Three Ways to Use the Crop Tool in Photoshop

Published: 17th March 2009
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The Crop Tool in Photoshop is used for trimming images but there are several useful things the tool can do.

Open an image suitable for cropping. Select the Crop Tool on the main toolbox. In the top options bar is a small window called Resolution and with this we can set the resolution the image will be after cropping. So enter a value of 100, the resolution of the image will change to 100 pixels per inch. If a value has been put in, press Enter.

If the Resolution box is empty then the resolution will remain the same as it is already.

Starting in the top left corner of the image, drag the crop symbol across the whole picture.

  • The small squares, or handles, of the crop frame are used to adjust its size.

  • The centre handles will move a whole side in.

  • Moving a corner handle in will move two sides in together.

  • Holding Shift while moving in a corner will keep the image proportions the same.

  • Holding Alt while moving in a centre handle will move its opposite side in the same amount.

  • The crop area can be rotated. After positioning the crop frame where desired, position the cursor near a corner. It changes to a double arrow and the frame can be rotated.

  • The darkened area represents the part of the image which will be removed.

  • Press Enter or Return to make the crop.

  • Cancel the crop with Ctrl + full stop (period) / Cmd + full stop (period).

  • There are also Cancel and Commit buttons in the top options bar.

The Crop Tool can be selected with C.

Width and Height can be set in advance in the options bar.

This is useful for cropping a number of images consistently.

For example, there might be a number of images of various shapes and sizes. A large part of the images or just small sections of them might be required as illustrations in a layout or on the net.
  1. Enter the sizes required into the Width and Height boxes.
    Be sure to include px for pixels or in or cm.

  2. Enter a Resolution value.

  3. Drag the Crop tool across the image to include the area required. Press Enter.

    Whatever the size of the original image, the cropped image will be of the dimensions entered into the options bar.

When cropping, if no specific dimensions are required, leave these boxes empty.

All option bar boxes can be cleared quickly with the Clear button.

Check the resolution in its info box in the lower left corner. If the scan was at 2700ppi or some other odd number, it is often more convenient to use the industry reproduction standard of 300ppi. Putting 300ppi in the Resolution box will cause the dimensions to resize in proportion.

If the image is flattened, the options of Delete and Hide are greyed out.
If the image is a layer, then Delete will remove all of the image outside the cropping lines. Hide will merely hide and not delete the cropped areas. Press Return or Enter.

If Hide was checked, the hidden areas can be seen by moving the image with the Move tool. These parts of the image can be retrieved by increasing the Canvas Size.

Perspective can be adjusted with the Crop tool; useful when the subject is a building which needs to be straightened.
  1. Hold the Alt key and double-click on the Background in the Layers panel to convert it to a normal layer.

  2. Select the Crop Tool and drag it across the image.

  3. In the top options bar there is a box to check for Perspective.
    If Hide is selected, then the Perspective box will be greyed out.
    The Delete option needs to be selected.
    Once Perspective is checked, the Hide and Delete are greyed out.

  4. With the use of the corner handles, adjust the cropping box to make the sides parallel with the building.

By moving the corner handles, the building can be skewed all over the place and the method gives great control over the final shape of the building.
OK with Return or Enter.

And here's a bonus

The Crop tool can be used to increase the overall size of an image.

Open an image
  1. With the Move tool, drag the bottom right corner of the frame down and to the right so that there is more grey area around the image.

  2. Press D to set the default toolbox colours of black over white.

  3. Choose the Crop Tool from the toolbox and drag it over the image.

  4. Hold Alt + Shift and drag the bottom right corner anchor point of the crop frame down and to the right. Press Enter.

  5. An extra white border is put around the image. If the image is not flattened, then the extra area will be transparent.

  6. This is useful if you want to put a different border around an image without eating into the subject matter too much.

  7. A unique border can be added as a separate layer and dragged across while holding Shift to centre it. Changing the Blending Mode of the border can merge it into the image better.

Duncan Wherrett is an experienced professional photographer and Photoshop instructor.
Want to know how a selection can be used for cropping?
This and more can be found via ---->
How to Use Photoshop and look for 'Photoshop In A Day'.

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