The Basics of Photoshop Part 5 – Free Transform Tool

Now that you’ve learned about the different tools, the power of layers, and about enhancing images, it is now time to take on one of the most used tools in Photoshop – the transform tool. The transform tool in Photoshop is probably going to be one of your favorites since in Photoshop, you can do whatever you want with an image. In this tutorial you will learn what the transform tool is, why it is there to help you, and how you can use it to your advantage in editing.

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What is the free transform tool?

The free transform tool is the tool that you use to reshape, resize, and to rotate and image. Yes, you can actually do that in Photoshop and if you have been exploring deep into its realms, I am pretty certain that you already came across this.

How do I select free transform?

You can select the free transform tool in two (2) ways:

  • You can go to Edit > Free Transform
  • or you can just press Ctrl + T/Command + T for Mac

Free Transform Tool

As stated earlier, with the free transform tool, you can reshape, resize, and rotate and image. Before that, be aware that there are handles when you try to transform a certain object or layer. These handles are somewhat obvious and you should already know what handle you need to use with the adjustment you are going to make. Now let us dive further unto what you can utilize these for.

Reshaping

When free transform is selected, you will see small “squares” or handles as what we call it. These handles are the ones responsible for the adjustment. You can reshape any given object, layer, or image by dragging one of the side handles to the right or to the left.

Resizing

Resizing something is just the same as reshaping it; the only difference is that instead of selecting the side handles, select the handles that would make your object, layer, or image taller or shorter.

Rotating

Because you can reshape and resize, you can also rotate an image by selecting the corner handles and move your mouse in a curved form.

NOTE: Holding down the Shift button constrains the proportions of your scaling. That means that the perspective of what you are adjusting would not change; it would just change the size or the shape of the image and it would still look like the same just a bit smaller. However, holding down the Alt button lets you scale from the center reference point. You can experiment and hold down the two buttons at the same time to achieve the adjustment you want.

What is move transform?

In addition to the free transform, move transform lets you personalize or edit anything more complex and much deeper. Free transform has its own limitations which gave birth to the reason why Photoshop served you with much more adjustment options. Move transform is a tool that lets you Skew, Distort, or Perspective certain images, layers, and objects in your canvas.

Skew

When skew is selected, you can slant transformations either horizontally or vertically. Controlling the side handles allow you to adjust the image with the two sides being parallel all the time. Experiment with the Shift or Alt/Option buttons.

Distort

However, when distort is selected, it allows you to stretch an image, layer, or object in any direction freely. It is somewhat similar to skew but it offers you complete freedom of movement. You can also experiment with the Shift and Alt/Option button with this.

Perspective                      

From its name, when selecting perspective, it kind of makes you add perspective to your image, object, or layer. It makes you feel like you are handling a 3D version of your own work. With this, you can also try different things with your Shift or Alt/Option button.

Can I warp an image?

Yes, you can most definitely warp an image. The warp feature is not like the other features because warping an image can result to a whole new different image for you. With this tool, the whole shape of the image can be modified of course, to your liking. To select warp, go to Edit > Transform > Warp.

The transform tool is one of the coolest and most useful tools in Photoshop. Just learn how to utilize them in your own advantage. Always remember these two tips:

  • Holding down the Shift button while doing the transformation lets you control the proportions of the image, leaving you with a clean and neat adjustment while
  • Holding down the Alt or Option button lets you adjust from the center reference point. Experiment with these and be a master of transformation.

 

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