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How to Make Curved Lines in Photoshop

June 28, 2022

Making curved lines in Photoshop is not as complicated as many people think. You just have to know how to master a tool known as “Pen Tool” or “Pluma” in Spanish. In addition to curved lines, you can also make other types of lines for you to configure your design.

The Pen Tool in Photoshop is one of the most useful, but certainly also the one that generates the most questions for newcomers to the program. The way to create curves and lines, determine points and define shapes, is the nightmare of those who have no experience.

Made to create paths, vector shapes that can then be filled, outlined, converted to a selection, or used as a mask, “the pen” can be applied to a multitude of common Photoshop effects and practices.

How to Make Curved Lines in Photoshop
Index of contents

  1. The Pen Tool in Photoshop
    1. What is it for and what types of Photoshop pens are there?
    2. Why Choose The Pen Tool
  2. How to Make Curved Lines in Photoshop
    1. narrowing the angle
    2. Create curved lines
    3. Cut the segment of the curve
    4. Edit points after creating the curve
    5. Edit the tangent of a curve
    6. Add and remove points from a curve or path
  3. To close

The Pen Tool in Photoshop

If you are one of those who usually have difficulty with the pen toolyou will see here how the tool works, learning to create paths with straight lines and curves, and in the end you will be able to put what you have learned into practice in your own work.

The use of the Pen can be compared to the old game of connect the dots. You click and with each click a new anchor point appears. These points determine whether the attached line will be curved or straight.

With the Pen Tool selected, an options bar will appear at the top of the screen.

Photoshop isn’t just for retouching photos. With the Pen tool (vector pen) you can make perfect cuts and obtain vector illustrations with excellent results.

What is it for and what types of Photoshop pens are there?

The Photoshop pen is used to create or transform images into vector drawings. The tool tilts in: curvature pen to draw curved and straight lines intuitively; the standard pen to create curved and straight lines with great precision.

The free form pen to draw paths as if you had a pencil in your hand; multiple Magnetic Pen options that draw from markers that snap to the edges of defined areas.

Why Choose The Pen Tool

The Pen is a very powerful tool, but to get the most out of what it can do, you need to know a bit about what it’s capable of. In fact, it allows you to make high-precision curves and therefore draw or outline objects.

The result obtained is called line-art.

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How to Make Curved Lines in Photoshop

For now, we will use the route creation mode. This means that shapes created with the pen tool in Photoshop, they will be editable vectors, which can then be converted into masks, selections, filled areas, etc. Let’s start.

  • Click once and the first point will be created.
  • Move the pencil in another direction and click again. A line will be drawn connecting the two points, determining a straight line.
  • Keep clicking and drawing lines. If you click on the first point again, the path will close and create a shape.

narrowing the angle

To always create lines at a precise angle (45º, 90º, ie straight or diagonal), when clicking the next point, hold down the Shift key. The point will be created at the closest cursor position within the angle boundary.

Create curved lines

To create curved lines, after clicking and before releasing the mouse button, you must drag the mouse. This will create a tangent line, which will determine the extent of each curve segment from the anchor point.

The first point is created; clicking on the second, holding down the mouse button and dragging the mouse – the line that determines the extent of the curve will be displayed. When you release the button, the curve is created.

As with straight lines, it is possible to limit the curve by holding down the Shift key: the tangent will be limited to right angles and diagonals (45º, 90º, 135º, etc.).

It is possible to vary between straight and curved; After creating the line segment as explained above, drag your mouse while creating the next point.

Cut the segment of the curve

Once the curve segment has been created, you can “cut” it so that the next point defines a straight line. After creating the curve, hover over the last point.

A minus sign should appear next to the cursor. Then hold Alt and click on the last point, the tangent line will be deleted after the point. A sign similar to an arrow will appear next to the cursor.

Whenever you want to remove the continuation of the curve after the anchor point, this is the procedure.

Edit points after creating the curve

If you determined the curve by mistake, there is no reason to undo everything. The editing tools are grouped together with the Pen tool, and the Pen tool can access some features.

On straight lines or curves, to change the position of the point, simply hold the ctrl key (the cursor will turn into an arrow) and drag it to where you want. Note that if the line is curved, this will change the entire curve.

Edit the tangent of a curve

You can also change the tangent that defines the curve. To modify it, press and hold the ctrl key (increase or decrease spread and change angle) or the alt key (just change the extent before or after the anchor point) and drag the tip of the tangent line (where a marble is located).

Add and remove points from a curve or path

To add or remove points from a path, even when it is closed, you can use the “Add anchor point” Y “Delete anchor point”. They are grouped together with the pen on the toolbar.

With one of them, just click on the path. The tool “Add anchor point” will create a new point at the location. The tool “Delete anchor point”, clicking on an existing point will delete it.

The tool “convert point” is the same as that used when, while using the “pen tool”, we keep pressed the alt key.

To close

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As you may have noticed, it really is very easy to create and edit curved lines with Photoshop. Remember that practice makes perfect, so get to work and start practicing with Photoshop’s Pen tool.

You will be impressed by what you can do.