How to Smooth your Strokes in Photoshop

How to Smooth your Strokes in Photoshop

Shapes, Lines and Text strokes

Jagged lines on text and simple strokes are a design faux pas. Luckily there are several ways to smooth your strokes in Photoshop. In this post you'll learn to smooth a stroke depending on the object type.

Text

When you apply a stroke to a text, choosing the correct anti-aliasing method for the font you're using is key. Since Photoshop doesn't allow us to control the anti-aliasing method of a stroke applied to text, we should use the right anti-aliasing method for that particular font instead. Usually, the Smooth method is the one that works, but as every font has different angles, widths and heights, testing the Crisp, Sharp and Strong anti-aliasing methods is important.

Step 1

Select the Type Tool (T) and write your text.

Step 2

Go to Layer > Layer Style > Stroke. Set the Size to 6, the Position to Outside, the color to Black and click OK.
Note: I am using these settings only for demonstration purposes, you can use any size, color or position you want.

Step 3

With the Text Tool (T) selected, pick from the dropdown menu (in the top toolbar) the best anti-aliasing method for the font you're using, and that better displays the stroke. As an example, here you can see the font ‘Montserrat’ with the 5 anti-aliasing available methods available and with a stroke applied to it.

Quick Tip

You can also convert your text to shapes (Type > Convert to Shape) to have a better control on the stroke by using the ‘Shapes’ method:

Shapes

If we want to add a stroke to a vector shape, the best way to make it is using the stroke option (rather than a layer style) to allow us to control alignment, width, and corners, among other adjustments.

To guarantee a smooth stroke in our shape, we should also take care of the transitions between the different anchor points that form our shape. Having smooth transitions between the anchor points, will guarantee a smooth stroke.

Step 1

Select the Pen Tool (P), be sure to have the mode set to 'Shape' in the top toolbar and draw your shape.

Step 2

With the Pen Tool (P) selected, click on the Stroke thumbnail in the top toolbar and select the ‘Solid Color’ option.

Step 3

In the Stroke Width value, set the size to 6pt.
Note: I am using this value only for demonstration purposes, you can use any size you want.

Step 4

In the top toolbar, click on the Stroke Type button and then on ‘More Options’.

Step 5

Here you can set the Stroke Type you want for your shape with more options than the ones available in the Stroke Layer Style, which allow you to better control how the final stroke will look like. In this case, the stroke is aligned to the Outside, with Round caps and Round corners for a smooth stroke end result.

Lines

When working with lines, and just like we did with the vector shapes, the end result will depend on what your line shape is like, but if you're careful with the transitions between one anchor point and the other, you will end up with a perfect smooth stroke.

Step 1

Select the Pen Tool (P) and be sure to have the mode set to 'Shape' in the top toolbar.

Step 2

Draw your line on the canvas. As you can see, a fill is applied to the line, but we will take care of that in just a minute.
Note: it could be any kind of line (curved or straight), but I will be using this one with a wavy shape for demonstration purposes only.

Step 3

With the Pen Tool (P) selected, click on the Fill thumbnail in the top toolbar and select ‘No Color’.

Step 4

Again in the top toolbar, click on the Stroke thumbnail and select the ‘Solid Color’ option.

Step 5

In the Stroke Width value, set the size to 6pt.
Note: I am using this value only for demonstration purposes, you can use any size you want.

Step 6

In the top toolbar, click on the Stroke Type button and then on ‘More Options’.

Step 7

Here you can set the Stroke Type you want for your line. In this case, the stroke is aligned to the Center, with Round caps and Round corners for a smooth stroke end result.

Some Final Words

As you can see, there are a few different methods to smooth your stroke according to the element you are working on. There are of course other methods to achieve the same result, but those are a bit more complicated and with less options to control the stroke; for example you could use the brush to stroke a path, but the drawback there is, once you apply the stroke to that path the only way you have to correct it is to make it again.

You should now have a pretty good grasp of how to make your lines in Photoshop smooth as a baby's skin!


Comments

X

You've successfully logged in!