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Adobe Photoshop Manual

Filling Paths or Selections

Once you have drawn a path you need to give it substance by either stroking or filling it--in essence, painting the path you have created. This is necessary because paths do not actually take up any space and will not print out on a printer.

Make sure that any stroking or filling is done on a separate layer, not on the image itself (often called "Background" in the Layers window). See Drawing.

1. The first step is to choose the color you want your letters to be. In a black and white image, we usually reserve black for letters we are sure of, gray for letters or parts of letters we are reasonably sure of but cannot actually see, and white for letters we are reconstructing. In a color image the choices are almost infinite--as a rule one wants a color that will contrast with the background image. See Color Selection for instructions.

2. On the Paths window, click on the right arrow and select "Fill Path."


 Fill Path on Paths menu

A box will appear with options for filling. One can choose such options as foreground color, background color, black, white, 50% gray, etc. In most cases opacity will stay at 100%, mode will be "Normal," and the Feather Radius will be "0" pixels.



 Fill subpath in Paths menu

 Fill options

3. Alternatively, one can click on the "fill path" icon on the Paths window. This automatically fills the path with the foreground color.



 Paths window with icons

Path filled with foreground color

4. It is also possible to select a path first, then fill it.


 Path selected, then filled

5. At times, a letter may have several subpaths--particularly if one is trying to draw individual strokes to distinguish stroke order. One can fill all the subpaths with the same color, or use different colors to indicate stroke order.



 Paths filled with the same color

 Paths filled with different colors

Stroking Paths

Next: Copying Layers and Paths

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