– How to Resize an Object Within a Photoshop Layer –
One of the reasons why graphic designers and professional photographers turn to Adobe Photoshop CC is the ability to resize objects as needed.
If you’re new to working with layers, though, you may get some unexpected results the first few times you try it.
If you get black boundaries around objects, blurred images, or just don’t get the effect you want, a quick overview of how to resize objects in a Photoshop Layer, selection tools, and options for transformation can get you to blow up and shrink objects in no time.
Layers and Transparency
Once you open an image in Photoshop the picture becomes your canvas’ background layer. The background layer does not provide transparency unlike other layers, so if you cut an object out of the background layer it leaves a black spot behind.
That’s especially problematic if you shrink the object. Drag the “Background” layer in the Layers panel onto the “New Layer” icon underneath it is the easiest way to get around this.
The icon resembles a sticky note. This copies the image into a new layer that contains transparency so it leaves behind a blank transparent spot when you remove an object from the sheet, not a black spot.
Selecting an Item
In most cases, the Photoshop Toolbox’s Lasso Tool is the quickest way to trace an object inside an image. Drag the cursor around the target and unbutton the mouse.
For geometrical artifacts, you can also use the Elliptical or Rectangular Marquee Device. If the object is a single color surrounded by a different color, try using the Magic Wand Tool or Fast Selection Tool to click on the object.
While you can change the object as it is after you pick it, copying or cutting the object from the Edit menu and then pasting it into the image is usually a lot less messy. That places the object above the image in its own separate layer.
Resizing the Object
Select “Transform” from the Edit menu to resize a layer or item selected within a layer, and press “Scale.” Eight square anchor points appear around the object.
To resize the piece, drag any of these anchor points. If you want to limit the proportions while dragging the hold down the “Change” key.
If you need a more precise scaling tool, type a percentage in both the fields “H” and “W” to increase or decrease the height and width by different amounts. The resized object is saved after you push the “Enter” button and the anchor points vanish.
Whenever you increase the size of an object, its resolution can deteriorate a bit. When you increase the size of an object by 20 percent, you should not usually see a difference, but it will seem the larger you increase its size, the more blurring and pixelated it will be.
Using the Sharpen Method or the Unsharpen filter can often make up for this. The exception to this is vector pictures, which are typically used in raw Photoshop files sent to printers, rather than in photo editing when creating logos.
Vectors are lines and objects defined by mathematical equations, unlike a picture that is defined by its pixels. So you can scale a vector 1000 times in size, making posters from a single file, without losing quality.
Resizing an Object with the Free Transform Command in Photoshop [UP19]
The Free Transform command is another useful way to rotate and Resize an Object Within a Photoshop Layer. It works best when you have an object located on its own floating layer (not a Background) or if you have an active selection.
You’ll explore selections and layers in much greater detail in future chapters. For now, let’s work with a simple layered image that has already been prepped:
This image has two layers: a background, which is a pattern, and a vector shape layer. A vector layer is a special layer in Photoshop.
It can be resized and transformed repeatedly with no degradation in quality. Vector layers use math to describe curved lines and can be freely manipulated.
If it’s not visible, call up the Layers panel by selecting Windows > Layers.
Select the Vector Shape layer so it is active.
Choose Edit > Free Transform or press Command+T (Ctrl+T).
You can access several controls for the Free Transform command by right-clicking/Control-clicking. Try the following transformations on the Vector Shape layer. You can press the Esc key to cancel the transformation or Return (Enter) to apply it.
Scale. You can scale by dragging a handle. Hold down the Shift key as you drag a corner handle to scale proportionately. Hold down the Option (Alt) key to scale in both directions simultaneously. To scale numerically, enter a value in the Options bar.
Rotate. You can rotate a preset amount by selecting Rotate 180?, Rotate 90? CW, or Rotate 90? CCW. To rotate freely by dragging, move your mouse outside the Free Transform box. It will become a curved, two-headed arrow. Hold down the Shift key while rotating to constrain the rotation to 15 increments. Additionally, you can rotate numerically by entering degrees in the rotation box in the Options bar.
Skew. Skewing an image creates a sense of distortion as if the image were leaning. To skew the image, hold down Command+Shift (Ctrl+Shift) and drag a side handle (not a corner handle). The cursor will change to a white arrowhead with a small double arrow.
Distort. If you want to distort an image freely, choose Distort. This allows you to move the corners of the image freely (a process also known as corner-pinning). You can also access this command by pressing Command (Ctrl) while dragging a corner point.
Perspective. Transforming perspective creates the illusion that the image is being viewed from above or from the side. You can access this command by pressing Command+Option+Shift (Ctrl+Alt+Shift) or from the context menu. This is a useful command to fix perspective problems or to add perspective effects.
Warp. The Warp command was first introduced in Photoshop CS2. It allows you to distort an image into a number of predefined shapes available in the Options bar (such as Arch, Flag, or Twist). By choosing Custom, several points can be freely dragged to distort the image as desired.
Flip Horizontal and Flip Vertical. These simple commands let you flip an individual layer without flipping the entire canvas.
The Free Transform command has one major benefit over choosing individual transform commands from the Image menu: Free Transform lets you apply transformations in one continuous operation, which reduces quality loss in raster images.