Create sets of arbitrary shapes in Photoshop

In the first part of our lesson on creating arbitrary shapes in Photoshop, we learned how to create a shape using the Pen tool, how to add certain details to the shape, using the Pen tools and the Shapes group tools together, and how to convert the resulting shape into arbitrary shape. Then we looked at where we could find our arbitrary shape and how to add it to a new document using the Free Arbitrary tool. And finally, we learned how to add several copies of our figure to the document, how to change their color, as well as their size and angle of inclination.

The second part of the lesson can be attributed to the category of lessons, “which are definitely worth knowing, despite the rather boring material.” We will look at how to combine the arbitrary shapes we created into separate sets of shapes and how then to load them into Photoshop at the right time.

If you are fluent in the “Pen” tool and various tools in the “Shapes” group, then you may like the process of creating arbitrary shapes so much that you cannot stop, especially if you are interested in scrapbooking. You can create shapes on various topics – holidays, birthdays, holidays, weddings, toys, animals, nature, etc. And before you come to your senses, you will have hundreds of all kinds of shapes created in Photoshop, occupying a huge place in the computer’s memory, located in various places and waiting for the day when your computer breaks down and you cannot restore any shape. Do not worry – everything is not so bad, you can immediately avoid all these problems, if you use the sets of arbitrary figures!

Below are some arbitrary figures on the holiday theme that I uploaded to Photoshop, including the Gingerbread Man figure that we created in the first part of this lesson:

Arbitrary shapes on the holiday theme

And here are some arbitrary figures on the theme of rest:

Arbitrary figures on the theme of rest

As we studied in the first part of the lesson, to draw any of the arbitrary shapes currently available, you need to select the Custom Shape Tool from the toolbar, then right-click in the document window to open the shape selection window and select the desired shape. I’m not going to go back to this topic again, I’ll just note that we can find all the above figures on the theme of rest and celebration in the figure selection window (bottom three rows) along with other figures loaded in Photoshop by default (top four rows) :

The shape selection window displays all the arbitrary shapes currently available in Photoshop.

Note that in the shape selection window all the thumbnails of the shapes are black, while in the document window you can draw an arbitrary shape of any color. In the first part of the lesson, we also went through this.

At the moment, I cannot say that arbitrary figures occupy a large amount of memory in a computer or they are scattered in different places, but I risk losing all the figures if my computer breaks down. In addition to this, since I created arbitrary figures on two different themes (“holidays” and “rest”), it would be nice to group them in such a way that the figures on the theme of rest were located separately from the figures on the holiday theme. In this case, if I work on some design project, and I need to find the Gingerbread Man figure, I won’t have to look through hundreds of other arbitrary figures, like in the game “Where is Wally?” Before my search is successful.

Fortunately, it is very easy to arrange the shapes, thanks to the use of sets of shapes!

Step 1: Select the “Library Management” option

Creating, saving and loading of sets of arbitrary shapes is carried out using the “Manage Libraries” parameter (Preset Manager), which you can find in the “Edit” menu section at the top of the screen:

Choose Edit> Library Management. (Edit> Preset Manager)

As a small digression, I note that if you see three dots to the right of any parameter in the menu section in the settings panel, this means that if you select this option, a dialog box will open. Thus, in our case, when opening the “Manage Libraries” parameter, the corresponding dialog box appears.

Step 2: Change the “Library” field to “Arbitrary shapes”

By default, the “Manage Libraries” option displays all brushes currently available in Photoshop, and this is not what we need. We want to see all arbitrary shapes, so click on the “Library” (Preset Type) field and from the drop-down list select “Custom Shapes”:

Select from the drop-down list of the field “Library” the item “Arbitrary figures” so that the parameter “Manage libraries” displays them all

Once in the “Library” field you select the “Arbitrary shapes” item, all arbitrary shapes currently available in Photoshop will be displayed on the screen. If you have the Show Tool Tips feature in the Preferences section enabled, then when you hover the mouse cursor over an arbitrary shape, you can see its name.

You can change the size of the figure thumbnails in the “Manage Libraries” dialog box by clicking on the small right-hand arrow located in the upper right corner and then selecting the Small Thumbnail or Large Thumbnail from the dropdown menu . If you want, instead of thumbnails, you can display a list of the names of arbitrary shapes by selecting the appropriate item. By default, the “Manage Libraries” parameter displays small thumbnails of shapes, but I will change them to large thumbnails:

Select in the settings of the “Library Management” parameter the display of small or large thumbnails of arbitrary shapes.

Step 3: Select the shapes that we want to add to a separate set of shapes.

