Cropping is Easy ....Comedy is Hard!

       Open the big_rice_arches.jpg file in Photoshop again.  As we discussed, it's way too big to use (on the Web) as it is.
       Click on the Selection Tool icon.   The dotted square you are clicking on is called the Rectangular Marquee.  It will allow you to isolate portions of an image for a variety of purposes.  We're going to use it to take a piece out of the larger image.  Notice the little triangle in the lower-right corner of the Selection Tool icon.  Any of the tool icons that have the triangles have several other tools that can be accessed. 

selectiontool.jpg (36808 bytes)


       There is a tool called the cropping tool, buried in the Selection Tool's set, and it is better to use it if you're not sure how much of an image you want to crop.  It allows you more flexibility for adjustment.  Both the crop tool and the rectangular marquee will do the same thing.  They simply approach it a little differently.  We're going to use the rectangular marquee.
       Once you have clicked on the rectangular marquee, click somewhere within your image, hold down your mouse button (left mouse button if you are a PC user) and drag away from the point you clicked.  I usually start in the upper left-hand corner and move to the lower right, but I'm left-handed, and that may just be more comfortable for me.  Do what feels natural for you.  You will notice a rectangle will form as you drag.  You are selecting the shape bounded by this rectangle.  When you stop and let go of your mouse button, you will notice that the boundary moves (like lights around a theater marquee).  The movement is referred to in the graphics industry as "marching ants".
ants.jpg (49648 bytes)
       The area inside the ants is the area you have selected.  If you are sure this is the area you want to keep, click on the Image file menu at the top of your screen, slide down to the word "Crop", and click on it.   You will have removed the area outside your selection.  It this isn't the area you want to keep, before you go to the Image file menu, just click anywhere on the picture itself and it will de-select.  Then you can reselect it until you feel it's what you want.

menu.jpg (25930 bytes)

finalcrop.jpg (38946 bytes)

       The final step is saving the image under a different name.  Very important.  Notice the filename, even after cropping it is still "big_rice_arches.jpg".  If you just select File/Save, you will save the file under the original name, and wipe out the original file in the process.  Unless you are absolutely certain you won't need that file again, it is much better to save it under a different name, thereby keeping both files.
       When you choose File/Save As from the File menu, you are given several options.  You can change the type of file, and Photoshop will convert it (from a .tif to a .gif or .jpg, for example).   What we are concerned with here, though is simply making sure we don't over-write the original file.  In the field labeled File name, type in a different name, like rice_arch.jpg, and Photoshop will save all the changes you've made to this new file, leaving the original file untouched.  Another (even better option) is to make a copy of any file you are going to work with before you begin.   That way, no matter how badly you mess up a file, your original image is still sitting unchanged, and can be re-used again and again.

saveas.jpg (46181 bytes)


       Once the file is saved, you now have a new image, created from a portion of the old.  Don't forget that it's still quite large in this case.  Remember you were viewing it at 33% of the full size.  Here's the cropped image after it's been saved.

rice_arch.jpg (89331 bytes)

       If your image is as large as this one, what you might want to do before making the final save (remember we were working with a .jpeg), is to resize the image, making it a little smaller and a little more browser friendly.

       That's all there is to it.

       If you would like to play with something else, try opening the door at the back of the arches above, so you can see the wonderful view of the seacoast behind.  It can be done in Photoshop in a few easy steps.  Up to the challenge?  Click on the picture to the right.

thumb_rac.jpg (16596 bytes)

...or 

Click here to go Back to Editing Images.

This page was last edited on June 18, 2001.

URL = http://teachertech.rice.edu/Materials/GT2001/East/day02/cropping.html

 


These pages were developed through GirlTECH, a teacher-training program sponsored by the Center for Excellence in Education (CEEE) with support  from the National Science Foundation through EOT-PACI.
Copyright   Michael Sirois, GirlTECH, June 2001.

last edited, ms  6-18-2001, 22:01.