Join Julieanne Kost for an in-depth discussion in this video Scaling, skewing, and rotating layers with Free Transform, part of Photoshop CC 2018 Essential Training: The Basics.
- [Instructor] There are many different kinds of transformations that we can create in Photoshop. Some of them are a little bit more flexible than others. When I open this file, and I'm working with a background layer, I want to make a transformation, and I choose the Edit menu. You'll notice that Transform is grayed out. I could use the Select menu and Select All and then choose Edit and Transform, and then scale the image, but if I do this, and I apply that transformation, all of this area out here is filled with my background color, in this case, white.
So I'll undo that using Command + Z. I could convert the background into a layer by clicking on the lock icon, and then use Edit, Transform, Scale, and scale it, in which case, when I apply the transformation, I get transparency behind the image, but when I apply the transformation, Photoshop throws away all of the information when it makes it smaller. I'll undo that by using Command + Z or Undo Free Transform. In order to transform my image non-destructively, I want to convert this layer into a smart object.
I'll choose Layer, Smart Object, and then Convert to Smart Object. I'll also deselect by choosing Select, Deselect. Ultimately, I want to create a picture-in-picture effect, so I'm going to duplicate my smart object by choosing Layer, Duplicate Layer. I'll click OK, and we can see the duplicate in the Layers panel. While we walk through the different free transform options, I'll hide layer 0 and then choose Edit, Transform, and I can select from any of the transformations on this list, or I can choose Free Transform.
If I want to scale this down and constrain the proportions, I'll hold down the Shift key. If I want to scale from the center, I can hold down the Option key. If I want to rotate the image, I can return to the Edit menu and then choose Transform, and then select Rotate, or I can right-click anywhere inside the transformation handles and then choose Rotate from the list. When I position my cursor outside the image area, I can click and drag to rotate.
By default, it rotates around the center point, but I can click and move that point of origin anywhere in the image, and then when I click and rotate, it rotates around that point. In order to reset that in the center, or to reset it in any of the corners, I can also use the icon in the Options bar. If I want to remove the rotation, I can delete the angle from the Options bar by typing in 0. If I want to skew the image, I can right-click and select Skew, and then position my cursor over any of the middle anchor points and drag left and right, or drag up and down.
If I right-click again and choose Perspective, then I can select any of the corner points and drag in order to change the perspective of the image. If I right-click and select Distort, now I can choose any of the corner anchor points and click and drag to distort my image freely. I can also right-click if I want to add a warp to my image. In this case, I'll change the warp from Custom to Flag and decrease the bend down to about five, and then I'll right-click again and choose to Flip Horizontal.
So we can see that we can quickly access all of the different options for transformations with a simple right-click within the free transform area. Now, I've sort of made a mess of this, so I'm going to cancel out of this transformation by clicking the cancel icon, and then I'll use the shortcut Command + T in order to access free transform. Holding down the Option and the Shift, I'll make this a little bit smaller so we can get a picture-in-picture effect, then I'll right-click, choose Perspective, grab the top anchor point, and just change the perspective of the image a little bit.
In order to apply that transformation, I'll click the check mark, and then let's toggle the visibility of the underlying layer. Now, in order to get a little bit of separation between the top image and the underlying layer, I'll change the opacity of layer 0 down to about 58 or 60%. I see the transparent checkerboard. If I ever want to toggle that off, I can choose the Preferences, and then Transparency & Gamut, and set the Grid Size to None.
I'll click OK, and then to add a little bit more separation between the two images, I'll select the top layer, and from the bottom of the layers panel, I'll click the effects icon, choose Stroke, and then add maybe a three point stroke on the inside of this layer, and click OK. Two shortcuts that I want to mention before we wrap up, if I want to scale or transform an image numerically, I'll select Command + T, and then, in the Options bar, I can enter in the width or height.
I can reposition it by changing the X, Y value, and I can also change the angle. I'll cancel out of there by tapping the Escape key, and I want to point out that under the Edit menu, with Transform, I can always choose to Transform Again, and if I hold down the Option key or the Alt key when I'm selecting this, Photoshop will transform another copy of the layer. In this case, I don't want that, so I'll just tap the Delete key in order to delete the layer from the Layers panel.
So as we can see, the free transform command is really the key to scaling and skewing, rotating our layers, and changing perspective in Photoshop.
Julieanne reviews the basics of digital imaging—from working with multiple images to customizing the Photoshop interface to suit your needs. She shows how to use different Photoshop tools to crop and retouch photos, while always maintaining the highest-quality output. She also demonstrates the most efficient ways to perform common tasks, including working with layers, making selections, and masking. Along the way, she shares the secrets of nondestructive editing using Smart Objects, and helps you master features such as adjustment layers, blend modes, filters, and much more—increasing your productivity every step of the way.
- Opening documents in Photoshop
- Opening files from Bridge and Lightroom
- Working with multiple documents
- Panning and zooming documents
- Customizing the Photoshop interface
- Modifying keyboard shortcuts for speed
- Understanding file formats
- Choosing color modes, bit depth, and color space
- Cropping and transforming images
- Working with layers and layer masks
- Making selections
- Removing distracting elements
- Getting to know the blend modes
- Working with adjustment layers
- Applying non-destructive filters
- Getting to know the blend modes
- Applying filters