Basic Cropping in Quick Fix
Let's go back to what we were working on here, and we're going to talk briefly about the crop tool. This is a big thing that is probably, I would say one of the most used tools in photo editing by everyone from hobbyists to professionals to everybody. So let's get a different image though to practice on with. Maybe this cat is so fun, we could check out this cat, whoop. There we go, alright. So I've got this picture active and then I'm gonna grab the crop tool in my toolbar over here. So the crop tool is this little square frame icon and when I click on this I get all these options down here for ways that I can adjust my crop. The first thing to look at is right here, this dropdown. So right now it's set to No Restriction, and that means that I can crop this image by just coming in with my cursor and I just click and I just draw any crop that I want. So maybe I like that, for example. So maybe I wanna do that. The crop is not complete until I click this check mark here, so once I draw ...
the crop, if I want to move it around, I can do that by just clicking. I can drag to re... oop. (laughs) Drag to reposition it and now I went ahead and accidentally, I think I accidentally did crop it. That's not what I meant to do. So let's go back. Once you click and drag, if you want to reposition it you just put your cursor and click to move the whole frame around. If I want to adjust the frame, I just hover over one of the anchor points here and I can stretch or push and pull. And you'll notice because this is set to no restriction, I can crop any kind of weird shape that I want. So I could just crop the cat's eyes like this. That's kind of interesting. This will not fit in an off-the-shelf frame, we have no reference point really for what this crop is, so this is like the shape of a bookmark, but clearly that's not the same shape as an eight by 10, it's certainly not a square, it's just a long rectangle and we don't really know what that is. So that's what happens with no restriction, you can just freestyle whatever kind of crop you want. And that is nice, but you also are sort of flying blindly. You don't know what is going on with your final crop. So another place to be is you can use the Photo Ratio. That means that the crop will be the same shape as the original photo. So this photo is pretty long and rectangular, so this crop, if I click and drag out a frame, I'm restricted to a crop that has the same aspect ratio. So that refers to... Aspect ratio just means the relationship between the length and the width. So it's gonna be the same shape as the original. So that's what that means. And then down here beyond that we have some preset sizes. So, for example, if I wanted to crop this into a square, I can choose the five by five inches, and then when I click and drag, I get a square. And no matter how I draw this square, if I make a large square or I make a tiny square, when I actually press enter or click this check mark, I will end up with... Whatever pixels I'm keeping, they will be arranged into a five by five inch square. So that's what these presets are. I'll tell you about my favorite place to be and what I recommend in a minute. Over here, we have these crop suggestions. So Photoshop actually likes to tell you what it thinks would be a good crop. So there's a first suggestion here, a second suggestion, a third and a fourth. And it's just reading your image data and trying to decide what to do, what would make a good crop. This option over here for a grid overlay has to do with these little subdivisions that you see within the frame. So if I click this first option, then there's no grid overlay. So when I have this box, there's no subdivisions, those lines, in between. Why do we... Why would this maybe be helpful? Well, this is gonna help us apply some compositional theories and principles to our crop. So if you have studied photography, even just in the slightest, you've probably heard of something called the rule of thirds. And the rule of thirds is the idea that your photo is most interesting when your subject is not dead in the center of the picture, where... Oh man, I'm a little bit jumpy with this. Trigger-happy here. Where your photo, your subject is not in the center, like they would be here. It says that the composition is more interesting if they are in one of these areas where these lines intersect. So instead of putting your subject's face right here, you might move them slightly so their face is in one of these intersecting points. And this grid overlay just helps you visualize that and then you can do more interesting crops perhaps. So that's what that means. There's also this option here to subdivide even more, but I think that this option right here is probably what I'd recommend that most people use. Alright, so I'm gonna cancel that. Let's talk about this option here for resolution, because this is where people get into a little bit of trouble. So you'll notice if I have this five by five crop, for example, it says the width and the height will be five, and the resolution is blank. And that's a good thing. That's what we want to see there. The reason is because when we crop our images, we are resizing them and we're redistributing the pixels. And that creates potential for a problem. So it's best to leave this resolution blank so that we're not either throwing away more pixels than we need to, and we're also not inventing fake pixels, or what I call... We're not invoking a visit from the pixel fairy. So if we just talk for a moment about image size and resolution and what this means, hopefully this will make more sense, okay? The idea really is that cropping, if you're not careful about