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I have a shape layer with a stroke (currently applied using a layer effect), and I would like to convert that to a shape layer that has two components, the shape and the stroke, both represented by paths.

My motivation for this is wanting to be able to resize my shape using free transform, and have the stroke resize with it, as if the stroke really is part of that shape.

At the moment the stroke thickness holds constant while I resize the shape, so that when I make the shape smaller, the stroke becomes relatively large and out of proportion.

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3 Answers 3

up vote 2 down vote accepted
  1. Control+click the layer's icon (for the layer that you want to stroke) in the layer palette in order to select the entire layer.
  2. Create a new layer.
  3. Fill the new layer with white, black, or any color that you want.
  4. Set the new layer's "Fill" to 0% in the layer palette.
  5. Double-click the new layer's icon in the layer palette (or select it and click "FX" at the bottom of the layer palette) in order to bring up the effects window.
  6. At the bottom, you will see "Stroke." Set it up how you want the stroke to look like. Alternatively, you could use an outer glow with some fancy properties to give you more control over the appearance of the stroke. Click "OK" to apply the stroke/glow.
  7. Select both layers and convert them to a "Smart Object" by running the following menu: Layer->Smart Objects->Convert to Smart Objects.

The stroke will now resize with the object, and since it is a smart object, you'll be able to edit its contents should you feel the need to change the color of the stroke, etc.

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+1 for Nice and simple! The only caveat would be to create the original at a large size for ease of scaling, since the stroke is a raster image. –  Alan Gilbertson Jun 1 '11 at 22:09

It's not possible to do exactly what you're asking for in current versions of Photoshop.

You can fake it by duplicating the shape, then making the lower one slightly larger and changing its color to your stroke color. Select both layers and turn them into a Smart Object to scale them proportionally. This is also a way to apply multiple "strokes" to a shape.

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Make a empty layer underneath the layer that has the stroke and then merge them. All layer effects will then bake into the above layer.

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