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The default setting for the Crop tool in Photoshop actually allows for the tool to delete the unwanted pixels after you crop the image. Let's take a look at what that means. I'm going to tap the C key which will give me the Crop tool. And I can see that I have some values here for an aspect ratio. I want to go ahead and clear those out, so I will click on the Clear button. Now this is the default setting for the delete cropped pixels. You can see that it's checked on. So let's go ahead and just rearrange the crop a little bit.
I'm going to go ahead and move it out a bit. And I want to take a look for a moment over at the layers panel. This is a single layer document, and it's a flattened document so there's a background layer. Once you select the Crop tool, you actually get this crop preview. But if you have the delete crop pixel selected, when you apply this crop, you'll notice that the crop preview disappears in the layer panel and you end up with this flattened background layer. That means that those pixels that were outside the crop marquee are actually gone.
And if I were to save this document right now and then close it, later on I could not get those pixels back. So, lets go ahead and undo that, either using Cmd or Ctrl+Z, or we can use the menu item, to undo our crop. This time when we drag out our crop, I'm going to uncheck the Delete Cropped Pixels. You can see that I'm still starting with a background layer, so a flattened Photoshop document, but now when I click and drag out my crop marquee, you can see that it turns into a crop preview and there's no longer a background entry here in my layers panel. Now one of the reasons we may not want to delete the cropped pixels Is obviously for flexibility and one of the instances that I come across quiet often, is, if someone has been asked to crop, maybe to a specific aspect ratio, such as 4 by 5. But they're really not sure, how they want to center that image. So if I wasn't sure how I wanted to center it, but I did know that it had to be a certain aspect ratio, I might want to uncheck this Delete Cropped Pixels. Now, let's go ahead and apply the crop by clicking on the check mark, or tapping the Return or Enter key.
You can see that Photoshop has converted the background into a layer. This layer allows Photoshop to hang on to all of that extra information. All of those pixels that were outside of the crop marque. So now if I were to select my move tool. You can see that I can actually reposition this, and all of the information is still there. So, it's a much more flexible way to crop your image. If you ever wanted to show all of the information that is, beyond this image area.
So, in other words, all of the other extra data that was cropped off. You can choose Image and then Reveal All, and Photoshop will build out the canvas size here so that you can see all of that extra information. Just remember, Photoshop has to create a layered file in order to hang on to all of those pixels that were outside of the Cropmer key. If you've cropped it and told Photoshop to not delete the pixels, but then you save it as a JPEG or any other format that doesn't support layers, you will lose those pixels. So just remember if you want a non destructive crop and you want Photoshop to keep the pixels outside of the crop marquee, be sure to save either a Photoshop document or a TIFF file with layers.
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