You really ought to be doing this in Illustrator.
Maybe so, but I'm not sure how to do it in Illustrator either.
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The background needs to be 1/8" bigger in EVERY direction...Another poster in the forum (answering a similar question) suggested using Modify > Expand, but I can't get that to work (the command is greyed out for some reason that I don't understand).
Modify > Expand only works on pixel selections, so it isn't available when you work with shapes or paths. If you must do this in Photoshop, you might convert the shape to a selection (Command-click it in the Layers panel in OS X, or Control-click in Windows), expand it, and then convert the selection back to a vector shape, but there's a definite risk of introducing imperfections into the shape if you go that route.
This really is best done in Illustrator, which has the Object > Path > Offset Path command to solve exactly this type of problem.
Great, Conrad; thanks for the advice. I redid the artwork in Illustrator this morning and was able to achieve the desired effect exactly as you described. "The right tool for the right job," as Mr. Scott would say.
I'm creating a sign. I started from a font, then converted the text to a shape to provide the sign maker with vector art. Here's the problem.
Some of the lettering is metal-like mounted on a dark acrylic backing that 's supposed to create a 3D stroke-like effect. In the original design I actually had a stroke on the lettering to mock up the effect. But now, in order to seperately cut the letters and the backing, the sign maker needs vector art for both the metal-like lettering AND the backing pieces, which extend another 1/8" beyond the metal-like in every direction.
I duplicated that shape to create the background. The background needs to be 1/8" bigger in EVERY direction, so that when the metal-like letter is mounted on top of it, the brown background will create a stroke effect:
To put it simply, I need to grow every border of this brown B by the same amount--the exterior as well as the 2 interior edges--so that when the yellow B (above) is placed on top of it, the brown shows a 1/8 "stroke" around the yellow B. I tried doing a straight transform, but that doesn't achieve the desired result. Another poster in the forum (answering a similar question) suggested using Modify > Expand, but I can't get that to work (the command is greyed out for some reason that I don't understand). Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
Increasing 1/8" in all directions may distort the font for the font letters aspect ration is not 1:1.
To increase a shape size in all directions and maintain the current aspect ratio you need to two modifier keys during the transform operation. Holding down the shift key will constrain the transform to maintain the current aspect ratio. Holding down the Alt|Opt key cause the transform to be from the center. Hold both keys down and drag out a cornor.
What you're saying re the key commands is correct, but if you try it you'll see that it doesn't solve the problem I described. The Offset Path command in Illustrator does exactly what I needed. Thanks for the reply, though.
Yes I know its not what you really wanted to do but you asked how to expand in all directions. I think what you wanted to in reality may be able to be done in Photoshop by duping the shape layer move the dupe to an offset then combine the paths. I'm not sure. I don't have a licence for illustrator and I don't really want to learn an other large expensive Adobe product.