Photoshop CS6 Tutorial
How to Use Paths in Photoshop
Paths can serve multiple purposes in Photoshop. The are useful in making selections, creating shapes, defining a path for text and drawing a text area box. As you add paths to your document, they are visible only as you work in Photoshop. The paths are not visible in your final printed image.
To really grasp the potential of Paths, you need an understanding of the Pen tool. For more information, see topic, Pen Tool Basics.
The most common use for the Pen tool is to make accurate selections. For more information, see topic, Selecting With the Pen Tool.
Open a new 500 pixel by 500 pixel Photoshop document (File > New).
Using the Pen tool (p key) set to Path, click multiple times to draw a closed shape in the workspace. To close the shape, return to the first point and click once a small circle appears.
Open the Paths panel (Window > Paths). Notice that the path you just added is listed as Work Path. Double-click the Work Path to name and save your path.
To deselect the path, click in the lower part of the Paths panel. Click the path name to re-select it.
You can load your path as a selection by clicking the Load Path as a Selection icon. You can press Cmd/d (PC - Ctrl/d) to stop the marching ants.
Change the Foreground color, click the Brush tool (b key) and choose a brush in the tool options.
With the path activated, click the Stroke Path with Foreground Color icon. A stroke is added to the path based on the current brush. For this step you could also choose the Mixer Brush, Pencil tool, Eraser tool, etc..
To delete a path, click the path in the Paths panel, then click the Delete Current Path icon.
Paths can also be used with text. Using the Pen tool (p key), add an open path to the document.
Select the Text tool (t key) and move the tool over the path. Notice how the tool icon changes. Click the path and type your text. The new text follows the path.
To move the text up or down the path, choose the Direct Selection tool (a key), activate the text path, then click-drag the text.