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Power Cropping Tips

Lesson 6 from: Canvas Size and Cropping in Photoshop CC

Khara Plicanic

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Lesson Info

6. Power Cropping Tips

Lesson Info

Power Cropping Tips

Let's talk about some, um, some power tips for things like straightening now. Previously, for whatever reason, in my Photoshopped life, if you had asked me to straighten, here's the Tower of Pisa, so it's supposed to not be straight, so don't straighten it because the whole world will be mad at you but for this example, will straighten it because it's funny. But, um, in my Photoshopped life, for whatever reason, if you had said, Oh, straight in this picture, what I would have done is unlocked the background, pulled up the free transform command, rotated it, committed it and then cropped it back. That's like just my way of doing it. But that's silly because you don't have to do that so you could actually use the crop tool to straighten things. So with the crop tool, select him. Um, let's go to our original ratio. So we just maintain as much of of what we can of this original composition and if we And here's another example of what content aware does. It used to be an earlier versions of...

photo shop. When you would try to straighten things, you would have the choice to like there were three choices, and it was always confusing. It was like extend canvas, crop canvas or there was another one and I don't remember. And thankfully, they just have done away with all of that and just have content aware. So if we don't turn content aware on and I click outside the crop, so normally we're used to clicking and dragging the crop around like that. But if we hover outside, you'll see that the cursor turns into double headed arrows. And now we can spin so we can rotate this and you'll notice that with content aware turned off as I rotate to straighten this, the crop is is coming in so that it's cropping off what we call the wedges. So by rotating it, we're getting these white wedges. And because content Aware is not turned on, photo shop is dealing with the wedges by cutting them out crime. So we are. We're losing some parts of the image that maybe we wouldn't have to otherwise. But it's not a big deal, so that's our choice. So we could just crop it and there we go or let's do it again. But this time I'm going to turn on content, aware and all clicking here and now. Now, when we do it, look what it does. It is not cutting out the wedge. It's leaving the wedge. So there's a wedge down here and a wedge up here and a little wedge on these corners to. So now we'll go ahead and accept that transformation, and it filled in the wedges. So that's another use of content aware. So by straightening it, we're and using content aware, we are keeping the same frame. Exactly when we turned off, content aware, the frame shrunk to cut the wedges out, but by turning it on, the frame stayed. And then it just filled in and it didn't really great job, I think. And maybe that's a little wonky up here if we really want to be technical about it. So we could maybe retouch that we could clone over this, however, we would decide to take care of it or just crop it out. But we have choices, which is really cool. Another thing you can dio if you don't wanna eyeball your own straightening technique. If we grab the crop tool, you'll notice that there is an option here for straighten, and there's little icon that's supposed to be a level kind of looks like a glowing battery or a suitcase or something. But it's, I think it's supposed to be a level. So if we click on that, the way that it works is we. It measures things in the image that should be either perfectly vertical or perfectly horizontal, but aren't so. What we do is we take this and I'm gonna click and drag along the crooked edge of the building and you'll notice it's measuring the angle. So it's showing their an angle of negative 5.2 degrees. And then when I let go, photo shops going to rotate to take that minus 5.2 degrees and make it zero. And then, um, you know, we're getting the same effect. We're getting the wedges and everything just the same, but we're not manually dragging it on. Then we would click OK, it's gonna fill in those wedges, and there we go. So that's how straightening is pretty simple. Okay, let's, um, look at here's the thing everyone wants to know about deleted pixels. So we'll close that and let's get the image for that. Okay, so here's an image. Let's say we want to crop this to an eight by 10 ratio. So that's the for my five. And I want it horizontal. Um, so when I'm looking at this, for whatever reason, I always like this image. I feel like I have a hard time cropping it just right because, like, I don't want to cut them off at the ankles because that's weird and creepy. But I don't want this in the background. I just want to keep just the water that's behind them. So there's two things that weaken Dio that could be helpful here. One is, I think I like to come in here and take the opacity of this, that outlying areas. And instead of having this 50% overlay, I want to make it 100%. So I can really see what the final crop will look like without having the rest of the image right there influencing me. So then I can see like OK, well, maybe a make maybe like this better now, so I I like that I like being able to turn off or increase the capacity, so I really just don't see the outside image. So maybe we will go with something like this. And then if I uncheck the delete cropped pixels So what that means is, then, once I crop it and I go about my business, I can move the image still around on my canvas because I basically cropped the canvas, but not the image. So it gives you that flexibility even after the fact to be like, Oh, wait, I actually don't like the way crop that and you can just you can either grab the move tool and move it around or if we go back and get the crop tool. Um, we see that the image is still all here. So however you want to approach that, like the basic rules of like when you're cropping what to cut off, like