Master the Pen Tool

The Pen tool is a powerful selection tool in Photoshop, but can, at first, appear quite complex. This perceived difficulty often puts people off, but once you take the time to understand it, you’ll find out just how powerful it really is.

In this Photoshop class Karl demonstrates exactly how to use the Pen tool, showing you how to create straight lines with the Pen tool as well as curved lines and corners. You’ll learn how to add, remove and move points and how you can use quick keyboard shortcuts to speed up your workflow. One of the most accurate methods for making selections, Karl also shows how you can use the Pen tool to cut out objects in an image.

This Photoshop class covers the following:

  • How to use the Pen tool in Photoshop
  • Making selections with the Pen tool
  • Adding/removing points with the Pen tool
  • Using the Pen tool to cut out images
  • Advantages of using the Pen tool

The Pen tool is also covered in detail in our Compositing using Photoshop course, where professional retoucher Viktor Fejes reveals his techniques for using the Pen tool in the ‘Cutting out objects using the Pen tool’ class.

If you have any questions about using the Pen tool, please post in the comment section below.

Why you should learn to use the Pen tool

As anyone who knows how to use the Pen tool will tell you, once you understand the Pen tool, it’s really not as bad as everyone first thinks. But if you’re still putting off taking the leap, here are a few good reasons why the Pen tool is worth learning.

Using the Pen tool in Photoshop

Using the Pen tool is one of the most accurate methods of selecting objects.

Firstly, and perhaps most importantly, if you want a truly accurate selection, the Pen tool is hard to beat. It allows you to create far more accurate selections than what you’d normally achieve using most of the other selection tools (learn more about the other Photoshop selection tools in this video here).

The Pen tool can also be used for both curved and straight edges. This means you don’t have to switch between different selection tools, nor do you have to create hundreds of points to create an approximation of a curved edge, as you would with the Polygonal Lasso tool, for example.

A third advantage to using the Pen tool is that your selection can be modified even after you’ve completed the path. You can also easily turn your path into a selection, which allows you to cut out your subject, delete the background or create a mask.

Cutting out objects with the Pen tool

The Pen tool can be used to quickly and accurately cut out objects in Photoshop.

Each of these advantages is clearly demonstrated in this class.


  1. KR-photo

    I want to move an anchor point, but when I do that I move every the whole path. What am I doing wrong? I use a PC and holding down the ALT-key and pointing att the anchor point a want to move.

  2. Dear Karl,
    Why do you advertise free courses on youtube, but when I log on to your free education website it requires a payment. I have been following your youtube channel for two years. Thanks for all he wonderful photo advice.

    Doc Collins

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