Beginner’s Guide To Cropping & The Crop Tool In Photoshop

The Crop tool in Photoshop removes or hides whatever part of the image you choose. It’s an essential tool for anyone working with images and is useful for helping to create a focus in your photograph and for removing distractions in an image.

Over several version of Photoshop, the Crop tool has improved. A major improvement occurred with the arrival of CS6, and there hasn’t been any major change since then in how to crop your images. In this short guide, I’ll show you how to make a basic crop on your image and some of the options you have available to you when you’re cropping.

How to use the Crop Tool In Photoshop

1. Choose the Crop tool by pressing C on your keyboard, or by clicking on the Crop tool in the toolbox.  Crop Tool Photoshop

2. You’ll see that a cropping border is automatically added to your photo. You’ll also notice there are handles (small boxes) in each corner and along each side. Simply grab a handle and start to drag.

Basic-Crop-In-Photoshop1

Notice the dimmed area that appears outside of the cropping border. This is the bit that will get cropped away.

If you want to keep the proportions of your crop to be the same as your original image, press and hold the Shift key as you drag the cropping handles.  You can also move your image within the cropping area by clicking on the image itself and dragging it.

3. When you’re happy with how the crop appears, you confirm or complete the crop by either Enter (PC) or Return (Mac) on your keyboard, or by pressing the Confirm Crop icon in the Options bar at the top of the screen.

Et Voila! Your beautifully cropped image appears.

How to Cancel A Crop

Stepping back a little, if you want to cancel a crop while the cropping border is still on your image, you can either press Esc on the keyboard or, click on the Cancel Crop icon in the Options bar at the top of the screen.

If you’ve already committed or confirmed a crop, just undo by pressing Cmd + Z (Mac) or Ctrl + Z (PC). That will take you back one step.

Other Crop Options You May Like To Use

When you start to drag with one of the cropping handles, The Rule of Thirds overlay grid appears by default. If you like to adhere to the Rule of Thirds with your photography, this is very useful, but there are other Overlay Options available too. Here’s how to find them.

1. On the Options bar at the top of the screen, click on the Set The Overlay Options icon. A dropdown box appears showing you the various overlays which will appear when you start to drag the crop handles. You can cycle through the options by pressing the letter O.

Here’s a visual overview of each:

Grid Overlay

Diagonal Overlay

Basic-Crop-In-Photoshop-Diagonal-Overlay-7

Triangle Overlay

Golden Ratio

Golden Spiral

Finally, on the overlay options, there are three other settings in the menu:

  • Always Show Overlay – once you start cropping, it’s visible and stays visible
  • Never Show Overlay,
  • Auto Show Overlay – it only appears when you’re actually cropping

 

Freehand Cropping in Photoshop

We’ve just seen how to do the most basic crop i.e. click on the tool, the crop borders appear on your image and then you drag the handles. However, you can also just select the Crop tool and simply drag over the area you want to crop. It doesn’t matter that there is already a cropping border around the image, you can just click and drag out then release the mouse. Your new cropping area will appear and if you need to adjust it you can use the handles as before.

So that’s the fundamentals of cropping. There are other tricks you can perform with the Crop tool and we’ll return to it at another time.

Thanks for reading! I hope you found this useful and I would be very grateful if you could share it. 🙂

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Beginners Guide To Cropping And The Crop Tool

How To Whiten Teeth In Photoshop

This is one lesson I wish I could use permanently and physically on myself – how to get pearly white teeth. In Photoshop it’s pretty easy to do this using the Sponge tool to desaturate and the Dodge tool to lighten. The main thing to remember is not to go too crazy with the whitening, the teeth should still look natural. As always, this is just one method of whitening teeth. Often in Photoshop there are at least two ways to do everything.

1. Open the image of the person (or animal) whose teeth need a bit of whitening. I’m using this image of a laughing lion (see what I did there) by Lemuel Butler which is free to download here from Unsplash.  The lion’s teeth are yellow-orange but he’ll soon have a Hollywood smile.

01 - Laughing Lion With Yellow Teeth

2. Whenever you’re editing images, it’s always a good idea to do make changes on a duplicate layer. Press Cmd + J (mac) or Ctrl + J (windows) to make an exact copy of the photograph appear on a new layer. I renamed the duplicate as “Image Edit”.

02 - Duplicate Layer

3. Select the Sponge tool. Sponge-Tool-Photoshop
This may be hidden under the Dodge tool in the toolbar.

dodge-burn-sponge-tools photoshop

4. We’re going to use the Sponge to remove or desaturate the colour in the teeth.  In the tool Options at the top of the screen, set the Mode to Desaturate, set Flow to 100% and turn off the Vibrance so the check box is empty.

03 - Sponge Tool Options For Desaturating

5. Still in the tool Options, choose a brush size suitable for brushing over the teeth. Choose a brush with a soft edge (or hardness of 0%). You will need to make your brush bigger and smaller as you work over the lion’s teeth. A shortcut for increasing the size of a brush (on any brush-based tool) is to press the right bracket key ] . To decrease the size of the brush, press the left bracket key [ .

6. Zoom in so that you can see the teeth clearly.

7. Brush the teeth with the Sponge tool making your brush bigger and smaller as necessary. You want to make sure you’re only desaturating the teeth and not his tongue, gums or hair.

04 - Desaturate Teeth

Things are looking better already, and that’s just the top set desaturated 🙂 Keep going until you’ve desaturated all the teeth. Don’t forget the teeth at the back which have a shadow cast on them, but are still very yellow.

7. Once you’ve desaturated all the teeth, it’s time to whiten them up. Select the Dodge tool (ODodge Tool - Photoshop

8. On the tool options bar, again choose a small soft brush. Pick a brush size that is slightly larger than the teeth. Set the Range to Midtones and set the Exposure to 15%. Leave the Protect Tones box checked. This helps to keep things looking a bit more natural and retains some of the shadows and texture.

05 - Dodge Tool Options

9. Work your way around the lion’s teeth with the Dodge tool, again making the brush bigger and smaller when necessary. The Dodge tool has a build-up effect. Each time you release the mouse button and start painting again, the amount of Dodge builds up. If you feel like you’ve gone too far with the whitening, you can press Cmd + Z (mac) or Ctrl + Z (windows) to step back. Or you can choose Edit > Fade Dodge Tool to reduce the overall effect.

Here are the lion’s teeth before (on the left) and after a thorough brushing.

07 - Lions Teeth Finished

This Photoshop method works in exactly the same way for human teeth. The thing to avoid is overly bright, dazzling white teeth, but there’s no harm in a little whitening.

I hope you found this useful. I would be super grateful if you could share it. Thanks 🙂

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How-To-Whiten-Teeth-With-Dodge-And-Sponge-In-Photoshop

 

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