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Shellbot says

I’ll probably figure this out after posting and delete the question in shame but….I really am struggling with Photoshop today (more of a Fireworks girl, really).

I have two existing shapes. I want to subtract one of them from another. In any other design software this would be really simple, and I should maybe just switch back to Fireworks, but I like to learn new things so if someone can explain to me how to do this in PS I ’ll be eternally grateful.

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Robgl322 says

Okay, I hope I can explain this right. (It would be much easier to show you.)

With both shape layers drawn. You will need both paths to be on the same shape layer.

• Get the “Path Selection Tool” from the tool bar. (Black arrow that is not the move tool)

• With one shape layer selected in the layers palette click on the path in the document and it will select the entire path. (Make sure you are using the “Path Selection Tool” and not the “Direct Selection Tool”)

• With the path selected cut that path from the shape layer. Under the Edit menu choose Cut. A box will come up and you can choose “Vector Mask Contents Only”

• Select the other/opposite shape layer in the layers palette by clicking on the vector mask and paste that path into the vector mask. From the Edit menu choose Paste.

• With one path selected using the Path Selection tool move it into place according to how you want to combine the two paths. You can also use the arrow keys on the keyboard to make fine changes in any direction.

• With that one path selected go up the top of the interface and there should be some options there for combining the paths together. (Four boxes with square inside them next to a Combine button) Choose the second option from the left “Subtract from shape area” (Hover over each option with your mouse to see what it does. You can also tell the function of each somewhat by the icons inside each box.)

• Click the Combine button.

If all went well you should have a new shape layer by subtracting one path from another. (Unless these instructions are confusing.)

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Shellbot says

Thankyou! I really really appreciate the help, but I’m still stuck. I’m a bit Photoshoptarded really.

Quick clarification, at the start you say they both need to be on the same shape layer, but then in step 4 you talk about “the other shape layer” as if they’re actually on two separate ones. Which is it supposed to be? I’ll figure it out eventually, and you get virtual cookies for the help so far :)

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Shellbot says

Oh! It appears I’ve now figured it out despite being sure I followed the exact same steps a minute ago with no luck.

Pasted one shape into the other, selected the shape on top with path selection, chose subtract and hit combine and voila.

Maybe that’s the same as how you explained it, my PS terminology isn’t really up to speed, but either way it was your last two steps that helped me figure it out so thankyou thankyou thankyou lots more!

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Shellbot says

The worst part is I used to be quite good with Photoshop. Then I discovered how much easier most things are in Fireworks, upgraded versions from Photoshop 7(!) to CS4 , and went slightly senile. Now I’m basically learning from scratch again :p

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Robgl322 says

I am glad you figured it out! I guess that’s my good deed for today. :)

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