ankle like don't cut off like right at the ankle. Like, what are some of the areas of the body parts that you try not to cut off at the like? Are the big No, no. Yeah, great question. So you don't want to cut you don't cut it joints because it just looks Dexter esque like you just meat cleaver. So That's why when I when I say that I am watching out for their ankles down here, I wouldn't want to have the crop lake right at their ankles because just it's uncomfortable. So I'd want to crop higher up like mid calf. Um, still, like not maybe right at their knees or risk and elbows and necks are other areas you want to watch out for. So in that situation, you either want to back up and have ah, farther outcrop or cropping a little closer. And it's okay to crop, you know, like faces. Like when I'm shooting. I mean, that's in camera cropping is just that composition, right? So when I am shooting all those really tight close ups, I cut people's heads off all the time. And I will tell you that in the early days I would get the clients that would say, But you cut their head off and I'm like, Yeah, it's awesome, isn't it? Because I didn't crop among of here. That would be weird. It was like the top of their head or, you know, like the side of their face or whatever, and that's totally cool. I like a dramatic crop, but a dramatic crop is different than a like uncomfortable crop. And so the joints is kind of a generally accepted thing that we like. You just don't you don't do that. I mean, you can break the rules, that's all good. But know that you're doing that Another thing that can be helpful when you're deciding how to crop. And I think this can help you with your photography to is within the crop tool. So with the crop tool active, if we come up here and click this little meshi grid looking thing, you can choose the different overlays that will show up on your crops. So by default, the rule of thirds is on. So that's what these lines are here for. Um, maybe you notice that maybe you didn't, But these lines that appear are to help you compose a good crop. When I think I mean, I always try to compose in camera, so I'm usually not trying to crop my photos for composition. If if you're always cropping to clean up a composition, then you might want to take a look at what you could be doing different in camera to shoot it with a better composition in the first place. Okay, so that would be step one. Um, and I think the more you pay attention to win your cropping, then if you can take that mindset and apply it to when you're shooting, um, that would be useful. But anyway, you can maybe hone those skills here where you know, you you're not in the moment with the camera and a client that's waiting or tapping their field their heels on the kid is screaming and all that. But you can change the different tools that you have here to help you. You know, you can go with they golden ratio or a golden spiral, which is, you know, sort of nature's compositional tool. Um, but by default is on to the rule of thirds. So those are some things that could be helpful and and un checking delete cropped pixels. Although no, If you are cropping something because you plan to extend the canvas than separately, then you'd want to delete it, cause otherwise it will keep showing back up unless you want that. But that can screw up your math. Possibly, um, so anyway, good questions let me show you how you make a preset. Okay, First, I'll close this out. Let's go. And we're gonna open these four images, okay? And let's say that we are going to crop the Siris of four images. They all have different sizes and everything. And let's say we just want them to be the same as this image here, whatever this images we need to make the others match. So with the crop tool, we can actually choose an option here, which is front image. So that will load the width and height and resolution to this particular image right here. Okay, so we've got that loaded, so we don't need to crop this one, So we'll come over here and we'll crop this one. I am getting a I'll tell it to delete the pixels just because And we'll do this one. Whoa. And if you ever like, do crazy things like that, just press the escape key, and it will go back to something that you recognize. Ah, well, crop this. Okay, So now these are all gonna have the same crop. Same size. So you could maybe use those for web buttons or a web gallery or something. on def. If that's a size that you end up using a lot, you can add it to your presets so you can come over here and say new crop preset and we could call this like, I don't know. Maybe it's like a Vaio pick gallery image or something for your production that you might use a lot, so we click. OK, so now any time you get to an image and you want that specific size and stuff, you would just find it right here. So you click, the preset dropped down, and then it will be right there. And if you want to delete it, then you can also just click delete crop preset. So there is another tool in here called the Perspective Crop Tool, and there's a couple different ways that you can use it personally. I like to click and drag this mess so I'm clicking in like the four corners that follow the perspective of this wall. And once I click each of those points, then we see this nice mesh here, and you can change it after the fact. So you can, like, flatten it or flip it. You know you can do all kinds of crazy things, but I think this is about pretty good. So what I'm looking at in this image when I'm following it, is I'm following this vertical line that's here. And then I'm following this line. This that's in the cement or the whatever this wall, There's a line right here. So I'm following that too, so that the top of this mesh is parallel to this line. And then when you it's not always gonna be perfect, every image is different. But when we commit this, it attempts to flatten it and straighten it out. So interesting. Yeah. So take what you will with that, but that's the perspective crop tool.

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.

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