Photoshop: Rulers to draw elliptical or straight lines.

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Is there any tool in Photoshop or is there a plugin to get the functionality of a ruler as a drawing help (straight or ellyptical)? Sketchbook for example offers such a tool. I draw and illustrate in Photoshop for many years and have missed such a tool ever since. I know that I can draw straight vertical and horizontal lines with photoshop, but that ist all.
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Oliver Marraffa

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Posted 2 years ago

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christoph pfaffenbichler, Champion

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I hope I am not insulting you but you know one can create a straight line with the Brush Tool by clicking and then shift-clicking? 

Maybe this thread is of interest to you: 
https://feedback.photoshop.com/photoshop_family/topics/custom_guides
And this one maybe, too: 
https://feedback.photoshop.com/photoshop_family/topics/custom_guides-844r1
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Oliver Marraffa

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Thanks for replying, Christoph. I know that feature. But this klicking approach conflicts often with the pressure sensitivity of my customed pens or brushes. I wish I could vary the pressure along such guided line to draw vivid lines. Klicking forces me to cancel pressure sensitivity for the moment or to click with maximum pressure. I also of course now that for elliptical lines I can make a path and then fill it with my pen stroke, but here again I wish I could vary the pressure along the form i'm drawing. Do yo know that tool in SketchBook? Its great. But I don't want to leave Photoshop for drawing.
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christoph pfaffenbichler, Champion

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Valid points. 
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Pete Green, Customer Advocate

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What if you just hold the shift key while using a brush, rather than using a 2 or more click approach -- Does that solve this for you?
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Mark Heaps, Champion

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If you want custom shapes/paths that you can use to make guides in Photoshop you could use the pen tool to draw shapes or work paths, and then either color the stroke if kept as a shape layer, or you can use a work path to guide a brush with setting various values to have randomness in size, pressure, etc. Using the shapes as paths will allow you to use standard measurements in the options bar to see size, etc. I'm not sure I understand your post completely, but hopefully that might be helpful.
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Oliver Marraffa

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Thanks Pete, thanks Mark for your replies. But I don't think it solves my problem. Pete, holding the shift key only allows me to draw horizontal oder vertical lines (or is there something I overlooked all the years?). But you are right, While drawing orthogonal lines, pressing the shift key allows me to vary the pressure and orientation while drawing my line. Exactly this possibility to give my drawn lines a natural shape is what I wish to do in whatever orientation my line might have. Not only horizontal or vertical. I also know that I can turn my whole paper as a workaround to draw inclined lines but that is far more uncomfortable than using a simple guide tool like Sketchbook pro offers for example.
And Mark, if I understand you well, you mean creating a work path an filling ist with a stroke is an option. And I of course often use this approach as a workaround, but the option  to simulate the pressure of the used pen gives me no opportunity to decide where or how often. Photoshop draws the line for me an decides where to put the thick and the thin.(I don't know any way or interfaces to give that stroke randomness, can you explain that to me, please. That might be helpful)
But I think, this is all discussion about workarounds. Every concept artist, Illustrator or digital painter, who ever came in contact with the guide tools of other drawing or sketching apps must request adobe to implement such a helpful device into Photoshop, because Photoshop of course is the app I wish to stick to. Technically it must be no big deal for adobe to do so. What do you think?
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Mark Heaps, Champion

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Hmmm, it sounds like you're asking for some of the tools Adobe has been working on for the iPad Pro. They had their Ruler and Pen, now much improved if you use the iPad Pencil in Photoshop. But if you use their ruler tools, like traditional product illustrators, you can trace lines and vary your stroke pressure with the stylus. You could then of course transfer your files via cloud back into Photoshop and continue them from there. Check it out here...

https://helpx.adobe.com/ink-and-slide.html



For the settings I was thinking about, I was referring to the various jitter and pressure settings. It's what most professional artists I know use for tracing paths when they want that random variance of pressure.
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Oliver Marraffa

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Hi Mark,

Thank you for this hint. In Sketchbook pro you have a similar but completely digital ruler set. But this Adobe Ruler seems to be  e great device. But why is that only for Ipad? I'm a professional, working on my Mac and my Wacom Cintiq 27 inch.  Do you know if Adobe is going to implement this tool to Photoshop?
And thanks for your screenshot. Unfortunately I cannot recognise precisely what is written there. If you refer to the brush settings, I have customised almost a hundred brushes, markers and pens using various jitter settings. But how can i customise how Photoshop traces a work path? If you mean that, this would be something really new for me.
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Mark Heaps, Champion

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The second button on the paths palette let's you stroke the path with all those custom brushes and markers that you've made. So once you've set all that customization up, you can draw, and break the paths in specific points to create that variation you might like.



