Cropped Canvas Memos

with 53 Comments

 

Cropped Canvas Memos
by Jen White

Use the Crop Tool to create create a quick and trendy greeting for sharing with loved ones.

 

I love Photoshop. But, . . .

I’m NOT a fan of the Crop tool. I find it clunky and annoying.

Okay, I’m glad I got that off my chest.

That said, there is at least one super-cool use for the Crop tool that’s often overlooked.

Check out this card that I created lickety split with one of my snapshots.

 

 

If I gave you the pretty square flower photo (below), could you figure out how to create the rest of the card I made? How long do you think it would take you to make it? How many steps do you think it would take?

Here’s good news. I created this card in three simple steps and it took me only a couple minutes to accomplish. You can do it, too! Let me show you how.

 

For this tutorial you will need:

 

NOTE: This tutorial will work best if your image is in JPG format.

 

Step One: Open a Photo

  • Open a photo (File > Open).

Note: Square photos(like the kind created after posting on Instagram) look best for this technique.

 

 

Step Two: Set the Background Color Chip

  • Click on the Background Color Chip to open the Color Picker.
  • On the document, click to sample a color from the photo. I clicked on the area indicated below by the blue circle.

Note: If you click and drag, you can see the New Color change as you move around the image.

  • Click OK to close the Color Picker.

 

 

Step Three: Add Canvas with the Crop Tool

  • Get the Crop tool.
  • In the Tool Options, set the Preset Options to No Restrictions. (PS: Choose WxHxResolution and check Delete Cropped Pixels.)

Elements Only:

  • In the Tool Options, click on the first Crop Suggestion.
  • The entire image should have a bounding box around it. If it doesn’t, click and drag the side handles of the bounding box to line up with the boundaries of the image. (see below)
  • In the Tool Options, set the Grid Overlay to Rule of Thirds.

 

 

  • On the Image, click and drag the right bounding box handle to the right until the right vertical line of thirds is on the edge of the image. (See the image below.)
  • Click the checkmark to commit.

Note: Alternatively, you can drag up, down, or to the left on the bounding box handles.

 

 

 

Notice how the Background Color Chip was used to extend the canvas of the photo?

Let’s take it one step further and add a note to the extra canvas.

 

Step Four: Add a Note

  • Get the Type tool.
  • In the Tool Options, set the Size to 100 pt and click on the Center Align icon.
  • On the document, click to place the cursor in the top center of the extra canvas area.
  • Type something (sentiment, quote, scripture, etc) and click the checkmark to commit.
  • In the Tool Options, adjust the Font, Size, Leading, Color, and Alignment as you wish.

 

Photo: Jen White
Fonts: Aristelle Script, DJB Doodled Bits

 

Step Five: Save the Image for Sharing

To print the image and send it in the mail:

  • Save the image (File > Save As) as a high quality JPEG image with a unique name.

To share the image via email, text or social media:

  • Save the image for web (File > Save For Web) as a high quality JPEG image with a unique name.

Note: When doing this, I usually put the word “web” in the file name so I know the image is not print quality.

  • Close the original without saving.

 

What’s the difference between Save and Save for Web?

The images (above) are a closeup of my flower image. The two images are exactly the same except for the ppi.

Save As saves an image at 300 ppi – for printing.
—300 ppi (pixels per inch) is the minimum recommended for printed images.
—The file size (in megabytes) is controlled by the quality settings.
—The output dimensions remain the same.

Save for Web saves an image at 72 ppi – for sharing.
—It’s only meant for sharing.
—The ppi is changed to 72. This is the approximate size used in web browsers.
—The file size is much, much smaller. Think kilobytes instead of megabites.
—The output dimensions of the image are adjustable.

Here are a few more examples of images I’ve turned into greetings.

 

Photo: Kaila Gustafson
Fonts: Quilline Script Thin, Amber Whiskey, Hero Light

 

Photo: Jen White
Fonts: Catherine, Shree Devanagari 714

 

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53 Responses

  1. penny parello
    | Reply

    Jen, perhaps you could have used the clone tool to eliminate the electric out let on the wall.
    So happy you ARE BACK!

