I'm trying to figure how to draw a simple polygon wirh a solid color with white contours, inside and outside (pretty much like a donut :p), in a transparent background, but I had no success so far.

My little knowledge made me think that with the Stroke effect I could accomplish my goal, but all I could do with it was the outside border.

I tried then to duplicate the colored shape and then resize the copy, exchanging the fill and border colors, but as expected the interior kept the solid color of the layer below, instead of the transparent color I needed.

This may sound silly for most of you but I'm terrible with design and I would like at least some directions.


As requested, a visual cue:

enter image description here

The shape itself is the black circle with the white borders inside and outside it. The red color is just to demonstrate the transparent areas.

  • How are you creating your basic shape? Is it a path?
    – Westside
    Commented Dec 20, 2016 at 14:15
  • I'm using the Polygon Tool because the real image is not a circle. I just used Ellipse in the visual cue because it was easier to me to reproduce the actual effect. Commented Dec 20, 2016 at 14:30

2 Answers 2


You need to use Shape Burst. I'm fairly sure this existed for quite some time but its hard for me to remember every update so let me know if not and I'll delete this answer.

Apply a Layer Stroke. Switch the fill type to Gradient. Then you'll see more options, change the Style to Shape Burst. Adjust for your desired results:

enter image description here

enter image description here

  • I couldn't reproduce your example because I couldn't draw the polygon like you did, like an earring, without the inner portion filled. When I draw mine it fills automatically. Looks like I'm not being able because this panel Properties seems to not be available in CS3 )or at least I couldn't find it). I assume that these options under Shape Detailsare the ones responsible to allow the shape to be created like yours. Commented Dec 20, 2016 at 15:58
  • @user5613506 that's really a different question entirely but you can draw a shape like I did for nearly as long as photoshop existed using the Pen and Path tools. As far as this question goes it would work on any layer. You can draw a circle, fill it, make a circular marquee on top of it and press delete, then use the Layer Style Stroke options. Could type the letter "O" and then use Layer Style Stroke. Could do all sorts of things to create this.
    – Ryan
    Commented Dec 20, 2016 at 16:08
  • Nothing in the Properties Panel was needed to do what I did, just happened to have it open when doing the screenshot :)
    – Ryan
    Commented Dec 20, 2016 at 16:08

OK, what you are creating here is basically a fatter stroke in one colour with a thinner stroke of a different colour on top of it. So...

  • Create your shape with the Polygon Tool as you have been doing.
  • In the paths palette, use the polygon to create a selection.
  • Go to Edit > Stroke... and add a stroke that is the correct colour to create your outer colour (white in your example).
  • Go back to Edit > Stroke... and add a second stoke, thinner than the first to create your inner colour (black in your example).
  • Throw away or hide the polygon.

This is a little clumsy because Photoshop is not the ideal tool for this kind of thing (Illustrator is better) and CS3 is really old software now, but this should get you what you want. You could experiment with putting the two paths on separate layers or maybe create an action if you need to apply this over and over to different shapes.

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