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Photoshop is the world’s most powerful image editor, and it’s arguably the most complex, as well. Fortunately, nobody knows the program like award-winning book and video author Deke McClelland. Join Deke as he explores such indispensable Photoshop features as resolution, cropping, color correction, retouching, and layers. Gain expertise with real-world projects that make sense. Exercise files accompany the course.
Download Deke's free dekeKeys and color settings from the Exercise Files tab.
Now, the Crop tool has an Achilles' heel that you might define as something of a design flaw. I have already pointed it out, the problem is you grab the Crop tool, you go ahead and drag around the king of all beasts here, what have you. You decide that that looks like a pretty good crop boundary. Maybe you take it over to the right just a little bit, something along those lines. And then you say, okay, great. You press the Enter key or the Return key on the Mac. Then you look at your composition and you say I don't want this little bit of a boulder over here in the left-hand side.
What's this wedge of rock upper-right, and I have got this little bit of junk down here at the bottom. So what I would like to do of course is press Ctrl+Z or Command+Z on the Mac and just adjust my crop boundary a little bit, wouldn't that be great? So press Ctrl+Z, Command+Z on the Mac and your crop boundary is gone. The reason I find this problematic that I don't have a crop boundary to start from is because it's hard to remember what the problems were oftentimes when you are working in an image. I remember I left a little bit of this rock over here in the left, I was showing some of this rock upper-right, and then I had a little bit of garbage downright.
But that was just the stuff I saw. Maybe there were some other stuff going on too. I might have to go back and forth a few times to get the crop exactly right. That's why I oftentimes crop with the Selection tools in combination with this command right here, which is currently dimmed, because we don't have anything selected, which is the Crop command under the Image menu. The advantage of working that way is if you decide to change your mind and you Undo, you are right back where you started from. You are right back to your defining selection.
So let me show you how it works. I would start with the Rectangular Marquee tool, but it doesn't have to be a rectangular selection that you create. You can just decide, you know what, I want this part above the lion's head. If you decide after drawing the marquee that you want to move it around, you just drag it to a different location, like so. Then you could say, you know what, I want to make sure we keep his feet. So in this case what I am doing is I am pressing the Shift key as I drag with the tool. That way I am adding to the selection outline.
Then I want to make sure I keep some portion of this region over here, so I will Shift+Drag again. It doesn't have to be a Rectangular Marquee. It can be any shape of a selection. So I could grab my Lasso tool by pressing the L key. Then I could Shift+Drag with it, like so, in order to create a free-form selection outline. It doesn't matter. All right. Now, I will go up to the Image menu and I will choose the Crop command. If you loaded Deke keys, I have given you a keyboard shortcut of Ctrl+Shift+Alt+C or Command+Shift+Option+C on a Mac.
Now, I stole that keyboard shortcut from this command right there, Content-Aware Scale. Great command and everything. I just think that you are going to be using the Crop command more often, at least I know that I do. All right. So go ahead and choose Crop and you crop the image to that area. Then if you don't want those selection outlines in your way, you can press Ctrl+H or Command+H on the Mac to hide those extras. And then you can take a look at the image and you can say, well, this is pretty good, but I might want a little bit more height. I might want to push it up or until I get close to that one rock.
I might want to move it over to the right just a little bit, so that I am not that close to that foliage there. I don't know, maybe take it down a little bit, so that I don't have this dark edge of the rock right there next to the bottom of the image. And then I press Ctrl+Z or Command+Z on the Mac to Undo that modification. Now, you are looking at this saying, well, you lost the selection Deke, you lost it just like you lost the crop. That's not true. It's just hidden. I will press Ctrl+H or Command+H again to bring it back. So Ctrl or Command+H hides, then Ctrl or Command+H shows once again.
And then I will press the M key to switch back to the Rectangular Marquee tool. I will Shift+Drag down here to select a little more of the image at the bottom. I will Shift+Drag up here to select a little more image at top. I was worried about this little plant there, so I will Shift+Drag around it to make sure it's inside the selection. That looks pretty good to me. Then I will go up to the Image menu and choose the Crop command again, Ctrl+Shift+Alt+C, Command+Shift+ Option+C on the Mac and the crop is done. Now, if I am happy with what I see, then I get rid of the selection by going to the Select menu and choosing the Deselect command, or pressing Ctrl+D, Command+D on the Mac.
And now I have a properly cropped lion, thanks to the flexibility of the Selection tools, combined with the Crop command as compared with the Crop tool here inside Photoshop.
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