Tutorial: Creating Perspective Easily with the Free Transform Tool

December 21, 2014

What is perspective, and why is it important to us in digital scrapbooking?

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines “perspective” in this way:

a :  the technique or process of representing on a plane or curved surface the spatial relation of objects as they might appear to the eye; specifically :  representation in a drawing or painting of parallel lines as converging in order to give the illusion of depth and distance.

Creating perspective in our scrapbook pages helps make our designs more realistic in appearance. We can create perspective easily by paying careful attention to the size of our embellishments in relationship to one other, and by their placement on our pages.

Here is a great example of keeping these principles in mind.  This layout was created by Norma, a member of my Creative Team  using Oven Lovin’. (Edit 2020: This kit has been retired.)  The size and positioning of the embellishments near the photo frame create great perspective.

 When we have just one item, whether it is an embellishment, photo, or paper, that we would like to create perspective with, it’s a little more difficult to achieve this effect,  simply because there is nothing else to provide spatial context.  In this situation, we would choose the Transform Tool to help us. We can access the Transform Tool in several ways: 1.  In the top Menu Bar:  Edit > Transform > Perspective

Or Method #2: Click on the layer you would like to transform making it the active layer; use the keyboard shortcut Control (Command on a Mac) + T to access the Transform Tool; right click on the selected layer in your document to access the Perspective option.

No matter what method you choose to access the Perspective Tool,  you will end up with nodules on the corners and on the sides of your selection. By dragging the nodules, you will be able to give your element perspective.  When you drag one nodule, all nodules will move as Photoshop tries to guess the perspective you are trying to create. Things can get really crazy very fast though! In the image below, I moved the upper right nodule slightly towards the right, and the lower-left nodule slightly to the left.  Yikes!

 Thank you, Photoshop, for giving us a much easier way to create perspective when working with just one or two elements, and that is with the “Free Transform Tool” (rather than just the “Transform Tool.”)
 
You can access the Free Transform Tool like this:
 
1.  In the top Menu Bar:  Edit > Free Transform, OR
 
2. Click on the layer you would like to transform making it the active layer; use the keyboard shortcut Control (Command on a Mac) + T to access the Transform Tool; rather than letting go of the Control key as you normally would, continue to hold it down to access the Free Transform option as you work.
 
(Photoshop Elements Users: Your path is:  Image > Transform > Free Transform)
 
Here is a frame, with perspective,  that is included in my kit, Deck the Halls. Let’s look at how easy it is to give matching perspective to a photo for this frame using the Free Transform tool.

 I  have resized a photo to make it just slightly larger than the top of the frame inset.  (Not a great photo, but it works well for this tutorial. This is my husband, Rick; our grandson, Owen; and me).

Next, I accessed the Free Transform Tool.  This tool will allow you to move just ONE nodule at a time, rather than having them all move at once. I then moved each corner into the desired position and hit ENTER to commit the changes. (You can also click on the checkmark in the top Menu Bar to commit).

The perspective in the photo, with this frame, looks much better than without the perspective.

If you are a visual learner, click on the image below to watch as I demonstrate this technique in a short YouTube video.

sd_perspective10

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2 Comments

  1. Stacey

    thanks for another awesome tutorial and beautiful gift!

    Reply

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