Typically, when you use the Crop tool or the Image Size or Canvas Size command, you're working on the whole image. But what if you want to work on a single layer or only part of a layer then we're going to use the Free Transform. Now, if I want to transform this image and I select the Edit menu, you can see that Transform is grayed out. And that's because I'm working on a background layer. I would either need to use a tool like the Marquee tool, and select part of my image to work on it or turn the background into a layer. However, in this example, what I want to do is I want to create a copy of the photo and distort it, so that I have kind of a Picture-in-Picture effect. So to do this, I'm going to duplicate the background layer. There are a variety of different ways I can do this. I can use Layer > New > Layer From Background or I can use the keyboard shortcut Command+J on MAC or Control+J on Windows, in order to make a new layer via copy.
You can see that I now have two layers in my Layers panel, they're exact duplicates of each other sitting right on top of each other. Now I'm working on a layer though, I can choose Edit > Free Transform. I can also select a very specific transformation if I only wanted to do something like scale or rotate or skew my image. I'll go ahead and choose free transform for now and I'll grab the corner handle in the lower left. If I don't hold down a keyboard modifier, you'll notice that I can freely transform this.
But if I want to constrain the aspect ratio, then I need to hold down the Shift key. Now we can see that as I free transform it, I'm not changing the aspect ratio or the proportions of the image. If I also hold down the Option key on the Mac or the Alt key on Windows, you'll notice that I can transform from the center of the image. I'm just going to make my image say about that large. Now, if I wanted to perform at their transformations, like going to the Edit > Transform.
And let's say I wanted to rotate this. Now when I position my cursor outside of the transformation handles, I get that double-handed arrow, and I can click and drag. When I let go, you have one level of Undo, so I'll use Command+Z on the Mac or Control+Z on Windows to undo that last transformation. I can also change the point around which the transformation is rotated, and I can do that by clicking on the center point here and then moving it.
Let's go ahead and move it to the upper left. Now I can position my cursor outside the transformation boundaries again, and when I click and drag, you can see that I'm rotating from that upper left. I'll go ahead and use Command+Z or Control+Z to Undo. And to set back the point of origin from which I transform around, I'll use the option bar and I'll click in the center point here. And that will put the anchor point back into the center. Now when I click and drag, you can see that it's rotating from that center.
Again, I'll use Command+Z or Control+Z to Undo that. If I don't want to go all the way to the Edit menu and then select a different transformation option, I can always use my context-sensitive menus. So on the Mac you'd hold down the Control key and then click. Or, on Windows we can right mouse click and then we have access to all of the different options. If I select Skew, now I can skew the image by dragging left or right on the center handle here. Again, I'll undo that. And then I'll use the context-sensitive menu again in order to select Distort. Now, I can freely choose one of the anchor points and distort my image. Again I'll undo that and then I'll use the context-sensitive menu to choose perspective.
And here, I'll drag on the top corner in order to change the perspective of the image. Now, as I change perspective, I might also want to scale this. So, I'll choose the Scale option and then, we'll make this a little bit smaller. At any point in time, I can reposition or move whatever's inside the transformation boundaries by just clicking and dragging. Now to apply this transformation, I can either tap the Enter or the Return key, or I can click on the check mark.
But this image now just looks a little bit confusing to me because it's hard to tell the difference between the image that I've transformed and the background. I want to screen back the background. But you'll notice in the Layers panel when I select the background I can't change the Opacity for it. In order to change the Opacity, I need to convert the background into a layer by selecting Layer > New > Layer From Background. If I want to use a keyboard shortcut, I can hold down the Option key and double-click on the background and that will convert it to a layer for me.
Now I can decrease the Opacity using the Opacity slider in the Layers panel. But what I'm seeing is the transparent checker board. I'd like to see how this would preview if its going to print based on printing on a white paper. In order to do that, I'll go to the Photoshop menu in Mac, or go to the Edit menu on Windows, and then select Preferences > Transparency & Gamut. In order to turn off the checker board for grid size I'll select None. Now when I click OK, Photoshop is previewing the image as if its been flattened against a white background.
If I think that I've decreased the Opacity too much or too little, I can return back to Layer zero and the Opacity slider, and either make it less transparent or more transparent just by using the slider. In order to create a little bit more separation between the front image Layer 1 and this background Layer 0 that's screened back, I'll add a small drop shadow. I need to make sure that I've got the correct layer selected. So I'll click on Layer 1. And then, I'll use the effects icon at the bottom of the Layers panel, and I'll select drop shadow.
I'm going to reposition the Layer Style dialog to the upper left. And I'm actually going to move it a little bit off screen because I only need to work with these options here. In order to reposition the drop shadow, I can click and drag in my image area. And you can see that it's changing, not only the angle, but also the distance. Then, in order to make this a little bit softer edge, I'll increase the size. I think its a little bit too far away, so let's move it back a little closer. And if I wanted to either increase the effect or decrease the effect I could use the Opacity slider.
Think I'll go ahead and leave that set to about 75 and maybe just decrease the size of my drop shadow a little bit. And then click OK. If I wanted to give it even more separation I could add a stroke around the top image. If I need to return to the Effects dialog, I can double click where it says effects under Layer 1. Then I can add the stroke by clicking on the check mark next to the stroke. But if I want to see the options for the stroke effect, I need to actually click on the word Stroke. You can see that I'm adding a small stroke with a size of three and I want to put that position on the inside, so I get a sharp corner and the I'll click OK. Two additional options that I'll just mention.
If I were to go into Free Transform again, I just want to show you that across the Options bar, we have a number of ways that we can actually add numeric values to our transformation if we need to be precise. And, I'll go ahead and cancel out of this free transform by tapping the Escape key or we could click the Cancel icon here. I just want to point that under Edit > Transform, there is an option to transform again, if you wanted to apply the same transformation. So this might be one of the more basic examples of using Free Transform. But you can imagine how powerful this tool could be if you're trying to composite two images together and their proportions are off between the subject and the background.
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