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Photoshop is the world’s most powerful image editor, and it’s arguably the most complex, as well. Fortunately, nobody knows the program like award-winning book and video author Deke McClelland. Join Deke as he explores such indispensable Photoshop features as resolution, cropping, color correction, retouching, and layers. Gain expertise with real-world projects that make sense. Exercise files accompany the course.
Download Deke's free dekeKeys and color settings from the Exercise Files tab.
In this exercise, I'm going to show you how to access the Move tool on the fly, when any other tool is selected, using a couple of different techniques. I've saved my progress as Road moon & sky.psd. It's found inside the 08_selections folder. By now, you've probably gotten the sense that working inside the Photoshop can be a real keyboard-driven experience. That makes it a little daunting at first, because you don't know about most of these keyboard tricks when you start using the program. But it also means that once you become familiar with Photoshop, it's liquid. You're just sitting there, pressing keys, moving your mouse around.
You don't have to spend a lot of time going to the toolbox or the menu Bar and so on. So, just as you can get to the Hand tool by pressing and holding the Spacebar, you can get to the Move tool by pressing-and-holding the Ctrl or Command key. So notice right now that I have the Rectangular Marquee tool selected. If I press Ctrl here on the PC, or Command on the Mac, then I get the Move tool on the fly. Now, notice that I'm not going to see the little pair of scissors next to my cursor, because after all, I don't have a selection outline. What I do have is the road layer selected.
So if I Ctrl+Drag or Command+Drag this layer, I'm going to move it inside of the Image window. The one thing to notice, and you'll feel this if you're working along with me, is that you don't get any snapping. Snapping is completely off right now. Now we could view this as a feature because someone at Adobe could say, my gosh, it's great that you have different behavior depending on how you're accessing the Move tool. We could see it as a bug, because after all why would we want snapping arbitrarily turned off? But regardless of what we think, it does happen.
If you want to temporarily access the Move tool, and you want snapping as well, why then you can take advantage of the Spring-loaded tool feature, which is to say you'd press-and-hold the V key, the keyboard shortcut for the Move tool. So press-and-hold that key, then drag the layer around, and you'll feel it snap to the bottom of the document. When it snaps into place, you'll actually see a hollow arrowhead, a little white arrowhead. That shows you that you've got some snapping. Then you can move the layer wherever you want it to be along the bottom of that document.
Then release the mouse button and then release the V key. That will take you back to your formerly selected tool. Now notice, if you will, I'll go ahead and zoom in here, that my road is no longer centered on the guideline. So I need to nudge it into the proper location. Well, if the Move tool is active, I'll go ahead and press and release the V key, so Photoshop switches me to the Move tool. I could press an arrow key, for example, the Right Arrow key, to nudge this layer. However, when some other tool is selected, such as the Rectangular Marquee tool and I love this tool, because it's a simple cross on screen, it doesn't occupy a lot of space.
But if I now press the Arrow keys, nothing happens. Now if I had a selection outlined, I'd go ahead and nudge the selection, but I don't. So how do I nudge the layer at this point? What you do is press Control, that is the keyboard shortcut for the Move tool, or Command on the Mac, along with an arrow key. So pressing Ctrl+Right-Arrow or Command+Right- Arrow on the Mac will scoot that layer one pixel to the right, when I'm zoomed in to 100%, because one screen pixel is equivalent to one image pixel. If I want to nudge the image 10 pixels, then I press my Ctrl+Shift+Right-Arrow, or Command+Shift+Right-Arrow on the Mac.
That actually looks pretty darn good to me. That's the placement that I want. So, there you have it! You can access the Move tool on the fly by pressing Control on the PC or Command on the Mac. That will not give you snapping, however. If you need snapping, then press and hold the spring-loaded V key.
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