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Transparent fills

What we want to achieve

I want to have shapes or anything for that matter have a stroke but a transparent fill. In Illustrator this would be easy but it requires a little more effort in Photoshop. Here's an example:

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We want the shapes to overlap with a transparent center but for them also to have a stroke.

The technique

First we draw the shape as normal. It doesn't really matter which colour you use as this will be hidden. Now in the layers palette (Window > Layers) find the layer for the shape you have drawn and right click on the layer. You will see the following flyout menu. You want "Blending Options".

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This will bring up the layer style dialog box. Give the shape a stroke by checking the Stroke box at the bottom. You can define the size of the stroke, fill colour and a few other options here.

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Almost done

To complete the effect return to the layers menu. You will see the Fill option. Click the flyout and reduce the percentage to 0%. This makes the fill transparent giving us the effect we want to achieve.

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You can use this effect with any layer so if you have created a shape with the pen tool this will also work. Now you can happily layer up your shapes with transparent fills!

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