Transforming paths

In addition to all the aforementioned path-altering techniques, you can scale, rotate, skew, and otherwise transform paths using the following techniques:

♦ To transform all subpaths in a group — such as both the eye and skull outline in the first example of Figure 8-32 — select either arrow tool and click off a path to make sure all paths are deselected. Then choose Edit ^ Free Transform Path.

♦ To transform a single subpath independently of others in a group, click it with the black arrow and then select the Show Bounding Box check box on the Options bar. Or click the path with the white arrow and choose Edit ^ Free Transform Path.

* Photoshop even lets you transform some points independently of others inside a single path, as demonstrated in the second example of Figure 8-32. Just use the white arrow to select the points you want to modify and then choose Edit ^ Free Transform Points.

Tip The keyboard shortcut for all of these operations is Ctrl+T. If you select an indepen dent path — or specific points inside a path — press Ctrl+Alt+T to transform a dupli * cate of the path and leave the original unaffected.

Rotate cursor

Transformation origin

Rotate cursor

Transformation origin

Figure 8-32: To transform multiple paths at once (top), deselect all paths and press Ctrl+T. You can alternatively transform independent paths or points by selecting them and pressing Ctrl+T (bottom).

In an attempt to conserve tree matter — which is being wasted liberally enough in this tome — I explain the larger topic of transformation in one central location, the "Applying Transformations" section of Chapter 12. Even so, here's a brief rundown of your transformation options after you press Ctrl+T:

* Scale: To scale a path, drag one of the eight square handles that adorn the transformation boundary. Alt-drag a handle to scale with respect to the origin point. You can move the origin by dragging it or by clicking one of the boxes in the little bounding box icon at the left end of the Options bar.

* Rotate: Drag outside the boundary to rotate the paths or points, as demonstrated in Figure 8-32.

* Flip: Right-click to access a pop-up menu of transformation options. Choose Flip Horizontal or Flip Vertical to create a mirror image of the path.

* Skew: Ctrl-drag one of the side handles to slant the paths. Press Shift along with Ctrl to constrain the slant along a consistent axis.

* Distort: Ctrl-drag one of the corner handles to distort the paths.

* Perspective: Ctrl+Shift+Alt-drag a corner handle to achieve a perspective effect.

You can't take advantage of the distortion or perspective features when individual points are selected. These techniques apply to whole paths only.

* Numerical transformations: If you need to transform a path by a very specific amount, use the controls on the Options bar, which are the same ones you get when transforming a regular selection. Modify the values as desired and press Enter. (Figure 8-23 earlier in this chapter labels the options.)

When you finishing stretching and distorting your paths, press Enter or doubleclick inside the boundary to apply the transformation. You also can click the checkmark button at the right end of the Options bar. To undo the last transformation inside the transform mode, press Ctrl+Z. Or bag the whole thing by pressing Escape.

Tip To repeat the last transformation on another path, press Ctrl+Shift+T.

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