Using the Move tool in Pixelmator

This is the first in a series of many tutorials on the basics of using Pixelmator. For those of you who don’t know what Pixelmator is, it’s a alternative to Photoshop and you can read a quick overview here: What is Pixelmator – Image Editing App?.

The move tool in Pixelmator is an essential tool for editing your images and does much more than just move the layer around the canvas. This tool can be found in the top right of the tools bar or by hitting V on your keyboard. Once you have this tool selected you can click and drag to move your images around the canvas. Besides just moving something around there are a few other other options that the move tool has that are very useful. You can get to these under the gear icon on the top left of the image window when you are in the move tool. I’ll walk through these additional features here.

But first a quick shortcut you might not know about when using the move tool. If you need to create a copy of the layer just click the Option key and then drag on the layer with the move tool. This will automatically copy the existing layer.

move tool pixelmator

Transform – Lets start with one tool I use a lot underneath the move tool. The transform tool is very helpful to resize your layers. You can access this also from the Keyboard shortcut Command-F. This will add handles on the corners and middle edge of the photo. Just click and drag these handles to make the photo larger/smaller. Also if you move the cursor slightly outside of the handle your cursor will change to a rotate cursor and you can click and drag to rotate the photo. The default is free transform which will just let you scale the image up and down, but the 3 additional options give you some creative control. The options you have to transform images are:

  • Skew – With this option you will be able to drag any corner of the image out to extend that side of the image.
  • Distory – The Distort option allows you to stretch out an image. This is similar to the skew option however it allows you to drag the corner in any direction whereas the skew option is limited to only moving out the corner vertically or horizontally but not both.
  • Perspective – This allows you to create a 3d type perspective on the layer making the top or bottom of the image wider so it looks like the layer is coming off the page. Here is an example of what you can do with the perspective option.
  • perspective-pixelmator

    Along with the transform options under the move menu there are a few additional options.

    Rotate – Here you can simply rotate the layer 180 degrees or 90 degrees to the left or right.

    Flipping – The other thing you can do in the move tool options is flip the canvas either horizontally or vertically.

    To learn a little more about moving items around the canvas check back later this week for a review of using Guides in Pixelmator.

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    Author: Mark

    Mark is a fine art wedding and portrait photographer from Northern California. He has been passionate about photography since childhood and started his studio 12 years ago to bring a fresh style of photography to the wedding and portrait world.

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