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One of the huge advantages of cropping in Camera Raw is that it's completely nondestructive, so you can go back at any point in time and change your mind about what you want to include in the image and what you want to hide. Let's start with a fruit image and then click the Open in Camera Raw icon in Bridge. To select the crop tool you can either tap the C key or click on the Crop tool to choose it. Then position your cursor anywhere in the image area and click to drag out your marquee. The area inside the crop marquee is the area that you're going to keep; the area outside is the area that you're going to hide.
You can click and drag on any of the anchor points in order to change your crop. In order to apply the crop, simply tap the Return or Enter key. If you need to crop to a certain aspect ratio, you can click and hold on the Crop tool in order to see the dropdown menu. Here, we'll go ahead and select at 2:3 aspect ratio. You'll notice that the crop marquee was automatically adjusted, and this time when I click and drag on the anchor points, well, first you'll notice that they're only on the corners; they're no longer in the centers.
But I can click and adjust them, but it will always maintain that aspect ratio that I've defined. Another option in the Crop tool is the ability to show an overlay. This overlay divides your cropped area, or the area that you're going to keep, into thirds and it can help you with composition, because usually you don't want to put something like, for example, the sign right in the center of your image. You might want to offset it a little bit. So, this can help as far as where you position the main subject within the crop marquee.
To apply the crop, we'll tap the Enter or Return key, and then let's select Done in order to return to Bridge. You'll notice that in Bridge you can see in the thumbnail icon that there's now a little crop icon telling me that this image has been cropped, but of course, this is nondestructive. If we take this image back into Camera Raw and select the Crop tool again, you can see that all of the information outside of the crop is still there and still accessible if we decide that we want to change either the marquee or the aspect ratio.
Right now, I've been dragging out a horizontal crop, but you'll notice, if I drag to the right, across the image, when I get far enough, the aspect ratio will actually switch. Instead of being horizontal, it will flip to being vertical. If I want to go back to horizontal, I'll just click and drag out to the left. You just kind of have to get a feel for it, but you'll see that it will automatically flip from horizontal to vertical and vice versa. There's one more important topic that I want to cover with the Crop tool.
Right now, we are only cropping to a specific aspect ratio, and we selected that aspect ratio underneath the Crop tool. What we didn't do though is tell Camera Raw that we wanted a specific file size. So, you'll notice that as I move or reposition my crop, the actual size in pixel dimensions will change. Right now, for example, it's 1567 x 1045. When I reposition this, you'll notice that those numbers go down, because I'm cropping out a larger area of the image.
Let's return back to the crop for a moment, and I'm going to select the Custom option. You can see that it allows me to enter in any aspect ratio that I want, but it also allows me to enter in specific pixel dimensions or dimensions measured in inches or centimeters. So let's say, for example, I want this image to be a 4 x 6, which is of course the 2:3 aspect ratio, but I want it to be 4 x 6 inches. Now, when I click OK, you'll notice down here in my workflow settings that this file will actually be 6 x 4 inches, although right now it is set to 72 ppi.
If I wanted to print this, I'd better click on my Workflow Options and then set the Resolution higher, maybe up to 240 or even 300 pixels/inch. Now, when I click OK you'll notice that I've defined this file, if I were to open it or save it, to be 6 x 4 inches at exactly 240 ppi. And that's all there is to it. If I click Done, we'll return back to Bridge. You can see that I have adjusted my crop in Camera Raw.
Of course, this is nondestructive, so it's not permanent. I can go back in there and adjust it at anytime.
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