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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.
So let's say you wanted to print this image on a gray background or a white background or a black background and you wanted the canvas behind this image to be larger than the image, so you see this extra solid color in the background. Well, how would you go about doing that? Well, it turns out that there is kind of a hidden secret trick about the Crop tool. We typically think about using the Crop tool to make an image smaller. It turns out you can actually use the Crop tool in Photoshop to add to an image, to add canvas to an image. So I'm going to press the letter C to get to the Crop tool. Then I'm going to go ahead and just leave the Width, Height and Resolution fields blank.
The trick is to go ahead and start by creating a crop boundary the size of the document. So just drag all the way from one corner to the other. Then let go to set the initial crop. I'm going to use my Zoom keyboard shortcut to zoom out one notch. I'm going to go Command+Minus or Ctrl+ Minus on the keyword, just so I can see more of the outside area. Then all you have to do is grab a handle, and make the crop area larger than the image. Let me escape this to cancel, hit the Escape key. By default, when you first drag out a boundary, you can't go beyond the image size itself.
It stops and won't let you drag further. So the trick is just to let go, grab a handle and drag again. Now, by default, if I drag a corner, it's dragging the width and height at the same time. It stays anchored at the opposite corner. All right, so I'm dragging the right bottom corner. It's staying anchored from the upper left. What I want to do is actually add canvas extra area equally on all four sides as I drag. So to do that, you hold down what I call the make-better key in Photoshop. It just makes Photoshop better. You should just tape the key down. It's the Option key on the Mac or the Alt key on Windows.
I'm going to hold that key down. As I drag, you'll see it's adding it from all four sides in an equal amount. So, that looks about right, I want that much border or canvas to be added to the outside of the image. Then I want the bottom say to be just a little bit taller to make it a little bit asymmetric so that the Rule of Thirds composition. You can see that horizontal line is lining up right on her eye there to make it a little bit better composition of where this image is going to be placed on "the card" or the background that we're placing this on. All right, so I've got it positioned correctly.
I'm going to hit the Return key or the Enter key. You'll see that, by default, it adds the background color to the image, because we're working with a Background layer. So whatever the background color happened to be, the default was white, so the new pixels that got added to that image were filled with that white color, the background color. I'm going to go ahead and undo that. Let's say that you want to control the color that's going to be used for this background. If that's the case, you may actually want to end up with the Background being a separate layer.
So the solid color is a separate layer. The image is on a different layer. So you can edit them independently in a more free-form way. So to do that, what you need to do is convert this Background layer to be a non-Background layer, a layer that supports transparency, before you actually do the Add Canvas trick that I just showed you. So the way to do that is just double- click on the name Background in the Layers panel and click OK. To get my Crop tool again, press the letter C. Drag from one corner to the other. You can't drag farther at first. You let go.
You grab a handle again and start dragging again by pressing and dragging. Hold down the Option or Alt key to drag out equally all four sides. Then I'm going to drag out the bottom handle after letting go off the Option key to right about there. This time, when I press Enter or Return, instead of the new pixels that got added to the file being filled with the background color, they are said to be transparent, because I'm not on a Background layer anymore. I'm just on a regular layer. What we want to do now is add an additional layer behind this image layer, so that I can fill that with whatever canvas color I want, whatever color I want the Background to be.
Now I could click the New Layer icon. I'll go ahead and do that. Then you'll see the new layer got created above my current layer, which isn't what I wanted. I want that layer to be behind, below the image layer, which is fine. I can drag Layer 1 and drag it below Layer 0, okay, or I'm going to go ahead and delete that layer, while I'm here, I'm going to go ahead and hit Yes. I'm going to show you a trick. Instead of clicking the New Layer icon, the default behavior puts the new layer above the active layer. Just hold down that Command key on the Mac or the Ctrl key on Windows.
Now when you click that New button, it adds the new layer below the current layer. So it just saves you the step of having to drag the new layer that got created below the layer, to get it where you wanted it. Okay. So here we have this new empty layer. We want to fill it with a specific color. We're going to go to Edit and choose Fill. Then the default is the Foreground Color, which is black. That's fine, if that's what you want. You can choose Background Color, which is currently white, or I can choose, in this case, 50% Gray. I'm going to go ahead and click OK. There, I've done it.
I've added a background to this image where this image can now kind of float above it and print that out as my photo card if you will. I've got a much different way to present the image. For adding kicks, I might add a little white border to the outside of the image. So I'm going to select the image layer. Right now, it's called Layer 0. At the bottom of the Layers panel, there is a little fx icon. I'm going to click on that and choose Stroke as my effect to add to this layer. The default color is black. I'm going to make the size quite a bit bigger.
You see as I drag that Size slider, you see that Stroke being added to the composition there in the background. You'll note that it's rounded corners, by default, because the Position has been set to Outside. I'm going to change it to Inside. That's how I get nice, sharp corners instead. I want the color to be white, so I'm going to click on the Color chip. That brings up the color picker. I'll click in the white area of that dialog there. Click OK. You can see I've got a white Stroke added to that to finish off the effect. I'll go ahead and click OK. There is my final result, things you didn't know you could do with the Crop tool.
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