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Resized: Resizing and Cropping Your Images in Photoshop CS3

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After you've sorted your images in Adobe Bridge, 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 Photoshop and best-selling author Scott Kelby covers them all in this funny, yet informative, sample chapter.
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I could only find one song with the title "Resized," and I think it's a perfect fit for a chapter on resizing and cropping your photos. The song is by a band called Bungle and this particular song features Laura Pacheco. It's from their album Down to Earth. I'm telling you this like you're going to go and buy the CD, but trust me—you're not. That's because I'm going to try and talk you out of doing just that. Here's why: the full-length song is five minutes and 55 seconds. After hearing just the free 30-second preview of it on Apple's iTunes Store, I imagine there are some people (not you, mind you, but some people) who might become somehow adversely affected by its super-fast-paced hypnotic beat and might do things that they might not normally do while listening to selections from the Eagles or James Taylor. In fact, I would advise against even listening to the 30-second free preview if any of these conditions are present: (1) it's late at night and you have all the lights out, (2) the lights are out and you have a strobe light flashing, (3) the lights are out, a strobe is flashing, and you're holding a large butcher knife, or (4) the lights are out, a strobe is flashing, you're holding a large butcher knife, and you've just been fired from your job. "Resized" would make a great background track for House of the Dead VII, because it's not one of those gloomy Metallica songs—it actually has a fast pop-like beat, but at the same time, it makes you want to grab a butcher knife (not me, of course, and certainly not you, but you know...people like that one really quiet guy who works in accounting. I'd keep him away from that song. Especially if he ever gets fired).

Just a Quickie About the CS3 Interface

When you first look at Adobe Photoshop CS3, the interface looks a lot different than previous versions, but it's really not as different as you'd think. I don't want to spend a lot of time on the interface (I know you want to get your hands dirty, so I'll keep this to a minimum—just these two pages then we're off and running), but I do want to show you two things: (1) how to quickly return to the CS2 look if you're more comfortable with that, and (2) I thought I'd show you my own workspace which is a pretty efficient setup for photographers.

Step One

Here's the default CS3 interface, with a single-column Toolbox on the far left and two columns of panels on the right (in most places, they're no longer called "palettes," they're officially called "panels." I have no idea why—they probably did it just to mess with us). The advantage of multiple columns is it lets you keep your panels out of the way until you need them (so they're not cluttering your screen). You can collapse each column of panels down to just their icons (or just their icons and names), so you pop 'em out when you need them, then tuck 'em out of the way when you don't. There's even an Auto-Collapse Icon Palettes preference (found in Photoshop's Preferences, under Interface) that tucks individual panels away automatically once you click on anything else.

Step Two

To see an individual panel, click on its icon, and it pops out (like the Character panel shown here). To tuck it back out of the way, either click on its icon again, or on the tiny right-facing triangles on the top right of the panel itself. To expand an entire column of panels (like the panels on the far right here), click once on the tiny left-facing triangles on the top right of a column. To manually drag out a column, click-and-drag the double lines at the top left of the column.

Step Three

If you press the letter F, your floating image window is replaced by a medium gray background, and your photo is centered onscreen (as seen here). The Palette Well (that used to be up in the Options Bar in CS2), has been replaced with those darker gray areas on either side of your screen where you now stack as many columns and rows of panels as you have space for. Press F again, and it expands the gray background full screen, and hides those panel wells. Press F once again for full-screen mode (a solid black background with no visible menus).

Step Four

If you want to return to the CS2 look (shown here), start by clicking on the right-facing triangles at the top left of the Toolbox to expand it back into the two-column Toolbox from CS2. Then, to make your panels float like palettes, just click on the panel's name tab, and drag it out over your desktop. To nest other panels with it, just click-and-drag a panel's name tab and move it over your floating panel. When you see the panel highlight, release your mouse button and it nests.

Step Five

Here's my workspace: The single column Toolbox is on the left (once you get used to it, it's great because it takes up less space). On the right, I chose only the panels I use most often, and I manually dragged the two lines at the top left of the column to the left until the names of the icons appeared, because after all this time I still don't recognize them just by the icons. Up in the Options Bar, you now have one-click access to your workspaces (as seen here), so choose Save Workspace, give yours a name, and you're set. Now, let's get to work!

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