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For more information, please see full course syllabus of Adobe Photoshop CS6
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Cropping & Straightening

  • Perspective Crop - correct perspective with the cropping tool.
  • Delete Cropped Pixels Checkbox - allows you to keep the entire image with only the cropped area as the useful portion that you see. That way you can go back if needed to change the crop to include additional area! Cool!

Cropping & Straightening

Lecture Slides are screen-captured images of important points in the lecture. Students can download and print out these lecture slide images to do practice problems as well as take notes while watching the lecture.

  • Intro 0:00
  • Lesson Overview 0:07
  • Correcting for Lens Distortion and Camera Vignetting 0:50
    • Correcting for Lens Distortion and Camera Vignetting
  • Straightening Horizons 4:06
    • Straightening Horizons
  • The New Interface & Cropping 6:20
    • The New Interface & Cropping
  • Perspective Cropping 10:10
    • Perspective Cropping

Transcription: Cropping & Straightening

Hi everyone, Michael Brown here again, welcome back to's Adobe Photoshop CS6 course.0000

In this lesson, we're going to discuss one of the most basic tools in the Toolbar and in Photoshop, and that is the Crop tool, and we're going to talk about cropping our images for composition as well as straightening horizons, cropping for perspective--a new feature to correct perspective directly in the Crop tool.0007

The comparison between CS6's interface and CS5; the new CS6 interface and actually to start with, correcting your images for lens distortion and camera vignetting, which is probably the very first thing you should do before you even crop your image.0030

So let's get started.0051

I want to open up an image...and this is going to open in Camera's the image right here, and what you notice is the horizon line is almost straight over here--it's actually tilted slightly but it's mostly curved, and it may be hard to see on your screen but notice how bright the sand is, and it begins to get a little dark just along the outer edge on both sides here, that's vignetting.0053

From the fact that this was an 18 to 200 zoom lens, shot at 18mm wide angle, so what I would like to do is remove this distortion before I even crop, and that can be done here in Camera Raw or in Photoshop.0086

So we're going to go to the lens correction panel in Camera Raw, and just click the enable lens profile corrections, and notice magically it straightened out--it knows that this was a Nikon camera, it knows that the lens was an 18 to 200 zoom lens, and it has the profile for that lens and it corrected the problem.0104

So I'm going to undo that and open the image in Photoshop--see you can do it right here in Camera Raw--I kind of like doing it here, it's your call.0129

Let's open it up in Photoshop now...there it is, same situation; we can go to the Filter menu down to Lens Correction, and one of the cool things that I'll show you (there's a trick we can play but we're here) it's already corrected it once it knew it was a Nikon camera, the lens, all I have to do is let it know that it's an 18 to 200 356 zoom lens, and it has removed that vignette and straightened up the horizon.0142

You can do this either here, or in Camera Raw but since we make some initial corrections in Camera Raw, just as a workflow efficiency method, I like doing this feature in Camera Raw, so we'll click OK.0178

Now, in Camera Raw, there's also a Crop tool, but when it crops it, it crops and throws away all of the pixels and you're left with it.0197

The tool in Photoshop for cropping is much more robust than the Crop tool in Camera Raw, so lens correction, sure, do that in Camera Raw first, bring it in here then do your cropping from that point on.0205

Alright, so now we've talked about how to correct for lens distortion, and Camera Vignette, either in Photoshop... or Camera Raw, and I prefer doing this in Camera Raw.0221

OK, so let's get back to our image.0245

Now we need to straighten it and crop it, so here is the Crop tool in the Toolbox, and if you hold down--you see there's some sub-tools, the Slice tools are for web pages, but we're dealing with the Crop tool, and there's the Perspective Crop tool which allows you to do perspective corrections with the Crop tool--we'll talk about that in a minute.0249

So here we are, here's your Options bar for the Crop tool.0273

Starting at the left we have a dropdown box that allows you to select several pre-sets for fixed cropping aspect ratios.0279

These are pretty much the ones you're going to use for anything--there's a square, 8x10 which is a photo print, 8.5x11 which is a standard piece of paper, 3x4; some cameras, 5x7; photo print, 4x6; photo print, 9x16, which is the standard high-res, high-def monitor now, or you can type in your own.0290

The rotate button is to rotate the crop box to a vertical or a horizontal just by doing that--it just enables you to have a better starting point--it's still, if you leave it unconstrained as I do, it allows you to do what you want with it, and here is the Straighten tool.0313

Two ways to straighten your horizons: one is with the Straighten tool; you very simply click and drag a line parallel to what you want to make it to--and this is going to be the horizon, it rotates it right into that horizon.0330

You can also do it by going outside the bounding box for the Crop tool (let's move that back to the edge) turning the cursor into the curved arrow, click and rotate your image, and you'll see a grid appears, and now I can line it up with a gridline, release, and there I have a straightened horizon.0348

