Fill paths with color

A path created with the Pen tool does not become an image element until you stroke or fill it. The Fill Path command fills a path with pixels using a specified color, a state of the image, a pattern, or a fill layer.

Photoshop Path selected and filled
Path selected (left) and filled (right)

Note:

When you fill a path, the color values appear on the active layer. Make sure that a standard or background layer is active before completing the steps below. (You cannot fill a path when a mask, text, fill, adjustment, or Smart Object layer is active.)

Fill a path using the current Fill Path settings

  1. Select the path in the Paths panel.
  2. Click the Fill Path button  at the bottom of the Paths panel.

Fill a path and specify options

  1. Select the path in the Paths panel.
  2. Fill the path:
    • Alt-click (Windows) or Option-click (Mac OS) the Fill Path button at the bottom of the Paths panel.

    • Alt-drag (Windows) or Option-drag (Mac OS) the path to the Fill Path button.

    • Choose Fill Path from the Paths panel menu. If the selected path is a path component, this command changes to Fill Subpath.

  3. For Use, choose the contents for the fill. (See Fill a selection or layer with color.)
  4. Specify an opacity for the fill. To make the fill more transparent, use a low percentage. A setting of 100% makes the fill opaque.
  5. Choose a blending mode for the fill. (See Blending mode descriptions.)

    The Mode list includes a Clear mode that lets you erase to transparency. You must be working in a layer other than the background to use this option.

  6. Choose Preserve Transparency to limit the fill to layer areas that contain pixels. (See Lock layers.)
  7. Select a Rendering option:

    Feather Radius

    Defines how far inside and outside the selection border the feather edge extends. Enter a value in pixels.

    Anti-aliased

    Creates a finer transition between the pixels in the selection and the surrounding pixels by partially filling the edge pixels of the selection.

    For more information on these options, see Soften the edges of selections.

  8. Click OK.

Stroke paths with color

The Stroke Path command paints the border of a path. The Stroke Path command allows you to create a paint stroke (using the current settings for your painting tools) that follows any path. This command is completely different from the Stroke layer effect, which doesn’t mimic the effect of any of the painting tools.

Note:

When you stroke a path, the color values appear on the active layer. Make sure that a standard or background layer is active before completing the steps below. (You cannot stroke a path when a mask, text, fill, adjustment, or Smart Object layer is active.)

Photoshop Path selected and stroked
Path selected (left) and stroked (right)

Stroke a path using the current Stroke Path options

  1. Select the path in the Paths panel.
  2. Click the Stroke Path button  at the bottom of the Paths panel. Each click of the Stroke Path button builds up the opacity of the stroke and, depending upon the current brush options, makes it look thicker.

Stroke a path and specify options

  1. Select the path in the Paths panel.
  2. Select the painting or editing tool you want to stroke the path. In the options bar, set the tool options, and specify a brush.

    For information on specific tool settings, see Smudge image areas and About painting tools, options, and panels.

  3. To stroke the path, do one of the following:
    • Alt-click (Windows) or Option-click (Mac OS) the Stroke Path button  at the bottom of the Paths panel.

    • Alt-drag (Windows) or Option-drag (Mac OS) the path to the Stroke Path button.

    • Choose Stroke Path from the Paths panel menu. If the selected path is a path component, this command changes to Stroke Subpath.

  4. In the Stroke Path dialog box, choose a tool if you did not select one in step 2. To simulate hand-painted strokes, select Simulate Pressure. Or, deselect this option to create more linear, even strokes.
  5. Click OK.

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