Completely Transformed.

Tips & Tricks December 8, 2020

LightBox Expo 2022 at the Pasadena Convention Center

The humble Transform feature has been around almost as long as digital art applications have existed. Although it has been expanded on down the years to include features such as warp, skew and distort, Transform essentially still works the same way it has ever since its inception. That is until now.

In Procreate 5X, a small change to how Transform works has made a huge difference to artist’s workflows. Traditionally, when using Transform a bounding box with corner and central nodes appears around the content you wish to transform. From here you rotate, scale, etc. by grabbing and moving a node.

The issue with this is the bounding box is always the exact width and height of the content inside it. If that content happens to be on an angle or is an obtuse shape, the bounding box often ends up containing a lot of empty pixels and being a lot larger than the object contained within. In this instance, doing something as simple as increasing the height of an object without increasing the width (or vice versa) simply isn’t possible without additional steps.

The traditional 2-step transform method

The common work around for this was to activate Transform, then rotate the object until its longest edge was horizontal and confirm the transformation. Then Transform the object a second time so the bounding box was a tight fit around the object, and then increase the width or height. Not only is having to Transform twice not ideal, but accurately re-rotating and repositioning the object after your transformation usually involved duplicating and leaving a reference copy in place.

With Procreate 5X, the introduction of an extra Bounding Box Adjust Node sees the biggest shift in how Transform works since the feature’s invention. It may look small, but the node's ability to rotate the bounding box around an object is a huge advance. Now a bounding box can be easily fitted to the shape, with a handy snapping function that kicks in when the bounding box detects the best fit. Scaling and distorting is now performed on the spot and in a single step, not two or more.

A whole new way to Transform using Procreate 5X's Bound Box Adjust Node

This fundamental shift in how Procreate 5X approaches Transform goes beyond a quality-of-life change. It’s a complete re-imagining of a feature digital artists have taken for granted for well over a decade. Transform becomes faster, simpler and much smarter. In terms of workflow and ease of use, it is literally transformational.

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