How to rotate an image in photoshop

When using any recent MacBook Pro or MacBook with Photoshop CS5 you may notice a huge annoyance of accidental canvas rotation.

The culprit is that Photoshop now accepts multitouch gestures.  Overall, these can be a great addition to your workflow.  But in certain situations it can cause a real annoyance since our normal undo (⌘Z) does not fix the problem (since this only a change in view and not a change in the actual document).  Adobe has placed a “fix” on their website which disables all trackpad gestures.  However, this also will disable the pinch-to-zoom multitouch gesture and others that are sometimes useful.

If you want to keep pinch-to-zoom but disable the canvas rotation you need to do so in [System Preferences > Trackpad]. Simply uncheck “rotate”.

Note: this requires 10.6.2 or higher (anything lower than that and your still screwed! : )

Step 2

You’ll need to open a new canvas to get started. Go to File–>New to do this. A screen will pop up asking you to adjust the size of the canvas. If you want, you can change the height and the width to match the image you plan on creating. If you’re not sure, start off with something like width: 600 pixels and height: 600 pixels. You can always adjust this later.

Step 3

This white canvas is your background. You need to add a few layers on top of this background to give you maximum flexibility while designing. To create a new layer, go to your layers palette which is in the bottom right hand corner of Photoshop CC. There is a tab that says layers next to “channels” “paths” and “properties” make sure it is the one clicked on. You’ll see a white thumbnail and the word background. On the bottom of that little panel there is an icon that looks like a dog-eared page. Click that and you’ll have your first new layer.

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If you plan on using the shapes tool to do your first drawing, you don’t need to create a new layer as when you draw the shape on the background, a new layer will automatically be created with the title of your shape tool and a “1”. See the third example below.   

If you are trying to open an image to be one layer in your final product, there are a few more steps.

1. First, go to File–>Open and select your image. You will see it opens into a new window with the title of your image on the header.

2. To make this image a layer on your new canvas, you will have to drag it to the blank canvas. If you can see your image and your new canvas at the same time then the drag will be easy. Just click on the arrow tool which is the very first icon on your left tool bar.

3. Click the picture and drag it to the canvas and release. You won’t see the picture actually move so just let go of your clicker and it should appear.

  • If your new canvas is on tab and you can’t see it, just click on your picture and drag it up to the tab name of your new canvas (this is probably “untitled”) and hold it there until the canvas pops up. Now drag your mouse so you see it on the white and let go. There’s your picture and your new layer!

Step 4

You’ll notice that the layer is highlighted in the picture above. That means it’s active and you can design or edit it. So, go ahead and design a piece of whatever you have in mind. I’m going to use a fun picture of two of my favorite television characters from Criminal Minds as layer 1

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My image and layer 1

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