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When I try to draw a shape, I can't seem to get it to create a new layer, but rather it always goes on the layer that I already have selected. How do I create a new layer from a shape that I wish to draw? Otherwise, I can't seem to edit its colour....

In relation to this, I watched a tutorial and each time the guy drew a new shape it created a coloured thumbnail linked to a thumbnail with the shape inside of a grey box. For me, currently, the shapes just keep appearing on transparent layer thumbnails.

This is what the tool bar looks like with the shape tool selected:

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What program are you using? The answer will change depending on what you're working in. –  Lauren Ipsum Dec 23 '12 at 19:58
    
Photoshop...... –  zakgottlieb Dec 24 '12 at 10:00
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3 Answers

Press Ctrl + Shift + N to create new layer or do so directly from the Layer pane. Then draw the shape you want in this new layer so you can change the colours of the shape.

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Update based on updated question.....

You should always state what software and what version of that software you are using. It's clear from the added image you are using Photoshop prior to CS6.

If you look at your control bar you'll see 3 little icons on the left, highlighted here....

old control bar

From left to right these icons mean - shape layer, only a path, a raster shape. In order to create new layers for each shape, you need for click the Shape Layer icon, the leftmost of the three.

Currently you have it set on Raster Shapes. This will merely create pixels on whatever layer you have highlighted, just as if you were using a brush.

For Photoshop CS6....

If you are using Photoshop, be certain the shape options are set to "New Layer" when you have a Shape Tool Active.

shape options

You'll also want to be certain you are working on a file which permits layers. Anything in Index color mode - gif, png8, bitmap - will not allow you to create new layers.

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If you've already created the shape/path, you can also just select it and create a new fill/gradient layer. Photoshop will then use that path as a vector mask for the new fill/gradient layer. –  Lèse majesté Dec 23 '12 at 21:19
    
My shape options tool bar doesn't look as pictured... Please see updated question description to see how it looks. Thus, not sure how to perform this function :/ –  zakgottlieb Dec 24 '12 at 10:06
    
@Zak833 I've updated my answer to fit your version of Photoshop. –  Scott Dec 24 '12 at 10:46
    
Thanks again, Skaught. I suppose a mini follow-up question is, which is the best option to use as a best practice? I'm sure it depends on what you're trying to accomplish, but all things being equal, is it better to create shapes on new layers? –  zakgottlieb Dec 24 '12 at 11:36
    
There really is no "best" method. It all depends on what you are creating. Shapes can be easier to control and edit after the fact, but pixels may suit a particular need more. –  Scott Dec 24 '12 at 11:42
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Just solved this, but than you for the help :)

As you can see in the screen shot I posted, I had the "Fill Pixels" button selected over to the left, rather than the "Shape Layer" button. This was in Photoshop CS5, so potentially you were suggesting the same solution but in a different version, Skaught... Thank you in any case.

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Did you see my updated answer? –  Scott Dec 24 '12 at 20:05
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