In Photoshop, you can constrain proportions or transform the proportions by changing the image’s overall outlook without affecting the original proportion and size of the image itself. To use this unique feature, here is a straightforward guideline on how to get it right.

Key takeaways

  • The “Skew” and “Distort” both are options to transform and constrain your design.
  • You can distort the image while maintaining the original proportion.
adobe photoshop constrain proportion transform featured image

Step-by-step guidelines on how to do Photoshop constrain proportion transform

White background layer on photoshop

Step 1: Create your new canvas

The first step to unlocking this unique feature is, of course, to create a new canvas. To get that done, proceed to the topmost part of your screen, at the Menu toolbar, and click on Files.

Once you do that, a drop-down menu appears, showing you different options. Scroll down the menu and click on New. A dialogue box will pop up on your screen with options for additional details necessary for your new canvas. Fill in all the required information and proceed to the dialogue box’s right-hand side to click OK. Once done, your newly created canvas awaits you.

Red circle on the background layer

Step 2: Draw a circle with an ellipse tool

Once you have your new canvas, the next step is to draw a shape or design. For this illustration, the graphic designer uses the Ellipse tool to create a circle.

To access it, scroll to the left-hand side of your Photoshop screen, find the Ellipse tool. Once you see it, click on it and proceed to your canvas. Drag the tool across the screen to create a circle. Afterward, fill the circle using the Filler. Here the filling is red.

An expanded red circle on the background layer

Step 3: Editing the circle

Once you have your circle drawn, click on the circle layer at the right-hand side of the screen. Scroll to the Layer board and click on the layer named Ellipse 1.

Selecting the Skew option

Step 4: Transforming and constraining with Skew

Once you click on the circle layer, scroll to the topmost part of your screen at the Menu toolbar, click on Edit, and a drop-down menu appears. Scroll downwards on the menu and click on Transform. 

Once you do that, another drop-down menu appears showing various options. Scroll down it and click on Skew. The moment you click on Skew, transformation control in the form of a fitted square to the circle with six points appears on the screen. To transform the design/image/shape, pick any of the angles, press Shift, and drag the tip to whatever side you desire. Here the transformation done was to expand the circle.

Selecting the Distort option

Step 5: Transform and constraining with distort

Another way to use this feature is through the distort feature. Going back to the original image, scroll to the topmost part of the Menu toolbar, and click on Edit once again. On the drop-down menu, click Transform. Just as you did in the previous steps, by clicking on Transform, another drop-down menu appears and on it, choose the Distort feature.

By clicking this, a Transformation control board appears in the form of a dialogue box as seen in the image above. Here, the graphic designer attempted to distort the image while maintaining the original proportion.

A distorted image on the background layer

Step 6: The transformed image

Right after working on the distortions, this is the final result derived from the process. The image changes, but the proportions remain the same.

You can also use the constrain proportions transformation on images, lettering, and designs, and the process is very much the same.


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You can change or distort any image, design, or lettering with the constrain proportion feature without affecting the proportions. Carefully follow these guidelines and enjoy the endless ways of transforming your work.