99. Move, Resize, Skew, or Distort a Layer
Before You Begin
91 About Layers and the Layers Palette
92 Create a New Image Layer
89 Rotate the Data in a Selection or Layer
106 Rotate an Image or Layer
One advantage of layers is that you can move, resize, skew, or distort the contents of each individual layer without affecting the data on other layers. For example, you might decide to reduce the size of a layer so that its contents fits better with the proportions of the contents of the other layers. This is common procedure after pasting data onto a new layer taken from a different image. For example, if you paste your dog into a family photo, you'll probably need to move and resize him so that he doesn't look out of proportion with the rest of the family members. You can skew or distort data to tilt or stretch itsometimes just for fun, and sometimes to correct for perspective. For example, if you take a photo of a tall object while looking up, the base looks wider than the top, even if the object (such as a building) is the same size all the way up. Through distortion, you can pull the base of the building inwards, eliminating the illusion of a wide base.
You can move, resize, skew, or distort a layer using the Move tool. You can also perform these same functions on a shape or text object, or on a selection. When you move, resize, skew, or distort the data in a selection, however, the hole that is left by the selection's former location is filled with transparent pixels (if the layer supports transparency). For the Background layer, which does not allow transparency, the hole left by the altered selection is filled with the current background color.
Skew To tilt (slant) a layer right, left, up or down.
Distort To stretch a corner of a layer in any one direction.
Select the Layer
Open an image in the Editor in Standard Edit mode and save it in Photoshop (*.psd) format. In the Layers palette, select the layer you want to modify. If you want to alter a portion of the layer, make that selection now.
You can also transform the contents of a layer using the options on the Image, Transform menu. For example, to skew a layer, you select Image, Transform, Skew.
Select the Move Tool
On the Toolbox, select the Move tool. On the Options bar, enable the Show Bounding Box option. To automatically grab whatever object or layer under the mouse pointer is highest in the layer stack, enable the Auto Select Layer option as well.
The mouse pointer changes to a solid black arrow, and a bounding box appears around the edges of the selection or layer. If the layer is a shape or text layer, the bounding box appears around the edges of the shape or text object.
If the data you've selected is surrounded by nontransparent pixels, when you alter the area, you'll leave a hole. If you don't want to leave a hole where the original selection was located, you should paste your selection in a new layer before altering it. See 88 Create a New Layer from a Selection.
You can enter a percentage in the W and H boxes on the Options bar after beginning to drag. The selection or layer is then instantly scaled by that amount.
Resize the Layer or Selection
If you're altering an entire layer rather than a selection, maximize the image window and adjust the zoom so that the image is smaller than the window itself. This will give you the space you need to grab the layer handles properly.
To resize the contents of the layer or selection, position the mouse pointer over one of the handles on the edge of the bounding box until it changes to the Resize pointer (a straight line with arrows on each end). Drag to resize the layer or selection.
If you drag a corner handle and hold down the Shift key, you keep the proportions of the layer as you resize; if you drag a center handle, the image changes size in only one direction. If you begin resizing and then realize that the object is out of proportion, stop dragging and click the Maintain Aspect Ratio button that appears on the Options bar. The object's size is adjusted to fit its original proportions, and if you start dragging again, these proportions are maintained.
Or Move the Layer
To simply move the layer or selection, click in the center of the bounding box and drag the contents of the layer or selection to the desired position within the layer. You can use the arrow keys on the keyboard to move a selection. To move in one-pixel increments, press the arrow keys. To move in 10-pixel increments, hold down the Shift key while you press the arrow keys.
If you want to alter a selection on the Background layer and have the hole it leaves filled with the background color, click the background color swatch on the Toolbox and select that color first, before altering. If you alter a selection surrounded by colored pixels on any other layer, the hole is filled with transparent pixels. You can then fill the hole by cloning the surrounding data.
Or Skew the Layer
If you want to skew the layer or selection (tilt it horizontally or vertically in one direction), press Ctrl+Shift and then position the mouse pointer on a side (not a corner) handle. The mouse pointer changes to a gray arrow with a small double-headed arrow beneath it. Drag left or right to skew horizontally; drag up or down to skew vertically.
If pressing Ctrl+Shift is too hard to remember, you can also skew by first clicking the Skew button on the Options bar (it might not be showing yet; it appears when you begin to resize, skew, or distort) or by selecting Image, Transform, Skew and then dragging any side handle in the direction you want to skew.
To undo the last action by the Move tool (as opposed to all alterations this session), choose Edit, Undo.
If pressing Ctrl is too hard to remember, you can also distort by selecting Image, Transform, Distort and then dragging any handle the direction you want to stretch.
Or Distort the Layer
If you want to distort the layer or selection (stretch one corner), hold down the Ctrl key and position the mouse pointer on a corner or side handle. The mouse pointer changes to a gray arrow. Drag the handle of the bounding box inward or outward.
View the Result
When you're satisfied with your changes, click the Commit button on the Options bar. To undo all changes made with the Move tool this session, click the Cancel button instead.
Make any other changes you want in the image and save the PSD file. Then merge the layers together (if any) and resave the result in JPEG or TIFF format, leaving your PSD image unflattened so that you can return at a later time and make different adjustments if you want.