I don't know if Adobe will ever set the ruler up to work on a cintiq, that might be more in Wacom's territory, but the technology exists so there is hope if all those artists you mentioned ask for it.

You're original post was more specific to custom guides I thought, ones that were not vertical or horizontal. Unless you didn't mean Photoshop guides, but more for yourself as a sketch line guide? I don't think I'm quite getting into the right idea of what you're using it for, can you post a video of the feature or approach you'd like?
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Oliver Marraffa

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Hi Mark,
thanks. I never used that button in the path menue. But as it seems to me, it makes Photoshop fill the path with my pen stroke. What I want is exactly what Adobe offers with the ruler of ink and slide. I whant to draw my own line alongside the ruler line or curve. See the screenshots of the functionality in Sketchbook pro, which is, apart of the absence of any real device, exactly the same than in ink and slide.
(P.s. if the implementation of such a ruler funktionality in Photoshop on my mac would be a Wacom issue, not an Adobe issue, than, implementing the ink and slide tool on an Ipad should have been an Apple issue, which wasn't the case ;-)
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Mark Heaps, Champion

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Right, but Adobe was making a piece of hardware. In your case, the Wacom IS your piece of hardware so I imagine this would still be a feature Wacom/Adobe would have to partner and agree on.

So when you trace in that app from your screenshot, does it sort of "SNAP" or "Magnetize" to a pre-existing path/guide? If you push the second button on that paths palette it strokes the path, not fills it. I can in essence do a similar thing to what you're doing.

So here is an ellipse I drew with the path/shape feature in Photoshop. I then set my custom brush settings and added some fade properties to it so that it would get smaller over distance implying pressure. I can change the range of that fade relative to the path length. I can set where it drops off, what secondary textures I have, etc. These are all part of the custom brush properties. You see this technique taught a lot in tutorials about 12 years ago for illustrating lightning when we would repeatedly stroke a path with various brushes again and again changing width from the source to the tip of the path.

So this is how I used to do a lot of my illustrative work. I did my outlines in Illustrator for the vector tools, brought those paths into Photoshop individually, then select each one and stroke it with a custom brush set. Again, it's the second button on the path palette/panel. It always follow the order the anchor points
were created.

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Jaroslav Bereza

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Check this plugin: http://lazynezumi.com/ 
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Oliver Marraffa

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Hi Mark,
first of all I'd like to thank you for your constant effort to help me! Now I learned that you are no Adobe representative but an illustrator like me. Unfortunately your screenshots arrived so smale that I had problems to recognize what they are showing me. And since I'm German and use a german Photoshop, I maybe didn't find the correct terminology whe I was explaining my problem and my workarounds. I know the function to stroke a work path (saying "fill the path" I meant exactly that) I thought, the menue that your screenshots show is a special menue to monitor this stroke-process. But now I understood that it shows simply
the brush properties. I of course know this property-menu and have customised about a hundred brushes in the last years. The problem that bothers me is very good visible in the two stroke examples you sent me: One can see that photoshop mechanically sets the pressure from the start to the end. There is no possibility to "play" with the pressure. Please see the link to my little and rough demonstration of how the ellyptical ruler works in SketchBook pro. And this tool is completely software, no real device is needed (which is good since my Wacom is used in a sloping position, any device would slip down).  For digital illustrators like you and me THIS TOOL IS AWESOME !!! Much more easier and nifty to handle than all the path stuff in Photoshop.
I've been working on Photoshop for twenty years and want to stick to this programme. And I would like to invite every digital artist to join my plea to ask Adobe to implement such a (completely software based) tool. It cannot be that photoshop, this champion on digital painting, is beaten be a 30-Dollar app!