Transforming Selections in Adobe Photoshop

Photoshop offers free transform and transformation options like Scale, Skew, Distort.. from Edit menu. Using this options you will affect selected area, actually pixels inside selected area. But you can also manipulate selection only, using exact same transformation options without to affect pixels inside the selection. This can be useful in many cases, including to select irregular object like egg for example. Or to add a cast shadow by creating and manipulating selection, then filling it with color.

How to access Transform Selection
To access this feature you need first to create selection, of course. Next step is to go to Select > Transform Selection. Another method is to right click and choose Transform selection. To use second method you must have active any of selection tools: Marquee, Lasso, Quick Selection
Transfor Selection on right click or from context menu in Photoshop
Transform Selection on right click or from context menu in Photoshop

After entering transform selection you will have all transformation options: Skew, Distort, Perspective... available from Edit menu or on right click. You can also enter and warp mode by clicking on the Switch between free transform and warp modes in the Options bar
Enter warp mode for selection from Options bar
Enter warp mode for selection from Options bar

Warp mode
The Warp mode allows you to adjust the selection of irregular objects like egg in this example, which are very difficult to select especially when the background and object have similar colors. To adjust selection use handles which will appear on each side of selected area.
Use handles to adjust selection warp
Use handles to adjust selection warp

Cut, Copy, Mask... selection
When you are done confirm with Enter/Return or using Commit transform in the Options bar. Finally after adjusting selection you can Copy it, Cut, create new Layer via Copy or to use best option available and create layer mask.
Create layer mask from selection in Adobe Photoshop
Create layer mask from selection in Adobe Photoshop

Other uses
There are many other uses like to select an object which is in perspective and you want to use it in some other composition as it is, like a painting in a museum for example.

Photoshop is really powerful tool and in order to use its power you should know all options available. When selection are concerned, this is not the end, of course, when you work in Photoshop, because you have and other options like to stroke selection - right click with selection created and any selection tool active and choose Stroke… or to Make Work Path, Clipping Path and so on. You can also save selection as Alpha channel and continue to work on it later, even after saving and reopening document. I am using Photoshop CS5 for this tutorial, but exact same options are available and in a new CS6 version which works faster and have many improvements.

Photoshop Help / Making selections
Photoshop Help / Transforming objects
Photoshop / Converting between paths and selection borders

Product used in this tutorial: Adobe Photoshop CS5 Extended


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