How to correct lines using the Crop Tool

How to correct lines using the Crop Tool

Here is a short exercise on “How to correct lines using the Crop Tool in Adobe CS 6” – a really neat new way that makes our life easier.

One may think that with our sophisticated digital cameras offering us various ways of taking pictures with straight horizons right away – not to speak of the high-end professional cameras – we may be in a hurry or just see lines differently as I do at times… brief: to bring more harmony into an image we simply have to see to it that lines are straight – fullstop! Even in Africa!

Winter scene in Steenberg Estate Cape Town, South Africa - by Bianca Gubalke

How to correct lines using the Crop Tool

Here are a few step-by-step tips on how to correct lines using the Crop Tool in the new Adobe Photoshop CS6 based on a winterly scene I took in Steenberg Wine Estate, South of Cape Town, South Africa, just a few days ago. While I like the mood – which I manipulated a bit with PhotoTools – the horizon is not straight and irritating, so ideal for this exercise. No, it wasn’t the wine… yet :)

1. Select the Crop Tool on the Toolbox.

2. Note how the image gets ‘framed’ by the crop box that you can then pull up or down into your image. It will automatically shade off a part leaving a clear line that allows us to define the exact part of the picture that needs to be adjusted.

3. Now we adjust manually by pointing our mouse outside the image and dragging until the lines are perfectly parallel where they should be. The grid layout helps us with this process. If you have a couple of horizontal lines – as is the case in my image here and they are not 100% parallel – then choose the line we focus most of our attention on as your principal guide for the correction.

4. As there’s always some cropping taking place when adjusting horizontal or vertical lines – and this needed quite some adjusting in previous versions, the new CS6 makes it so easy for us: simply adjust and align the outer edges of the crop box by pulling the ‘frame’ over the totality of the image, making sure the four corners fall inside the image area.

5. Click “Crop”.

Non-destructive cropping with the Crop Tool

Alternatively… possibly even a faster way right from opening your image:

1. Select the Crop Tool on the Toolbox.

2. On Options Bar (see crop tool selected to the far left), click on the “Straighten” Tool.

3. Click on one item to be straightened and drag the line across the image to adjust it. The image will rotate automatically as you see when you release the mouse.

4. The four corners of the cropped image fall inside the image. They can be adjusted within the crop box though if required.

5. Note: it’s our choice to check/uncheck the “Delete Cropped Pixels” Box at the top on the Options Bar depending on whether we want to get back to them later or not.

6. Once we’re happy, we click the “Submit” Button on the Options Bar, top to the right.

7. Watch your layer structure, especially when you do NOT tick the “Delete Cropped Pixels” tool, as then you see just one normal image layer, no more background layer.
This is a non-destructive way of cropping.

Pixels can be retrieved by going to > Image > Reveal all

I did take screenshots of the process – during the process – but I can’t retrieve, save and use them the way I did in the past – so have to solve this one :) It never ends…

However, cropping this way is fun!