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Transforming and warping a selection outline

From: Photoshop Masking and Compositing: Fundamentals

Video: Transforming and warping a selection outline

In his exercise I'll show you how to transform and warp a selection outline. I'm working inside that file called the egg.psd and I've gone ahead and drawn my elliptical marquee. I'm going to go back up just so that we can do this together. We'll go back up to the Select menu and choose the transform Selection command. Now here's a few ways to transform a selection. For one you can go ahead and resize it by dragging one of the handles. Another option available to you, I'll go ahead and press Ctrl+Z or Command+Z on the Mac.

Transforming and warping a selection outline

In his exercise I'll show you how to transform and warp a selection outline. I'm working inside that file called the egg.psd and I've gone ahead and drawn my elliptical marquee. I'm going to go back up just so that we can do this together. We'll go back up to the Select menu and choose the transform Selection command. Now here's a few ways to transform a selection. For one you can go ahead and resize it by dragging one of the handles. Another option available to you, I'll go ahead and press Ctrl+Z or Command+Z on the Mac.

By the way, you only have one undo when you're working inside this Transform mode. So if you mess something up like I have and you want to reinstate that original selection then you can do so using the numerical options in the options bar. So I'm going to go ahead and turn on the chain icon between W and H so that we can constrain the height and width of the object and I'm going to click on this bottom right reference point, because I want to be able to scale with respect to the bottom right corner and I'm going to increase the Width value to 100% and that ought to get me more or less back to where I was.

You can also, by the way, drag the selection if you want to in order to move it, or you can press the Arrow keys in order to nudge that selection outline around. If you move your cursor outside the bounding box you'll see it turns into a little rotate icon. Go ahead and drag in order to rotate the selection. Now in my case I'd specified that the bottom right corner was a reference point. So that's why it went ahead and rotated around that location. If you don't want that press Ctrl+Z, Command+Z on the Mac. In order to take advantage of your one undo switch to the center reference point like so and then go ahead and drag again to rotate around the center.

Again, I'll press Ctrl+Z, Command+Z on the Mac. There are a couple of other options. If you want to slant the selection, you press the Ctrl key or the Command key on the Mac and you drag either one of these side handles like so, or I'll press Ctrl+Z or Command+Z on the Mac so I don't mess things up too much. You can also Ctrl+Drag or Command+ Drag either at the top or bottom handle. I'll undo that movement as well, because another option that's available to you is to Ctrl+Drag or Command+Drag one of the corner handles in which case you'll apply a kind of four-point distortion, like so.

None of these is what I want, and in order to reinstate the selection outline exactly I'm going to press the Escape key in order to escape out of the Free Transform mode. Now let's go right back in, because I want to show you another option that's available to you, but you haven't seen so far. We'll go up to the Select menu, choose Transform Selection. Now there is all kinds of additional keyboard tricks. You can try out. For example, let's say I go ahead and scale the selection so it's taller and I want to bend the top sides inward to create a kind of perspective effect.

Well, I would press the Ctrl+Shift+Alt keys or Command+Shift+Option and drag the corner handle inward, like so. Notice, by virtue of the fact that I have the Alt key or Option key down the opposite corner handle moves in and by virtue of the fact that I have the Shift key down I apply an exclusively horizontal distortion. So there are all kinds of other tricks and if you're sufficiently interested you can go ahead and try out some different keyboard combinations to see what happens. I'm going to press the Escape key again, because this still isn't what we are looking for, and I'll go right back to the Select menu and choose the Transform Selection command.

This time I want you to notice up here in the Options bar that there is this Warp icon. So it switches you between the Free Transform and Warp modes. Go ahead and click on the icon and you'll enter the Warp mode. When you're in this mode you can drag these handles in order to distort the shape, notice that. And this'll give us a curved distortion as you're seeing here, which is going to do a lot better job of getting us to our final goal. Now that I've dragged the control handles a few times I'm going to zoom in by pressing Ctrl++ a couple times just so I can better see what I'm doing.

Here's an even better way to work, at least it's more intuitive. You can drag directly on the selection outline. Now you won't see the selection outline update until you release, but if you start by dragging on the selection outline and then dropping on the edge of the egg, you'll actually move the outline to that location. Now you'll also move a bunch of other portions of the outline in kind. So it's going to take a lot of tweaking back and forth to get this right. I'll go ahead and drag this edge over there as well. We've got a pretty light edge here. That's why I wanted to zoom in so I could see it better.

Now I'm going to drag the top of the egg selection downwards and I'll drag this guy up a little bit and so forth and I'll drag this guy over a little bit. I'm going to zoom out so I can see the bottom portion of the egg. Notice that we are really bowing this portion of the egg outward. Let's go ahead and take it inward like so and in my case I'm dragging the control handle. It doesn't matter. That you can work back and forth any way you see fit. So essentially the egg has kind of a tapering middle associated with it. So its hips and shoulders are a little wider than its middle.

