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201 Messages


3.6K Points

Fri, Nov 16, 2018 6:04 PM


Photoshop CC 2019: Freely rotating a layer is more complicated now

Photoshop v20.0.1
Windows 10

Select a non-empty, unlocked layer, hit CTRL+T - you can scale and rotate. Scaling is fine (minus the new SHIFT debacle / NOT going there right now), but rotation has changed for the worse.

I can no longer perform the accurate rotation transforms as I've always been able to, because once I move my cursor more than 100px outside the transform box Photoshop no longer allows rotation by simply left-click dragging as I've always been able to.
Clicking, after moving 100px outside of the transform box just applies the transform, unless holding a modifier key. This behavior is new. Apparently changed at the same time proportional scaling was changed.

For a real world example, here's a common use case affected:

This ink drawing was larger than my scanner. As I often do, I had to scan it multiple times and composite in Photoshop.
When Edit > Auto-Align Layers doesn't work I do it manually:

Above you see I've lowered opacity and moved the layer on the right so the top of middle dude's head overlaps the other one correctly in one spot, and put the pivot point on the top of the middle dude's head and now I want to carefully rotate it by hand until the two layers overlap correctly.
But as you can see, my cursor is too far away from the transform box to register as me wanting to rotate, yet I NEED to be this far away so I can manually rotate the layer very slowly and carefully - the closer my cursor is to the pivot point the more rotation happens when I move a single screen pixel.
Alt dragging the rotation scrubby bar in the top toolbar allows for very fine rotation but manually rotating IN the canvas area is far more responsive, updating in real-time.

For me, this is an annoying decrease in usability.
It's not uncommon for a graphics program to require you to have your cursor close to a transform box control point in order to do a manual rotation, but Photoshop always employed the better behavior in my opinion. It allowed for much more control and was easier.

Manual rotation is only possible (without modifier keys) if your cursor is inside the red region, pictured above.
Clicking in the grey hatched area will apply the transform.
(if the pivot point is moved outside the transform box, the red region expands to include it, as seen here -

Wonky Workaround #1
One can click inside of the new sacred 100px region bordering the transform box and then drag outward while holding left-click, and do very careful accurate manual rotating but it's awkward and causes the layer to have already rotated a little bit by the time you've moved your cursor to the desired spot.

  Fun Facts!
. . . as of v20.0.1:
Right-clicking inside the transform box: pops a context menu.
Right-clicking inside the 100px region: pops a context menu.
Right-clicking outside the transform box and 100px region: applies the transform.

Single left-clicking inside the transform box: does nothing.
Single left-clicking inside the 100px region: does nothing.
Single left-clicking outside the transform box and 100px region: applies the transform.

Double left-clicking inside the transform box: applies the transform.
Double left-clicking inside the 100px region pops a context menu: does nothing.
Double left-clicking outside the transform box and 100px region: invalid (first click applies the transform)

Wonky Workaround #2
Get back the old behavior by holding SHIFT and click dragging but rotation is constrained by 15° increments. 
You can also get back the old behavior by holding CONTROL and click dragging.
Once you've pressed SHIFT or CONTROL, and are holding left-click, you can release CONTROL and stay in rotation mode.
So . . . similar to now having to press SHIFT in order to do a non-proportional scale transform, one must also temporarily press CONTROL in order to do manual rotation if cursor is 


Today's Conclusion: Remember to press an additional key to do what you did before without that additional key. Cuz Photoshop.

At the end here is where I usually make a recommendation, but why bother right?
Just wanted to get this out, so I can go about my business.

Fortunately the new features and positive improvements to PS over the years do outweigh these occasional strange ui changes, but they're still quite annoying.

This conversation has been merged. Please refer the main conversation:

Photoshop CC 2019: Transform rotate handle click zone is too small (for auto-commit change)




1.6K Messages


28.5K Points

2 years ago

What's really frustrating here is that they changed the commit behavior to save a few beginners the pain and suffering of looking up how to commit a transform, and instead introduced a new behavior which is a huge productivity loss for the vast majority of daily Ps users. 
I spend a lot of time on a single transform, getting a layer into just the right position, using a combo of scaling, warps, rotates, etc, and to lose that all because i accidentally clicked 2px outside of an invisible bounding box?
W T F .