Skip to main content

Cropping Shape Tools

Lesson 7 from: Canvas Size and Cropping in Photoshop CC

Khara Plicanic

buy this class


Sale Ends Soon!

starting under


Unlock this classplus 2200+ more >

Lesson Info

7. Cropping Shape Tools

Lesson Info

Cropping Shape Tools

we could do simple things with the crop tool. We've already done squares and rectangles that's pretty much standard. But you can also use shapes. You could do any shape that you could think of. You can draw your own shape with the pen tool you can use a number of built in shapes. In this example, I'm going to show you just a simple elliptical shape. So I'm grabbing down here. The elliptical er, excuse me, the Ellipse tool. This is not the elliptical marquee tool that we have up here. It's the shape tool, the elliptical shape tool down here. So with that active, I want to make sure that path is turned on. So when you use the shape tools, you can use them in three different ways. You can use them as shapes, path or pixels. So for this particular thing to work, it needs to be a path. And then I'm just going to click and drag a circle wherever it is. I want it, and when I let go, I get a pass and then I can just click mask, and now I've cropped my photo into a circle, and if I want to then...

trim away all of the the area. I could then grab the crop tool and try to perfectly crop it or come up to the image menu and choose the trim command. So image trim. And I can tell it to trim all the transparent pixels on the top, bottom left and right. And it'll just crop it like that. And then, of course, I have some sort of fun little text bit pull out their adventure. And so now maybe that is, you know, on a web for something now, imprint. You wouldn't necessarily need to do this unless you were like designing something in photo shop. But if you were designing something like a, um, annual report or something for a company, you'd be doing that in in design and you would just drop. You wouldn't have to crop it. You would just create an elliptical frame and throw the photo in it. But in photo shop, if you need something to be in a circle, you can do it like that. Of course, you can use custom shapes to So here's a fun little image. Um, it's got some fun movement happening, so I'm gonna grab the not the Ellipse tool, but the custom shape tool. If you're not familiar with custom shapes, they're so fun. And once you have it selected, so there's, like, standard shapes here. And then there's the custom shape, which is this little I call it an amoeba because it looks like an amoeba. And from the options bar up here, we can click this drop down and by default you only see a limited number of shapes here. But if you click the little gear icon, you'll notice that there are different categories of shapes. So right now I'm just viewing all Yeah, So these are all the shapes that come with foot a shop that you can use and one that I really like, for whatever reason is the little arrow, the side arrow. So if I click and drag gonna drag out this arrow here and once I let go, I'm going to make sure that I've got it set to combine shapes and I'm gonna grab my path selection tool. I'm gonna hold down the Ault key and duplicate this a couple of times so that I've got three arrows, so three paths, right? Um and then using that same path Selection arrow. I can click and drag to select all three paths. And then I have to switch back to my amoeba and then I can clip mask. And now, if I want to move, like maybe I don't really like where the image is within those arrows. Then I can come over here and uncheck the link because what this is doing is just applying a mask that was in the shape of these heroes. So if I don't unlinked hit, if I grab the move tool and just move it, everything is going to move as one unit. So if I want to separate them, then I can click to remove the link between them and I can move the image around within the arrows. Or I think I could move. It won't let me grab it. Whoops. So I would just position this where I want it. Maybe like that. And then if I want Teoh, add some text to this, I'm going to grab my regular crop tool and clear all this out and all moved us that we're here. Let's extend it this way a little bit. So we have room for text. Oh, no. Did I have Philae had content aware Fill on tonight? I did, but it didn't do anything so But that's why it took so long. All right, Who? It was like the content is empty. That's an easy one. So yes, it's empty. And then I have a fun little type here, and I didn't I didn't crop it out far enough to make that fit. So get the crop to again and just drag a little farther there, and then we have this cool. I don't know. I feel like it has a lot of kinetic energy in there. Um, so it's really fun way to make make images go into any shape you want. And, um, you know, there's a lot of shapes here, but you can always also create your own using the pen tool or also combining shapes. So these work just the same, um, thes commands to combine or subtract, intersect or exclude shapes. They work the same when you're working with paths as they do when you're working with selection tools so you can combine them or subtract them and make new shapes. Um, this is sort of where Photoshopped dabbles in illustrator in illustrators territory. And, um, you can do some really cool stuff. Um, so kind of like I really like what you did with, like, the arrows. Could you possibly like, Can you, like, upload like a company's logo and, like, do photos in the background of that, too? Or do you have to just create your own all the time? Oh, you mean like, add a company shape and then put a photo inside the shape of Yeah, so any any path that you can bring in the photo shop. So anything with a path, you could put a shape into it. Um, and you can also if, uh if you guys aren't handy with the pen tool, There are some Web sites where you can get free shapes or you know you can. There's places where people make shapes, and then you can buy shapes. You can get free shapes. You can trade shapes. Um, and you can load them into your panel here. If you we click the little gear icon. Here's where you can load shapes, but it doesn't have to be a shape. It could be. I mean, anything that you could draw so I could take this pen tool here and just let me switch it. So it's a path. Um, and I could just draw any old I don't know what that is. Something heinous. But now it's selected. And, um, if we go get another image, let's