Cloning a selection

When you move a selection, you leave a hole in your image in the background color, as shown in the top half of Figure 8-20. If you prefer to leave the original in place during a move, you have to clone the selection — that is, create a copy of the selection without upsetting the contents of the Clipboard. Photoshop offers several ways to clone a selection:

♦ Alt-dragging: When the move tool is active, press Alt and drag a selection to clone it. The bottom half of Figure 8-20 shows a selection I Alt-dragged three times. (Between clonings, I changed the gray level of each selection to set them apart a little more clearly.)

♦ Ctrl+Alt-dragging: If some tool other than the move tool is active, Ctrl+Alt-drag the selection to clone it. This is probably the technique you'll end up using most often.

♦ Alt+arrowing: When the move tool is active, press Alt in combination with one of the arrow keys to clone the selection and nudge it one pixel away from the original. If you want to move the image multiple pixels, press Alt+arrow the first time only. Then nudge the clone using the arrow key alone. Otherwise, you'll create a bunch of clones, which can be a pain in the neck to undo.

♦ Ctrl+Alt+arrowing: If some other tool is active, press Ctrl and Alt with an arrow key. Again, press only Alt the first time, unless you want to create a string of clones.

♦ Drag-and-drop: Like about every other program on the planet, Photoshop lets you clone a selection between documents by dragging it with the move tool from one open window and dropping it in another, as demonstrated in Figure 8-21. As long as you manage to drop into the second window, the original image remains intact and selected in the first window. My advice: Don't worry about exact positioning during a drag-and-drop; first get it into the second window and then worry about placement.

Figure 8-20: When you move a selection, you leave a gaping hole in the selection's wake (top). When you clone an image, you leave a copy of the selection behind. To illustrate this point, I cloned the selection in the bottom image three times.

You can drag-and-drop multiple layers if you link the layers first. For more information on this subject, see Chapter 12.

♦ Shift-drop: If the two images are exactly the same size — pixel for pixel — press Shift when dropping the selection to position it in the same spot it occupied in the original image. This is called registering the selection.

Figure 8-21: Use the move tool to drag a selection from one open window and drop it into another (top). This creates a clone of the selection in the receiving window (bottom).

Tip If an area is selected in the destination image, Shift dropping positions the selection you're moving in the center of the selection in the destination image. This tip works regardless of whether the two images are the same size.

* Ctrl-drag-and-drop: Again, if some other tool than the move tool is selected, you must press Ctrl when you drag to move the selected pixels from one window to the other.

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