Deke’s Techniques 139: Turning Illustrator Path Outlines into Photoshop Shape Layers

139 Turning Illustrator paths into Photoshop shapes

Just returned from a fantastic Fourth of July, during which I and my two boys watched the fireworks of the San Francisco Bay from the heights of Angel Island. Wow! And now I’m bound for a few days off-the-grid at Camp Sacramento. Wow!

In between, I thought I’d sneak in a quick post about this week’s thrilling episode of Deke’s Techniques, in which we take that superhero shield that we created last week in Illustrator and reimagine it in Photoshop.

Here’s the official description from

In last week’s free episode of Deke’s Techniques, Deke showed you how to create a shiny star-spangled superhero shield from scratch in Adobe Illustrator. This week, you’ll increase your graphic super powers as Deke shows you a different approach to the project using Photoshop to create a more realistic, beveled-edge effect for your shield.

Whether you’re defending the world against evil or just trying to create stellar graphics, it’s always useful to employ the right tool for the right job. So the first trick to this project is to grab the vector-based shapes from last week’s Illustrator project and bring them into Photoshop on separate shape layers.

This allows you to exploit Illustrator’s shape-creating strengths, as well as enhance those perfectly aligned star and circles with Photoshop’s layer effects. Once you have the shapes set up properly, a careful application of some Bevel and Emboss effects are the perfect way to create the sense of a shield built up from individual discs of evil-resistant metal.

Illustrator path outlines converted to Photoshop shape layers

For members of the Online Training Library, Deke’s got another movie this week in which you’ll continue this project using smart filters and adjustment layers to take the effect to a more photorealistic level:

The superhero shield made photorealistic in Photoshop

Meanwhile, Deke will be back next week with something special: An onslaught of movies and a chance for you to share what you’ve gleaned from Deke’s Techniques in glorious heroic fashion.

And just in case you didn’t hang on for the end of the movie, here’s a frame that I quite like from next week’s movie:

Deke's Techniques meets The Chowbots

I stress, this is not an image or an effect or a technique. This is a frame from the movie. These guys (they’re The Chowbots, btw) are actually characters. In a training video. We’ll see if it makes any damn sense next week.

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