Photoshop Tutorial: Use Transform FASTER

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Using the Transform command has never been easier and with the tricks and hotkeys we’ll look at in this tutorial, it will have never been this faster either! If you need to adjust perspective in an image, scale something, skew something, warp something, or generally move and tweak virtually anything in Photoshop, Transform is for you!

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1. Show Transform Controls

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When you have the Move Tool (V) selected, you can look up to your control bar and tick on “Show Transform Controls” to make the transform bounding box appear around whatever layer or object you have selected. Typically I keep this shut off, but it’s nice to know you have the option right here in the Move Tool.

2. Duplicate Avocado Pit

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I’m going to grab the Lasso Tool (L) and drag a little selection around the avocado pit and hit Cmd/Ctrl + J to pop it up onto its own layer. Grab the Move Tool (V) and drag the put over to the other half of the avocado. Hit Cmd/Ctrl + T to enter Free Transform mode.

3. Free Transform Hotkeys

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Move your cursor right around the edges of the free transform box and see the cursor change to a rotation arrow, use this to rotate your layer any which way you would like. Hold down your Shift key and select any of the corner transform handles and drag. This hotkey will constrain the proportions of your layer. Hold down the Alt/Opt key while you drag to scale from the center reference point.

4. Skewing and Distorting Hotkeys

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Hold down your Cmd/Ctrl key and drag any center transform point to skew that side of the object that is selected, or hold down the Cmd/Ctrl key and drag any corner transform handle to distort the object.

5. Transform Context Menu

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When you’re in Free Transform mode (CMd/Ctrl + T) you can right-click within the Free Transform handles anytime you like to get the context menu to pop up. Here you can see many transformation options including the ability to rotate and flip the object in one click. We need to flip this avocado pit horizontally and then drag just outside of our transform handles to rotate the pit around until it looks sort of right for where we placed it.

6. Selecting the Apple

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Use the Quick Selection Tool (W) and drag a selection of the Apple (or any object in your photo.) Once we have the selection, we’ll enter the Free Transform mode again and right click and choose the Perspective option and you can adjust the perspective of your selected object by dragging any of the corner handles.

7. The Warp Feature

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We can also right click and choose the Warp option and with Warp you can select any handle, any tangent handle sticking out of those corners or select any of the grid lines inside of the transform box to distort and shift the way your selected object appears.

8. Correcting Perspective in a Photo

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I have a photo that I’ve got open and I unlocked the background layer by double clicking on the layer. Hit Cmd/Ctrl + T and right-click and choose Perspective first. I’m going to drag the tops of the buildings outward to sort of flatten out that sharp angle away from the camera (caused because of our very wide angle lens pointed slightly upward when I shot this photo.)

9. Scale Image to Correct Proportions

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When you widen the image, you’re going to need to stretch the image and make it a little bit taller. Right click within out free transform box again and choose Scale. Drag the top, center handle upward to help stretch the photo back to a proper perspective. Use any additional scaling or transforming that you need to make your photo look correct.

10. Crop Away the Junk

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Grab the Crop Tool (C) and make the crop that trims away all the transparent stuff around the edges and you’ll have your perspective adjusted image in no time!

Check out the video at the top of this post to see even more detail about this tool and how you can use it more effectively! Sign up for my newsletter and stay up to date with all the tutvid.com happenings! Thanks for checking this tutorial out!

Nathaniel Dodson
I make videos about being creative with photography, design, and filmmaking. I'm a commercial photographer, a logo designer, a camera nerd, an artist, a wannabe thinker, and I like to read books. I arrived on planet earth in the year 1989.