The Move Tool is probably the most used tool in the toolbox for Digital Scrapbooking. With the Move Tool, you can drag (move) elements around within a page, OR drag and drop an element to another page. You can use it to select, within a layout, which layer will be active. You can even use the move tool to free-resize an element. I'll talk about the dragging and dropping in a later entry. First, let's just talk about basic Move Tool functions and options.
The Move Tool is located at the top of the toolbox. It's icon looks like 4 crosses arrows. (The keyboard shortut to make the Move Tool active is simply to press "V."
Options within the Move Tool, located through the Tool Options Bar at the top, are two boxes that can be checked. (The location of these boxes is circled in red in the picture below.) The first is "Auto Select Layer," which will automatically make active whichever layer's pixels are clicked on. This is nice, except for when you're trying to grab a very small element or a transparent one (if it's TOO transparent, the move tool can be right over it but not "see" it as an actual pixel.) The arrow will sometimes not click on what you were trying for -- it will hit a layer beside or underneath what you were going for, and before you know it, you've dragged your perfectly placed background paper 3 inches to the left ('doh!).
Now if that 2nd box, the "Show Bounding Box," is checked (along with the 1st box), when you click on an element, its layer's Bounding Box (a dotted square/rectangle surrounding the area of the element) is visible and you'll know for sure which layer is selected. (Also, you can click within the Layers Palette on a layer and that layer will be visibly selected in the layout.) [In this example at right, I've circled in a red oval where these boxes that have to be checked are located, at the top in the Tool Options Bar. Also, I have the flower element with the "1" as the active layer -- if you click on this picture to view it bigger, you'll be able to see the dotted square around the flower. This is the bounding box!!!]
As long as you have your mouse within the Bounding Box, that layer will be selected until you click on something else. This is especially handy for moving small or transparent elements, because as I said before, they are hard to select with the mouse -- it's a lot easier to click SOMEWHERE in the entire rectangle of the bounding box, than it is to click on a precise pixel so you can move an element. BUT if you have a lot of elements close together that you want to select, if you have one selected it's hard to get out of it's bounding box to select a close-by element. This is because the area surrounding the bounding box (what seems to me like about 1/4 of an inch all around, but that's relative to your monitor) is where you can click to rotate the element/manually turn it. Your cursor will show a double arrow connected by a curved line at about a right angle. Until you get far enough away to have the arrow cursor with the four crossed arrows symbol again, you can't select another element. (Play around for a while and this will make sense.) I know I make elements crooked accidentally ALL the time the way and "Edit > Undo" comes to my rescue. heh.
If you DON'T have the ""Auto Select Layer" box checked, the Layers Palette is the only way to select which layer you will be moving around. If you're doing this it makes sense for the Bounding Box to be checked so you can see which layer you're working with.
Ok, take a break and rest your eyes for a second.
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cool? Ok, let's go on.
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The Bounding Box also allows you to "Free Resize" a layer. There are two ways to do this -- manually, or with the Bounding Box's tool options bar.
1. You can click and drag on any of the 8 little boxes on the lines of the Bounding Box to make the element bigger or smaller. If you want the element to retain proportions (and with pictures? YOU DO), hold down the shift key while you are dragging one of the CORNER boxes. You photos will be weird if you resize them and don't hold down the shift key. When you've begun any resizing changes with the Bounding Box, you'll notice the Tool Options Bar changes. You're now in Bounding Box Edit Mode (I think I made up that title myself, but it's a good description of what's going on.) You have to finish your edits and TELL Photoshop to change those edits before you exit out back to normal functions. (It's totally not going to let you to anything else until you do.) There are also buttons for this on the far right side of the Tool Options bar. See picture below:
If you accidentally open up the Bounding Box Edit Mode, whether you've made changes or not you can hit "ESC" and it will revert back to normal Move Tool functions (and if you HAVE made changes, they're automatically discarded.) Once you've made your changes, if you hit "Enter," that will save the changes and bring you back to the regular Move Tool. If you have made changes and try to click on another tool in the Toolbox, you will get a pop-up box that asks: Apply the transformation? Your options are Apply, Cancel, and Don't Apply. If you select cancel, you are taken back to Bounding Box Edit Mode where you left off. If you choose Apply or Don't Apply, you'll get back to the normal Photoshop functions.
2. You can designate SPECIFIC dimensions or angles you want your layer changed to through the Bounding Box Edit Mode's Tool Options Bar. I literally JUST discovered this today, and I'm WAY excited about it!!! (I've heard people talking about it in passing and totally didn't know what they meant until now!!!
Ok, first you have to get that Bounding Box Edit Mode opened up (but you want to do this without making any changes to the picture!) Remember those 8 little boxes on the lines of the Bounding Box? If your mouse is WITHIN the area of the Bounding Box, the cursor is an arrow head. If it's just OUTSIDE the Bounding Box, the cursor will show a double arrow connected by a curved line at about a right angle. BUT -- if you can hover your mouse just over one of those 8 little boxes so the cursor shows two arrows on each end of a straight line, you can click ONCE and this will open up the Bounding Box Edit Mode
Once you're there, there are 4 sections you can work with.
1. The first one is called "Reference Point Location." (Its area is circled in red, below.) I have no idea what this is for, so if someone want to tell me I'm all ears!!!
2. The next area is a way to change the dimensions of the selected layer by percentage (shown below.) This one is COOL. (It's called "Scale.") The one thing you really need to keep in mind, is if you want to reduce something to 50% its original size, you have to type in "50" in BOTH the width AND the height section. You don't have to have the "%" there, you can just type in the number. Put your cursor in "W" to change width, then tab over to the "H" box for height. Then save (apply) your changes. I've noticed that once I make changes, if I put my cursor back in my layout and hit "enter" twice, this applies changes and gets me out of the Bounding Box Edit Mode.
3. The next option is to rotate the selected layer by specific percentages. This is WAY handy if you're going for the tilted look, or piecing together papers with stitching to attach them. (Like this LO, on right.) With the layer selected, type in a number and the layer will automatically turn. You can use positive numbers to tilt clockwise, and a minus sign in front of a number to turn counter-clockwise. Keep trying different numbers until the layer is at the angle you want, then apply your changes.
4. This last option is called "Skew." I can't think how to describe this effect, except that you're basically warping the image, so I'm showing you what happens when I type in different things. ;o) (First I'll show the location in the Bounding Box Edit Mode, then an example of how the picture of my best friend's daughter Elauna changes with each variation.)
One more tip (this is a GOOD ONE!!!!):
When you are moving an element, you will only have as much precision as how closely you're viewing the screen. (If you're viewing the entire page fit on the screen, you don't have the capabilities for precise movement that you do if you're zoomed in to 3 square inches filling the screen.) Here's an alternative to extreme zooming in and out to place elements precisely: when you are in the Move Tool and a layer is selected and active, on your keyboard you can use the four arrow keys (usually located between the main alpha keyboard and the numbers pad) to nudge the layer -- up, down, to the right, or to the left -- one pixel at a time. Holding down "shift" while you nudge with the arrows will make the layer move more than just a pixel at a time. (If you hold down "ALT" and push an arrow, it will make a copy of the layer! I discovered that by accident!) This is an EXTREMELY nifty option to use! I use it ALL the time.