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Learn how to draw custom shapes in Photoshop with the new Shapes panel, and where to find hundreds of new shapes now included with Photoshop CC 2020!


If you're a fan of vector shapes, you'll love Photoshop CC 2020. Not only does CC 2020 introduce the new Shapes panel, but it also includes hundreds of brand new custom shapes!

In this tutorial, I show you where to find the Shapes panel, how to access over 380 new shapes, and how to draw shapes by dragging and dropping them into your document. We'll also compare the Shapes panel to Photoshop's Custom Shape Tool and learn why drawing shapes with the Shapes panel is so much easier. And you'll learn simple tricks that let you combine shapes in different ways, including how to draw multiple shapes on the same layer, how to subtract one shape from another, and how to intersect shapes, all using the Shapes panel.

To follow along, you'll need Photoshop CC 2020. If you're already using Photoshop CC, make sure that your copy is up to date.

The document setup

To follow along, all you will need is a new, empty Photoshop document like the one I'm using here:

Drawing shapes with the Custom Shape Tool

Before we look at the new Shapes panel and the new ways to draw shapes in Photoshop CC 2020, I should point out that the traditional way of drawing shapes using the Custom Shape Tool still works.

The only problem with using the Custom Shape Tool is that at first, you'll be limited to the default shapes. You won't have access to all of the new shapes included with CC 2020 until you load them in from the Shapes panel. Let's take a quick look at using the Custom Shape Tool.

Learn more: What's the difference between vector shapes and pixel shapes?

Step 1: Select the Custom Shape Tool

To select the Custom Shape Tool, click and hold on the Rectangle Tool's icon in the toolbar until a fly-out menu appears, and then choose the Custom Shape Tool from the menu:

Step 2: Choose a custom shape

Then in the Options Bar, open the Custom Shape Picker by clicking on the current shape's thumbnail:


And here we find the new default shapes included with Photoshop CC 2020. The new shapes are grouped into sets, and each set is represented by a folder.

To open or close one of the default sets, click the arrow to the left of its folder. I'll open the Wild Animals set:

Step 4: Draw your shape

And then simply click and drag inside the document to draw the shape. To maintain the shape's original aspect ratio, press and hold the Shift key on your keyboard as you drag.

You can draw the shape from its center by holding the Alt (Win) / Option (Mac) key after you start dragging. And to move the shape as you draw it, hold down your spacebar, drag the shape into place, and then release your spacebar and continue dragging:


And then in the Fill Type dialog box, click on a new color. Or use the icons along the top of the dialog box to switch between Color, Gradient or Pattern fills. The icon in the upper right opens Photoshop's Color Picker where you can select a custom color for your shape: