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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 Elements. Actually, you'll be happy to learn that there's more than just cropping and resizing in this chapter. That's right—I supersized the 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, 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?

Cropping Photos

After you've sorted your images in the Organizer or File Browser, one of the first editing tasks you'll probably undertake is cropping a photo. There are a number of different ways to crop a photo in Elements. We'll start with the basic garden-variety options, and then we'll look at some ways to make the task faster and easier.

Step One

Open the image you want to crop, and press the letter C to get the Crop tool (you could always select it directly from the Toolbox, but I only recommend doing so if you're charging by the hour).

Step Two

Click within your photo and drag out a cropping border. The area to be cropped away will appear dimmed (shaded). You don't have to worry about getting your cropping border right when you first drag it out, because you can edit it by dragging the control handles that appear in each corner and at the center of each side.

Step Three

While you have the crop border in place, you can rotate the entire border. Just move your cursor outside the border, and your cursor changes into a double-headed arrow. Just click-and-drag, and the cropping border will rotate in the direction that you drag. (This is a great way to save time if you have a crooked image, because it lets you crop and rotate at the same time.)

Step Four

Once you have the cropping border where you want it, you can choose any one of the following to actually crop the image to size:

(1) Press the Enter key

(2) Click any other tool in the Toolbox

(3) Click the Checkmark icon in the top-right side of the Options Bar.

TIP:Changing Your Mind

If you've dragged out a cropping border and then decide you don't want to crop the image, there are two ways to cancel your crop:

(1) Press the Escape key on your keyboard and the crop will be canceled; the photo will remain untouched.

(2) Look in the Options Bar, and you'll see the international symbol for “No way.” Click the circle with the diagonal line through it to cancel your crop.

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