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In Photoshop, if I have an existing rectangular selection area that is at an angle, can I align the transform box to its sides? I tried "Transform selection" but it transforms the selection along with the transform box.

EDIT (based on replies) I'm not asking Photoshop to remember any transforms, nor deal with complex shapes. I just want the user to be able to rotate the transform box with respect to the selection outline, if desired. It is the user (not Photoshop) that would set the desired angle. Some transforms work better at an angle.

Illustration

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  • I think it's not possible. Why not transform it in horizontal then rotate it?
    – Vikas
    Jul 18, 2021 at 3:50
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    Also, what's the purpose of it? If you could elaborate a bit more about what you want to achieve by doing this, that would be helpful.
    – Vikas
    Jul 18, 2021 at 5:25
  • Your question puzzles me too. What are you actually trying to achieve? Currently this reads like a bit like an XY Problem. Can you please edit your question and give more details, perhaps an example of the actual problem you are trying to solve by doing this?
    – Billy Kerr
    Jul 18, 2021 at 9:59

2 Answers 2

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That is not possible.

Selections in Photoshop are raster, not vector. When you make a selection, Photoshop creates a grayscale image it uses as a mask.

So a rectangular selection like this:

is stored as a grayscale mask like this:

When you rotate the selection like this:

the mask will look like this:

As you see it's just some pixels. Photoshop doesn't remember how they were made originally, so it can't set the transform box to follow the sides of the rotated selection.

Imagine a much more complex selection like this:

How should Photoshop be able to guess how to make the transform box align with this?


Perhaps you should look into using Smart Objects.

When you turn one or more layers into a Smart Object, the original pixels will be unaltered inside the Smart object and all transformations will be done according to the starting point.

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  • Oops. I posted a duplicate of your answer :(
    – Vikas
    Jul 18, 2021 at 10:28
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    @Vikas - I think both answers are great, and slightly different. An upvote for each from me anyway.
    – Billy Kerr
    Jul 18, 2021 at 12:35
  • Thanks for the reply. I'm not asking Photoshop to remember transforms, nor deal with complex shapes. I only want the user (me) to be able to rotate the transform box with respect to the selection. It is the user (not Photoshop) that would control the angle. Some transforms are better done at an angle.
    – MrSparkly
    Jul 18, 2021 at 20:42
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I think it's simply not possible in Photoshop, yet. A similar thing has been discussed here.


Now you have not stated what you want to achieve by transforming selection. I don't know what object you have to make selection for.

If you just want to distort it freely or increase width height of rectangular selection, one suggestion is to first define the area which you want to select. Then make the selection. (I'm not illustrating the target object for which to selection is to be made. Just explaining workaround)

  1. Create a shape layer with some stroke width and no fill.
  2. Convert it into Smart Object. Then distort it the way you want. Try to snap edges with whatever your target object is (there's no object in my case, so I'm just freely distorting/moving it).
  3. Once done, create a selection from it (save a copy in case of backup).

enter image description here

You can freely distort corners too, in case you want to change the shape of rectangle to other type of shape:

enter image description here

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