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So, continuing on with our postcard project here, I want to make these four images here, the Lily, Mixed, Tulips and Dahlia layers, I want to make them a lot smaller and create little thumbnails of them. Now I'm not quite sure, or I'm pretending I'm not quite sure how big these images are going to end up finally. I might end up scaling them down, but then need to change my mind and make them a little bit larger, right. So, when you're transforming pixels inside Photoshop, that's a destructive action. If I make these layers smaller, I'm throwing away those pixels. And then if I want to go back and make them a little bit larger, I'm not going back from the original source data.
I'm basically making a small image bigger again, which is typically going to make your image not look so good. Well, fortunately, you can convert any layer into something called a Smart Object, and what does is that captures all the original information of that particular layer and embeds a copy of that in the Photoshop document itself. So, then you're free to transform and scale that image layer as much as you want, because you're always going back to the original image and re-sampling it from the original source data. Now, you can't make t much bigger than the original, but you can certainly go down and then back up to its original size with complete freedom and not having to worry about losing any pixels.
Now the easiest way to convert any particular layer into a Smart Object is to right-click on the layer name in the Layers panel and say Convert to Smart Objects. I'm going to go ahead and do that to all four of these. I had to do it one at a time, right- click and Convert to Smart Object on each of these layer names. The reason you've got to do one at a time is if you'd selected all four of those layers together and then right-click on the selected layers together, you would have turned all four of those layers into a single Smart Object and I'd be able to scale each one of those independently. Okay, so I've got the Lily layer selected. Now in this particular file I've actually got some guides that I've already drawn, so I know where I want these things to end up.
I'm going to go ahead and turn my guides. There's a keyboard shortcut, but I'll go ahead and use the View menu. And under Show, I will say Show Guides. Okay, so there's the grid I've already created. To create a guide, it's just as simple as turning on your rulers. So, lets go turn that on. We'll turn View > Rulers. And as you might imagine, you keyboard shortcut people, it's Command or Ctrl+R and you just drag from a ruler. So, either a vertical ruler or a horizontal ruler. You click in the ruler itself and start dragging out, then position that guide wherever you wanted. When you let go, you've got a new guide. I want to go ahead an undo that, Command+Z, Ctrl+Z, and I'll turn my rulers back off.
Command or Ctrl+R. And I'm back to where I was, just having my guides visible here. All right. So, we're going to scale or transform the Lily layer into one of these squares we've created with my guides here. And to open up the Free Transform mode or switch you into that mode, it's Command or Ctrl+T. That puts a bounding box around all the pixels on that particular layer. In this case, just around the Purple Lily layer. In Free Transform, I can go ahead and reposition that to where I want the upper left-hand corner to be the intersection that guide there, just by clicking in the middle and dragging anywhere.
And then to scale this proportionally, I'm going to go to the opposite corner. I'm going to hold down the Shift key and then click and drag that to the opposite corner there and just kind of line it up with the guides that I created. And then I'll press Return or Enter to lock that in and I've scaled or transformed that particular layer. Okay, when I move on to the next layer. This is the Mixed layer here, and I want to just select that layer very quickly. I'm going to hold down the Command or Ctrl key and click right on that layer to select it. You'll see in the Layers panel the mixed layer is now selected. I can now move that around freely wherever I want it. Kind of line that up there in the upper left-hand corner.
Again, we go into Free Transform mode. It's Command+T or Ctrl+T. Again, to scale proportionally, we'll hold down the Shift key and we'll just drag up till we snap to one of those other guides there. And then I'll press Enter or Return to lock that in. Next, I am going to do the Tulips layer, so I am going to Command or Ctrl+Click right where I see the Tulips. That selects that layer for me. Go to Free Transform mode there as well. I'll hold down the Shift key again, drag in one corner up to the other end, and I might want to reposition that so I can line it up with a guide, and then hold down the Shift key again to continue scaling that to one of those squares that I've created with my guides.
When I've got it locked in, I hit Enter or Return and then we will do one more, the Dahlia layer here. Again, I'm going to Command or Ctrl+ Click right on the pink part of that layer that I can see. That targets that layer and selects it for me. And I'm going to go ahead and let's position it down here because I want to show you something else. Now you'll see that part of this layer is off the image window. If I do Command or Ctrl+T, you'll see I can't seen the bottom corner handle anymore because it'soff the screen. So, I'm going to use the Fit to Screen command or Fit to Window command. It's Command+Zero or Ctrl+Zero on Windows.
And what does is that it shrinks the view down just small enough so you can see the entire bounding box of the Free Transform mode. Very handy if you're scaling a very large image. And the bounding box is way off screen. Just do a Command or Ctrl+Zero to make sure everything will fit within your current view, so you can get to the handles that you want to transform. All right. So, I can see it. I'm going to hold down the Shift key, grab that corner handle, then we'll resize it there as well until it looks about right and press Enter or Return. And I'm going to go ahead and turn the guides off. I can do that under the View menu, View > Show, turn off Guides.
And again, it's where you want to learn keyboard shortcuts. So Command+Semicolon or Command+Colon will toggle those on and off. When you're first starting out, hunting and pecking with the menus is fine. Over time, you'll start feeling like that's cumbersome, so you'll pick up the keyboard shortcuts as you go. And then you can just go ahead and rearrange these freely. Because the Dahlia layer is the selected layer I can click and drag and move that anywhere inside the image window. Once you've got these smaller layers that are clearly defined and not overlapping each other, that's when turning on the Auto-Select Layer command or option may actually be something you turn on or leave on for a while.
Because then you can just click exactly where you want to grab something and just start dragging around freely. I don't have to use the Layers panel. I don't have to hold down any modifier keys and so forth, so I'm just going to arrange these wherever I want. And again, as a reminder, if you don't want to have this on permanently, then just Command of Ctrl+Click on the item that you want to move and then start dragging it once it's been targeted. Okay, so there they are. They're all kind of lined up where I want them and that's how you transform layers. You just target the layer you want to transform. Command or Ctrl+T to go into Free-Transform mode. Now there's one other bonus trick here. You can transform multiple layers at the same time.
So, if I select Lily by clicking on it in the Layers panel and I hold down the Shift key and click on the Dahlia layer, all four of those are going to get selected. I'm going to go ahead and deselect by clicking where there is nothing in the Layers panel to deselect those selected layers. Because as you might expect, there's actually a trick to select multiple layers in the image window itself as well. So I'm going to hold down the Command key or Ctrl key and click on the Lily that I see here. If I add Shift to that so Command+ Shift or Ctrl+Shift and start clicking on other layers, you will add that to your selection. Again, very common just like when you're using Illustrator or InDesign, you typically when you Shift+Click you start adding to your selection so that's what's going on here.
I'm just Command+Shift or Ctrl+Shift clicking on the layers that I see in the image window, just select all four of them in this case. And you can see in the Layers panel that all four are indeed selected. When you go into Free Transform mode it will put the bounding box around your total selection. So if I do Command+T now, you'll see you're getting a bounding box around all four of these. So, the point here is that you don't have to transform one layer at a time. You can transform multiple selected layers as well. If I want to scale all four of these, just hold down the Shift key and do it proportionately. And I can stretch them if I want, but I want to maintain their proportions, and you can see all four layers are scaling at the same time because they were all selected first.
Okay, I am going to go ahead and Escape. by pressing the Esc key on the keyboard, to just cancel that Free Transform mode.
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