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I'm trying to scale a simple rectangular shape in Photoshop to 48x48px. I've added some effects to it (Stroke, Drop shadow etc.) but Photoshop doesn't include those when I'm scaling. So a shape scaled to 48x48px in reality becomes something like 51x49px because of the shadow. Is there a way to scale a shape including its effects?

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Your best bet is to create a new layer under the layer with effects, merge the two, and then attempt to scale. Here's the problem(s):

  1. You won't be able to tweak your effects (drop shadow, etc.) once you merge them.
  2. If your initial image is square (e.g., 48x48px) once you add an effect that only occurs in one direction (such as a drop shadow) it's no longer square. Forcing it into a square aspect ration will "squash" your original art, so you'll want to adjust your initial artwork accordingly (i.e., make it a little taller or wider depending on how you're placing your drop shadow).

The other thing you could do would be to add some transparent / white space to the height / width to bring the dimensions back up to a square aspect ration.

Since a drop shadow is meant to mimic light coming from one particular dimension it's going to stick out on one side, so you'll have to either plan accordingly or learn to live with it. You might compromise by making your drop shadow hard-edged and as close to the original object as possible so you don't have to tweak your original too much.

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+1 for the caveat about aspect ratio. A variation on this theme would be to right-click the word Effects under the object in the Layers panel, select Create Layers from the context menu, then merge the resulting layers. –  Alan Gilbertson Dec 14 '11 at 22:26
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You could do an original big image/shape, apply the desired effects to it (as you want them to look), and turn it into a smart object. Once you have the smart object, you can resize it as you please, and the effects will scale too.

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