Even though that's not the way it looks, but that's the way you need to transform the selection, because it starts off as a perfect ellipse. I am going to drag this guy in just a little bit. It's those final movements that are the toughest ones. Just a warning to you. But you want to spend the time, because we do want to get this as exactly right as possible. So I'm going to take this edge out just a little bit. That's going to cause problems elsewhere of course. So I'll take the top edge down and see what happens. We are getting closer and closer to getting this right, at least I am. I hope you're experiencing some high degree of fortunate selection outline madness here.

I'll go ahead and scroll up a little bit, drag this edge upward, drag this edge downward a little bit. If you have problems getting to an edge, by the way, especially at the top and the bottom and the sides, just try again. Sometimes Photoshop doesn't read your cursor position exactly right. I am going to take this control handle down. I am going to take this one up. I'm hopefully going to do it. I'm going to take it up and out actually. That should help. One of the things that you are going to notice about this egg is that is that it's not perfectly symmetrical, at least where your modifications are concerned.

So you may have to tip it up into the left slightly. It's looking like I'm getting pretty close to being done here. I might have to take this edge down a little bit like so and that's going to move the other side down, although it looks pretty good, and I'm just going to take a look around the entire perimeter and make sure I've done a halfway decent job. I think this is about as good as I'm going to do. So I'll press Ctrl+0 or Command+0 to zoom out and then once you figure that you've got a decent selection outline go ahead and press the Enter key or the Return key on the Mac in order to apply that change.

Now I'll say something about transforming selection outlines. This is a destructive modification. Bear in mind that every selection at least in Photoshop's mind is an alpha channel. So it's seeing white pixels against a black background and you just applied a static transformation effect to it, which means that's not a bad thing, one static effect is just fine. However, if you didn't get it exactly right, you don't want to go up to the Select menu and choose Transform Selection again, because that's going to apply additional damage to that selection outline.

Instead what I recommend you do as tedious as it sounds, your best option if you need to re-transform that selection is to press Ctrl+Z or Command+Z on the Mac and start over again. In my case though, it's looking good. So I'm going to press Ctrl+Z or Command+Z on the Mac to reinstate the transformation. Don't worry, by the way, if you're following along with me and you're having problems getting the selection the way you want it I've gone ahead and saved off my selection as an alpha channel here inside the Channels panel. In the next exercise I'll show you how to paste an image into the selection outline.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Photoshop Masking and Compositing: Fundamentals
Photoshop Masking and Compositing: Fundamentals

