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Storing custom shapes
Any help that you can give to this confused soul (who actually got through putting curtains on the windows) would be sincerely appreciated.
I don't think you can add to the custom shapes menu, and the book doesn't even mention anything about adding to the custom shapes menu.
What Richard is suggesting is you save your shapes in .psd files and this way you build up a library of shapes. For example, you can have a "flowers.psd" file which contains various flower shapes. When you want to use one of the flower shapes, you open up the flowers.psd file and then copy and paste the desired flower shape into your working image. (This is what paragraph 3 on p.201 is explaining.)
As to your questions:
Personally, I think it's easier to use Layer>Duplicate Layer... rather than Copy/Paste, but that's my preference...
Gee, obtuse...thanks Bruce...
Paul, nice pickup. Thanks for the time and help.
Just to add: Having a template 'blank' layer in the shape library can also be a good solution. But you'll notice that if you create a shape layer and delete the shape, the layer automatically vanishes as well. You have to do something along the line that Paul suggests: create the layer and leave the shape in. You can also do this:
1. Create the shape layer using ANY shape -- keeping the shape small. name it Template.
2. Move the shape off the visible part of the image by moving it with the shape selection tool -- just slide it off (either side, top or bottom).
This will leave you with a layer that looks blank, and which will accept your paste when duplicated.
Paul's solution of creating the shape layer and then duplicating to the library is probably more efficient for this purpose.
Please realize the book was written mostly using PE1, because it was started before PE2 was out, and much of the rest was done on a beta version of the PE2 software. Adobe proceded to remove some bits of functionality between PE1 and PE2, and some tools I had created in PE1 failed or had to be redesigned (mostly the latter). While I thought I and editors caught all the changes, doubtless a few slipped through, and this may be one of them. At this point I can't remember if there was another tool for creating a new shape layer (highly probable), which I removed from the set thinking it wasn't really necessary (creating a shape will make its own layer, after all), or if the functionality changed during the beta cycle (using my shape layer tool failed to create a shape layer). It was probably the former.
I am sorry for whatever happened there. As far as being 'obtuse', I have been trying to encourage readers to take their time. The book deals with a lot of advanced technique, and will require some problem solving and retaining a LOT of detail -- or the book would have been 900 pages, absolutely frightening, and unmarketable. It may be a challenge to read at times...probably reflecting that it was a challenge to write. I don't believe you'll find an equivalent. While I've hopefully provided step-by-step that helps you through, I didn't really think it would be "easy" for most readers -- and I hope I didn't give that impression anywhere. The point was Power. My hope in the book was to provide opportunities for Elements users that they didn't have before, and hopefully the book succeeds with that.
As far as saving shapes to shape files to load in the shapes palette, it can probably be done, but the work-around would be pretty ugly -- or I'd have put it in the book. I had a solution for working with action recording that was just far too cumbersome, so I left it out. I am not sure, but if you find a demo version of PS6 (which is not limited to 30 days before expiring, but cripples saving image files), you may be able to save shapes and manage sets using that.
As obtuse as I am, I hope that helps.
Thanks for your thoughtful reply, Richard. You should be very proud of your book, as it does everything you intended. I am learning more about tone, contrast, and color than I ever thought existed.
Rather than obtuse, condensed is probably more accurate, which was necessary to keep the book from running to 900 pages. (Although I would have read every one of them).
Challenging and full of surprises (like where you use Threshold out of a clear blue sky), I am also learning PE2 better along with your invaluable tools.
Thanks for your leadership in this important area.
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