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In this project, we are going to explore the many options afforded by the Free Transform command. You can scale a layer. You can rotate it. You can skew it, meaning slant it either horizontally or vertically. You can apply a perspective distortion. You can warp a layer, meaning that you can actually bend it. And we will be seeing all these options in the context of this file here which is called Automation boy.psd. And it features a piece of artwork from Leo Blanchette of the Fotolia image library, about which you can learn more at www.Fotolia.com/deke.
And we're going to take this text right here and we're going to match it to the board in the background so that's going to require some scaling, rotating, perhaps some skewing as well. Then I am going to add a smile and some eyes, and we will end up with this final effect right here where it looks like some kind of character out of a Rankin/Bass cartoon, and it's called Eyes and smile.psd. So let's get to it here. We are going to start off with the text inside the Automation boy.psd file. So make sure the top layer in the Layers panel is selected.
If not, go ahead and click on it. Then we know right away that we are going to have to rotate this text, and we're going to have to scale this it as well. It's not going to fit. And as I say, I think we are going to have to slant it. That's what it looks like. So if you go up to the Edit menu, you have one of two options available to you. One is Free Transform, and we will come to that in a moment. The other is the Transform command that brings up a sub-menu specific operation. So you could decide, okay, I am going to start by scaling, and then I am gong to rotate, and then I am going to skew. What is the purpose of that? That means that you are locked in a scaling mode the first time and then a rotating mode the second time, and so forth here.
If I am working on a pixel based layer, that means that I am going to apply destructive modifications for each one of these operations. If I am working on a vector base layer, such as either a shape layer or this live type layer here, it just means I am messing up my bounding box each time, because every time you start a new transformation, your bounding box, as we'll see, starts off rectangular. So you are better off applying all of your transformation in one fell swoop, and that's what you can do using the Free Transform command. Another great thing about it is that it has a keyboard shortcut of Ctrl+T or Cmd+T on the Mac, and I really urge you to get comfortable with that one, because here is why.
If all you want to do is just flip a layer, then the easiest thing is to press Ctrl+T or Cmd+T on the Mac. So you bypass the menu altogether, you don't even look at it. Then you just right-click anywhere inside the image window, and that brings up a sub-menu of your various transformation options and you choose either Flip Horizontal or Flip Vertical, then you press the Enter key in the PC, the Return key on the Mac, and you are done. Then it turns into a very convenient operation as opposed to going scrambling to the Edit menu. Anyway, we don't want to flip this text, because then we need a mirror to read it.
What we want to do is just stay here inside of this Free Transform mode. I don't even need that shortcut menu. Now notice that we have got a bounding box with the standard eight handles around it and incidentally in case you are wondering why is this bounding box so ginormous? It's because Photoshop is trying to accommodate any descenders that might appear in our text. We don't have any. So it looks like we have got more than enough vertical room here. But that's okay. We can still work with this bounding box just as easily as any other. Now notice, if you drag any of these handles whether it's a corner handle or a side handle, top or bottom handle, you are going to scale the text.
If you drag inside of the bounding box, then you are going to move it to a different location. Then if you move your cursor outside the bounding box, notice you get this little rotate cursor, then drag, and that goes ahead and rotates the layer. So those are your basics three, scale by dragging handle, move by dragging inside of the bounding box, rotate by dragging outside the bounding box. You also have the option to apply a constraint using, for example, the Shift key. So if you Shift+Drag one of these corner handles, you will maintain the current proportions of that layer.
Now what do I mean by current proportions? I mean the proportions that you have last set up as you have been working in the Free Transform mode. You are not, in other words, going back to your original proportions. If you want to do that, you would go up here to the Options bar, and you would know, gosh in my case, anyway, I have scaled the width to 64.38% and the height to 84.43%. If I want to maintain the proportions, then I need to click on this chain icon right there, but before I do I need to decide which percentage I am going to maintain. Am I going to go ahead and lift the Width value and transform it over to the Height? In which case, click away.
Or do you want to maintain your Height value? In which case, click inside that Height field right there and then click on the chain. Otherwise, if you don't identify which one you want to maintain, Width is the default choice. Now at this point, notice that if I drag a corner handle, I continue to maintain the proportions, because that chain icon is down right there. If I want to lift that constraint, then I need to go ahead and turn the chain icon off, because that becomes a permanent constraint throughout the Free Transform operation, and now if you drag a corner handle like so, you have the option of either going non- proportional as I am or pressing the Shift key and keeping it down by the way, in order to maintain the proportions.
So you have to keep the Shift key down throughout the length of your drag. The other way to use the Shift key is while rotating. The best way to see this is to go ahead and reset the Rotate value here to 0 degrees, and now notice, if I drag while pressing the Shift key, I am going to rotate in 15 degree increments which includes 45 degrees, because 15 is a multiple of 45. So you will get exactly diagonal rotations as well as, by the way, 90 degrees. So, all of your perpendicular rotations will be maintained as well.
However, if you start off at an odd degree like 22.48%, why then, after that, Shift+Dragging with the Rotate tool will add or subtract 15 degrees from that previous value, like so. So Photoshop is at all times applying the constraint to your last operation. Then when you are done, and you feel like you want to leave the Free Transform mode, not that I have actually done everything I need to do. I just want to demonstrate this. Then you press the Enter key or the Return key on a Mac, and that goes ahead and applies the transformation.
Now we still have more work do to obviously. And in the next exercise, I am going to explain how to work with the transformation origin.
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