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Cannot completely disable snapping. Free Transform always snaps to the pixel grid.

Contributor ,
Apr 12, 2023 Apr 12, 2023

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I'm trying to understand if this is the correct behavior or if my preferences have been somehow corrupted.

I've disabled "Snap Vector Tools and Transforms to Pixel Grid" in the Preferences > Tools section:

Photoshop_9SnHLMY3zd.png

I have snap completely disabled and extras hidden:

Photoshop_4NHN54eeM2.png

And yet despite all this ... vector shapes and even raster elements are snapping to the pixel grid when I am free transforming them. Sometimes elements snap to fractional coordinates too which is weird as well.

I've created a video of the behavior here:
https://streamable.com/aa5z1i

1. Can someone possibly confirm that this is the correct (intended) behavior?
2. Can someone supply a solution that disables this behavior?

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Explorer ,
Apr 13, 2023 Apr 13, 2023

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Hi, I tested it here for you on Mac with PS 2022 and 2023. What I notice is that the bounding box does not snap to the pixels(although it is not smooth as you would expect. Even though it does not snap it is jumpy) . It doesn't either in your video. What does snap is the actual image, so the pixels keep jumping to the next pixel. If I think about it that would make sense since it is rasterised so a pixel will always be snapping to another pixel even though the bounding box of your transform would not. Maybe someone else could confirm or explain this better? 

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Contributor ,
Apr 14, 2023 Apr 14, 2023

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For me, the bounding box is definitely snapping to something. I can't figure out exactly what it's snapping to since part of it is jumping to coordinates that are not whole pixels. The circle I'm transforming is a vector shape, so from my understanding, the path itself doesn't need to obey any rules regarding pixel rasterization. Once the shape's transform is committed Photoshop should only then translate the vector data to a rasterized result with appropriate antialiasing.

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Community Expert ,
Apr 13, 2023 Apr 13, 2023

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Photoshop is a pixel editor so always works in units of single pixels when displaying an image. There are no half or quarter pixels when displaying an image.

Paths can cover partial pixels but the display of a shape created by a path is always displayed using whole pixels (although the value of those whole pixels can be changed to give the impression of partial pixels, for example when anti-aliasing is used).

For the same reason although the transform handles can move in smaller increments than a pixel, the transformed content will always fill whole pixel units.

 

Dave

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Contributor ,
Apr 14, 2023 Apr 14, 2023

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I understand what you're saying, but if you're free transforming a vector shape, the final bake to pixels should always get anti-aliasing to properly account for the areas of the shape that fall inbetween whole pixel boundries. AA gets applied consistantly for vector elements (shapes and text) in Photoshop. I don't see any reason why a user shouldn't be able to transform a vector shape completely unconstrained.

The problem I'm facing is that the size of the vector circle I'm transforming is snapping to completely arbitrary values. There is no need for this and it's undesirable behavior since PS is obviously capable of anti-aliasing areas of the path that cross beyond or between whole pixels.

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Community Expert ,
Apr 14, 2023 Apr 14, 2023

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As a work-around you could mark the scaling-numbers in the Options Bar and use the up- and down-arrow-keys (adds/subtracts 1 percent but with an object that small that should provide fairly fine stepping). 

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Community Beginner ,
Jun 11, 2024 Jun 11, 2024

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It is a bug that appeared long time ago. I remember the times when you could move shapes smoothly. But now no one pays attention to it. But you can use some trick to make it little bit smoother. You can use X: Y: W: H: names of fields in the top bar. These names work like sliders when you place cursor over them, and you can hold Ctrl while tweacking them.

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Contributor ,
Jun 12, 2024 Jun 12, 2024

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Thanks for the reply, and yeah I've been using that little tweak as well. It's really a shame that there is no attention to this. When designing icons that need pixel perfect shapes at small sizes it's such a pain. CS5 handles it perfectly. Go figure.

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