In this article we are going to show you 3 different ways to know how to crop an image in Photoshop.
When you were a kid, did you cut pictures out of papers or magazines and then glue them into a collage?
If your answer is yes, you’re going to love how you can do that in Photoshop, only with much more precision. Cropping images or high-quality photos to create photocompositions is one of the most appealing uses of this program.
How to crop an image in Photoshop
A cropped image can be used for many different things. Because of the multiple needs and uses, Adobe Photoshop offers numerous tools and techniques that allow you to crop an image and remove the background.
We will now discuss three different methods. The quick select tool, the select and emasculate tool, and by colour range.
Method 1: Quick Selection Tool
This tool relies on a brush that you will use to “paint” the area you want to select – there are Photoshop plugins that can help with this, but the built-in tool has become so good with the latest versions, that they are no longer necessary.
The wonderful thing about this brush is that you can make broad strokes, and it will automatically find the edges of the area to make the selection more precise.
So this is a tool that works best when you have large blocks that are clearly separated by colour, contrast or focus.
Let’s see how to crop an image in Photoshop with this tool:
Step 1: Choose the quick selection tool
Adobe Photoshop groups things into sets of tools that work in a similar way. So, as with many other tools in Photoshop, you first have to open the right toolset to find the one you need.
In this case, we want to go to the tools panel on the left of the screen and find the object selection tool. Click and hold on it to open up the toolset, and from there you can select the Quick Selection brush.
If Quick Selection was already selected in the toolset, you can reactivate it by simply pressing the W key, which is a keyboard shortcut.
Step 2: Paint the area to be trimmed
Select the size of your brush depending on the area you need to select. If it’s too big, you risk overshooting the edges and selecting something you don’t need. Then click and drag.
Step 3: Fine-tune
Okay, now all you have to do is zoom in and check your selection. You can add or remove areas by switching between the Add and Subtract modes in the options bar at the top.
When you are in the correct mode just click and drag the brush back into the area that needs to be sharpened.
Step 4: Cropping an image in Photoshop
Now that the object you want to crop is selected, if you want to remove the background you can delete it by pressing the delete key
If you want to simply hide it, use a layer mask. This way, you’ll always have the possibility to make adjustments later on.
Method 2: Selecting and masking
The Select and Mask tool was introduced as a replacement for the Refine Edge tool. So if you’re using Adobe Photoshop CS6 you won’t find it. It’s more of a task space than a tool.
So you can use it on its own to do the whole selection process, or as a complement to another tool.
I’m going to show you how to use it to refine a previously made selection. But if you want to do everything with it, you can open it by going to the Selection, Select, and Mask menu.
Step 1: Make first selection
You can make a basic selection using any tool you are comfortable with. For example, the quick selection tool explained in the previous section.
Step 2: Open select and mask
If your selection looks good but still needs some work, you can use Select and Mask. For example, this can help you when you’re selecting hair or fur.
Open the task space by clicking the Select and Mask button on the top bar. It doesn’t matter which tool you used to make your selection – they all display the Select and Mask button. Alternatively, you can open it from the Selection menu.
This will open the task space.
Step 3: Choosing the background
Before you start adjusting your selection, this workspace allows you to change the way you view your image to make it easier to work with.
On the right hand side, you will find the Properties panel. At the top, you have the View Mode. This will allow you to change the opacity of the background, make your selection black on a white background, and a whole host of other options.
Choose the one that allows you to see the most detail. You can change this as many times as you need depending on the area you are working on.
Step 4: Sharpen the edges
On the left side, you have the tools panel. Here you can choose the tool you want to use.
If you are dealing with hair or fur , choose the Brush tool to refine edges. Determine the size and start painting on the edge you want to correct.
You can use the sliders in the properties panel, such as Radius or Feather, to adjust the selection.
Next, zoom out and check the image as a whole. If you find anything else you need to correct, you can use any of the tools in the left-hand pane, such as the Quick Selection tool.
When you’re done, click OK and the Selection and Mask workspace will close and create a new Layer with a Mask to crop your image.
Method 3: Colour range
As the name clearly indicates, this method for removing the background in Photoshop is based on colour. Just try the colour you want to be selected and you’re done.
This is a useful method when you have disconnected areas and small details in a single colour.
Step 1: Open the colour palette box
With your image open in Photoshop, go to the Select menu, Colour Range. This will open a dialogue box so you can set the parameters of your selection.
Step 2: Colour swatches
Make sure the sampled colour option is enabled in the menu
Next, with the first eyedropper click on the colour you want to select. It’s OK if you still don’t see any difference. You’ll use the sliders to do that.
Step 3: Set the tolerance
Use the first slider called Tolerance . Click on it and start dragging it slowly to the right.
As the value rises, more variations of the colour you have selected will be included in the selection.
So continue dragging until you see the object you want to crop completely black, but stop before other elements start to appear. The correct value will change from one image to another.
By the way, you can change the view mode from Selection to Image if that’s more comfortable for you.
Once you’re happy with it, click OK.
Step 4: Sharpening and cropping an image in Photoshop
As you can see, this method can save you a lot of the tedious work you would otherwise need to do if you want to crop an image with other tools.
The downside is that you often have to do some tweaking to get it right. This depends on how much colour variation there is in the image.
A fine adjustment can be made with any tool. The Selection and Mask method I described earlier is very efficient for this.
Once you’re done with the selection, add a mask if you want to work non-destructively, or remove the background if you’re sure you won’t need it.
Do you know any other methods to crop an image in Photoshop? Leave them in the comments
That’s it. As you can see, cropping an image in Photoshop can be done using a number of different methods. Most of the time, you’ll need to combine different tools to get the job done correctly and professionally.
If you want to remove the background, make sure your selection is as accurate as possible. This way you will get the best result for your cropped image.
Once you’ve cropped your image, you can experiment with creating a collage of all your favourite images.