Photoshop: Centering a single layer within an image.

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  • Updated 8 months ago
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I'm a product photographer and I shoot images of my company's products.  I shoot a single product on a neutral background, usually white.  Then I have to cut out that product to place on a pure white background for web imagery or to create PNG files for customers to use on their websites or any media outlet.  

The issue I have is that I shoot the image, then I usually have to resize the product to fully fill the actual image boundary or artboard.  Then, I have to move the layer around my image artboard until I get the product in the EXACT center of the artboard.  Its a huge waste of time and quite annoying since sometimes the horizontal and vertical center lines don't show.  Sometimes they do, and sometimes they don't.

It would be a HUGE help if in the Transform Tools, that I can center a SINGLE layer to my artboard boundaries, just like I can within Illustrator.  The Transform Tools in Illustrator are worlds better than in Photoshop.  It would be extremely nice to have the same Transform Tools in Photoshop that are in side of Illustrator.
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Wayne Carey

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Posted 8 months ago

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photoshopguru_GER

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activate move tool and the positioning buttons (top left) are greyed out – without a selection. just hit select all and they are black and usable. use the number 5 and 11 to center the active layer within the selection (with all selected within your artboard).
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photoshopguru_GER

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dont load a selection just select all, command-a on mac. i dont know why but photoshop does need a selection to activate to positioning buttons. after that you just have to hit the two buttons to center the active layer whithin the artboard. if that does not work – maybe it's a smart object and you want to center just the visible pixels not the "real dimensions" of the object? that won't work. and i dont know a way it would work without cutting it out.
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Wayne Carey

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Ah...  I see.  That's odd you have to do that.  It should be easier than that.
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photoshopguru_GER

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i agree. there's no reason why the buttons shouldn't be activated relative to the complete artboard all the time.
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photoshopguru_GER

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fastest way to do it (in a non-modular workflow without smart-objects, just pixels) is to just cut and paste the content of the layer.   ;)
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photoshopguru_GER

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or you could use the relatively "new guide layout" tool under "view" to quickly create center guides. sorry, got the german version here, have to look up the translations.
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Jeffrey Tranberry, Sr. Product Manager, Digital Imaging

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You can select the floating layer and the background. The Alignment UI on the move tool will light up and you can center against the background layer.
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Wayne Carey

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But I don't have any background, nor do I need one.  I need only a single layer of a product with the background removed saved as a TIFF file (universal compatibility).  When you create a JPEG of that file , a white background is automatically applied to the flattened image.
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photoshopguru_GER

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great! thanks, that was new to me.
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Max Johnson, Champion

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Pro tip. Record an action of the steps above eg. "select all", center horiz, center vert, deselect. Then hot key it. Super easy and fast! Just don't record selecting a layer cause actions tend to be stickers for layer names.
(Edited)
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Wayne Carey

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Thanks, Max.  But...  I just tried it and for some reason when you select all, the transform tools are all greyed out still.  If I don't record an action and I select all, the transform tools become available.  Obviously, we stumbled onto a bug in the programming but thanks for the idea. 
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Max Johnson, Champion

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That is... not great, yeah.  Since I have that action recorded already, I tossed it up onto dropbox. Give it a try and see if it works?
https://www.dropbox.com/s/5qad4a6mrjotbgg/Alignment.atn?dl=0 
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Wayne Carey

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That works!  Thanks.
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eartho

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I just tried to record that action and it works fine for me.
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Wayne Carey

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Here's what I found...  If I didn't first select my layer then do a select all, the transform tools wouldn't work.  So, to record the action, I had to first select my layer, then record my action by first starting with the select all command, after which, I could use the transform tools and deselect to complete the action.  It was just another odd behavior that I had to figure out.

In any case, I really wish Adobe would include the same transform tools from InDesign and Illustrator into Photoshop.  They claim complete compatibility but in reality, its not on some levels.