In a PSD i'm working with there's an image on one layer, and a shadow on another layer. Selecting the shadow doesn't select all of the gradient.

So when I select both layers and click Control-T both layers get selected with the transform selection box. This goes all around the shadow and image perfectly. How can I now turn this transform selection line/box/selection to a standard selection so I can copy the shadow and image.

Hope that's explained clearly. I tried creating a smart object and selecting it but only the image is selected not the shadow.

enter image description here

Would really appreciate some help, thanks

  • Screenshot can help us to understand the problem more
    – Ilan
    Commented Mar 29, 2014 at 18:41
  • @Ilan added a screen shot, I need to turn the transform selection line to just a selection
    – Anagio
    Commented Mar 29, 2014 at 19:41

2 Answers 2


The problem you're running into with a Ctl-click to select the shadow layer is that the selection is proportional to the opacity of the object on the layer. A 50% opaque section will be 50% selected, the part that is 25% opaque will be 25% selected, and so on. That means that when you paste, you get a much less opaque copy! (It's just the way selection works.)

  1. If you're trying to make copies within the same document:

    • Target the two layers in the Layers panel

    • Use Ctl-J to create copy layers

  2. If you want to copy to a different document:

    • Have both documents open in Ps

    • Target the two layers

    • Select the Move (black arrow) tool

    • Click and drag from the canvas to the tab for the target document

    • When the target document appears, move the cursor into the canvas, holding down the Shift key, and release the mouse button.

  3. To copy to a new document limiting the size to the actual layer size of the originals:

    • Hide all other layers than the ones you want to copy

    • Ctl-A to Select All

    • With the Move Tool (black arrow) selected, hit the up arrow button once. Selection marquee will change.

    • Ctl-C to copy

    • Ctl-N, Enter for new document (clipboard size)

    • Go back to original document and deselect (Ctl-D)

    • With the Move Tool still selected, and the two layers still targeted, click and drag from the canvas to the new document tab. Move the cursor to the canvas in the new document, hold Shift and release the mouse button.

For this last, if you're going to be doing it often, record the process as an Action.

  • How can I have the size of the new document be exactly the size of the targeted two layers?
    – Anagio
    Commented Mar 29, 2014 at 20:38
  • See #3 that I added to the answer. Commented Mar 29, 2014 at 22:29

CTRL/CMD-G and group the two layers together. then just select the group.

Also keep in mind, you don't always see the marching ants of a whole selection. Gradients/blurs/shadows can sometimes have ants or not, depending on zoom level.

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