Scholarly Site
Adobe Photoshop Manual

Stroking Paths

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. The second step is to choose the correct brush size, i.e., the pixel width of the stroke. You may need to experiment to find the right one. See Brushes.

3. On the Paths window, click on the right arrow and select "Stroke Subpath."



 Stroke subpath in Paths menu

 Stroke tools

A box will appear with tool options for stroking: pencil or paintbrush are usually the best for drawing purposes. The pencil tool gives a somewhat sharper line.

4. Alternatively, one can click on the "stroke path" icon on the Paths window. This automatically strokes the path in the foreground color, at the brush width that has been selected.



 Paths window with icons

Path stroked with foreground color

5. At times, a letter may have several subpaths--particularly if one is trying to draw individual strokes to distinguish stroke order. In order to select all subpaths, click on each with the Direct Selection Tool (see Pen Tools), while holding down the "shift" key. Then carry out the "stroke" commands.


 A letter after stroking all subpaths.

Filling Paths or Selections

Next: Copying Layers and Drawings

Back to Table of Contents