get something else. I guess I sort of did this backwards. Okay, well, we'll dry do this again in here. Maybe you make something equally heinous. All right, so now we have that shape, and then I could mask that. So, I mean, whatever you can draw, you can turn text into path and then put although there's easier ways. If you want to put photos into text, you don't have to mess with this, But, um, there's a lot of things that you can do with it. So it's a handy. It's a handy little trick toe have up your sleeve. Did you have another question? Um, yeah, I was looking. I was thinking about the preset, the cropping preset. Uh um, I do sports photography, which can equal to editing upwards of 1000 images in one setting. And so I was looking at the cropping preset, but the way you did it. You went in at that. Um, after you got the dimensions, you went in and adjusted every photos. So that's pretty much I mean, as faras within the crop because you set the preset for the size, huh? And then you went in and adjusted the photo within that crop, Um, Teoh usually cropping the photo right. But you had set the preset for a specific size. So the four images that you had were said at that side. Okay, so you would still have to go in and reset or not reset, but manually move the photo within. So you had the right. If you're If you want a custom crop, then yeah, OK, you could see it in action. And you just wanted to take every image and crop it like from the centre default crop. You could make an action that would do that. OK, but if you want to manually, you know, adjust the crop based on the subject in the composition of each photo, then you know, then you're manually doing it right. Okay. But if you wanted Teoh make an action to just take every photo and crop it to the default center crop of whatever size. You could make an action, and then you do em all like that. Let's go back and make this image whole again. So here's this image here. And if we wanted to, let's say crop this to now I've deleted that. Let's say we want to crop them all into a Facebook timeline cover, cause that's a preset that I have here. Um, all we would need to dio then is go to our actions panel And are you familiar with recording actions? So So some of you are some of you aren't. So when you record actions you need to be. This is what's called button mode, which allows you to just, like click, and then it runs in action on these air. So, like old thes air leak not updated actions, so they're going to get a lot of errors. But, um, when you're in but mode, it's just like a one click play, so you can't record in action in, but modes he would have to turn off button mode. So then we get this. We get this crazy looking mode, um, and I always have to go through and collapse them cause I hate seeing them open. It's just so messy and like I can't find anything. Okay, so then to record a new action, you would come down here and click the first we have to make a new action. And so we click the new action button, which looks just like the new layer button, and we will call this like my awesome crop action. And then you have to put it in a set. So I have one that's got a lot of my own stuff in. It could bloom, so I'll put it in that folder. You can make your own and set by clicking the folder. So click the folder first, make a set, and then you make an action to go in the set. So we'll click record, and then I could just get the crop tool. And I would choose that whatever that preset is. And now I'm not going to customize it is just gonna crop to center right, so I'm not customizing anything. Then I apply the crop and then I hit Stop and that's it. So now I've got this action and to run a batch. So let's say I have this folder of images here. We can just do it on all these photos. If I want to take all that, I'm in bridge. This is bridge right here that I'm in so you can get to bridge by, uh, going file browsing bridge. I always have bridge open because it's just how I do everything, Um, and this particular set up of bridge can be found under. It's something weird. I never I manually made this set up, but there is a shortcut for it, and I don't remember what they call it. It's like I don't know, but anyway, I just went into bridge, and I, uh, got rid of all of the panels and things that were open. So, like if we go to it's called light table like, Yes, there we go. Workspace, light table. So here's the standard workspace. When you open bread, you see this, and I just I just want the images. So it's under window workspace. Light table. There you go. And you can make you can add certain folders to your list of favorites. So it's easy to navigate around, but anyway, it once you're in bridge, let's say I want to take all these images and apply that crop. I'll just select them all here and then I'll choose tools, photo shop, image processor. And I'm just gonna tell them Tell it to save here, not resize it because I'm going to run the action. So I'm just telling it now to take the images. The 17 images from Bridge, um, save them in the same folder. It'll make a sub folder. Save it as a J peg. Don't resize it. Run the action called My Awesome Crop and that's it. Then I hit run, and now it's gonna crop seeds doing. But now they may not all look good because, you know, they're not made in your set up. It would make more sense, but yeah, so then if we go back over to bridge, it made this folder and they're all in there

Ratings and Reviews


Something that seems so basic, but so important! Big help & tips on gallery wraps, ratio vs size cropping and when to specify resolution or when you need to delete those pixels! Super fun technique to 'crop to shape' great ideal for web & social media. I appreciate that Khara covered the change from 'old crop' panel (previous versions) to 'new crop' (more recent CC versions), every time the interface changes it hard to switch the brain over ;)

a Creativelive Student

I just bought this class based on the previous reviews. I am so glad that I did, as I learned some new tricks to do in Photoshop! Thank you Khara for sharing this great information!

Amy Vaughn

I didn't think I'd learn much in a class about cropping, but Khara went over a few things I didn't know. I'm a Photoshop dinosaur that hasn't been keeping up with all the changes to the tools that came along in the CC version, and turns out there are a few new goodies for cropping. She also had some good tips for gallery wraps.

Student Work