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Chapter 2. Selection Primer > Transform Selection

Transform Selection

After making a selection, you can scale, rotate, or distort it by choosing Select > Transform Selection. This command places handles around the image. By pulling on the handles and using a series of keyboard commands, you can distort the selection as much as you like. Let's take a look at the neat stuff you can do with Transform Selection:

  • Scale: To scale a selection, pull on any of the handles. Pulling on a corner handle will change both the width and height at the same time. (Hold the Shift key to retain the proportions of the original selection.) Pulling on the side handles will change either the width of the selection or its height, but not both. This can be a great help when working with elliptical selections because it lets you pull on the edges of the selection instead of its so-called corners (Figures 2.78 and 2.79).

    Figure 2.78. The original selection. (©2005 Stockbyte, www.stockbyte.com)

    Figure 2.79. After choosing Select > Transform to scale the selection.

  • Rotate: To rotate the image, move your cursor a little bit beyond one of the corner points; the cursor should change into an arc with arrows on each end. You can control where the pivot point of the rotation will be by moving the crosshair that appears in the center of the selection (Figures 2.80 to 2.82).

    Figure 2.80. The original selection. (©2005 Stockbyte, www.stockbyte.com)

    Figure 2.81. Rotating and scaling the selection.

    Figure 2.82. The end result.

  • Distort: To distort the shape of the selection, hold down the Command (Mac) or Ctrl (Windows) key and then drag one of the corner points. Using this technique, you can pull each corner independently (Figures 2.83 to 2.85).

    Figure 2.83. The original selection. (©2005 Stockbyte, www.stockbyte.com)

    Figure 2.84. Dragging the corner with Command (Mac) or Ctrl (Windows).

    Figure 2.85. The selection after all four corners have been dragged.

  • You can also distort a selection so that it resembles the shape of a road vanishing into the distance. You do this by dragging one of the corners while holding down Shift-Option-Command on the Mac or Shift-Alt-Ctrl in Windows (Figures 2.86 to 2.88).

    Figure 2.86. The original selection. (©2005 Stockbyte, www.stockbyte.com)

    Figure 2.87. Dragging a corner while holding down Shift-Option-Command (Mac) or Shift-Alt-Ctrl (Windows).

    Figure 2.88. The end result.

  • To move two diagonal corners at the same time, hold down Option-Command on the Mac or Alt-Ctrl in Windows while dragging one of the corner handles (Figures 2.89 and 2.90).

    Figure 2.89. The original selection.

    Figure 2.90. Dragging a corner handle while holding down Option-Command (Mac) or Alt-Ctrl (Windows).

  • Finalize your distortions by pressing Enter (or by double-clicking inside the selection). Cancel them by pressing Esc.


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