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Cropping is one of those things that I just really love about Camera Raw because it's nondestructive. You can go ahead and choose your crop and change it at anytime after the fact. Whereas in Photoshop if you do a crop you typically are deleting those pixels from the image, and then when you do a save they're gone forever. With Camera Raw that just doesn't happen. So let's learn how to use the Crop tool inside Camera Raw. I'm going to go ahead and select this image here, Crop.jpg. We'll click the Open in Camera Raw button at the top of the Bridge Window to go ahead and pop that open. You can just press the letter C to switch to the Crop tool.
We will go ahead and do that. You can also click on the tool of course, on a tool icon. There is a little tiny down arrow that means there is a drop-down menu on the tool itself, and if you click-and-hold, you'll get some options for that particular tool. Now the Default is Normal, I believe. You could go ahead and click Normal. This lets you create any proportional rectangle basically. It's kind of a free-form Crop tool. If you want to constrain this to a particular Aspect Ratio or proportion, then you can go ahead and choose one of those options from the drop-down menu as well. So go ahead and click on that.
If you want a square, choose 1 to 1. To reposition the crop, go ahead and just click-and-drag and position it where you want it. Once you've assigned a specific ratio, when you go ahead and click-and-drag on a corner handle, it will always maintain that ratio, no matter how big you make the rectangle. So that's kind of nice. I'm going to go ahead and make this a 2 to 3 ratio, because I want a 4x6 print, let's say. Go ahead and choose that, and that will change the existing crop boundary if you already have one drawn, and of course if you hadn't had one drawn and you chose that ratio, then it would constrain the crop boundary as you drag it out for the first time.
Now you can see here I have got a vertical crop. So if I go ahead and click on a corner handle and just start dragging far enough to the right, it'll snap to a horizontal crop. So go ahead and drag that out. So let's go ahead and reposition this. One common tip there that you may have heard of before is this rule of thirds. When you're thinking about improving your composition, one theory here is to imagine your rectangle broken up into thirds both horizontal and vertically. So you have kind of a grid here and then you line up the interesting subject matter with one of those lines as close to the rule of third as possible.
Again it's not an exact science. It's not always going to improve your composition, but oftentimes it actually does. So if I'd imagine there's a vertical line here, there's one third, and then there's a second third, you can see where I am tying to line up that composition. I actually think it makes a stronger image for this particular photo here. Alright. Once I get the crop the way I want it, I simply press the Return key, and it activates that crop and there you see your resulting image. Let's go ahead and click the Done button, and that takes us back to Bridge, and you can see that that crop has now been updated in the thumbnail.
You will also notice that when you've done a crop with Camera Raw, it actually puts this little Crop icon on the thumbnail to let you know that that's not the original proportion or frame of the image as it was shot. Now, again the best part is that these crops are nondestructive. You can always get back to the previous crop and edit it. So you can see here on this Red Eye image, it's got a Crop icon as well, Command+R, Ctrl+R to open up this JPEG in Camera Raw. All I need to do to get back to the original image, and adjust the crop is press the letter C again to get to the Crop tool, and you can see Camera Raw zooms back out, shows you the full image, and then shows you the rectangle that you had used previously to crop that.
So I can reposition it, I can go ahead and change the size or whatever, and then when I hit the Done button it will update that thumbnail again. So again, nondestructive cropping; really, really awesome part about Camera Raw.
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