Transform Confusion

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Today’s Question: When resizing a layer in a composite image in Photoshop, I used to be able to hold the Shift key while dragging the mouse to lock the aspect ratio for the layer so the image wouldn’t get distorted. With a recent update that isn’t working anymore. How do I get the Shift key working again for resizing layers?

Tim’s Quick Answer: The Transform feature now maintains the aspect ratio by default for a layer you are resizing. So, without holding the Shift key you’ll maintain the aspect ratio, and you can hold the Shift key if you want to alter the aspect ratio while resizing.

More Detail: In earlier version of Photoshop if you were using one of the Transform commands to resize an image layer or layer mask, you needed to hold the Shift key if you wanted to maintain the aspect ratio while dragging the handle for one of the corners of the layer. With a recent update to Photoshop CC, however, the behavior is now reversed.

So, if you want to retain the aspect ratio when resizing using one of the Transform commands, simply drag the handle at any corner of the image you’re resizing. You don’t need to hold the Shift key, as the aspect ratio will be retained automatically. If you do want to alter the aspect ratio while resizing, simply hold the Shift key as you drag the handle for one of the corners.

Note that the various Transform commands can be found on the Edit menu in Photoshop. For most of my resizing I use the Free Transform command, which you can activate by choosing Edit > Free Transform from the menu. In addition, you can access additional types of transformations by looking at the submenu under Edit > Transform on the menu.