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Photoshop has become an indispensible tool for photographers, designers, and all other creative professionals, as well as students. Photoshop CS4 Essential Training teaches a broad spectrum of core skills that are common to many creative fields: working with layers and selections; adjusting, manipulating, and retouching photos; painting; adding text; automating; preparing files for output; and more. Instructor Jan Kabili demonstrates established techniques as well as those made possible by some of the new features unique to Photoshop CS4. This course is indispensable to those who are new to the application, just learning this version, or expanding their skills. Example files accompany the course.
If you didn't get just the composition you want in your camera, use Photoshop's cropping features to remove unwanted content around the frame of your photo and focus in on what's most important in your photograph. There are a couple of ways to crop in Photoshop. You can use the Crop tool or you can crop to a selection. I will show you both. Let's start with the Crop tool. I have the Crop tool selected here in the toolbox. The first thing I do after Crop tool is check the Crop Tool Options Bar. If there are any numbers in the Width or Height field, I click the Clear button to eliminate those, because otherwise these sticky settings, which are left over from the last time I used the tool, will govern my crop this time.
I also go to the Layers panel, which I have here, and if yours isn't showing you can open it from the Window menu, and if I have a special background layer like this one in my file, I'll change this to a regular layer. To do that I double-click the word Background and I say OK, and the reason I did that is because I like to use a special feature that hides but doesn't delete the cropped content, which I will show you in a minute, and that just doesn't work on a background layer. I'm going to collapse the Layers panel by clicking this double pointed arrow, and I'm ready to crop.
So I'll just come in drag out a crop boundary wherever I want it. What I'd like to do here is just eliminate the buildings from the photo. The area that's clear is what will remain in my photo and the area that's dark will be cropped away. I can click in the middle of this crop boundary and move it anywhere I want, or I can move my mouse over any one of the edges and change that edge. Let's take a look at the Options bar. Here in the Options bar, the Shield feature is what makes the area to be cropped away look dark in this preview.
If I uncheck that, then I can see the whole image, and sometimes I'll uncheck it and then check it again just to make sure that I have everything I want left in my cropped image. By default when you crop, the area that's under the shield will be removed or deleted completely. To be conservative, sometimes I'll hide that content rather than delete it and that means that I'll be able to get it back even after the crop. When I am all set to crop, I'll come to the right side of the Options bar and click this check mark, and that commits the crop. This is my cropped image.
I think it looks a lot better without the buildings, don't you? But if I change my mind and I want the buildings back, because I chose to hide rather than delete the cropped content, I can go to the Image menu at the top of the screen now and I can choose Reveal All, and that will reveal the entire image, which still was there. It just was invisible. The only down side of doing this is that the file size will be a little larger than if I had deleted that cropped area. Now, I'll show you another way to crop. I like to do this when I just need a small portion of an image. So, for example, let's say I needed the sky here to use as a backdrop behind another image.
I might just come to one of my Selection tools. Any of them will do. I am going to use the Lasso tool. I will come into the image and I will draw a rough selection around the sky that I want to keep. Then I'll go to the Image menu at the top of the screen and I'll choose Crop, and then I'll press Command+D on my Mac to deselect or Ctrl+D to deselect on a PC, and I've cropped away everything except this bit of sky. So those are a couple of ways to crop an image in Photoshop, either using the Crop tool or using a Selection tool and cropping to the selection.
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