As an automotive photographer, one of the most useful tools in our arsenal is the Pen tool. At first, you may not like it, but after learning the tip and tricks on how to make it curve around the object like you want, it becomes a very useful tool. For some, it's just a necessary evil that you just have to deal with. What if there was another way to learn how to use the Pen tool? Would you play a game to learn the basics? Thanks to interactive designer Mark MacKay, there's now a website you can visit to do just that.
The Pen tool is very useful to make precision masks, or it can also be used to make graphics and shapes within Illustrator and Photoshop. You start off with some basic shapes and progress to slightly harder shapes each level. When you first start the level, it gives you a brief overview on how to create the shape. Follow along, and hopefully, you will get the hang of it. Learn the basics, and take what you have learned to experiment with more complicated objects to perfect the pen tool. Next time you need to mask out that vehicle or sharp object, your selection will be much more refined.
This is my go-to tool for thr majority of my selections and for a lot of my graphic work. Here's a selection with the pen tool from my Veloster photo; you can see each anchor point that was used. Depending on how precise you want your selection, this can get very complex. I could have used less points, but I opted for a more refined selection for the mask that I was going to use. I usually re-use the path for a few different selections throughout my process. Just go back to your path window in Photoshop and press Command on Mac or Control on PC to use that path for another selection. Pick up your mouse and follow along while learning how to use the infamous pen tool in Photoshop. Head over and check out The Bezier Game.
Give the game a try and let us know what you think. Did it make it any easier? Did you get the hang of it?