The Move tool is a very handy, multi-purpose gadget - and surprisingly easy to use

EThe Move tool is the second tool at the top of the toolbar. It looks like an arrow but without the tail. Use this tool when you want to move elements in a document, be they selected pixels or whole layers.

The neat thing about the Move tool is that it has a built-in layer navigation feature.In a multi-layer document you can find out exactly which layers are beneath any given point in an image by control-clicking and holding on the image.A menu will pop up displaying the names of the layers in order, from the top downwards.

| You can scroll your mouse through the list to select precisely the right layer you want to move without having to go to the Layers palette. Here we've selected the Wireframe layer,and moved it.Getting into the habit of naming your layers will help here.

EIf a selection is active then the Move tool will move the pixels in the selection only,as opposed to the whole layer. Here we've selected the whole object in a flattened document and dragged it.The result is that the pixels are lifted and moved,leaving a hole behind.

E Moving pixels and leaving a hole behind may be fine in some circumstances but if you want to copy the pixels instead of cutting them out then you have to hold down the [Alt] key (often called the 'Option'key on a Mac, although it's still labelled 'Alt') as you drag with the Move tool. Notice that the cursor will change to a double arrow, indicating you're now in Copy mode.

ENow as you drag the selection will be copied, lifted and moved to another location on the layer. Note that while the selection is still active the copied pixels occupy a quasi-layer.This is said to be floating'selection.You can move it around as if it was on its own layer.Only when you deselect the pixels will it be dropped on to the layer.

E Another way to do this is to create a new layer from the selection first, then use the Move tool as normal.With a selection active press [Ctrl] + [J] (that's [Command] + [J] on a Mac) to convert the selection to a new layer,then move it as normal.

EA nifty trick is to hold down the [Alt] key and use the arrow keys to nudge the selection diagonally. Used on a text outline filled with a gradient like this, repeatedly pressing the Up and Right Arrow keys creates an extruded 3D object.

Extrude and move

In the 3D text example on the left, we first created a text layer, then loaded it as a selection by command clicking the layer. In a new layer below the text layer we created a gradient through the selection, and with it still active we carried out an extrude-move function.

Computer Arts

To discover even more ways to develop your Photoshop skills, check out our sister magazine,

Computer Arts. You can find the magazine's website at www.comppterarts.co.ok

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Photoshop Secrets

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