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Adobe Photoshop CS5 : Sizing Digital Images - Resizing an Image (part 2) - Crop Tool

1/8/2013 5:26:35 PM
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3. Crop Tool

With the Crop tool you can change a viewer’s perception of an image. You can choose to tighten the area of interest of an image, which allows you to de-emphasize (or even eliminate) parts of a photo and improve the image by better framing the subject.

You can invoke cropping in two ways. The first method involves making a selection with the Rectangular Marquee tool and then choosing Image > Crop. Although this works fine, it does not offer as much control as using the second method, the Crop tool. Let’s put method two into action:

Tip: Cropping Keyboard Shortcuts

  • To toggle the shielded area off, press the forward slash key (/).

  • To hide the selection border, press Command+H (Ctrl+H).


1.
Open the image Ch04_Field.tif .

2.
Choose the Crop tool from the Tools panel or press C.

3.
With the Crop tool, make a selection to crop the image. In this case, removing the large white blob in the upper-right corner (an out-of-focus greenhouse) will improve the composition of the image.

4.
You can refine the crop selection after it is made. Mouse over an edge of the crop until the pointer changes to a double-headed arrow, and then click and drag on the crop selection border to pull the crop tighter or to expand it. Additionally, you can click and drag a corner of the crop border to expand two sides at once.

5.
Examine the crop. Make sure you’ve selected the Shield check box in the Options bar. This gives you a better idea of the area to be cropped.

6.
When satisfied with the crop, press Return (Enter) or click the Commit button (check mark) in the Options bar. The shielded (darkened) areas will be cropped. To cancel, press the Esc key.

Power crop

It is possible to crop and resize an image at the same time. I refer to this technique as a power crop, and it is a huge time-saver. Before cropping, you can type the desired size of your final image into the Options bar. When you drag to crop the image, your box will constrain to the proper aspect ratio. This allows you to resize and crop in one step.

Let’s crop an image to a 4-inch by 4-inch square at 300 ppi:

1.
Open the file Ch04_Bottles.tif.

2.
In the Options bar, type 4 in (as in inches) into both the Width and Height fields.

3.
In the resolution field, type 300 and set it to pixels/inch.

4.
Drag to crop the image. Your crop selection is constrained to the shape you specified in the Options bar.

5.
Click the Commit button or press Return (Enter). When finished cropping, you may want to click Clear to reset the tool’s default settings.

Tool Presets Save Time

If you have a specific image size that you use often, harness the power of Photoshop’s Preset Manager. You can create tool presets that already have the values for a tool loaded:

1.
Type a desired size and resolution into the Options bar.

2.
When the Crop tool is selected, you’ll see its icon in the upper-left corner of the Options bar. Click the triangle to access the menu.

3.
You’ll see several preset sizes that are stored in Photoshop. Select the Current Tool Only check box to narrow the presets.

4.
Click the Create new tool preset icon in the menu (it looks like a pad of paper).

5.
Photoshop stores the preset crop size in a temporary preferences file.

6.
To permanently save cropping sizes, click the submenu icon in the menu (the small triangle in a circle). Choose Save Tool Presets, and save them in a desired location.


Nondestructive cropping

Cropping is very important, but it’s also permanent. When you crop an image, you permanently discard data. Nondestructive editing is a workaround that allows you to crop an image and keep the cropped pixels available for future use. Nondestructive editing provides you with flexibility throughout the design process. Let’s put the technique to the test:

1.
Open the image Ch04_Butterfly.tif .

2.
To crop nondestructively, you must convert the Background into a standard layer. Double-click the word Background in the Layers panel. Name the layer Butterfly and click OK.

3.
Select the Crop tool by pressing C.

4.
Mark out an area to crop. Select a much tighter shot of the butterfly.

5.
In the Options bar, change the Cropped Area to Hide (Delete is selected by default).

6.
Click the Commit button or press Return (Enter).

7.
Select the Move tool by pressing V (as in moVe, the letter M is used by the Marquee tool). Drag in the image and reposition it; the original pixels are still available, allowing you to modify the crop in the future.

Because the cropped pixels were hidden (instead of deleted), details were preserved outside the cropped area. This allows for the image to be repositioned within the frame. Be sure to save the image as a PSD file or Layered TIFF to preserve future flexibility.

Tip: Leave a Note

You can use Photoshop’s Note tool to leave a comment that the image was cropped nondestructively. This will help you remember in the future.

Tip: Pixel Restoration

You can choose Image > Reveal All to restore all hidden pixels after using the Hide method for cropping.


Perspective cropping

Some images will have visible distortion, which is often caused by the camera not being square with the subject. If the photographer was higher (or lower) than the image or if the photo was taken at an angle, you will see distortion. In some cases, this distortion is part of the shot composition and is desirable. In others, the distortion can be distracting. Let’s square off an image:

1.
Open the file Ch04_Perspective.tif .

2.
Select the Crop tool by pressing C.

3.
Crop around the window in the photo as tight as you can to frame it.

4.
In the Options bar, set the Crop to Delete, not Hide. Then select the Perspective check box.

5.
Click the Shield Color to select a new color. In the Color Picker, select a bright red to make it easier to see the cropped area.

6.
Drag the upper-right and upper-left corners in toward the center. You are trying to line up the crop borders parallel to the edge of the window. The crop selection will no longer look rectangular.

7.
Click the Commit button or press Return (Enter). The resulting image should appear as if the photo was squared and the camera was level.

 
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