A D V E R T I S E M E N T
Let's start by exploring
the most common use of the crop tool... cropping, of course! Open any image and
select the Crop tool. To select an area to be cropped, just click and drag in
your image and when you let go, the crop marquee will appear. There's no need to
be precise when making the first selection, because you can edit your selection
before committing to the crop. You can always save some time if you get it right
the first time; however, the default crop cursor makes it somewhat difficult to
see exactly where your selection begins and ends.
The selection point actually begins and ends at the very center of the crop
tool, approximately where I've placed a red dot in the screen shot here. If you
want exact precision however, you will want to switch to a crosshair cursor. At
any time, you can switch from standard to precise cursors by enabling the
Caps Lock key. This works with the painting tools as well. Try it out. You
may find that the precise cursor is hard to see in some backgrounds, but it's
nice to have the option when you need it.
OK, now pick which ever
cursor preference you like and drag out a crop selection on your image. Notice
the hollow boxes in the corners and on each side of the selection marquee? These
are called handles because you can grab onto them to manipulate the selection.
Move your cursor over each
of these handles and you'll notice it changes to a double pointing arrow to
indicate that you can resize the selection border. Make some adjustments to your
crop selection now using the handles. You'll notice if you drag a corner handle
you can adjust the width and height at the same time. If you hold the shift
key down while dragging a corner handle it constrains the height and width
You'll find if you try to
move the selection border to just a few pixels from any of the document edges,
the border automatically snaps to the document edge. This makes it nearly
impossible to trim just a few pixels from an image, but you can disable this
snapping behavior by holding down the
Ctrl (Windows only) key when you get
close to an edge. On Windows or Macintosh, you can toggle snapping on and off by
or from the View menu.
for Version 6.0
Photoshop 6, the cropped area is shielded with a gray screen. This makes
it easier to visualize how the cropping affects the overall composition.
You can change the shielded area color and opacity from the options bar
after you make a crop selection. You can also disable the shading, by
unchecking the "Shield cropped area" checkbox.
Now move your cursor
inside the selection marquee. The cursor changes to a solid black arrow
indicating that you can move the selection. Holding the shift key while
you move the selection constrains your movements.
But that's not all... move
your cursor to just outside one of the corner handles and you'll see it change
to a double pointing curved arrow. When the curved arrow cursor is active you
can rotate the selection marquee. This allows you to crop and straighten a
crooked image at the same time. Just align one of the crop edges to a portion of
the image that should be horizontal or vertical, and when you invoke the crop,
it will rotate the image to conform to your selection. The center point on the
crop marquee determines the center point to which the marquee is rotated. You
can move this center point to change the center of rotation by clicking on it
for Version 6.0
Photoshop 6, after you draw the crop selection, you have a checkbox on
the options bar to adjust the perspective. This is useful for photos of
buildings where there is some distortion. When you select the
perspective check box, you can move your cursor over any of the corner
handles and it will change to a shaded arrow. Then you can click and
drag each corner of the crop marquee independently. To correct
perspective distortion, move the top corners of the selection marquee
inward, so that the sides of the selection are aligned with the edges of
the building you want to correct.
for Version 6.0
version 6 you can also use the check mark button on the options bar to
commit to the crop, or the X button to cancel the crop.
If you change your mind
after you've made a crop selection, you can back out of it by pressing Esc.
To commit to your selection and make the crop permanent, you can press Enter
or Return, or simply double click inside the selection marquee.
for Version 6.0
Photoshop 6, if you are cropping a layered image, you can choose whether
you want to delete the cropped area permanently, or just hide the area
outside of the crop marquee. These options will appear on the options
bar. The hide option retains those pixels, but resizes the canvas so
they are not visible. This area outside the visible canvas is called
"big data" and you can make it visible again by choosing Image > Reveal
all. The delete/hide options will be dimmed when cropping a background
layer or when using the perspective option. Keep in mind that the hide
option requires more memory and disk space when you save the file.
Take a few moments now to
practice cropping and manipulating the crop selection using all the methods
we've discussed so far. You can return your image to its original state at any
time by going to File > Revert.
I also mentioned that you
could resample an image via the crop tool. To do this you'll need to use the
crop options palette (or the options bar in Photoshop 6). The options palette
for any tool can be accessed by double clicking on the toolbar button.
for Version 6.0
version 6, there is no check box; however, typing numbers into the
width, height and resolution fields alters the image resolution rather
In the crop tool options,
there is a check box for Fixed Target size. When this checkbox is activated, you
can alter the image resolution. The Front Image button fills in the fields with
the current image size and resolution, otherwise, the last used numbers will be
remembered. Resampling with the crop tool is a bit difficult to describe; I
suggest you read about it on page 59 of the Photoshop 5.0 User Guide (or look up
Fixed Target Size Option in the online Help) and experiment with it to get a
feel for how it works.