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Aligning and distributing shapes

From: Photoshop for Designers: Shape Layers

Video: Aligning and distributing shapes

In this movie we're going to see how we can align and distribute our shape layers. I have a Background layer. I'm going to choose my Shape tool by pressing the U key. I'm going to use my rectangle. I have a different color from the Background layer chosen. I'm going to draw myself a square by holding down the Shift key and dragging. Now I'll switch to my Move tool by pressing the V key, then hold down my Alt or Option key and drag away from that to create a copy, and you can see that I'm deliberately dragging at different distance. And I'm making sure they're no actually aligned with each other. So there we have a few copies of that.

Aligning and distributing shapes

In this movie we're going to see how we can align and distribute our shape layers. I have a Background layer. I'm going to choose my Shape tool by pressing the U key. I'm going to use my rectangle. I have a different color from the Background layer chosen. I'm going to draw myself a square by holding down the Shift key and dragging. Now I'll switch to my Move tool by pressing the V key, then hold down my Alt or Option key and drag away from that to create a copy, and you can see that I'm deliberately dragging at different distance. And I'm making sure they're no actually aligned with each other. So there we have a few copies of that.

Now let's say that I wanted to align these layers. Well, I would come and select them all by holding down the Shift key and clicking through, starting at the top and clicking down at the bottom, and then I get my alignment options on my tool options bar. So I can align their top edges. I can distribute the space evenly. And I could align their bottom edges, their center edges, etcetera. But what I can't do is I can't at the moment align these as a group and if I did want to do that, if I wanted to take this group of six shapes and then put them in the center of my canvas, horizontally and vertically, that wouldn't be possible at the moment.

And if I were to try it, then what's going to happen is something like that, not what I want. So instead, what I need to do is group these together, Command+G or Ctrl+G to put them in a group, and then we can center them as a group, but you'll notice that my Align and Distribute icons have now become dimmed, but if I press Command+A to Select All, they come back, and then I can align the group to the selection.

So I can now click on my center vertically and my center horizontally. So the basic alignment options, they work as you would expect. The only trick is that if you want to treat things as a group, put them in a group folder and then make a selection and you can align to that selection.

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This video is part of

Image for Photoshop for Designers: Shape Layers
Photoshop for Designers: Shape Layers

42 video lessons · 13864 viewers

Nigel French
Author

 
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  1. 1m 31s
    1. Welcome
      59s
    2. Using the exercise files
      32s
  2. 30m 57s
    1. Three ways to use the shape tools
      6m 49s
    2. Converting shapes to paths and vice versa
      1m 24s
    3. Moving, deleting, copying, and rasterizing shape layers
      5m 28s
    4. Drawing rectangles, rounded rectangles, and ellipses
      2m 59s
    5. Drawing lines
      2m 40s
    6. Drawing polygons and stars
      1m 48s
    7. Drawing pen paths by adding, deleting, and converting anchor points
      5m 51s
    8. Drawing pen paths with hybrid anchor points
      2m 58s
    9. Inverting paths
      1m 0s
  3. 28m 19s
    1. Adding, subtracting, intersecting, excluding, and combining shapes
      3m 50s
    2. Aligning and distributing shapes
      2m 19s
    3. Coloring shape layers
      2m 1s
    4. Creating a poster by combining simple shapes, part 1
      11m 32s
    5. Creating a poster by combining simple shapes, part 2
      8m 37s
  4. 52m 55s
    1. Creating a logo with shape layers
      10m 47s
    2. Applying blend modes to shape layers
      3m 36s
    3. Applying layer effects and styles to shape layers
      2m 53s
    4. Adding strokes to shape layers
      5m 14s
    5. Applying Smart Filters to shape layers
      4m 0s
    6. Combining shape layers with layer effects, blending modes, and Smart Objects
      5m 31s
    7. Creating shape layers from type
      3m 32s
    8. Creating web buttons using shape layers
      2m 33s
    9. Using shape layers to mask multiple layers
      3m 6s
    10. Adding shape layers to a photo illustration
      7m 38s
    11. Using shape layers to apply custom gradients to type
      4m 5s
  5. 28m 52s
    1. Finding and loading custom shapes
      3m 13s
    2. Creating your own custom shape
      5m 2s
    3. Creating a custom shape from an Illustrator symbol
      5m 1s
    4. Creating a custom shape from an Illustrator Live Trace object
      9m 40s
    5. Creating seamless patterns from shape layers
      4m 18s
    6. Saving and loading shapes with the Preset Manager
      1m 38s
  6. 30m 10s
    1. What is a vector mask?
      6m 39s
    2. Converting to a selection, vector mask, or layer mask
      5m 17s
    3. Linking and unlinking vector masks
      4m 47s
    4. Using shape layers to create a photo grid
      1m 42s
    5. Feathering a vector mask edge
      2m 54s
    6. Adjusting vector mask density
      3m 16s
    7. Combining vector masks with layer masks
      3m 34s
    8. Working with paths and clipping paths
      2m 1s
  7. 19s
    1. Goodbye
      19s

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