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Photoshop CS4 offers an abundance of helpful shortcuts and hidden tricks that allow designers and photographers to get more done in less time. In Photoshop CS4 Power Shortcuts, Michael Ninness reveals hundreds of tips to boost productivity, including the top 20 power shortcuts every Photoshop user must know. He covers strategies for better document and panel management, and offers techniques for becoming quicker and more nimble when using layers, adjustment layers, and layer masks. Exercise files accompany the course.
Download the keyboard shortcut guide from the Exercise Files tab.
Okay, there is one more Free Transform trick that I want to talk to you about, shortcut if you will and that is telling you about Warp transformation. It's kind of a hidden feature. If you're not paying attention, it's something that can easily be missed. It's been around for quite a few versions but a lot of people still have not discovered it. So what do I mean? A Warp transition, some people call those envelope transformations. That's where you can push and pull the particular layer into a given shape. So here I've got my small layer selected. We're to go to Free Transform mode, Command+T, Ctrl+T.
The only way to get into Warp really is to notice that there is this little icon in the Options Bar when you're in the Free Transform mode. It doesn't appear anywhere else. There is no menu command. You can't go Image > Warp. It doesn't go there for you. You have to be in the Free Transform mode before you get access to this button. Now when you click on that button, that now puts a grid over your image with different transformation points and there are some preset shapes to do your Warp transformations. So if you want your image to arc a little bit, I can choose Arc. That might be a little bit severe at first. So I'll do fit to window. But there generally be one or more handles on the particular shape that you can click and drag on to manipulate that. If you just want a smaller arc, you can do it like so.
You can change to different shapes, the ever-popular fish shape. Oh yes. That is the most useful warp transformation. I want it to look like a fish. I tend to use the Flag a lot because that gives you kind of like a curled blowing paper effect. Then you can paint some highlights and shadows to give it some 3D depth there, so it looks like a curl piece of paper. I'm going to go ahead and escape that to get out of this Warp mode. If you want to do these non- destructively, just like nondestructive transformations, you can now in CS4 do nondestructive warping as well. As long as you convert your image or layer to a Smart Object first. So I'm going to right-click on the small layer and choose Convert to Smart Object before I go into the Free Transform mode. So Command+T, Ctrl+T, click the Warp button and then choose the Warp shape I want to use. I'll go with the Flag.
We'll just take up this top handle here and just do a very modest transformation there. I'm going to create a nondestructive Warp transformation. I'm going to go ahead and hit Return or Enter. What do I mean by nondestructive? Well, if I do Command +T again, Ctrl+T, and click the Warp button again in the Options Bar, it remembers where I last left that Warp handle. So I can just go back and just readjust it after the effect if I didn't get it right the first time and I just want to tweak a little bit. So nondestructive warping as part of Free Transform. If you want the nondestructive part, make sure you convert it to a Smart Object before you invoke the Free Transform command.
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