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How to Move Objects in Photoshop

Published: 24/05/2021

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Sometimes, even the most perfect shot seems a bit off due to an object that should have been placed elsewhere. The good news is that you can change the position of a person or object even after the shot has been taken. Learn how to move objects in Photoshop to place them in another position seamlessly. 

How to Move Objects in Photoshop Using Two Methods 

Adobe Photoshop CC equips its users with exceptional editing capabilities. You can add ethereal effects to maximize the appeal of your images and manipulate them using a variety of tools. Among many editing features is the ability to move an object from one position to another in the picture.

Moving an object requires steps that ensure that the object is selected and moved to a different place, and the void left behind should be filled to make it match the rest of the background. 

In the earlier versions of Photoshop, moving the object involved a lot of effort as the space left behind the object was supposed to be filled with matching pixels. It required filters, effects, and a lot of time to get the final result looking natural.

Now, features like the Content Aware tool have made the job super easy, quick, and efficient. 

Move Objects Using the Content Aware Move Tool

With every update, Photoshop keeps getting smarter. It gets better at providing editing solutions that look natural and seamless. You don’t need to be a Photoshop pro to change the position of an object in a flawless way.

Content Aware Move Tool is a very powerful editing tool in Photoshop. It enables the movement of objects while seamlessly blending them with the surrounding area with the background. It also fills the empty space left with matching pixels. 

You need to select an area in your image that you want to relocate to the same or another image. The content aware move tool interprets the outline of the moved area, as well as the other section or image to which you will be moving the object. After that, it smoothly blends the pixels to give a seamless look. 

Selection of the Object

First, select the object you intend to move. You can either make a selection with any of the selection tools available, like the Marquee tool, Quick Selection, Lasso, or Magic wand, and then use the Content Aware Move tool. Or, you can directly select the Content Aware Move tool from the toolbar as it is also a selection tool.

The selection method depends upon whether the area you are selecting has a complex background and requires precise selection. If it does, it is recommended to use the pen tool or magic wand tool as they offer close cropping with higher precision than the Content Aware Move tool.

Control Panel Settings of the Content Aware Move Tool

After the selection, choose the Content Aware Move tool, which is found below the Patch tool, placed in a bundle with the Healing Brush tool in the toolbar. Toggle it on by right-clicking on the Healing Brush tool icon and selecting the Content Aware Move tool from the sub-menu.

Content Aware Move Tool in Photoshop

In the options area of the tool, you will first decide whether you are making a new selection, adding or subtracting from a selection, or intersecting the selection. You will also see the mode, structure, and color input values, and other options that determine how the tool will affect your selection and the outline.

  • Mode: There are two options in the mode drop-down. The Move mode is used for selection that is to be relocated to a similar background as it now has.  In contrast, the Extend mode is suitable to be used for objects that are difficult to select or need to be duplicated in an entirely different background.
  • Structure: The structure input value lets Photoshop know how close the matching of the outline and background pixels should be. The higher the value, the stronger is the reflecting image pattern. We recommend keeping the structure to 7.
  • Color: This value determines the amount of color blending that Photoshop needs to do. A higher input value of color means that the color blending with the background will be maximum. Enter 0 if you deliberately don’t want the color blending.
  • Sample All Layers: Photoshop will use information from all the layers to sample the color and structure blending after moving the object if you enable this option.
  • Transform On Drop: If you want to resize, rotate, or flip the object after moving it, you can enable this option.

Moving the Object to the Same Image

After selecting the object and choosing the settings of the tool, you can now move the object to the new place in the same image. Press the commit to transform icon on top. Photoshop will take a few seconds to blend the outline of the object with its surroundings and fill in the empty space with matching pixels.

If you enabled the transform on drop option, you can resize the object or flip and rotate it as required. 

Enabling the transform on drop option to resize, flip or rotate the object
Moving an object to a new place in Photoshop

Moving the Object to Another Image

If you want to move an object from one image to another, you need to open the other image in a new tab. Duplicate the background layer in the destination image by pressing CTRL / CMD + J.

Drag the tab from the document area to place the source and destination image side by side. 

Now select the object to be moved using the Content Aware Move tool as explained above.

Drag and drop the object on the new image. Photoshop will automatically blend the outline with the new background. If any adjustments are required, you can use the Erase tool for that.

Moving the object to another image in Photoshop

Move Objects Using Pixel Position

There is another smart way to move an object in an image based on pixel coordinate position. Each pixel in the Photoshop document is present at a specific position or address, determined by the X and Y coordinates. If you want to move an object to a particular location, this method works best for that.

In simple words, this technique is like finding the destination address where you wish to send a particular thing and then sending it by specifying the address.

Firstly, open the image in Photoshop, and duplicate the background layer by selecting it in the panel and hitting CTRL / CMD + J. 

Find the Pixel Position

Determine the object and the position where you need to relocate it. Now you need to find the X and Y coordinates of that particular position so that you can put them in place of the object’s current position. 

Go to the Windows menu on top, and select Info. A new window will appear, showing you the X and Y values of the place where your cursor is right now. Move your cursor to the place where you want to place the object and note the X and Y values. 

Finding the pixel position in Photoshop to move an object

Select and Move the Object

Select the object using any of the selection tools in the toolbar. Press CTRL + T on Windows or CMD + T on Mac to enter the Free Transform mode. You will see that an options bar appears on top, where you can see the input sections for X and Y coordinates. Enter the values that you noted down a while ago.

Selecting and moving an object in Photoshop

Your object will be moved to the specified location.

Conclusion

It is apparent from the above-mentioned methods that moving an object in Photoshop is extremely easy and quick. Depending upon the image requirements, you can pick any of the methods and bring a unique change to your images. With the highly advanced Photoshop tools, you can be assured that moving the object will be seamless and natural.

PFRE Team
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