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In Photoshop CS5 Essential Training, author Michael Ninness demonstrates how to produce the highest quality images with fantastic detail in the shortest amount of time, using a combination of Photoshop CS5, Adobe Bridge, and Camera Raw. This course shows the most efficient ways to perform common editing tasks, including noise reduction, shadow and highlight detail recovery, retouching, and combining multiple images. Along the way, Michael shares the secrets of non-destructive editing, utilizing and mastering Adobe Bridge, Camera Raw, layers, adjustment layers, blending modes, layer masks, and much more. Exercise files are included with the course.
To crop an image in Photoshop, of course, you need to use the Crop tool. Press the letter C on your keyboard to switch to the Crop tool. I've already got that chosen, or you can click on the happy, little Crop icon there. Now, by default, it's just a freeform crop. Sp just click-and-drag with the mouse and just drag out a rectangle and drag that to whatever shape you want to crop the image into. There is a nice overlay. This is called the Rule of Thirds overlay. The idea here is that you line up interesting things in the image in the composition on one of these intersection points. I want to do that.
It's just kind of a helpful guide. So if I line up her eye with that intersection there, in theory, you're going to get better composition, and most of time that's actually true. Now, if you don't like that, you can actually change it to a Grid, more equal parts to bring up the area of the rectangle into equal parts, or if you don't like either of it, you can change it to None. I like the default Rule of Thirds and keep it on there. So, it's a nice aid as you're trying to figure out what composition you want your crop to be. Now, that's fine. You'll notice that if I click inside the crop boundary, I can reposition the crop to wherever I want it within the image and of course, to resize it from either the width or the height or from both at the same time, you just grab the appropriate handle.
So if I do this, middle handle on the right-hand side here, I'm just changing the width. But to the top middle handle here, I'm just changing the height. Of course, if I do the corner handle, I'm changing both at the same time. If you want to cancel the crop and start over, you just simply press the Escape key or up here in the Options bar, there is this little Cancel icon there as well. I can click that to cancel and start over. All right! I'm going to go ahead and click-and- drag again, to drag out our crop, and drag it from the inside of the crop boundary to wherever you want it and then to apply that crop you press the Return or Enter key.
That applies that crop and deletes those pixels that were outside the crop rectangle. Let's go ahead and undo this. Command+Z or Ctrl+Z or Edit > Undo Crop. Awesome! Now, most of the time though, you're not necessarily doing freeform cropping, you're cropping to a particular size that you know you want. So let's say I want to make a 4x6 print or a 5x7 print or a square of 3x3, whatever. If you have a specific size in mind, then you'll notice that in the Options bar at the top here, for the Crop tool, you have specific options you can set.
You can do the width, the height and the resolution. Now rather than actually manually typing numbers into these fields, you might check out to see if there is a tool preset available that's already done the work for you. Every tool has tool presets that are available in the upper left-hand corner of the Options bar and we can see the Crop tool icon there with a little drop-down menu. Let's turn that on. Click on it to expose the menu here. By default, it's listing all the presets for every tool. I only need to see the presets for the current tool, I mean, just the Crop tool preset.
So, I'm going to turn that checkbox on. You'll say, look, handy-dandy, there are presets for common print sizes already created for me. So if I want a 4x6, that's 300 DPI, because I'm bringing this to an inkjet printer. Awesome! I'm going to click on that. It just populates these fields with those values. Press the Enter key to make the pop-up menu go away and my tool has now been set up with those settings. Now you'll notice though, this is a horizontal image and the width is currently 4 inches, the height is 6 inches, so that's vertical dimensions there or a vertical orientation of a crop.
If that's what you want, great, but if not, if you actually want a horizontal crop, then there's this little double arrow. You don't actually have to go in here and type 6 and then type a 4 in the Height field. You can just swap those values by clicking that double arrow between the Width and Height fields. That makes a little bit quicker to do that. Okay, I've dialed in my options by using the tool Preset. I swapped it with the little double arrow trick and now I can just freeform it and note that the rectangle stays at a 4x6 proportion. Doesn't matter how big I make it. I just can't make any random rectangle anymore.
Whatever size I drag it out to, it's going to maintain that aspect ratio and make sure it's a 4x6 crop. So I position it where I want it. When I'm happy with the position, I press the Enter key. There I have it. I have my 4x6 cropped image. It's 300 DPI. I can go on to print that to my inkjet printer, and it's all good.
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