How to Create a Straight-Edge Path
How to Create a Curved Path
How to Edit a Path
How to Convert a Path to a Selection
How to Stroke Paths
How to Create Clipping Paths
Paths offer the capability to outline shapes or areas within Photoshop files. You then can convert the paths into selections, fill the paths with color, or outline the paths as borders.
Paths offer many advantages. They add very little to the overall file size, and they use standard vector controls such as Bézier curves, points, and direction handles. If you know how to create curved segments in Adobe Illustrator or Macromedia FreeHand, you will catch on to the Photoshop path controls very quickly.
Other advantages to paths include the flexibility of being able to export them to other files and programs. If you use the Paths palette, you can drag paths from the palette for one image window into another open window (an easy way to move paths between Photoshop files). In addition, you can export individual paths as .ai files that you can open in Illustrator, FreeHand, and many other programs that support vector graphics. Doing so gives you more flexibility in illustration and layout programs when mixing vector graphics with the bitmapped images created or modified in Photoshop.