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The Crop and Measure Tools in use

The Crop and Measure Tools in use - ePHOTOzine member, Takui Neko shows us how to use Photoshop's Crop and Measure tools.

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Adobe Photoshop

The composition of an image is one of the most important aspects of photography, it will make the difference between an Amateur and a Pro (from a visual point at least); and composition, in a simple way, means just how objects are placed on a given frame.

Some times it is not possible to make a great composition of a given image, unless you have total control of the objects being photographed, which is not always the case.

But never waste an opportunity for a good image just for technicalities that can be later fixed with the Crop Tool and the Measure Tool. J

(By the way, I have noticed that after cropping and cropping and cropping many people acquire a certain “sense” for composition which is a very good skill to acquire)

The Crop and Measure Tools in use So, let’s put these tools at work to see how they can improve our images. This is the image that we are going to work with. As you can see the obvious attempt was to bring attention to the girl facing the sea, which was partially accomplished, but could have been better also noting that the sea line is a bit crooked.
So first we use the Measure tool to fix the crookedness of the Sea line.

The Crop and Measure Tools in use
Place the X on the left line of the sea dragging it towards the right side of the sea line.

Then release the left button of the mouse, you should now have something like the image above, minus the red line of course. J

Now locate the Image>Rotate Canvas>Arbitrary option.

Click and you will see a Box like this.

The Crop and Measure Tools in use

Click OK and you will have something like this picture.

*Note that I added a thin line to the canvas so you can see the effect.

The Crop and Measure Tools in use
Now we can start cropping to remove the white area and then to “compose” the image.

So, select the Crop Tool, point and drag a square on the image, don’t worry if it’s not perfectly around the borders, with the handles you can fine tune later.

The handles can be moved independently to fine tune the crop area and if you place the cursor outside the crop square, the crop area can be rotated too.

Remember that what appear darker are the pixels that will be cropped, also you can change the opacity of the dark area on the top row of options for the Tool, where it says “Opacity”, and normally it is set at 75% for my workflow.

Now press enter and voila!

The Crop and Measure Tools in use

You can also click on the “tick” icon but I find safer to just press enter to avoid moving the crop area accidentally

Now on “composing”.

A basic rule for composition is the famous “Rule of Thirds” which, simply put, consists on a frame divided with two horizontal lines and two vertical ones, spaced evenly.

According to the “Rule” the objects placed on the lines, or better where the lines intersect each other, will become the center of attention on the image.

The Crop and Measure Tools in use

There are, of course, many other rules of composition, but they are too many for the scope of this basic tutorial.

In any case, for this we will use the “Rule of Thirds”, which will also show us how to put the “Grid” option at use.

So, let’s set up the “Grid” option.

Go to Edit>Preferences>Guides, Grid and Slices.

Click and set the “Grid” to Style: Lines, Gridline every: 33, 33 percent, Subdivisions: 1.

The Crop and Measure Tools in use

Click ok and the Press Ctrl+H to show the grid on your picture, the color can be also changed to see the lines better.

Now that you have the grid you can start playing with the Crop tool to place your main object on the intersections of the grid.

So, after playing with the Crop Tool and using the Grids as a reference to follow the “Rule of Thirds” I ended up with this image:

Of course, there is multiple ways to crop this image and make variations of the composition, play with different possibilities and see what works for you.

The Crop and Measure Tools in use

Words & pictures copyright Takui Neko (email: takui@takuineko.com webpage: www.takuineko.com)

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