Suppose I want to save all the figures on the theme of the holiday as a separate set of figures. The first thing we need to do is select the shapes that we want to add to a separate set, so I click on the thumbnail of the first shape on the holiday theme in the “Manage Libraries” dialog box (which turned out to be the shape of my Gingerbread Man) to select it. If all the shapes that we want to add to the set are next to each other, as in my case, after selecting the first shape, we just need to click on the thumbnail of the last shape that we want to add while holding down the Shift key. This action will lead to the selection of the first shape, the last shape, and all the shapes between them, as seen in the figure below. For the convenience of perception of the selected figures, I marked them in yellow:

Click on the first shape that you want to add to a separate set, and then hold down the key Shift, Click on the last shape to select all the shapes between them to be added to the set.

If the shapes you want to add to the set are not located next to each other, then you need to click on each thumbnail of the shape separately while holding down the Ctrl (Win) / Command (Mac) key until you select all the shapes.

Step 4: Click on the “Save Set” button

After selecting all the necessary shapes, click on the “Save Set” button located on the right side of the “Manage Libraries” parameter dialog box:

Click on the “Save Set” button (SaveSet), located on the right side of the “Library Management” dialog box

Step 5: Give the name to the set of figures and save it

As soon as you click on the Save Set button, the Save command dialog box opens. Photoshop needs to know where you want to save the set and what name you want to assign to it. A good idea is to keep all sets of arbitrary shapes in one place outside of Photoshop. I would advise you to create a separate folder in your computer called “Arbitrary Shapes” (or under any other name) and save all arbitrary shapes in it. In this case, you will always know the location of your arbitrary shapes and will easily find them, and also if Photoshop suddenly stops working, you will not lose a single shape, because they will not be stored in the program itself. I’m going to save my set in the Custom Shapes folder that I created on my computer and call it Holiday shapes:

Name your set of arbitrary shapes and save it in a folder outside the program. Photoshop

Click the Save button to save the shapes as a separate set and exit the dialog box.

With figures on the theme of rest, I’m going to do the same. To begin, I will select all the figures that I want to combine into a set, and again I will mark them in yellow for easy perception:

Select all the figures on the theme of rest in the dialog box “Library Management”

Next, I will click on the “Save Set” button located on the right side of the “Manage Libraries” parameter window, which will open the corresponding dialog box. I am going to name this set of shapes “Vacation shapes” (Vacation shapes) and save it in the same folder “Arbitrary shapes”, where I saved the previous set of shapes that is already there:

We call a set of arbitrary shapes – “Rest figures” and save it in the same folder “Free Arms”

Now, after our shape sets are created and saved in a folder outside of Photoshop, we are not afraid of a program crash. If Photoshop hangs and I have to reinstall it, I won’t lose my pieces. The only thing when I can still lose them is in the event of a breakdown of the computer itself, so a good idea would be to copy sets of shapes onto a CD. In this case, no matter what happens to your computer or Photoshop program, the figures will remain intact, and you only have to reload them into the program. How to do this – we will look further!

Step 6: Restore Arbitrary Shapes

After we have saved our shapes as separate sets, which we can access at any time, we don’t need to keep these shapes loaded in Photoshop and take up extra memory, provided we don’t use them. To remove all the shapes we created and leave only the default shapes in the program, click on the small right-hand arrow in the upper right-hand corner of the Library Management parameter dialog box and select the Reset Custom Shapes item from the list that appears:

Select the item “Restore arbitrary shapes” from the drop-down menu of the “Manage Libraries” parameter

As a result, a dialog box appears with the words “replace the current random shapes with the default?”

Click OK to replace the current arbitrary shapes with the default.

Now, if we again look at the miniatures of the figures in the window “Manage Libraries”, we see that all the figures on the theme of holiday and rest have disappeared, and only the default figures have remained (I switched to the mode of small miniatures):

Now in the dialog box of the “Library Management” parameter only arbitrary default shapes are displayed.

Step 7: Load the desired set of shapes.

To load any set of arbitrary shapes that you created in the program, and then use it, make sure that Custom Shapes are selected in the Library field (Preset Type), and then click on the Load button. (Load) located on the right side of the dialog box:

Select in the field “Library” item “Arbitrary shapes”, click on the button “Download”

As a result of this action, the Load command dialog box opens. Go to the folder where you saved the sets of arbitrary shapes, and select the desired set by clicking on it. I want to download a set of recreation figures. Next, click on the “Load” button located in the lower right corner to load the set into Photoshop and exit the dialog box:

Select the kit you want to load into the program. Photoshop and click on the “Download” button in the lower right corner

If we again look at the “Manage Libraries” parameter dialog box to determine available arbitrary shapes, we will see that the rest-related figures are loaded into the program and appear in the window after arbitrary default figures. And again, I marked them in yellow:

Holiday figures have been loaded into the program, and now they can be used

Click “Done” (Done) to exit the “Manage Libraries” dialog box, and now all the figures from the set can be used in Photoshop! Make sure that you have studied the first part of our lesson in order to have a complete understanding of the use of arbitrary shapes.

And here we are done!

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