I'm using Photoshop CS6 (still). I'm by no means an expert, as most of my work is just pulling stuff out of PSDs for websites and some light photo editing.

For fun, I was attempting to fake a sign that I found online. I removed some text, grabbed the proper font, sized it, colored it, and felt the match was good. Then I hit the big "checkmark" (top of the PS window when text tool is active), which as I understand it, causes the text to be rendered or "rasterized".

When I went to rotate the text (edit -> transform -> rotate), I was able to match things, but the baseline of the font gets all jagged, as if the rotation is being done on a per-character basis. This is most apparent on the word "three" in the two "e's". How do I avoid this?

See attached image. The edited line should be obvious. :)

enter image description here

  • Actually the undesired result nicely imitates the effect of paper that got wet and dried again thus becoming wavy – which ironically adds a touch of authenticity.
    – Wrzlprmft
    Nov 13, 2017 at 10:37

2 Answers 2


Pixels are a flat grid.... think....

enter image description here

Each grid space is either filled or unfilled entirely. There is no way to "partially" fill a grid space. In other words, you can't have a 45° fill cutting across the middle of a grid space. It's either all or nothing.

So, with this in mind, if you were to draw a line from the top right to the bottom left grid spaces, you get a "stair-step" effect.

enter image description here

This is just how pixels work.

In order to make this stair-step less apparent, anti-aliasing is used. Anti-aliasing employs a method of lowering the fill opacity or tint color of surrounding pixels in an attempt to make the "steps" less visually apparent.

enter image description here

Without the grid lines:

enter image description here

(This is a manually created representation of anti-aliasing to show the theory behind it. The application algorithms to anti-alias are much better than my manual representation.)

When reduced, the anti-aliasing should make the stair-step less prominent, but it will never go away entirely:

enter image description here

(Again, a manual representation, applications are better at this.)

Okay, so all that being posted.....

When you rotate or skew a path and it is not at a 0°, 90°, 180°, or 270° angle (straight horizontal or vertical), you are asking the path to cross or split a pixel, which can not be done, so anti-aliasing is introduced.

Anti-aliasing is your friend, it's there to help. But it will never eliminate all indications of the pixel grid. How prominent the stair-stepping appears on your monitor is entirely dependent upon the pixel density of the monitor.

See Here: Photoshop Vectors turned into raster images automatically

and here: Is it mandatory to keep images at 72DPI for web design?

For pixel density explanations.

Specific to your issue....

To make the anti-aliasing less prominent overall on the rotated text, you can try some little tricks...

  • Lower to opacity of the text a bit to 95% or 90% to help it blend in with it's surroundings.
  • Add a stroke to the text which is slightly darker than the background the text is sitting on.
  • Rasterize the text (or convert to smart object) and then apply a very small, slight Gaussian blur to it.
  • Work larger then when saving reduce for output.

Each image is different and make or may not benefit from various blending tricks.


This is a method that I've used many times, which should work perfectly for your poster.
The dirt simple method:
1) Right-click the text layer and select "Convert to Smart Object".
2) Transform smart object layer as desired. Boom.
(If you wish to edit the text, simply double click on the smart object layer (the thumbnail, not the name) and a new photoshop document will open consisting of only the contents of the smart object. Edit as desired, save and close. The text will automatically update in the main document.)

The pro version:
1) Enlarge your text layer by about 50%. (This will allow you to enlarge the smart object slightly without loosing quality)
2) Create a new empty layer (all transparent).
3) In the empty layer, draw a marquee selection around the text.
4) Fill the marquee with any color.
5) Set that layer's opacity to 0%.
6) Put both the text layer and the invisible layer into a group.
7) Right-click the group and select "Convert to Smart Object.

Why do it this way?
A couple of important reasons: Using an invisible shape that is roughly equivalent to the poster you're mocking up will provide a more natural boundary when you're transforming, aligning it to the one in the photo. If you know the dimensions of the physical poster, and set your invisible layer to the same proportions, it can help make a very accurate virtual mockup. Also, because the smart object's boundary is outside of the boundary of the text, it will not shift in your layout if you edit the text later.

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