Duplicating Shapes Inside Vector Masks - Photoshop Tutorial

Organization is one of the hardest (and most overlooked) skills involved in graphic design.  In the image below, I created Christmas lights by creating shapes and then repeatedly duplicating them. Normally, each shape would inhabit its own individual layer. This method creates a lot of clutter and greatly reduces editability by making it very difficult to find individual shapes.

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Using vector masks allows users to create a shape and then duplicate it indefinitely within the same layer.  All of the lights (of each color) are contained within one layer and can be individually manipulated with ease. 

1.  Create a new layer (CMD/CTRL + SHIFT + N)

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2. Fill that layer with a color (SHIFT + F5)

 

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3.  Create a Vector Mask over your new layer.

- with the color layer selected in the layers panel, navigate to the Layer menu > Vector Mask > Reveal All

 

 

 

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4. With the Vector Mask selected in the layers panel, draw a new shape using the Pen Tool (P)

- while drawing, if you click and drag, you can adjust the curvature of each line. 

- if you made a mistake or need to adjust a point, hold CTRL to grab and move each point. 

- if you want to add or adjust the feet of each point (for curvature) hold ALT and grab the point you want to adjust. 

 

 

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5. Resize the shape using the Transform Tool (T)

- If you would like to maintain the shapes current dimensions, hold SHIFT >grab a corner and drag > release the mouse click before releasing SHIFT.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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6. Duplicate the path of your shape. 

- With the Vector Mask selected in the layers panel, use the Path Selection Tool (A) to select your shape. 

- Duplicate the shape by holding ALT, grabbing the shape, and moving it.

- Use the Transform Tool (T) to adjust size and angle of each individual shape. 

 

Pro Tip: Apply effects to the layer. 

Duplicated shapes with effects to create a Christmas light effect.

Duplicated shapes with effects to create a Christmas light effect.

 Please leave a comment or send an email if this helped you! Thank you!