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How to rotate Photoshop custom shapes tutorial

rotate custom shapes for Photoshop

How to rotate Photoshop custom shapes and apply rotation transformation tutorial. The custom shapes are layer designs and they can be rotated in many ways. You can use the transform and rotate command in Photoshop CC CS6 CS5 etc. You can use the bounding box to rotate the custom shapes. You can use actions to rotate the custom shapes. You can also use Illustrator to rotate the path and then re-copy the work back into Photoshop. You can also rotate the custom shapes if they are pixel designs. This tutorial shows a number of methods on how to rotate the Photoshop custom shapes such as with actions and with the transform command. How to set the rotation accurately and how to just interactively rotate the vector custom shapes.


  1. Select custom shape layer in Photoshop

  2. Edit menu

  3. Transform

  4. Rotate

  5. Enter angle in rotate field

  6. Press return




Basics of rotating custom shapes in Photoshop - Fill (pixels) on a layer

rotate shape on a layer in Photoshop

If the graphic is applied as a fill and it is applied to a layer then you can quickly rotate the layer by selecting the layer (in the layer panel) and then go to the edit menu and transform and rotate command. You can then either enter a value in the top bar options for the rotation (rotate text filed) or you can just use the art bounds controls to manually rotate the custom shape layer in Adobe ® Photoshop ®. To finish, press enter or click the tick button. You can also use the transform command to repeat the rotation or set up a keyboard shortcut for the operation. If you have the option to use the shape as a shape layer and rotate then that is much better than the pixel option


  1. Select custom shape tool

  2. Set shape and color

  3. Set to pixels option

  4. Layer menu in Photoshop

  5. New layer

  6. Add shape to new layer

  7. Edit menu

  8. Transform

  9. Rotate and enter angle

  10. Press return



Rotate artwork if on the background

In this case, the custom shape can be rotated via the image menu command and image rotation where you can use on the defined rotations or set an arbitary rotation. You may find the image is re-sized and the background color is added to the new created background (you might like to set this beforehand via the toolbox)


Rotate shape as a layer in Photoshop

type and cube custom shape rotated

You might like to set the show transform controls to ON (this can be found in the top bar options in Adobe ® Photoshop ® when using a shape layer). You can then use the art bound / transform controls to manually rotate the custom shape.


When you start rotating the path using the transform controls in Adobe ® Photoshop ®, the rotation text box will appear along the top option bar and you can enter a new value for the rotation. You can also update the rotation by holding the mouse down and placing the mouse over the little rotate icon and drag the mouse left or right to decrease or increase the angle.


Click the tick button or press return to complete both operations.


Another way to rotate the PS layer is via the edit menu and transform command (and rotate). With CC, you can also apply various transforms to the rectangle and live shapes but for some weird reason, there is no rotation option.



Rotate using Illustrator instead

You can also just select the custom shapes in Adobe ® Photoshop ® and then go to the edit menu and use the copy (or cut) command and then paste the path in Adobe AI and use the rotation features of Illustrator.


Use actions to apply a rotation to a Photoshop custom shape

You can always use actions to capture a rotation. Select a custom shape and then goto the action panel and then select the new action command and record the various steps such as rotate by 45 degrees. Give a name to the action and this action can be used to rotate a selected custom shape by 45 degrees etc with a single click. Of course, you can setup a range of actions such as rotate by 1 degree or 5 degrees etc and these can be applied over and over in seconds. A very quick and useful way to rotate a custom shape in Adobe ® Photoshop ®.


  1. Create custom shape as a shape layer (as before)

  2. Select custom shape

  3. Window menu

  4. Actions

  5. Right side menu

  6. New action

  7. Record

  8. Edit

  9. Transform

  10. Set angle 10

  11. OK

  12. Stop recording (actions panel)


Now you can just click that Photoshop action to rotate the selected shape


Re-define the artwork as a CSH

multiple custom shapes cubes rotated

Once you have transformed the path in Adobe ® Photoshop ®, you can always go to the edit menu and use the define command to save the work for future use or save it to the CC library


  1. Select custom shape tool in Photoshop

  2. Set to shape layer option

  3. Set color

  4. Apply shape

  5. Edit menu

  6. Transform

  7. Rotate and set an angle

  8. Click OK

  9. Direct selection tool in Photoshop toolbar

  10. Select all the points

  11. Edit menu

  12. Define custom shape

  13. OK


Using them with layer comps

One additional oversight (I think) with the rotation of custom shapes is that the comp / layer comp feature preserves the various states of position but does not preserve rotation. So if you create a custom shape layer and then save a layer comp Via the layer comp panel) and then rotate it and save that, the layer comp does not include that information.


Other tutorials for Photoshop and elements

1. how to use the custom shapes in different color / image modes such as CYMK RGB etc

2. how to use custom shapes to create amazing displacements / distortions

3. how to use keyboard tool shortcuts in Photoshop for super quick access to commands

4. how to use the photoshop shapes with the creative cloud libraries and save and recall tutorial


Other resources

1. 3D / cube / box custom shapes in Photoshop and elements

2. art nouveau / tile / floral shapes

3. banner and pennant custom shapes

4. blot and spots and splatters custom shapes

5. edge border custom shapes


Video tutorial on the subject

A quick youtube video showing a few ways to do the task. The video is by Andrew Buckle Rotating shapes tutorial [Youtube]