Affinity Photo  Illustrator  Photoshop  Painter  E-mail > tutorials > Photoshop Shapes

Image Modes Use with Photoshop Custom Shapes CMYK Bitmap Etc Tutorial Beginner's Guide

By Andrew Buckle, Video Tutorial Creator / Designer

Updated : 2021


How to use the custom shapes with the image modes (RGB CMYK Duotone etc) in Photoshop tutorial. You can set Photoshop into number of color modes such as RGB and CMYK and LAB etc and this is done via the image menu and mode and then select the required image mode as well as the color bits per channel such as the standard 8bit or 32bits per channel / 16bits per channel etc for better color.


duotone color mode and image color modes and space in PhotoshopThe custom shape can be added to the duotone image. The custom shape can be added to CMYK channels in Photoshop (and separate channels) by changing the image mode to CMYK. You can add the custom shapes in Photoshop to 32bits per channel RGB etc and then use the GDR toning to create amazing color shifts with the custom shapes in Photoshop (such as shapes with fill content of gradients and patterns).


All the Photoshop image modes can be used with the custom shapes. You can also change the image mode after you have added the shapes. This tutorial shows you some of the image modes such as duotone image mode in Photoshop as well as 32bits per channel etc and custom shapes added to the mode.

  1. image menu

  2. mode

  3. CMYK or 32bits per channel etc

  4. add custom shape via the custom shape tool in Photoshop toolbar


Add custom shapes and set the image mode to duotone for many unique color effects

duotone image mode and color and custom shapesYou can add the artwork as a layer or pixel in RGB / CMYK / LAB image modes etc. as well as duotone image mode

  1. image menu

  2. mode

  3. grayscale

  4. image menu and mode and duotone

  5. set type to duotone image mode

  6. set inks such as blue and pink (give them names)

  7. set duotone curve

  8. OK

  9. Simply select the custom shapes tool in the Photoshop toolbar (found normally beneath the rectangle tool but now with the new toolbar customization this tool can be anywhere in the toolbar)

  10. select pixel option for the shapes.

  11. set color

  12. draw shape

You will see the colors of the shapes never stray from the colors of the inks entered. Many of the adjustment layers and effects are not available unless you return back to RGB image mode


CMYK Color / image mode and the custom shapes in Photoshop - use in cyan, magenta etc

cmyk baubles

You can add the Photoshop custom shapes / vector layers and pixels to CMYK as well. You can also select the individual channels of cyan and magenta etc and add the artworks to those as well as below where the baubles are added in different locations on the image. Any number of vectors can be added to the image and the color of the vector can be the same or different in the individual channels. You can do the same in 8bit CMYK as well as 16bit CMYK

  1. image menu

  2. mode

  3. cmyk

  4. window menu and channels panel

  5. select the cyan channel

  6. go to the custom shapes tool

  7. select the color and set to fill option

  8. select the custom shape

  9. apply in cyan channel

  10. select magenta channel

  11. apply shape again in that etc

RGB 32bit color / image mode - for even more amazing control of the color of the custom shapes

32bit color space image color space in Photoshop

You can also add the Photoshop custom shapes to the image in RGB and 16bit and 32bit mode. You can add them as a layer as well as a pixel in 32bit mode (though not layers in the individual channels). You can also use a selection of effects to combine with the shapes such as the color lookup adjustment.


When you convert back to standard RGB 8bit mode then HDR toning panel appears and then you can tweak the color conversion in numerous ways and create some very subtle color works as well as some truly extreme ones as well as blurry and smooth changes.

  1. image menu

  2. mode

  3. RGB color

  4. 32 bits / channel

  5. set custom shapes tool

  6. select custom shape in panel

  7. set to "shape layer"

  8. set the content for the shape fill to gradient and select gradient

  9. layer menu and flatten

  10. go back to image menu and mode and 8bits / channel

  11. modify shape using the HDR toning panel (allowing for all kinds of color manipulation of the shape in Photoshop)


Bitmap mode

You can also use custom shapes in bitmap mode. To get to the bitmap mode you must first change to grayscale (don't ask why ? no idea) and then to bitmap and the bitmap does offer options such as custom patterns which means you get to apply your any of your pattern presets as the texture to the bitmap. You can also use halftone and set it to line, ellipse etc. Sadly, there is no preview so you have to trial or error when you set the screen / angle etc. You can then go back to grayscale and then back to RGB etc


Properties panel

If more recent versions, if you are currently accessing the document then you will notice that there is an option to change the document's image mode in the middle of the panel - all the options are available as with the image menu.