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How to Use the Custom Shape Tool in Photoshop

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Are you looking to add shapes other than a boring old circle or square to your designs? You can add a ton of Photoshop custom shapes to your photos.

In this article, I’ll even show you how to make your own custom Photoshop shapes.

How to Use the Custom Shape Tool in Photoshop

Let’s add a standard Photoshop Custom Shape first.

1. Add a Custom Shape

Usually, the Photoshop Custom Shape tool is hidden behind the Rectangle tool in the toolbar on the left.

Click and hold the Rectangle tool. This will reveal other shapes.

A screenshot showing how to add a Custom Shape in Photoshop

Select the Custom Shape tool.

A screenshot showing how to select the Custom Shape tool in Photoshop

Make sure the tool is set on “Shape”. Open the Shape dropdown menu.

A screenshot showing how to select the Custom Shape tool in Photoshop

Open the menu by clicking on the cogwheel and choose “All”. Now you can see all the Custom Shapes available in Photoshop.

A screenshot showing how to select the Custom Shape tool in Photoshop

Pick a shape and click and drag anywhere in your workspace to add the custom shape. Hold the Shift key to constrain proportions.

A screenshot showing how to create custom Photoshop shapes

2. Change Color

Double-click on the shape layer thumbnail. This will open the Color Picker window.

A screenshot showing how to change color of custom Photoshop shapes

Select a color and click OK.

A screenshot showing how to change color of custom Photoshop shapes

3. Move and Resize

You can move the shape at any moment with the Move tool.

A screenshot showing how to move and resize custom Photoshop shapes

To resize the shape, just hit Cmd + T (Ctrl + T for Windows). Make sure the Shape layer is selected. Drag one of the corners and hold the Shift key to constrain proportions.

A screenshot showing how to move and resize custom Photoshop shapes

4. Outlines Only

To create an outlined shape, select the Custom Shape tool again. Set the Fill color of your shape to transparent and pick a color for the stroke.

A screenshot showing how to create an outlined shape in photoshop

How to Create Your Own Custom Shape

If you can’t find what you’re looking for, just create your own custom shapes in Photoshop. It’s really easy and there are a few ways to do it. I’ll show you two.

Step 1: Draw With the Pen Tool

Select the pen tool.

A screenshot showing how to create your own custom shape in photoshop

Set it to “Shape”.

A screenshot showing how to create your own custom shape in photoshop

Start drawing any shape you want.

A screenshot showing how to create your own custom shape in photoshop

Step 2: Define Custom Shape

Now we need to add this shape to the list of custom shapes.

Right-click on the shape and select “Define Custom Shape”. You can only do this with the Pen tool active!

Give the shape a name and click OK.

A screenshot showing how to create your own custom shape in photoshop

Select the Custom Shape tool again and check the list. Photoshop adds your custom shape at the end of the list.

A screenshot showing how to create your own custom shape in photoshop

If you don’t want to draw a shape yourself, there’s another way to create your own custom shapes. All you need to do is find a black and white icon that you want to use as Custom Shape.

Step 1: Make a Selection

Open the image you want to use. Make a selection of the image using the Magic Wand tool.

a screenshot showing how to create a custom shape in Photoshop

Step 2: Create a Path

Go to the Paths panel and click the “Make work path from selection” icon.

a screenshot showing how to create a custom shape in Photoshop

Step 3: Define Custom Shape

Select the Pen tool again.

Right-click on the path you’ve created and select “Define Custom Shape”. Name the shape and click OK.

a screenshot showing how to create a custom shape in Photoshop

The shape is now added to the list of Custom Shapes.

a screenshot showing how to create a custom shape in Photoshop

Conclusion

Adding Photoshop custom shapes to your images is super easy. You can easily create logos or layouts for business cards and posters in Photoshop.

Just open one of your favorite photos and add text combined with Photoshop Custom Shape layers.

Check our posts on how to use color dodge or create a vignette in Photoshop next!

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