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Although you can certainly add canvas size to your image using the crop tool, for more accuracy you might want to use the canvas size command instead. Now, for added flexibility, I'm going to convert the background of this image into a layer. And I can do that using the menu, if I choose Layer > New, and then Layer from Background. And, I'll go ahead and name this layer photo and click Okay. Now when I add the canvas size I'll be able to add a transparent area so that I can reposition the photograph on the canvas.
In order to add the canvas size, I'll choose Image and then Canvas Size. I want to add an inch to the left and the right in the top but I want to add two inches at the bottom. So, I'll change the width to 8 and the height to 7. I'll also point out that there is a Relative option here. If I choose the Relative option, you should know that to add 1 inch around the whole image, you would need to actually add 2 inches here, because it's going to add 1 inch on either side.
You can also change the units of measurement, that might be really handy as you're trying to add canvas size. You might want to add a certain percent, for example. But right now, I'll leave this set to inches, uncheck the Relative option, and then, just make sure that we have this set 8 inches for the width, and 7 inches for the height. I can also tell Photoshop where to position the image. If I wanted image in the upper left to anchor it there. If I want it in the lower right, we click to anchor down here.
I actually want it right in the center so I'll just leave it as it's default. I'll click OK and you'll see that Photoshop has added some canvas size. Although we can see all the canvas, so I'm going to hold down the Cmd key on Mac, Ctrl key on Windows, and then tap the minus sign. I'll tap it again to make sure that we can see all of the canvas. Because this photo is on its own layer, I've got the transparent checkerboard behind it. If I select my move tool, I can then reposition the photo. This time when I start dragging up, I'm going to hold down the shift key. That will constrain the motion so that it's just a vertical change. And I'm also going to use the heads up display in order to guage how much I'm moving the image.
So I want to go ahead and move it up, right there to 0.5 inches. That means that I've moved it a half an inch up and I haven't moved it at all left or right, so then I'll go ahead and release the cursor, and now that it's in position, let's go ahead and add another layer and fill that layer with a color. Now, last time we added a new layer, we used the Layer menu. And chose new layer. But we can also add a new layer using the layers panel. However when I click on the new layer icon, you can see that the new layer gets added above the photo layer.
So I'm going to choose to undo that and this time I'm going to hold down a keyboard shortcut. I'm going to hold down Cmd key on Mac or the Ctrl key on Windows while I click on the New Layer icon, and that will tell Photoshop to add the new layer below the photo layer, so that I don't have to change the stacking order of these two layers. Now in order to fill this with a color, I'll choose Edit, and then Fill, and this time I'll choose 50% grey for my contents. I'll click Okay, and we've now filled that background with gray.
I also want to add a small drop shadow to increase the separation between the image and that background, so on the layers panel, I'll select the photo layer, and then at the bottom of the layers panel, I'll click on the effects icon, and then choose drop shadow. Now you can reposition the drop shadow by changing the angle as well as changing the distance, but it's much easier if you simply click in your image area and then drag in order to reposition the drop shadow.
Now the drop shadow is a little bit too hard-edged, so I'll go ahead and increase the size. And I might want to decrease the opacity a little bit, to just make it a little bit more subtle. When I click Okay, we can see that that drop shadow has been added. If you want to modify the drop shadow, for example, we might want to scoot it over to the left a little bit more, all you need to do is double-click on the word drop shadow in the layers panel. That brings up the layer styles dialogs again. I move it a little bit further out of the way, and then I can reposition the drop shadow in my image area by just clicking and dragging it a little bit to the left.
I'll go ahead and click Okay, and we can see the resulting refinement. So although adding canvas size to a photo using the Crop tool is very convenient, when you need to be more precise, you might want to use the Canvas Size option to extend the canvas around the image.
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