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Photoshop has become an indispensible tool for photographers, designers, and all other creative professionals, as well as students. Photoshop CS4 Essential Training teaches a broad spectrum of core skills that are common to many creative fields: working with layers and selections; adjusting, manipulating, and retouching photos; painting; adding text; automating; preparing files for output; and more. Instructor Jan Kabili demonstrates established techniques as well as those made possible by some of the new features unique to Photoshop CS4. This course is indispensable to those who are new to the application, just learning this version, or expanding their skills. Example files accompany the course.
When you want to change the size or the shape of an image then you will use the Transform commands. You can transform an entire layer, as I will show you how to do here, or a selection or even a selection boundary. The thing to keep in mind about transforming is that it does degrade the image. So you don't want to transform the same content over and over. The solution to that is to convert a layer that you want to transform to a Smart Object before transforming. I'll show how to do that in an upcoming movie. For now, let's just look at the Transform commands. I have the flowers layer selected in this image and I am going to go up to the Edit menu and I am going to choose Transform.
Here you can see a whole list of the different kinds of Transform commands. Sometimes I'll come to the Transform menu when I want to do something unusual like Flip Horizontal. What that did is actually flipped the image, so I see a mirror image of the way it was originally. That can come in handy if you're doing something like making a collage, but for the most part, when I'm transforming I use the other kind of Transform, which is Free Transform, and I use the shortcut for that which is Command+T on the Mac or Ctrl+T on a PC.
You can see that command here in the Edit menu above the Transform command. So I'll select that and when I do, I get a bounding box around the content of the selected flowers layer. And there are some anchor points at the corners and on the edges of the bounding box. Let's say that I want to make the flowers image smaller. To do that, I'll move my mouse over one of those anchor points so that the cursor changes to a double-pointed arrow. Then I'm going to hold the Shift key down and I'm going to drag down. It's important to hold the Shift key, because that constraints the proportion.
Then I'm going to release my mouse and then release the Shift key. While I'm still in Transform mode, I can click anywhere in the image and drag to move it. If I were done transforming at this point, I would go to the Options bar and click the checkmark at the top-right. And I'm not going to do that now, because I want to transform this layer some more. As long as I don't click the checkmark, I can perform as many Transform commands as I want without degrading the image. So for example, if I wanted to rotate the image, I would move my mouse over one of its corners and when the cursor became a double-pointed curved arrow, I would drag and that would rotate the image.
You can also rotate the image from the Options bar by typing the angle in this field here. In the Options bar you can change the reference point for rotating. So for example, if I click right there and then I rotate, the image rotates from the lower-left corner. I'll put that back to the middle so I can show you a couple of other Transform commands. Let's say I want to distort the image. In that case I will come to one of the corners. I'll hold down the Command key on a Mac or the Ctrl key on a PC.
Remember I'm still in Free Transform and I can distort the image that way. I'll press Command+Z on the Mac to undo that or Ctrl+Z on the PC. If I want to skew the image, which means to slant it, then I'm going to hold down the Command and Option keys on the Mac or the Ctrl and Alt keys on a PC and I will go to one of the side anchor points, and drag on that to slant the image. I am going to undo that with Command+Z or Ctrl+Z. Finally, if I hold down three keys at once, the Command+Option+Shift key on a Mac, that's the Ctrl+Alt+Shift key on a PC, and I go to one of the corner anchor points and drag, I can change the perspective of the image.
I'll Command+Z or Ctrl+Z again to undo that. There is one more kind of transforming that I want to show you and that's Warping. I am still in Free Transform mode and from here I can go up to the Options bar and click this third icon from the right to switch over to Warp mode. Now if I come into the image and I drag on any one of the corners, I can really change that shape. When I drag a corner I also get one of these Bezier handles. You can barely see it here. I am going to click on the point at the end of the handle and then drag to further warp the image.
You can also click inside the image when you're warping and drag and that kind of bumps the content out. When I am all done Warping, I'll go back to the Warp icon, click it, and that takes me back to Transform mode. From here I could perform another Transform command like sizing or rotating or whatever I want and when I'm all done transforming, and only then I go to the checkmark and click, and that commits the transform. So you can see you have lots of flexibility with the Transform commands, but they do degrade the image.
So you should convert layers to Smart Objects before transforming them, as I will show you how to do in an upcoming movie.
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