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In Photoshop CS6 Essential Training, Julieanne Kost demonstrates how to produce high-quality images in a short amount of time, using a combination of Adobe Photoshop CS6, Bridge, and Camera Raw.
The course details the Photoshop features and creative options, and shows efficient ways to perform common editing tasks, including noise reduction, shadow and highlight detail recovery, retouching, and combining multiple images. Along the way, the course explores techniques for nondestructive editing and compositing using layers, blending modes, layer masks, and much more.
One of the sort of hidden features when you're using the Crop tool is its ability to actually add canvas around your image. So I'll tap the C key to select the Crop tool. Then I'm just going to zoom out a little using Command+Minus. Typically, when we think of cropping, we think of moving the crop handles into the image, but you can also drag the crop handles outside of the image. And by the way, if you ever drag something incorrectly in the Crop tool, you can always use Command+Z or Control+Z to undo that crop.
For now, I'm just going to drag this out to the original crop, because now I want to use a keyboard shortcut. That keyboard shortcut is the Option and the Shift key, or the Alt and the Shift key, in order to drag out additional canvas size, which you can see by holding the Shift key, we're constraining the proportions and by holding down the Option key, we're dragging from the center of the image. When I let go, right down here in my Layers panel, you can see there is a Crop Preview. Depending on whether or not you have the option to delete cropped pixels, you might see something else, because when I toggle this on, now we can see what Photoshop is trying to preview is what this would look like with a background that's white.
So if I choose to delete the cropped pixels, if I were to apply this right now, what I would get would be a flat image that has white all the way around it. Well, that might not give me the most flexible workflow, so I'm going to uncheck the option to delete cropped pixels. I'm actually going to add a little bit more space to my image or a little bit more canvas size, and what this allows is that when I hit the check mark to apply the crop, you can see that this whole area around my photograph is transparent.
That way I could select the Move tool and quickly reposition the image on that canvas size. If I wanted to make the background white, I could simply add a new layer by clicking on the New layer icon at the bottom of the Layers panel, and then we can fill that with white by choosing Edit > Fill, and then using White as our Foreground Color. Of course that's going to cover up the photo because layer 1, this white layer, is on top of layer 0, which is where our photograph is, but all I need to do is click and drag layer 1 underneath layer 0 in order to put the white background underneath the photograph.
You can see how flexible this is, because if I want to reposition the photograph, all I need to do is target that layer in the Layers panel and then using my Move tool, I can reposition it as many times as I want. If I wanted to add a little bit of separation between the photograph and the background, I could add an effect, such as a stroke to the image. In this case, I'll add a stroke that's relatively large, maybe six or seven pixels. I'll position it the inside, because I don't want that curved edge.
I want a nice straight edge there. And when I click OK, it now looks like a photograph with a border sitting on a print. When I click OK we see that nice border that separates the image from the background. So using the Crop tool to actually add canvas size might not be the most intuitive thought in Photoshop, but it certainly is a great feature.
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