Photoshop: Expand/contract work path

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  • Updated 1 year ago
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I love photoshop, but it really needs a way to either expand/contract a work path (like you do with a selection) or the ability to use the line tool as a work path so that you can created vectored line drawings
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Joe Shekarabi

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Posted 6 years ago

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Scott Mahn

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You can transform a path to scale it (expand/contract).
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KJ

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@Scott Mahn: That only works for symmetrical shapes.
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Scott Mahn

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Not sure what you mean, you can transform a path of any shape.

But you obviously have a specific need in mind that isn't clear to me.
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KJ

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@Scott Mahn: Try this: Draw a rectangle and scale it down via transform. Notice that it scales proportionately? While that's fine, it is not what we're wanting in some cases. Now ctrl + click on the rectangle shape (to select it via marching ants selection) and do Select -> Modify -> Contract by a few pixels. Notice the difference? We're not simply asking for a proportionate scaling, we actually want to bring in the edges of all sides equally, so to speak. You might know this as Path Offset in Illustrator.
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Scott Mahn

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I don 't know man, I just tested as you suggest and got equal results. I drew a rectangular path, loaded it as a selection, contracted it 4 pixels and filled. Then I transformed the path proportionally to the same size and filled, then compared the two layers in Difference mode and they were exactly the same.

But I don't work for Adobe or anything like that, just sharing what works for me. I hope you get what you need!
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Jonas M. Rogne

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I want this feature!

The ability to expand/contract (offset) vector shapes is very useful and I have wanted to do this many times over the last ~15 years (once you know such a thing is possible, you suddenly notice how much you need it).

It is good if this can be done interactively by clicking on the path and dragging in the direction you want to offset the shape (possibly by holding down some function keys).

One obvious area where this is useful is to tweak a clipping path or vector mask around an object.

Scott Mahn:
Here's a visual example of what we are talking about:

The red path is the original; the black ones are copies that have been expanded or contracted.
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KJ

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Thanks for the visual. I think that should clear things up. This basic feature should make it into Photoshop.
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Scott Mahn

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I see what you guys are saying. I tried it and I get it now. Don't know why my rectangle test didn't show the same - user error I guess.

I hope you get this feature, seems rightly useful.
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Jonas M. Rogne

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The +5 line on my illustration points to the wrong path, but it seems you got it! :)
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Carlos Oliveras

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I would also like to be able to do this with paths in Photoshop. In fact, there are many improvements that I would like to see in the paths/shapes area. Such an important element (for design, for selections, for 3D...) and it hasn't seen too many improvements during the last years.
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Hansol Kim

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Such an important feature, suggested 3 years ago, and still nothing yet!

Even in illustrator now to do this I'd have to create multiple copies of layers and expand them all by one and clean up all the paths. Such a hassle.

In photoshop you could imitate this by using vector stroke + effect stroke + outer glow + drop shadow.. but it's nowhere as accurate as the 'real' expanding contour.
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Stephen Newport

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This would be really useful to have in photoshop, I've been waiting 10 years for it.