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We've looked at several ways so far how we can move layers and work with multiple layers and smear layers below. I am now going to show you a way that you can start to actually alter a layer. And to do that, I am going to go ahead and turn this smeary layer off we were playing with, and I am going to select the blue layer here as an example. And what I want to do is, let's say I want to rescale it or something, make it a different size. So I do have in the Edit palette, the command Free Transform.
I am going to click on Free Transform, and you'll see what we are going to get here are a set of handles around the blue layer which is this Layer 1 down here. And now I can start to play around with changing this layer. In fact, if I hold down the Shift key, I can constrain it so that in both the X and Y dimensions it will change. I can also, if I hold down the Ctrl or Command key, I can grab a corner and I can rotate it.
Now you get into some interesting behaviors here if I hold down the Option key for example, you see how it changes, this lets me start to do some skewing in this case. And as long as I click anywhere inside of it, I can move it around. So what Transform lets me do, or Free Transform, is I can adjust a layer by squeezing, rotating, stretching, resizing; all those things are possible within the Free Transform tool.
One nice aspect of this is, that as you're doing all of these, it's kind of holding off until it makes the final calculation of how it's going to render these pixels. So if you did each of these operations as a separate operation, they'd slowly build up and the pixels will start to get softened up. And the nice thing about this is, all of those calculations are held off until the very end when I hit the Return key, and now all of those calculations were combined together.
So I can still see a little bit of softening, but it's not nearly as bad as it would've been had I done that as separate individual operations. So Free Transform is just a great way to be able to adjust the geometry of an image, or a layer element on an image, after the fact. So you may decide, you know, that I do want to change how this looks, but I don't necessarily want to start from scratch again. This gives you the opportunity to almost treat individual layer elements like they are rubber sheets.
So Free Transform is a valuable asset to layers and be sure you take advantage of it, especially when you want to stretch something like a piece of rubber.
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