Complete Crop: 4 Tips For Cropping In Photoshop

If you’re involved with editing images you will undoubtedly need to crop some of them at one point or another. The Crop tool and the Marquee tools are the weapons of choice for these procedures. I’ve written in the past about keeping your crops , the massive time saver Crop and Straighten command, and also the Trim command, which also allows you to crop very tightly based on pixel color.

Here’s four more tips to help you speed up or refine your crops as you go.

1. Straighten Images With The Crop Tool

There are lots of ways to straighten images crooked images in Photoshop, including this method using the Crop Tool. Here’s how. In the toolbox, select the Crop tool (clip_image002[1]). Now on your crooked image, start in the top right corner and draw a marquee around the image using the crop tool. It doesn’t matter if you cut off some of the edges as you’ll adjust the marquee to fit next. When you let go of the mouse button, you’ll see the cropping shield and it allows you to see which parts of the image will be deleted when you apply the crop.

clip_image008

On the tool options bar, make sure that the Perspective check box is not selected. In the image window, move the pointer outside the crop marquee so that it appears as a curved double arrow (clip_image006). Drag clockwise to rotate the marquee until it matches the angle of the picture.

Place the pointer inside the crop marquee, and drag the marquee until it contains all the parts of the picture you want shown. Use the and corner handles to adjust the size of the marquee.

clip_image010

Press Enter (Windows) or Return (Mac OS). Voila! The image is now cropped, and the cropped image now fills the image window, straightened, sized, and cropped according to your specifications.

2. Stop The Crop From Snapping To The Edge Of Your Document

Sometimes when you’re using the Crop tool it can be really useful to have the cropping border snap on to the edges of your image. This happens with the Marquee selections too. There are of course, other times when it’s a pain to have the crop sticking like glue to the edges. If you don’t want any snapping to happen, press Shirt + Ctrl+; (win) or Shift+Cmd+; (mac). This turns off all snapping such as snap to the document boundary, snap to rulers and snap to guides. If you only want to turn off Crop or Marquee snapping to the edges of your document, choose View > Snap To and choose Document Bounds.

DocumentBoundary


3. Swap Crop Dimensions

When you choose the Crop tool, the tool Options bar displays a number of options, the first two being the width and height of the crop. In between those fields is a tiny little button that you’d hardly notice and it’s a bit time saver. Below you can see I set up a crop of exactly 6cm x 10cm. If I hit that little button, I will now get a crop of 10cm x 6cm. Saves on all that inconvenient typing.

SwapCropFields

4. Non-square cropping

You don’t have to draw out a square to crop an image. You can make a selection around an object or in an image using any of the selection tools. Here I’ve drawn really loosely around the buildings with the lasso.

Non-square1

Choose Image > Crop and Photoshop will crop the image as tightly as it can.

Non-square2

Do you have any other speedy Crop tips you’d like to share?

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  • purpleduck

    Thank you. Every month I crop a dozen or so photos for a newsletter and have been using the rotate and marquee tools. I had picked up a tip before about using the ruler to draw a line and then Rotate Arbitrary, which will then have the angle filled in. That was cool, but this just saved me about 5 steps! And no more futzing with the marquee!

  • http://www.assemblysys.com/dataServices/index.php mniessen

    To avoid snapping to the edge of the image, you can also hold CTRL (cmd on Mac) while selecting the area to crop.

    In the crop options bar, there’s this often overlooked option called “cropped ares” with the options “delete” (by default) and “hide”. Selecting “hide” will simply hide everything that’s not in the crop area, meaning that even after the crop, you can move your objects around and show again content that was cropped.

    Another trick is to make the crop area bigger than the canvas to extend it. After your crop area is selected, select a handle and drag it outside the canvas to include the extra area you would like to include in your image. If you had previously made a crop with the “hide” option selected, this will also reveal what was previously cropped.

  • http://www.assemblysys.com/dataServices/index.php mniessen

    Finally, after cropping with “hide” selected, you can at any time show the whole, original image again by clicking on “reveal all” in the “image” menu. It works even after having closed and reopened the file.

    Regards,

    Michaël