How to Edit/Adjust Shapes in Photoshop 2019 (Tutorial)



Changing the shape of a polygon in Adobe Photoshop isn’t as intuitive as it could be.

But it can be done, and the process is fairly simple.

I’ll show you how to do this for a triangle.

First, find the Polygon tool. For me, this shows up on a toolbar on the left. (Toolbars can be moved around though, so this isn’t necessarily the case for you.)

The icon might look different on your toolbar. It could be a rectangle, ellipse, line, or a star, depending on which form of the tool was used previously.

If it doesn’t look like a hexagon (that is, if it looks like a rectangle, ellipse, line, or a star), hold the cursor (left-click) on the shape tool until the other options show up. Choose the hexagon (which is the Polygon tool).

If you wish to make a triangle, enter 3 for the Number of Sides.

Set the width and height as desired.

Place your cursor somewhere on the canvas, left-click once, and you should see a triangle.

When the shape is selected, you should see another toolbar on the screen. This will let you adjust, for example, the fill color, the outline color, and the outline thickness.

My fill was initially transparent, but then I changed it to red. I also changed the stroke (outline) color to black and decreased its thickness from 10 px down to 3 px. (You will see this later.)

Use whatever colors and thickness suit your needs. Try experimenting with them to see how this works. (If it doesn’t seem to be working, try inserting a new triangle after you adjust the settings.)

When you select the polygon, you see little markers on the corners (called the vertices). You can see these markers in the triangle shown above.

BUT… if you try to move these markers and the entire shape moves, you can easily get frustrated.

You want to click on the marker to move the marker, thereby changing the shape or orientation of the triangle. But the whole triangle simply moves without changing shape.

If that happens, don’t worry, there is a simple fix.

This happens when the object is selected using the Path Selection Tool, which is a black arrowhead like the one shown below.

What you need to do is change this to the Direct Selection Tool, which is a white arrowhead like the one shown below.

It’s tricky because they look very similar.

And because you don’t see both arrows on the main toolbar at the same time.

You need to left-click on the Path Selection Tool (the black arrowhead) by holding the left button down until both arrowheads appear, and then choose the white arrowhead instead.

The white arrowhead is the Direct Selection Tool.

Once you are using the Direct Selection Tool (the white arrowhead), grab the triangle, and it will let you move the markers.

(If it still doesn’t, try clicking outside of the shape, and then choosing the shape again, and it should finally let you.)

This is how I moved the markers on the corners to change the shape of my triangle like the one below.

And then I changed the fill color, stroke color, and stroke thickness (as I mentioned earlier in the article).

Write Happy, Be Happy

Chris McMullen

Author of the Improve Your Math Fluency series of math workbooks and self-publishing guides

How to Crop a Circle (PhotoShop Tutorial)


The first step is to select the Marquee Tool on the PhotoShop toolbar.

In all the versions of PhotoShop that I’ve used, this toolbar appears on the left side of the screen.

The Marquee Tool is the second button on the toolbar.

The two most common options are the Rectangular Marquee Tool and the Elliptical Marquee Tool.

We’ll first try a rectangular crop, since that’s more common. Don’t worry, we’ll apply a circular crop soon.

Select the Rectangular Marquee Tool.

Left-click at one point in the picture that you would like to be one of the four corners of the rectangle.

As you drag your cursor, a dotted rectangle will appear.

It will tell you the width and height of the rectangle as you drag.

When you are happy with your rectangular selection, let go of the mouse button.

If you make a mistake and wish to try again, press Ctrl + Alt + Z. Each time you press Ctrl + Alt + Z, PhotoShop goes back one step.

Once you’re happy with your selection…

Select Image at the top menu (the one that starts File, Edit, Image, Layer, etc.).

Choose Crop.

Remember, you can press Ctrl + Alt + Z repeatedly to undo one step at a time.

Now we’ll make a circle crop instead.

Grab the Marquee Tool again from the left toolbar.

This time, choose the Elliptical Marquee Tool.

First just visualize in your mind the circle (or oval) that you wish to make.

To get the circle in the neighborhood of where I want it to be…

I focus on the point that will be the top left corner of the circle, and then I pick a spot even higher and further left than that.

(It may take a little trial and error to get good at selecting the initial point for your circle or oval. It may not work as you intuitively expect.)

Left-click on this point and drag the Elliptical Marquee Tool. I drag down to the right.

If you want a perfect circle, keep your eye on the width ( W ) and height ( H ) of your ellipse.

Position your mouse just right so that the width and height are equal in order to carve a perfect circle.

Press Ctrl + Alt + Z if you need to undo your selection. You can press this repeatedly to go back multiple steps. (Note that Alt in there. If you only press Ctrl + Z, you can only go back one step, whereas Ctrl + Alt + Z lets you go back multiple steps.)

Once you’re happy with your selection…

You could go to Image and select Crop…

But I prefer to go to Edit and select Cut.

Then I go to File and open a New Document.

I choose the option for the New Document to match the clipboard selection.

Then I go to Edit and select Paste.

This pastes my circular crop into a new file, as shown below.

Sometimes, the Quick Selection Tool on the toolbar can help you make a quick selection.

It’s worth trying, but this tool isn’t always quite as “magical” as one might hope.

For simple shapes where PhotoShop sees the image you want clearly against the background, the Quick Selection Tool can make crops easy.

In that case, once you have it selected properly, you can get it with a quick cut and paste.

However, when that doesn’t work, you can use the Marquee Tool as we have done here, or your can try the Lasso Tool for a freehand selection.

If you need to get into the finer details of Photoshop, you may want to Google how to create paths and masks, for example.

(There is a Crop Tool, but I’m not a big fan of using it to make crops. Though it is handy if you need to rotate the picture and make a rectangular crop.)

PhotoShop happy, be happy. 🙂

Chris McMullen

Copyright © 2017

Author of A Detailed Guide to Self-Publishing with Amazon and Other Online Booksellers

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