Do you seem that some image is not exactly centered as you wish? Should be 5 pixels left or about 7 pixels upper? This short step-by-step procedure shows you how to center one layer in another by using Photoshop.
Before we start, I would like to focus your attention on the right upper History panel to follow all actions done by every single step. Also, don’t miss follow the Layers tab in the right lower corner to have an info which one is actually selected. Keep an eye on these two items all the time! They could significantly help you to clarify some doubts.
Well, let’s have a situation: very friendly and cute looking smiley should be exactly centered in the 500×500 pixels blank image. So, first open the smiley.png image and create new one, blank image by File > New selection of the top main menu. After this step #0, your workplace should look like the below one.
Now, make layer from Background of the newly created blank image by double click on it, in the right lower Layers tab. Check, that the name of this layer has changed from Background to Layer 0. Also, notice the History pane at right upper corner to check the change. This first step should be recorded there.
Following step is pretty simple – drag our friendly smiley over the newly created image and drop wherever you want. The Layer 1 is created which may be notable on the Layers tab in the right lower corner as well as Drag Layer in History is recorded.
This is going to be the key step. Select Layer 0 on the Layers tab and select Rectangular Marquee tool from the left side toolset panel. Stretch Rectangular Marquee over the Layer 0 from upper left to lower right corner. This creates the reference area against which our smiley will be centered.
Once Layer 0 is rectangulary marked, select Layer 1 (the smiley) and go to the Layer > Align Layers to Selection tab of the top main menu. Align submenu is folded out as screenshot shows.
Select Vertical Centers and you’ll get your nice smiley centered verticaly in the Layer 0 as shown below.
Do the same with Horizontal Centers and the Layer 1 is exactly centered in the Layer 0.
Now select Layer 0 from Layers tab, click on it by right mouse button and select Deselect (clear wording :-))
Once Layer 0 is deselected, your friendly smiley is absolutely centered on the background image!
If any of these steps is not clear, check every step against screenshot, which can be zoomed in by click on it. Don’t forget to follow the History and the Layers tabs, they help a lot if something was not understood properly.