The Line Tool is great, but it doesn’t offer much when you need to draw a curved line in your Photoshop projects. Luckily there are two simple ways to create curved lines in Photoshop with the help of a path. The first method you’ll learn here is the fastest way of doing things, while the second gives you some more creative freedom with how your curved line looks with the help of brushes.
How To Draw A Curved Line In Photoshop
The first method we’ll use to curve a line is with the Pen Tool (P) set to Shape Mode. This is the easiest method and will allow you to quickly create simple curved lines and make some basic adjustments to the appearance.
Step 1: Activate The Pen Tool (P)
Start with an open project or new document and head to the Pen Tool (P) in the Toolbar.
Step 2: Change The Mode To Shape
In the Options Bar, you’ll see the Mode is currently set to Path. Click the drop-down arrow and change the mode to Shape.
You’ll see the Options Bar change to reflect the Shape settings.
Step 3: Set The Shape Fill To Transparent
Now, you’ll need to set the shape’s Fill to transparent. Click the Fill box in the Options bar, and you’ll see a panel open with the different shape fill options.
At the top, you’ll see four different icons representing the different ways you can fill the shape. Click the Transparent icon, the first from the left.
This will ensure the shape fill is transparent.
Step 4: Set The Stroke To A Solid Color
At this point, you can set the appearance of your line by adjusting the stroke settings. In the Options bar, you can change the stroke’s Color by clicking the Stroke Fill Box and choosing from the options.
You can then set the line’s thickness in pixels by entering a number or dragging the toggle along the width slider.
You can go back and further edit the appearance of the line once you’ve drawn it on your document.
Step 5: Add An Anchor Point
Now, click on your canvas to add an anchor point that sets the starting point of your line.
Step 6: Add A Second Anchor Point
Now, click in another area of your canvas and drag up or down to curve your pen path. This will create a curved line on your project since a stroke fill is applied to your pen path.
If you’d like, add more anchor points to continue the curve. Once again, just click and drag as you add additional anchor points to curve your line.
The line will appear with the stroke settings you chose.
Step 7: Change The Line’s Appearance Within The Stroke Settings (Optional)
You can alter the appearance of the line once it’s created by heading to the Options bar and further adjusting the stroke settings.
For instance, if I want to change the color and thicken the line, I can change the stroke fill and increase the thickness within the stroke width setting box. Now the line looks totally different despite still following the same path as before.
How To Curve A Line Using The Brush Tool In Photoshop
The other method of curving a line uses the Brush Tool (B) to set the brush’s appearance. While the first method is generally simpler and faster to use, using the brush tool will give you more options for how your line looks.
For instance, lines made with the Brush Tool can have a rounded end, while otherwise, you’d only have a boxy end. You can also decrease the brush’s Hardness to give the line a softer edge.
Step 1: Activate The Pen Tool (P)
Again, with the document you’d like to work on already open in Photoshop, click the Pen Tool (P) from the Toolbar.
Step 2: Set The Mode To Path
Now, head to the Options bar. Rather than setting the mode to Shape as in our previous example, we want to set it to Path for this method (if it isn’t already).
This will allow you to create the line as a Path, which you can then apply brush settings to.
Step 3: Draw The Curved Line
Click to add an anchor point on your document to set the starting point of your line.
Then, add additional anchor points to create the curve you want. For my curve, I’ll add two more anchor points parallel to the first and drag them up, then down, to make the curve.
Step 4: Select The Brush Tool (B)
Next, head to the Brush Tool (B) in the Toolbar.
The Options Bar will change to show the brush settings.
Step 5: Set The Brush’s Appearance
In the Options bar, set the Brush tip by clicking the icon and selecting the type of brush in the panel. The brush you choose depends on how you want your line to look.
For my purposes, I’ll choose a Hard Round brush with the Hardness set to 100. Feel free to adjust this if you’d like a more feathered line.
You also want to ensure the line doesn’t end up too thick by setting the width of the brush stroke. You want something relatively small. This will dictate the thickness of your line.
Finally, you can set the color by clicking the Foreground Color Picker in the toolbar and selecting the color from the Color Picker Window.
Click OK, and the settings will save as your default brush style.
Step 6: Open The Path Panel And Stroke The Path
Once you’ve set the brush’s appearance, it’s time to add a stroke to the path. Open the Path Panel by heading to Window > Paths.
The Paths Panel will open in your workspace.
At the bottom of the Paths Panel, you’ll see a few icons. Click the Stroke Path icon, which looks like a hollow circle.
Once you click this, the brush settings you set before will be applied to the path on your document.
Step 7: Adjust The Appearance (Optional)
If you’d like to, you can further adjust the look of your line by returning to the Brush Settings and adjusting the appearance of the brush. This allows you to further change the color, hardness, brush type, and size.
Once you’ve adjusted the brush settings how you’d like, such as changing the color and the type to a soft brush, return to the Paths Panel and click the Stroke Path icon again. The line will change to match the new brush settings.
Creating curved lines has nothing to do with the regular Shape Tools in Photoshop, which has always surprised me. Luckily with the help of the Pen Tool, they are still quick and easy to draw on any project!