it, cropping can be one of the most dangerous things you do to your photos. And I know nobody wants to hear that, and when I tell you that, there are people at home that are like, "What? Get outta here." And maybe you don't believe me, but I think it's very true. If you don't know what you're doing, you can really hurt your images by cropping. The reason is, for example, if I wanna make this five by five square of this photo. Of course, with today's digital cameras, you've got so many pixels you can make a five by five print with no problem, right? So this would be an example of a nice five by five crop, I think. We have our subject off center slightly, so splitting the cat's face between this right third of the frame, I think that looks lovely. We have plenty of resolution for that. The problem comes where people crop in on the photo. And, let's see if I can grab this corner. So maybe, this is really extreme, I'm sure you would never do this, but to just make a point, let's pretend that you wanted to make a five by five of the cat's eye. Maybe for Halloween you're gonna do something fun with that. So if I crop way in on my photo like this, what's gonna happen is all of this area on the outside is just gonna be thrown away and totally discarded. Then we're gonna take this small section and then we're gonna blow that up basically to a five by five or a ten by ten, or whatever size it is that you're cropping to. But we're trying to fill out whatever size it is that you want here with only the pixels that are here, and that's only a small portion of the total pixels that we have in our image. So what happens is these pixels have to work extra hard and they have to cover a lot more ground. And that is how we reduce the resolution. And you end up potentially with a very pixelated image. So you wanna be careful when you're cropping your photos. And why I tell people to leave this blank... You wanna do two things. You wanna leave this blank so that you're not forcing Photoshop to add pixels. If I put a number here, like I tell Photoshop I wanna do this really extreme crop and I want the end result to have 300 pixels per inch, Photoshop will do that for you. And you will not notice anything funny. You'll think, "That looks fine, that's great. "Thank you Photoshop." Until you print it. And then when you print it, that's when these little pesky details show up. And you might see a problem. You might not if you don't crop too extreme or if you have an extreme camera that is capable of just crazy resolution, then I guess good for you. So this is less and less of a problem as our resolution increases. But you just wanna be careful and just know that as you crop in on your photos, you are risking your resolution. And I should say you're limiting your options as far as what you can do with that photo now that you've cropped it. You can't print it as largely as you wanted to before. Once you crop in on it, if you decide later you wanna crop even further, you're already at less pixels. So just know that, just know that you don't get an infinite, like a blank check to do whatever you want with the crop tool. I mean, you can, but you might pay for it in one way or another later. So the two things you wanna do, is when you're cropping like this, leave the resolution blank. That way you'll just end up with an organic result. So however many pixels you have, that's what you have. You won't end up with fake pixels. The other thing that you wanna do is don't crop like this. This is what I call extreme cropping, and like bungee jumping or other (laughs) extreme windsurfing. It's an extreme sport and it can be a little dangerous. And by that I mean that we're cropping far in, we're dragging the crop away from the edges of the original photo and we're ending up with something very far from what we started with. So if I cancel this, a crop like this is fine. This is as large as it can be, really, without going beyond the edges of the photo. So it's touching the top and it's touching the bottom, that's great, no problem there. The problem is when you dig in, okay? One way to think of that, if you're having a hard time wrapping your mind around this, I have a whole course actually in the catalog about resolution, it's a whole 90 minutes on talking about image size and resolution, so if you really wanna check that out, I highly recommend it. (laughs) But another way to think about this if you're struggling with this concept, is to think about cookie dough, okay? So if you imagine a big ball of cookie dough, and you roll it out on your counter, your workspace, but instead of making one giant cookie or a bunch of little cookies, imagine that you take that big rolled-out sheet of cookie dough and you take your little cookie cutter and you put it in the middle of the dough, and then you scrape off all that extra dough and throw it away or feed it to the dog, and you take that little piece that you cut and then you stretch it to make a big cookie or to fill that cookie sheet. That's what you're doing when you crop in on your photo and then try to take that little piece, that little cookie, and then you're like, "Oh well, I wanna make a poster of this." Or, "I'm gonna crop in on it "and I'm gonna make it a large wall print." That's where you run into problems. So that's extreme cropping and you wanna just avoid that. So keep that resolution blank down there and don't drag in so far. You can do a little, of course, but just keep yourself in check and then you won't have any problems. So just wanted to point that out. Okay, what else about cropping? If you have no restrictions, same thing. Just leave that resolution blank and then you should be in pretty good shape.