Resizing, Rotating, Deforming, and Perspective-izing

Resizing, Rotating, Deforming, and Perspective-izing

Okay, so perspective-izing isn’t a real word. Perspecting? In any event, you can resize, rotate, deform, or move your selection by using the Deform tool from the Deformation toolset, as shown in Figure.

Click To expand
Figure: The Deformation toolset, where everyone has a skewed perspective.

Making a shape look as though it’s seen in perspective is one of the cool kinds of deformation you can do. You can make a rectangular area, for instance, look like a wall or road receding into the distance. You can paint a railroad track running vertically, flat, as though it’s on a map, and then make it lie down realistically by applying perspective.

Preparing For Deformation

The Deform tool is picky: it needs a separate layer (other than the background layer) to work with. If you’re trying to deform a selection, Paint Shop Pro asks you whether it’s okay to promote that selection to a layer. (See Chapter 19 if you want Paint Shop Pro to do this automatically, without asking you.)

However, you can move the selection to its own layer yourself by choosing Selections→Promote to Layer or press Ctrl+Shift+P. For more about layers, see Chapter 14.

The Deformation tool works on the active layer, encompassing all the nontransparent areas in that layer. In other words, if you have a blob of pixels on a layer, the tool encompasses (rather neatly, in our opinion) just that blob. If you have multiple blobs separated by transparency, it encompasses all blobs.

Doing The Deformation

The easy and fairly intuitive way to make the deformation is by dragging various parts of the deformation grid with the Deformation tool. See “Deforming by dragging,” coming up next.

The geeky, but precise, way to do the deformation is with the Deformation Settings dialog box. See “Deforming by dialog box,” a bit later in this chapter.

Deforming By Dragging

Select the Deformation tool from the Deformation toolset (if it’s grayed out, refer to the earlier section “Preparing for deformation” for instructions), and your cursor turns into that icon. Click your selection to get this cool-looking deformation grid with tiny squares (called handles) on it, as Figure shows.

Click To expand
Figure: The Deformation tool’s grid for stretching, rotating, and dragging the victim.

This figure shows you what to drag for resizing, rotating, or moving the image. Note that you can move the selection with this tool by dragging anywhere except on one of the handles. (In areas where dragging is possible, the cursor changes to a four-way arrow.) Here’s how to do various operations, using the handles of the deformation grid:

  • Resizing or repositioning sides: Adjust width and height by dragging the handle in the center of any side. Drag corner handles to change both height and width at the same time. (The Deformation tool provides no way to automatically keep the proportions constant while you drag, so see the following section for help.)

  • Rotating: Drag the handle, marked “Rotation handle” in Figure, in a circular motion around the center of the grid. (When your cursor is over the rotation handle, the cursor depicts the pair of curved arrows shown in the figure. The center of rotation is marked by a square that is at the face’s nose.) Only the grid rotates until you release the mouse button; then the selection rotates.

    Click To expand
    Figure: Dragging the rotation handle. Drag the cursor away from the handle before rotating to get more precise control.

  • Adding perspective: In the real world, the farther away an object is, the smaller it appears to your eye. Here’s how to create that illusion with your selection so that one end looks farther away:

    • To shrink any side of the selection as though it were farther away, first hold down the Ctrl key. With that key down, drag one of the two corner handles that terminate the side; drag toward the center of that side. To expand the side, drag away from the center. The side shrinks or expands symmetrically about the center (both corners move). The perspective this distortion creates is as though your eyes were level with the middle of the selection, as the left side of Figure shows.

      Click To expand
      Figure: Getting perspective by dragging a corner while pressing Ctrl (left image) or Shift (right image).

    • To shrink or expand any side asymmetrically (move one corner only), first hold down the Shift key. With that key down, drag a corner handle toward or away from the center handle of that side. When you apply this effect to the left or right side, as shown on the right in Figure, the result is as though your eyes were at a level above or below center. For instance, to get the illusion of a tall wall, drag the upper corner down.


      For a different way to apply simple perspective that doesn’t involve as much head scratching, try the Paint Shop Pro Perspective effect. Choose Effects→Geometric Effects→Perspective Horizontal or Perspective Vertical. Refer to Chapter 8 for help with effect dialog boxes.

