Photoshop: Ability to use paths as guides for painting

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  • Updated 3 years ago
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Paths need to serve as rulers, and Fill and Stroke Path can be handmade, just like in Sketchbook. If we can use rulers in the shape of ellipses and rectangles and lines, what's the problem of using custom-made curves?
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Николай Калчев

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  • ahead of time, mind you

Posted 3 years ago

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Chris Cox

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Can you provide a bit more detail on what you're asking for?
It sounds like you want to use paths as selections (and you can already convert them).
(Edited)
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Николай Калчев

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Yes, sorry - paths can be already filled by turning them into selections, but for stroking we have only one option - to select Stroke Path and that's it. In Sketchbook Pro you can use simple shapes as "rulers", so as you draw your brush snaps to them. However, even there, you can't use more complex paths for the same purpose. 

I searched for info on the topic and it turns out quite a lot of people suggest that if we have this functionality in PS, we can draw a complex outline in Illustrator, import it in PS as a path, and then use it as a guide.

For Example: This could prove very convenient for painting long flowing hair. You block out your main shapes in Illustrator, use a blend to generate in-between hair positions, and then use those to paint with varying colors and opacities in Ps while maintaining the hair flow.
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Николай Калчев

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So, any answer, please?
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David Nielsen

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Chris, I think the user is asking if they can use the path as a guide-constraint for free painting. Such that while the user is painting, the mouse position would average to the nearest pen line (according to snap threshold) the same way that the vertical and horizontal guides already work. Pressure/size/scatter etc would still be under the user's pen pressure controls. This is something I would love as well.

This is a quick and hacky idea of how the results could work.


In Photoshop, you can already
1) Convert paths into selections.
2) Stroke paths with the current brush/tool BUT on a curve that is predetermined and can't be nuanced.  
3) Assign a solid stroke or with a predetermined computer generated pattern like Illustrator.

None of those achieves what I believe a digital painter would really want out of a mechanical constraint.  If I can set down vector based lines, then paint over them as guides in real time, this fully marries the precise advantages of the pen tool to the nuances that a lot of digital artists and illustrators achieve with a wacom pressure pen.

Is this correct, Николай Калчев?
(Edited)
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Cristen Gillespie

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Are you talking about something like the Align to Path feature of Corel Painter?
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David Nielsen

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Yep. Something like that is my impression of the request. It's certainly my ask.
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Cristen Gillespie

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Sure would be better than "stroke path." Got my vote. Besides being able to use a lot more settings to control the stroke, you can take the one path and move it  and reuse it. You don't wind up with 1000 paths, each one individually stroked, but you do wind up with a painting. It's not a feature I've used often in Painter, but I can understand why it's popular with anyone who does a lot of  digital painting.
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Николай Калчев

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Yes, exactly, David Nielsen and Cristen Gillespie, I'm happy you like the idea! I found out a few days ago that there is such a function in Corel Painter, but it's quite limited and you can't import Illustrator paths there.
(Edited)