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Cream of the Crop: cropping and resizing

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This chapter is from the book

If a chapter on cropping and resizing doesn't sound exciting, really, what does? It's sad, but a good portion of our lives is spent doing just that—cropping and resizing. Why is that? It's because nothing, and I mean nothing, is ever the right size. Think about it. If everything were already the right size, there'd be no opportunity to “super-size it.” You'd go to McDonald's, order a Value Meal, and instead of hearing, “Would you care to super-size your order?” there would just be a long, uncomfortable pause. And frankly, I'm uncomfortable enough at the McDonald's drive-thru, what with all the cropping and resizing I'm constantly doing. Anyway, although having a chapter on cropping and resizing isn't the kind of thing that sells books (though I hear books on crop circles do fairly well), both are important and necessary, especially if you ever plan on cropping or resizing things in Photoshop. Actually, you'll be happy to learn that there's more than just cropping and resizing in this chapter. That's right—I super-sized this chapter with other cool techniques that honestly are probably a bit too cool to wind up in a chapter called “Cropping and Resizing,” but it's the only place they'd fit. But don't let the extra techniques throw you; if this chapter seems too long to you, flip to the end of the chapter and rip out a few pages, and you have effectively cropped the chapter down to size. (And by ripping the pages out yourself, you have transformed what was originally a mere book into an “interactive experience,” which thereby enhances the value of the book, making you feel like a pretty darn smart shopper.) See, it almost makes you want to read it now, doesn't it?

Custom Sizes for Photographers

Photoshop's dialog for creating new documents has a pop-up menu with a list of Preset Sizes. You're probably thinking, “Hey, there's a 4 x 6, 5 x 7, and 8 x 10—I'm set.” The problem is there's no way to switch the orientation of these presets (so a 4 x 6 will always be a 4″ wide by 6″ tall portrait-oriented document). That's why creating your own custom new document sizes is so important. Here's how.

Step One. Go under the File menu and choose New. When the New dialog box appears, click on the Preset pop-up menu to reveal the list of preset sizes. The preset sizes for photographers are the set just below the preset for Tabloid, and they include 2 x 3, 4 x 6, 5 x 7, and 8 x 10. The only problem with these is that their orientation is set to portrait and their resolution is set to 300 by default. So, if you want a landscape preset, at less than 300 ppi, you need to create and save your own.
Step Two. For example, let's say that you want a 5 x 7 set to landscape (that's 7″ wide by 5″ tall). First, enter 7 inches in the Width field (as shown here), 5 inches in the Height field, and your desired Color Mode and resolution (I input 212 ppi, which is enough for me to have my image printed on a high-end printing press). Once your settings are in place, click the Save Preset button (as shown).
Step Three. This brings up the New Document Preset dialog box. You can toggle on/off which parameters you want saved, but I use the default setting of including everything (better safe than sorry, I guess).
Step Four. Click OK and your new custom preset appears in the pop-up list of Presets (as shown here). You only have to go through this once, as Photoshop CS remembers your custom settings, and they will appear in this Preset menu from now on.
Step Five. If you decide you want to delete a preset, it's simple—just open the New dialog, choose the preset you want to delete from the Preset pop-up menu, then click on the Delete Preset button (as shown here). A warning dialog appears asking you to confirm the delete. Click Yes, and it's gone!
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