  • Shear (or skew) distortion: We got the shear effect of Figure by dragging the right side of the selection down. To drag a side of your selection, hold down either the Ctrl or Shift key and drag the center handle on the side you want to move.

    Click To expand
    Figure: Shear brilliance! Dragging a center handle with Ctrl or Shift pressed applies shear distortion.


Shear is useful for perspective when you want the virtual horizon (the vanishing point, in drafting terms) to be higher or lower than dead center. Apply perspective distortion to shrink a left or right side first, and then use shear to drag one of those sides up or down. Dragging down, for instance, makes the image appear as it would if a viewer were looking up slightly (it lowers the horizon).

Deforming By Dialog Box

Dragging handles is convenient and intuitive, but not particularly precise. What if you know that you need to rotate something 31.5 degrees, for instance? Or scale it down to 85 percent of its original dimensions?

Press F4 to bring up the Tool Options palette, and you can type the settings you want. It provides a column for X, or horizontal values, and Y, or vertical values, and rows for each of the various changes that the Deformation tool can make. Here’s how to choose the values you need:

  • Position: To move the selection, enter the X and Y coordinates where you want the upper-left corner of the deformation grid to go. (Remember that X and Y both equal 0 at the upper-right corner of the image.)

  • Scale: Enter X and Y scale factors. Enter 80 in the X% scale box, for instance, to reduce the horizontal size of the selection to 80 percent of original. To keep the original proportions, put the same value in both the X and Y columns.

  • Shear: To slide the top edge to the right, enter a positive value; enter a negative value to move the edge the other way.

  • Perspective: To make the right edge appear to recede into the distance by pulling the upper-right corner down and inward, enter a positive number in the Perspective X box. To make the top edge appear to recede, do likewise in the Y box. Use negative values to make those same edges appear to approach the viewer instead.

  • Pivot: Normally, when you rotate a selection or layer, it rotates around the center. If you want your image to revolve around a different point — around the upper-left corner of the selection, for example, or even around a point that’s outside the selection entirely — adjust the pivot values. The numbers in the X and Y boxes vary, but unless you have changed the pivot in the past, those numbers are the exact center of the image. Lower X numbers move the pivot to the left, whereas higher Xs shift it right; lower Y numbers move the pivot up, and higher numbers drop it down.

  • Angle: To rotate the selection clockwise, enter a positive number of degrees (45, for example) into the text box. Use a negative value for counterclockwise.

Other Handy Deformities

You should know about three other tools in the Deform toolset:

  • Mesh Warp: Using this tool covers your image with a grid of warp points; you can click and drag each of these points to deform your image in specific ways, as you can see in Figure.

    Click To expand
    Figure: Warping Amy and Alex; you see the left image when you first open the Mesh Warp tool; the right image shows what happens after some points have been shifted.

  • In the left picture, the grid is untouched; in the right, however, we have moved the warp points around, and the image has stretched itself to fit the new warp points. (You can control the number of warp points by changing the Mesh Horizontal and Mesh Vertical controls on the Tool Options palette; larger values mean more points. As usual, press F4 if you don’t see the Tool Options palette.)

  • You can accomplish some mighty strange effects with this feature, given time and lots of patience; the most common use is to warp an existing image to fit on another image’s contour.

  • Straighten: Did you ever spend an afternoon hanging paintings, taking painstaking care to ensure that the bottom edges of the frames were all perfectly parallel with the floor? This tool is an automatic picture-adjuster. Most images are at least a little tilted when they’re scanned in, so we discuss this tool in Chapter 2, in the section about scanning into Paint Shop Pro.

  • Perspective Correction: This tool is the reverse of the deform tool; if you have an image that’s already a little skewed or sheared, you can use this tool to attempt to remove the skew or shear. Dragging the Perspective tool around an image creates a box; you can then drag the points on the edge of the box, just as you would with the Deformation tool — but in this case you’re trying to re-create the shear or skew that’s already present. When you’re done, double-click the image and Paint Shop Pro attempts to remove the shear.

 Python   SQL   Java   php   Perl 
 game development   web development   internet   *nix   graphics   hardware 
 telecommunications   C++ 
 Flash   Active Directory   Windows