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Cropping

Keeping What You Cropped

qus.jpg Is there a way to restore an area I've cropped out of an image? Before you ask: Yeah, I already saved and closed the file.

tick.jpg By default, the crop tool permanently deletes the cropped area, and you can't recover that area after saving. However, if you check out the Options bar for the Crop tool, you'll find two Cropping Area options: Delete, and Hide (you only see these after drawing the cropping rectangle). The Hide option is unavailable if you're cropping an image with a Background in the Layers palette, so the first step is to convert Background to a layer.

  1. In the Layers palette, Option/Alt-double-click the Background layer to convert it to Layer 0.
  2. Select the Crop tool, and drag a crop rectangle.
  3. In the Options bar, click the Hide button ( Figure 3.7 ).
    03fig07.jpg

    Figure 3.7 Clicking the Hide button on the Options bar for the Crop tool while a crop area is active. The Layers palette shows that the default Background was converted to a layer so that the Hide button would be available.

  4. Press Enter or Return.

Because you clicked the Hide option, there are two things you can now do that you couldn't before. First, you can reposition the cropped image using the Move tool (wow!). And second, at any time you can restore the cropped area by choosing Image > Reveal All.

You can also recover any part of the hidden area by dragging the Crop tool beyond the edge of the image.

The area cropped out by the Hide option stays around even after you save and reopen the document, as long as you don't flatten the image. Because documents cropped with the Hide option look the same as documents cropped with the Delete option, you might want to add a note to the document using the Notes tool, to remind you that there is extra image area that needs to be preserved.

Removing Perspective With the Crop Tool

qus.jpg Is it true that you can actually use the Crop tool to correct perspective distortion in an image?

tick.jpg It sure is! There's a Crop tool option called Perspective, which is yet another crop tool option that's only visible when a crop area is active:

  1. Using the Crop tool, drag a crop rectangle. Don't worry about precision at the point.
  2. In the Options bar, check the Perspective option ( Figure 3.8 ).
    03fig08.jpg

    Figure 3.8 Dragging crop area handles (bottom left) to match perspective lines in the image, made possible by the Perspective checkbox in the Options bar for the Crop tool (top) while a crop area is active. When you commit the crop, the Crop tool removes the perspective distortion (bottom right).

  3. Drag corner handles to line up the edges of the crop area with perspective lines in the image.
  4. Press Enter or Return to commit the crop area. The Crop tool uses your modified crop area to remove the perspective distortion.

Living on the Edge

qus.jpg The Crop tool is hard to control when it's right up against the edge of the window. I notice this most when I'm trying to move crop area handles in Perspective mode. If I drag a crop handle outside the window, I can't get it back. If I zoom out to see the area outside the image, I can no longer position the handle with precision. Is it possible to have more control over cropping near edges while I'm zoomed in close on the image?

tick.jpg Yes. If you're viewing a document in the default window view (Standard Screen Mode), you may find it difficult to start or stop dragging precisely at the edge of an image. It's much easier if there's space around the image. Either zoom out or enlarge the window slightly to reveal the area outside the image, and you'll now be able to snap exactly to the image edge when you start or stop dragging ( Figure 3.9 ). If you're viewing the document in Full Screen mode or Full Screen with Menu Bar mode, either choose View > Fit on Screen or zoom in and use the Hand tool to scroll past the edge; either method allows tools to snap to the edge.

03fig09.jpg

Figure 3.9 In Standard Screen Mode (top), it's possible to drag a crop area handle past the window edge. To reach that handle after you release the mouse, you'd have to zoom out. If you work in one of the Full Screen modes (bottom), you can reach handles outside the crop area without having to zoom out.

Cropping with the Marquee Tool

qus.jpg When I use the Crop tool Options bar to crop to a specific dimensions, it changes the resolution of the image. How can I crop to specific dimensions without altering the resolution of the image? I just want to clip some pixels off of the sides of the image.

tick.jpg When you use the Crop tool and in the Options bar you specify a fixed size while leaving Resolution blank, the size of the crop area you drag determines the resolution of the resulting image. For example, if you set the Crop tool for 4 inches wide, any crop area you drag must be resized to fit into 4 inches. If one crop area you drag is twice as large as another, that's double the pixels to fit into four inches; therefore the resolution doubles.

