star shapes in Photoshop Tutorial
By Andrew Buckle, Updated : 2022
How to create a star shape design in Photoshop, using it as a shape layer as well as a pixel design. How to create multiple star Photoshop layers, hollow designs, how to use various properties and more.
1. Basic vectors
Star shapes are created in Photoshop either via the polygon tool with it's dedicated star feature or you can create them via brushes or pen tool etc to create a more organic design.
You can customize the Photoshop toolbar so you may find it in a different location depending on your customization.
2. Polygon tool and Star Ratios
The star shapes can be added via the polygon tool, it is a pity there is no star tool in Photoshop (though it does have a triangle one). The star shapes need to be applied by changing the star ratio so to get any level of star, set that to less than 100% and then you will see the star design and set it to 5% for an intense star.
Intense star with star ratio of 5%
Star shapes but with ratio of 80, closer to a polygon
You can also change the number of points along the top of the bar
You can also round the star as well using the field next to the number of points
3. Tools Presets
You can set up a quick access tool preset in the top left so you can create a 5 point design or a curved design preset and more.
I love the tool presets though I wonder if they are used that much, tucked away in the top left. You can set them up for all of the tools though they are more useful for tools such as stars. Simply go to the tool presets and select one and it works in both shapes and pixel mode, it creates the star using the preset as you drag. It works using points as well as star ration and color (if selected) as well as tool options such as fixed size. You can create 100s of instant stars in the presets and use them quickly in Photoshop. You can also create your own via the right side menu and create command. You can display all the available tools, personally I just keep it relevant to the tool that I am currently using. In pixel mode, shape layer presets are applied as a pixel and use the current color and don't use the stored color.
The tool preset does not store transforms or effects etc. You can rename and delete the tool presets
4. pixels / vectors
They can be added as a pixel design, perhaps add it to a layer, or it can be added as a vector layer and the vector layer offers more flexibility as you can re-size the design, you can rotate it, add other transforms, combine it with other shapes and much more. The star can also be added as a path.
As a shape, you can add effects via the filter menu as well as layer styles such as drop shadows to the shape.
You can add them as a pixel but they are then added to a layer or the background and cannot be easily be modified other than adding effects etc
As a pixel, you can then warp and distort as well as add filter effects etc such as blurs
You can change the number of points via the top bar but that is only used when you create a new shape in Photoshop, if you want to interactively modify the number of points, star radius etc then you will need to use the properties panel found in the window menu.
6. Combine multiple Designs
They can added as a vector shape layer can be combined via the layer menu and using the combine shape commands such as unite etc and literally millions of different stars can be added.
7. Hollow !
You can create a design hollowed out design using subtract front shape command. Create your first shape as a vector layer. Hold down the alt / option key and drag the design and duplicate it. Re-size the vector and make it smaller via the bounding box. Use the alignment tools to align center and middle. Go to the layer menu and combine shapes and subtract front shape.
End result being a hollow artwork
8. direct selection tool
If you add the design as a vector, you can also tweak the individual points, inner and outer, by using the direct selection tool found in the tools panel. Select the points and drag them in different directions etc