you have a shape with an open path, it has a clear direction from its start point to its end point. To reverse that direction, choose Layer > Path > Reverse Order from the Menu Bar. That means you can now add a new point at the newly created end point, or reverse the direction of an arrow that can appear as part of a border.