128 video lessons · 30985 viewers

Deke McClelland

Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 15m 25s
    1. Welcome
      1m 12s
    2. Loading my custom dekeKeys shortcuts
      3m 45s
    3. Adjusting the color settings
      4m 29s
    4. Setting up a power workspace
      5m 59s
  2. 1h 0m
    1. The channel is the origin of masking
      1m 54s
    2. The Masks and Channels panels
      4m 48s
    3. How color channels work
      7m 7s
    4. Viewing channels in color
      3m 24s
    5. How RGB works
      4m 12s
    6. Single-channel grayscale
      5m 12s
    7. Mixing a custom "fourth" channel
      5m 15s
    8. The other three-channel mode: Lab
      5m 45s
    9. A practical application of Lab
      4m 55s
    10. The final color mode: CMYK
      7m 5s
    11. Introducing the Multichannel mode
      5m 56s
    12. Creating a unique multichannel effect
      5m 18s
  3. 44m 27s
    1. The alpha channel is home to the mask
      1m 40s
    2. The origins of the alpha channel
      3m 40s
    3. How a mask works
      7m 10s
    4. Making an alpha channel
      4m 2s
    5. Using the new channel icons
      6m 27s
    6. Saving an image with alpha channels
      4m 23s
    7. Loading a selection from a channel
      4m 7s
    8. Putting a mask into play
      3m 55s
    9. Loading a selection from a layer
      4m 27s
    10. Loading a selection from another image
      4m 36s
  4. 1h 0m
    1. The mask meets the composition
      1m 8s
    2. Viewing a mask as a rubylith overlay
      6m 13s
    3. Changing a mask's overlay color
      5m 34s
    4. Painting inside a mask
      6m 3s
    5. Cleaning up and confirming
      5m 18s
    6. Combining masks
      5m 10s
    7. Painting behind and inside a layer
      5m 27s
    8. Blending image elements
      6m 1s
    9. What to do when layers go wrong
      6m 3s
    10. Hiding layer effects with a mask
      4m 22s
    11. Introducing clipping masks
      5m 29s
    12. Unclipping and masking a shadow
      3m 50s
  5. 1h 35m
    1. The seven selection soldiers
    2. The marquee tools
      6m 31s
    3. The single-pixel tools (plus tool tricks)
      6m 48s
    4. Turning a destructive edit into a layer
      5m 34s
    5. Making shapes of specific sizes
      7m 7s
    6. The lasso tools
      5m 49s
    7. Working with the Magnetic Lasso tool
      7m 19s
    8. The Quick Selection tool
      8m 13s
    9. Combining Quick Selection and Smudge
      4m 52s
    10. The Magic Wand and the Tolerance value
      6m 55s
    11. Contiguous and Anti-aliased selections
      6m 58s
    12. Making a good selection with the Magic Wand
      6m 34s
    13. Selecting and replacing a background
      6m 55s
    14. Resolving edges with layer effects
      7m 52s
    15. Adding lines of brilliant gold type
      7m 28s
  6. 1h 11m
    1. Selections reign supreme
    2. Introducing "selection calculations"
      4m 19s
    3. Combining two different tools
      7m 29s
    4. Selections and transparency masks
      5m 17s
    5. Selecting an eye
      7m 1s
    6. Masking and blending a texture into skin
      5m 1s
    7. Painting a texture into an eye
      4m 19s
    8. Combining layers, masks, channels, and paths
      4m 54s
    9. Moving selection outlines vs. selected pixels
      5m 36s
    10. Transforming and warping a selection outline
      7m 45s
    11. Pasting an image inside a selection
      7m 26s
    12. Adding volumetric shadows and highlights
      6m 54s
    13. Converting an image into a mask
      4m 42s
  7. 1h 5m
    1. The best selection tools are commands
      1m 5s
    2. Introducing the Color Range command
      5m 59s
    3. Working in the Color Range dialog box
      7m 7s
    4. Primary colors and luminance ranges
      4m 12s
    5. A terrific use for Color Range
      4m 57s
    6. Introducing the Quick Mask mode
      7m 43s
    7. Moving a selection into a new background
      5m 43s
    8. Smoothing the mask, recreating the corners
      8m 43s
    9. Integrating foreground and background
      4m 44s
    10. Creating a cast shadow from a layer
      2m 51s
    11. Releasing and masking layer effects
      3m 11s
    12. Creating a synthetic rainbow effect
      4m 30s
    13. Masking and compositing your rainbow
      4m 46s
  8. 1h 17m
    1. The ultimate in masking automation
      1m 6s
    2. Introducing the Refine Mask command
      6m 58s
    3. Automated edge detection
      8m 23s
    4. Turning garbage into gold
      6m 19s
    5. Starting with an accurate selection
      7m 11s
    6. Selection outline in, layer mask out
      7m 48s
    7. Matching a scene with Smart Filters
      4m 29s
    8. Cooling a face, reflecting inside eyes
      4m 45s
    9. Creating a layer of ghoulish skin
      4m 28s
    10. Adding dark circles around the eyes
      5m 20s
    11. Creating a fake blood effect
      5m 38s
    12. Establishing trails of blood
      7m 40s
    13. Integrating the blood into the scene
      7m 3s
  9. 1h 48m
    1. Using the image to select itself
      1m 37s
    2. Choosing the ideal base channel
      5m 7s
    3. Converting a channel into a mask
      6m 34s
    4. Painting with the Overlay mode
      7m 27s
    5. Painting with the Soft Light mode
      5m 55s
    6. Mask, composite, refine, and blend
      4m 40s
    7. Creating a more aggressive mask
      7m 2s
    8. Blending differently masked layers
      7m 0s
    9. Creating a hair-only mask
      6m 0s
    10. Using history to regain a lost mask
      3m 42s
    11. Separating flesh tones from hair
      8m 28s
    12. Adjusting a model's color temperature
      4m 30s
    13. Introducing the Calculations command
      7m 22s
    14. Extracting a mask from a Smart Object
      6m 34s
    15. Integrating a bird into a new sky
      5m 40s
    16. Creating synthetic rays of light
      6m 4s
    17. Masking and compositing light
      7m 39s
    18. Introducing a brilliant light source
      7m 5s
  10. 1h 34m
    1. The synthesis of masking and compositing
      1m 36s
    2. White reveals, black conceals
      6m 45s
    3. Layer masking tips and tricks
      5m 8s
    4. Generating a layer mask with Color Range
      5m 38s
    5. The Masks panel's bad options
      5m 18s
    6. The Masks panel's good options
      3m 50s
    7. Creating and feathering a vector mask
      3m 42s
    8. Combining pixel and vector masks
      3m 50s
    9. Working with path outlines
      7m 10s
    10. Combining paths into a single vector mask
      7m 52s
    11. Sharpening detail, reducing color noise
      4m 27s
    12. Recreating missing details
      8m 49s
    13. Masking glass
      5m 50s
    14. Refining a jagged Magic Wand mask
      5m 53s
    15. Masking multiple layers at one time
      5m 15s
    16. Establishing a knockout layer
      6m 6s
    17. Clipping and compositing tricks
      7m 37s
  11. 1m 17s
    1. Next steps
      1m 17s

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