Either of the Straighten tool or rotating with a grid; that's how you straighten your horizons--very simple.0371

So let's go back to our image again.0380

Now we're going to deal with basic cropping, so let's--oh, moving across the Options bar, you have a methodology of viewing once we start to crop.0383

If I click on the Crop tool, notice I got this rule of thirds photographic composition grid, that's because that's the one selected on the dropdown menu.0397

You can also have a grid, there's that grid again, or other ones that some of--I don't even know what they're there for, they're really weird, like the triangle...I've never seen this cropping methodology before but it's there, and you can auto show which is, as you see, when you click it, always show which means it's there forever--let's get back to the rule of thirds...or never show.0408

I like the auto show, sometimes I want to use rule of thirds--if you want it, it's fine...actually I'm pretty used to cropping so I can go with never, but auto show--here I'm seeing the final image, now I just click and drag and there I am (by the way my horizon got straightened up so we're going to fix that again) and there it is!0434

OK...but I do want to undo that for a moment.0458

The next and final thing is a dropdown gear; classic mode was the previous versions of Photoshop, for example, if you rotated to straighten a horizon we'll go with the classic mode--notice we have the different little buttons, we go outside and we get our curve and now when we click it turns the box, that's the way Photoshop used to work, now it's straight with a horizon, and then when you click Enter, it crops your image and rotates it level.0462

Well it sure is a lot neater--I don't know why you would want to use this but if you want to, it's there, leave it with the regular methodology of cropping it by rotating the image and now you see it level before you set it in place.0492

You also see the Crop Shield...if I take that away there is no Crop Shield--it's just like it used to be, now we have a semi-transparent shield, you can adjust your opacity, you can also match the canvas or make a custom color if you wanted--you could make it black, I like it at the match canvas, those options are available, and so there you have that.0508

So let me just go ahead, unconstrained and crop this image and I'm going to over-crop it farther than I would normally.0533

In the old days with Legacy, once you click Enter such as now, you have removed all of the other pixels of the existing image, but in CS6 notice it says "delete cropped pixels".0542

If you have this checked, it would take them away--if you leave it unchecked, let's say in this case I over-cropped it and I come back after I've done some other work, whatever I wanted to do with it, and I go "you know what, I really wish I had more sky", you'd have to rebuild it or start all over, but in CS6 since we did not check the box, once I click that Crop bounding box--look, it's all still there, and we could go back and re-crop the image, and when I click Enter it will still be there any time you want to change it.0558

It makes obviously the file size a little bit larger, but it's very, very convenient, so let's go back and see what we've got.0595

We discussed the new interface, we talked about the old version versus CS6, and now all that's left is Perspective Crop.0603

I'm going to show you all about Perspective Crop.0612

Here we have an image highly perspective from wide angle--the first thing we want to do is correct the curvature--see that not only is it distorted inward, it curves, so we want to go to the Filter, Lens Correction, and when I did it with an icon, notice it now bows outward a little bit.0616

For some reason, that algorithm is just a little bit off here.0637

Here's a trick: instead of with an icon, pick another camera model...let's try Leica and see what that is...actually look at that, it's absolutely perfectly straight, so the Leica algorithm did a better job in this case than the Nikon did, we'll just leave it right that way--you can also play with the different lenses until you find one that works 100% perfectly, so that was a little trick on initially straightening some of the curvatures that may not work if the algorithm on your camera isn't exact.0642

So we'll click OK and this sends--now we've got straight lines but they're inward, so we're going to go to the Crop tool, the Perspective Crop tool, and this one you click and get this grid, and now I could go inward to line up the lines to the building and crop it and what it's going to do crop it pretty much on the money, but we got a little too much, so let's go try that one more time.0680

Instead of doing the outer edges (let's go line it up with the street sign...right there, bring this side in and line it up with the building edge right there, that looks pretty's not very good on that side, let's come in a little more, there we go) click it, but now you see it took away that excess outside space, so there's another way to deal with we are, try it one more time.0717

Instead of coming in and removing it, go the other way...pull your line outward, and that way it will actually make more space...there we go, click Enter...and you see now we still have the original space that we had.0753

Now we can go back to our regular Crop tool and bring it in to the edges--and I could probably even do a slight additional amount, but that gives you the idea of how this tool works for perspective cropping.0773

We have an image that is now nice and straight and we started there, and made it nice and correct for an architectural perspective crop.0791

That takes care of Perspective Crop, and that sums up all of the available features in the new Crop tool in Photoshop CS6 as well as a couple of tricks on using the lens correction filter to correct for...excuse me, not for perspective but for lens distortion, and if it doesn't work on your camera, play with the other ones, and we've also dealt with the Perspective Crop tool.0802

All of these items' features for you in Photoshop CS6.0833