To crop to specific dimensions without altering the resolution, you can use the Rectangular Marquee tool:

  1. Select the Rectangular Marquee tool.
  2. On the Options bar, choose Fixed Size from the Style popup menu, and enter the size you want, such as "4 in" or "200 px" ( Figure 3.10 ).
    03fig10.jpg

    Figure 3.10 The Options bar for the Marquee tool includes a Fixed Size option that you can use to crop an image without altering the file resolution.

  3. Drag the Rectangular Marquee tool to position the selection marquee. You can only reposition the marquee; you won't be able to resize it because you used the Options bar to lock the dimensions.
  4. Choose Image > Crop.
  5. Choose Select > Deselect.

Why not just fill in the Resolution field in the Options bar for the Crop tool? If you do this, the Crop tool resamples the image, so if you're trying to avoid resampling, don't fill in the Resolution field.

Cropping in Camera Raw

qus.jpg I see that Camera Raw also has a Crop tool. When should I use that one?

tick.jpg We think you should crop in Adobe Camera Raw whenever possible. If you crop in Camera Raw, you'll reduce the amount of data that's passed to Photoshop in the first place. Also, the Crop tool in Adobe Camera Raw is nondestructive, so if you screw up a crop, just go back to Camera Raw, edit the crop, and re-convert the raw image to Photoshop. Nondestructive cropping in Camera Raw is much easier than using the Hide feature in the Options bar for the Crop tool.

One big advantage to cropping in Camera Raw is that Camera Raw remembers the crop. If you ever need to convert the raw image again, your previous crop is already there. If you crop a converted raw in Photoshop and you need to convert the raw file again, you have to somehow re-create the same crop.

Camera Raw records your crop area along with your other raw adjustments, saving it all to the Camera Raw database or in the image's XMP file, depending on how you've set your preferences. That's how it remembers the crop.

Changing the Frame Aspect Ratio

qus.jpg I need to get an image into an aspect ratio of 16:9 for an HDTV project. What's the fastest way to do that?

tick.jpg If you know the pixel dimensions of the new aspect ratio, such as 1280x720 pixels, simply choose the Crop tool and enter the new dimensions in the Crop tool's Options bar before you start dragging the crop rectangle.

However, the Crop tool doesn't provide a way to enter an aspect ratio, such as 16:9, without also changing the dimensions of the image. If you want to crop to a specific aspect ratio (outside of Camera Raw), you can use the Marquee tool.

  1. Select the Rectangular Marquee tool.
  2. On the Options bar, choose Fixed Aspect Ratio from the Style popup menu, and enter the aspect ratio you want. For example, to set a 16:9 aspect ratio, enter 16 into the Width box and 9 into the Height box.
  3. Drag the Marquee tool to position the selection rectangle ( Figure 3.11 ). If you want to reposition or resize the selection rectangle after you release the mouse, choose Select > Transform Selection and Shift-drag a corner handle to resize it proportionally (and then press Enter).
    03fig11.jpg

    Figure 3.11 To crop an image to a new aspect ratio without altering its resolution, use the Marquee tool in Fixed Aspect Ratio mode.

  4. Choose Image > Crop.

Changing the Pixel Aspect Ratio

If you import an image from a video capture (such as a frame from iMovie) and the contents appear distorted in Photoshop, you may need to assign a different pixel aspect ratio to the image. Simply choose the pixel aspect ratio of the source video from the Image > Pixel Aspect Ratio submenu.

Assigning a pixel aspect ratio doesn't alter the image data at all. It only corrects the display to account for the pixel aspect ratio under which the image was created. If you want to see what the image looks like without the pixel aspect ratio correction and without losing the assigned pixel aspect ratio, you can turn the command View > Pixel Aspect Ratio Correction on and off. You can assign a pixel aspect ratio to a new document, too.

In the New dialog box (File > New), click the triangle next to Advanced and enter a Pixel Aspect Ratio.

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