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Go beyond the automatic editing features in Adobe Photoshop Elements and find out how to make sophisticated edits using the program's Expert Edit mode. In this course, author, teacher, and photographer Jan Kabili explores the core features of the Expert Edit mode, from making exposure adjustments, retouching, and compositing images, to adding text. The course also takes a close look at adjusting photos with Adobe Camera Raw, included with Elements 11.
Up in the toolbar in the Camera Raw workspace, there is a Crop Tool and a Straighten Tool. The advantage of cropping and straightening here in the Camera Raw workspace as opposed to out in the Expert edit workspace is that here cropping and straightening is nondestructive. Whatever pixels are outside a crop boundary are not deleted from the raw file. You can always get them back, even after you've closed and then reopened the Camera Raw workspace. Let's take a look at the Crop Tool first. If I click and hold on the Crop Tool in the Toolbar, I get this dropdown menu. If I choose Normal from this menu, I'll click outside the menu to dismiss it, and then move in to the image and drag out a crop boundary, I can adjust the shape of the crop boundary however I wish, by moving my mouse over any of the edges and dragging.
I can reposition the boundary by clicking inside of it, and moving it elsewhere. And I can rotate it by moving my cursor outside one of its corner anchor points and dragging. When I am ready to accept the crop, I can do that by either clicking the Hand Tool or the Zoom Tool, or just pressing Enter or Return on my keyboard. Now, as I said, when you crop in Camera Raw, you're never deleting pixels, and that means, I can always go back and see the entire image, by going up to the Crop Tool and clicking on it again. And now, I can tweak my crop.
If I don't want to crop at all, I can stop midway here by pressing the Esc key on my keyboard, or by going back to that menu, and choosing Clear Crop. That takes me back to the original image without a crop bounding box. I am going to go back to the Crop menu one more time to show you what these preset Aspect Ratios do. These are not inches or pixels, they're just proportions. So, if I choose the 4:5 Aspect Ratio for example, and I click and drag a bounding box in the image, I get a horizontal bounding box whose height is proportional to its width in the ratio of 4:5.
If I want a vertical bounding box, I'll just move my cursor over the corner anchor point, and rotate that bounding box. But, no matter how much I rotate the box or how big or small I make it, it will always be in a 4:5 Aspect Ratio. I can't change that shape by moving my cursor over any of the edges as I could when I had the Menu set to Normal. I can move my cursor over any of the anchor points and drag to make the bounding box larger or smaller. Now, let's say that I want to straighten this image as well as crop it. Let me actually make the Crop bounding box a little bigger, and say that I want this line to be a straight line in the image.
I could either use the Straighten Tool, which I'll show you in a moment, or I can just move my cursor outside of one of the corner anchor points again, and rotate the image, trying to get that line in the grass perpendicular to the bottom of the crop bounding box. If I need some help with that, I can go back up to the Crop Menu, and choose Show Overlay. That will give me this rule of thirds overlay with a couple of horizontal lines, and some vertical lines. These can come in handy when you're trying to straighten. They give you another reference line that can also be used for compositional purposes, the idea being that if you put the focal point of the image at the intersection of these vertical and horizontal lines, you'll get a more balanced composition.
So to do that here, I would have to make the crop box smaller, and then I can just drag it into place over the duck's head. I'll press Enter or Return on my keyboard to commit that crop. So, that's the Crop Tool. Now, let's take a look at its relative, the Straighten Tool. I'm going to undo this crop by going up to the Crop Menu, and choosing Clear Crop. Rather than starting out cropping the image, I could just get the Straighten Tool from next to the Crop Tool in the Toolbar. Then, move into the image, find something I think should be straight, like this line in the grass, and using the left side of this icon, I'll click hold-and-drag this dotted line, and then release my mouse.
That tells Elements what I think should be straight in the image, and automatically creates a crop bounding box that straightens the image with reference to that line. I'll press Enter or Return on my keyboard, and there's my straightened image.
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