Filling a Custom Shape with a Photo

You will need a photo for this activity. I am using the picture of my dog cracker when he was a puppy. You can use this one or one of your own. If using your own photo you may need to adjust the document size of the document that will be used to create the custom shape.


Open the photo you will be using for this activity in Photoshop.

Create a new document in Photoshop with the following values.

New Document

At this new document select the custom shapes tool Custom Shapes Tool and find a shape you want to use. I used a heart shape that contains a border.

Heard Custom Shape

Drag the shape out in the document window by holding down the left mouse and releasing to set the shape onto the canvas. To resize the shape select Edit > Free Transform Path. Use the handles to resize the shape then click the check box at the top of the document window to confirm you size.

Now you need to make a selection of the shape. To select the shape you need to go to the Paths palette which is located on the same panel as the layers palette. Click the Paths tab and while holding down the Ctrl key click on the Work Path layer to select the shape.


Your shape should now have "marching ants" around it:

Heart Shape

The border seems large for the size of this document so you need to contract the selection to make it smaller. To do this click Select > Modify > Contract:

Contract Selection

Type in the value of 10 and click OK to set the selection.

Contract by 10

Now you can fill with a color or pattern. I am going to fill my selection with a red color. Click Edit > Fill. Select a color or pattern option then click OK to fill the selection. Here is how my shape looks at this point.


To make the shape more prominent you will place a bevel on. At the layers palette click the layer style button and select bevel and emboss:

Bevel and Emboss

Click OK to accept the default settings or try different options to create your own layer style. While holding down the Ctrl key press the D key on the keyboard to deselect the selection. Here is how my shape appears at this stage:

Heart with Bevel

The final step is to paste your photo inside the heart. With the magic wand tool Magic Wand click in the center of the heart to make a selection.

Heart Shape Selected

Return to your photo in Photoshop. With the rectangular marquee tool Rectangular Marquee Tool drag across the photo to select it:

Photo Selected

Copy the selection by choosing Edit then selecting Copy.


Then return to your shape which your previously selected and click Edit > Paste Special > Paste Into:

Paste Into

Here is my graphic.

Photo Pasted Into Shape

The last thing you need to do is make sure the photo appears completely in the shape. As you notice above the photo needs to be resized a tiny bit to fill the shape completely. You will use the Free Transform Tool. To access this tool select Edit > Free Transform:

Edit Free Transformr

Grab the handles and pull out the photo to fill the shape. Here is my finished product:


Photoshop CS5 Tutorials