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The Crop tool has been significantly overhauled in Photoshop CS6, making it, in my opinion, easier to work with and providing some additional flexibility for your workflow. Let's take a look at the significant changes to the Crop tool. I'll start off by choosing the Crop tool from the toolbox, and right away you might notice that there are some changes in terms how the Crop tool behaves. For one thing we now have an automatic Crop box. You don't need to start by drawing the cropbox on the image, it's there automatically. Also, the settings on the Options bar have been simplified and consolidated.
So now you have a single set of options. Previously you would have one set of options before you've drawn your crop, and a second set of options after you had drawn the crop. So that for example, You couldn't really adjust the aspect ratio very easily while you're in the middle of the working on a crop. But I think most dramatically is just the overall behavior of the Crop tool. As I drag one of the corner of the crop box inward you'll notice that things are adjusting somewhat automatically. If I dragged outside the image to rotate, you'll really see a big change here... Now, the image rotates.
So you're getting a good preview of what the final result is actually going to look like. That makes it much easier, in my opinion, to work with the Crop tool. It's simply easier to anticipate what the final result is going to look like. We can also now straighten automatically directly within the Crop tool. We can simply choose the Straighten tool from the Options bar and then click and drag across a straight line a horizon or a building for example. And then when we release the mouse the rotation of the crop will be adjusted automatically so that, that line is now straight.
We can still adjust the view option, but we have some additional options available here. In addition to rule of 3rds, and grid, we have a diagonal option, so that you can crop with respect to the diagonal lines. We also have the triangle option. As well as the golden ratio and the golden spiral cropping options. In addition you can choose whether you want to automatically show the overlay. In other words only when you're adjusting the crop to always show the overlay or to never show the overlay if you prefer not to see it. We also have options to cycle through all of the overlays.
You can press the letter O key for example, to cycle through the various overlay options. And you can also cycle through the orientation of the overlay. The keyboard shortcut for that is Shift+O, and you can see that now, my golden spiral has been adjusted in terms of its overall orientation. Generally speaking though, I work with the rule of thirds option, so I'll leave that set as my cropping display. There are also some additional options for the Crop tool. I'll click on the Settings Popup and you'll see we have a used classic mode check box. So if you prefer the previous behavior of the Crop tool, you don't want to take advantage of the new features.
You can simply turn on this Checkbox. We also have the option to automatically center the Preview so, as I adjust the Crop Box the center of the crop remains the center of my overall image display. So the image itself moves rather than having the Crop Box move around. We can also turn on an option to show the cropped area, or highlight the cropped area. So by default you can see that I have the show cropped area check box turned on. If I turn this option off, then my preview will simply reflect the final image. I personally prefer to be able to see what I'm cropping out of the image.
So that I can better make decisions, on how I might want to Fine tune the crop, so I'll turn that check box back on. And as before, we can adjust the crop shield, so I can turn the crop shield off or on. This is the shading around the outside of the crop box so that we can still see to some extent the area that's being cropped. The color can be adjusted. You can either match the canvas, the background area here, dark grey in my case or you can choose a custom color if you prefer. And as always, you can adjust the opacity of that shield. There's also an option to automatically adjust the opacity based on the image itself.
So that in darker areas for example, the opacity will be reduced, so that you can see a little more detail in the image. And of course if you want to adjust the aspect ratio of the crop, you can do that as well. Over at the left of the Options bar, you'll see that I have the original ratio option set. Which means I want to maintain the original aspect ratio of the photo. No matter where I drag the crop box around I can only get that original aspect ratio. I can flip it, do a horizontal image, or keep it vertical. But I can't change the shape. For example I can't get a square crop with this setting. I can also work unconstrained so that I can create a crop of any shape that I'd like.
Or I can choose from some common aspect ratios. For example one to one, which is a square image, or four to three, five to seven, et cetera. I also have an option to rotate the crop box, and if I really want to get particular, I can adjust the size and resolution. I can plug in specific values for width, height and the pixel per inch resolution for the image. If I'd like, I can also save that as a crop preset. So for example if I wanted an 8 by 10 at 300 pixels per inch. I could create that as an option and then save it as one of my presets on the popup.
I'll go ahead and click Cancel in this case though. One other option that I'm really exited about for the Crop tool is the Delete Crop Pixels option. And the reason I'm exited is that this option is turned off by default. The default behavior of the Crop tool in Photoshop Is now non destructive. If I turn on the delete cropped pixels option then when I apply my crop, the pixels outside the image will be deleted. This option had been available in previous versions of Photoshop as the Delete versus Hide option. But in order to access the hide option you had to first convert your background image layer into a normal layer.
Now you don't have to worry about that step. I'll leave the Delete Cropped Pixels option turned off, and I'll refine my crop just a little bit here. Let's call that good enough for now. And with that Delete Cropped Pixels option turned off, I'll go ahead and apply my crop, clicking the Commit button on the Options bar. So now I have the image cropped. But the pixels that were cropped out were not deleted. They've simply been hidden from view. I can get them back at any time by simply choosing Image, and then Reveal All from the menu. Notice, that the rotation has still been applied, but now I can get back to all of those original pixels if I need to.
So as you can see, the changes to the crop tool are rather significant. It's still the same basic crop tool that allows you to crop and rotate an image. I think it's a little bit easier to work with and it now has a default behavior that protects your pixels from being cropped. All in all, some very nice changes for a tool that's been around for quite a while.
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