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Cropping and straightening

From: Photoshop CS6 Quick Start for Photographers

Video: Cropping and straightening

When I'm photographing a subject that includes a horizontal or a vertical line, for example, a horizon, or a building. I make an effort to try to be sure that those lines are perfectly horizontal or vertical. But I don't always get it right. In this case for example, it looks like we have a little bit of a crooked horizon. And that means I need to rotate the image just a little bit. For other reasons you might also want to crop an image, even if you don't need to rotate it. Let's take a look at how we can use the crop tool to both rotate and crop our images. I'll go ahead and choose the crop tool from the toolbox.

Cropping and straightening

When I'm photographing a subject that includes a horizontal or a vertical line, for example, a horizon, or a building. I make an effort to try to be sure that those lines are perfectly horizontal or vertical. But I don't always get it right. In this case for example, it looks like we have a little bit of a crooked horizon. And that means I need to rotate the image just a little bit. For other reasons you might also want to crop an image, even if you don't need to rotate it. Let's take a look at how we can use the crop tool to both rotate and crop our images. I'll go ahead and choose the crop tool from the toolbox.

I can also press the letter C on the keyboard, which is the keyboard shortcut for the crop tool. On the Options bar, I can specify the aspect ratio that I want to use for my crop. I can chose Unconstrained if I want to be unlimited in the specific shape, the relationship between width and height for my crop. I can also specify Original ratio if I want to retain the original aspect ratio for my photo. And of course I have several other options I can choose square, 4 by 5, 8 and a half by 11.

You can see a variety of different presets here that I can choose from. In most cases I work with the uncontrained option but there are certainly situations where you have to crop to a particular aspect ratio. If you want a specific aspect ratio that's not listed on the pop up, you can also type values for width and height in the boxes provided. In addition, we have a Straighten tool built into the Crop tool. I'll go ahead and click that button. And then I can click and drag on the line that should be perfectly straight. Now, what I usually do is not click directly on the line, but very close to it.

So, I can better judge when my line is perfectly parallel with the line that I'm using. So, for example, here, what I'm assuming to be a good horizon line, it's actually a shore of an island near the boat, and so I'm not entirely sure if that's accurate. I'll go ahead and release the mouse, and take a look at the result. And that looks to be much improved, I think overall that's going to work very, very nicely as far as this being the horizon line. So I'll leave that rotation as it is. If I wanted to, I could also click outside the image, outside of that crop box, and click and drag in order to rotate the image. But in this case, I think, keeping the image exactly where it was. Right about there, is going to work very nicely.

Of course, if I adjust the rotation arbitrarily and then decide that it's not working very well I can always go back to my Straighten tool. And that will allow Photoshop to automatically straighten based on a line that I designate. I can then continue to adjust the overall size of my Crop box. So, dragging an edge inward or outward as I see fit. The key thing is to make sure that all four corners remain inside the actual Image Area. I'll go ahead and adjust the right side outward just a little bit, and right about there. And now I have, what I think is going to be a good crop for the image. I can also decide whether or not I want to delete cropped pixels. In other words, the pixels that fall outside of the Crop box, should they be deleted or should they be left exactly as they are? I generally prefer a non-destructive approach.

So, I turn off the Delete Cropped Pixels check box and that will cause all of those pixels to be retained. If I later want to recover the pixels, I can go to the Image menu, and choose Reveal All and that will enlarge my canvas so that all pixels are once again visible. But I think this crop is going to work out nicely. I can go ahead then, on the Options bar and click the Commit button. The Check Box button, in order to apply the crop. I could also double-click inside the Crop box or press Enter or Return on the keyboard in order to apply the crop. If for any reason you don't want to crop the image you can also click the Cancel button but I think I'll go ahead and crop now.

I'll click the Commit button and that image looks much better thanks to straightening that horizon and applying a very modest cropping.

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Photoshop CS6 Quick Start for Photographers

31 video lessons · 2494 viewers

Tim Grey
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