How to Adjust Ellipses in Photoshop

By Filonia LeChat

Circles are ever-present in the world, from traffic signs to jewelry to candy to abstract designs. They are also a common option for digital design work, offered as a customizable tool in graphics software programs such as Adobe Photoshop. Photoshop calls its circles "ellipses" and dedicates a tool and corresponding toolbar to the round shapes. Use the "Ellipse Tool" to make adjustments to already-created ellipses in size, color and shape.

Step 1

Open Photoshop, click the "File" menu and select "Open." Browse to the Photoshop file with the ellipse to adjust. Note that only the proprietary Photoshop PSD file will maintain the ellipse shape layer required to edit it -- all other formats such as JPEG and GIF flatten layers and render the ellipse uneditable. Double-click the Photoshop file and the ellipse document opens on the Photoshop work area.

Step 2

Check whether the "Layers" palette is open on the bottom-right corner of the screen. If it is not, pull down the "Window" menu and select "Layers" to open it. Doing this while the palette is open will close it.

Step 3

Double-click the Shape 1 layer with the ellipse -- or the name of the ellipse layer if you renamed it within the palette. The layer is highlighted in blue to show it has focus. The "Layer Style" window opens.

Step 4

Click once on the "Stroke" line at the bottom of the "Styles" column. This highlights the word "Stroke," puts a border around the ellipse and opens the "Stroke" window. Change the color of the border -- Photoshop may add black by default -- by clicking into the "Color" box and selecting a new color, then clicking "OK."

Step 5

Change the color of the actual ellipse by clicking the "Color Overlay" line, which puts a check in the box and opens the "Color Overlay" window. Click into the small unmarked box filled with color at the top of the window. Choose a new color and click the "OK" button.

Step 6

Give the ellipse a gradient instead of a full solid color by unchecking "Color Overlay" and clicking the "Gradient Overlay" line. When the "Gradient" window opens, pull down the "Gradient" window and choose one of the gradient options, such as rainbow. Click the "OK" button when satisfied.

Step 7

Resize the ellipse by clicking the "Edit" menu and selecting "Transform Path." Click the "Scale" option, then pull one of the corners framing the ellipse to make it larger or smaller. Press the "Enter" key when satisfied with the new size.

Tips & Warnings

  • To add an ellipse in a newly created Photoshop canvas, right-click the shape tool, which takes on the appearance of a gray rectangle, gray circle, gray star or line icon at the bottom of the "Tools" pane. Right-click the tool and select "Ellipse Tool" from the fly-out menu, then draw one on your canvas.