Transform Layers in Photoshop Elements 10

By Barbara Obermeier, Ted Padova

When working with layers, you may need to scale or rotate some of your images. You can do so easily by applying the Transform and Free Transform commands. The methods to transform layers and selections are identical.

Here’s how to transform a layer:

  1. Select your desired layer.

    You can also apply a transformation to multiple layers simultaneously by linking the layers first.

  2. Choose Image→Transform→Free Transform.

    A bounding box surrounds the contents of your layer. Drag a corner handle to size the contents. Press Shift while dragging to constrain the proportions. To rotate the contents, move the mouse cursor just outside a corner handle until it turns into a curved arrow, and then drag.

    To distort, skew, or apply perspective to the contents, right-click and choose the desired command from the context menu. You can also click the rotate, scale, and skew icons in the Options bar, as well as enter your transform values numerically in the fields.

    If you want to apply just a single transformation, you can also choose the individual Distort, Skew, and Perspective commands from the Image→Transform menu. Or, to rotate or flip, you can choose Image→Rotate.

  3. When your layer is transformed to your liking, double-click inside the bounding box.

Try to perform all your transformations in one execution. Each time you transform pixels, you put your image through the interpolation process (analyzing the colors of the original pixels and “manufacturing” new ones). Done to the extreme, this process can degrade the quality of your image.

This is why it’s prudent to use the Free Transform command, rather than individual commands — so that all transformations can be executed in one fell swoop.

When the Move tool is active, you can transform a layer without choosing a command. Select the Show Bounding Box option on the Options bar. This option surrounds the layer, or selection, with a box that has handles. Drag the handles to transform the layer or selection.