    • Jen White
      | Reply

      HA. For sure, Penny. Doing that would have made this a MUCH nicer photo, yes? 😀

  2. Carla
    | Reply

    I struggled with this then all of a sudden, a light bulb went off and I got it! Such a cool trick. I’m going to use this for our Christmas cards this year. Thank you so much Jen!!

  3. Julie LaPoint
    | Reply

    I finally figured out what I was doing wrong (with a lot of help from Jen!). I wasn’t pulling the 1/3 grid far enough to the right. I pulled until the middle vertical line was at the edge of the flower image. Then I clicked the green check mark and the color showed up! Yay!

  4. Kathy
    | Reply

    One more try before bed and yay! it worked! Thank you! I’m going to try with some of my pictures.

    • Jen White
      | Reply

      YAY! I’m so glad you figured it out.

  5. Kathy
    | Reply

    Thank you, I have PSE (and love it)! I think I’ll try again in the morning.

  6. Kathy
    | Reply

    This looks so fun! I’m having a bit of problem with the side canvas but will try again. what does WxHx mean?
    Thank you for posting.

    • Jen White
      | Reply

      Hi Kathy.”W x H x Resolution” is a PS setting meaning Width x Height x Resolution.

      • Jen White
        | Reply

        If you have PSCC, you also need to have Delete Cropped Pixels checked. Give that a try.

  7. Vivian
    | Reply

    Awesome tutorial. I didn’t get the canvas to the right the first time either but when I went back and read the tutorial again, I saw that I had chosen the foreground color chip instead of the background. Choosing the right one made a big difference. What we just learned in Jennifer’s type class will come in handy when doing this! Win/win.

  8. Helen Isaacson
    | Reply

    Great tutorial, thanks. I easily set the background color and did the crop to get the blank canvas on the right side but it’s not showing the the background color selected with the color picker. It’s just showing as transparent pixels. It’s an easy fix as I just created a blank layer under photo and filled will the color but it is an extra step and I’d love to know what I did wrong. I’m using the latest version of PS CC. Thanks!

    • Jen White
      | Reply

      Hi Helen. You also need to have Delete Cropped Pixels checked. Give that a try.

      • Helen Isaacson
        | Reply

        Thanks for the reply but no luck! I have delete cropped pixels checked and all setting match yet I get transparency on the canvas extension instead of the background color. Could it be something in my preferences?

        • Jen White
          | Reply

          Hi Helen. I’m not aware of any changes in preferences that would effect this simple tutorial. Most errors are resolved by going back over the instructions very carefully. If you need further assistance, please email me directly at Jen@DigitalScrapper.com

          • Helen Isaacson
            |

            Success!!! I wish I could tell you what I did differently other than shut down and restart PS but I repeated the process successfully 3 times. Thanks for the support and the great tip.

  9. Renee
    | Reply

    Hi Jen,
    This is not working for me either. I’m using PS. On the Image, when I click and drag the right bounding box handle to the right the lines disappear and I have to guess where vertical line of one thirds is, and then when I let go the entire image is cropped to that size. I do not have a colored background. I have followed the instructions very carefully. Is there a different setting we need with the crop tool? Great tutorial…now I just need to get it to work for me lol!

    • Jen White
      | Reply

      Hi Renee. Which version of PS are you using?

      • Renee
        | Reply

        PS CC 2018

        • Jen White
          | Reply

          Hi Renee. You also need to have Delete Cropped Pixels checked. Give that a try.

  10. Ruth Everson
    | Reply

    One more comment: I was able to crop the project and then print as I wanted without white edges. Learned a new skill today! Thanks for sharing and allowing me to post my problems and then my solutions.

    • Jen White
      | Reply

      I’m thrilled you found a workaround, Ruth. Thanks for sharing so others can follow your lead. 😀

  11. Ruth Everson
    | Reply

    Another question– I used a photo from my camera and now I’m trying to print it as a 4×6 or 5×7 and these dimensions leave a white boundary on the right and left edges but not the top. I’m trying to think of a workaround. Maybe I’m doing something wrong or too picky. I’m sure using a square photo would have made it somewhat easier as you mentioned.

    • Jen White
      | Reply

      Hi Ruth. That’s right, if you are wanting to print the image at a specific size (without having to trim the white parts away), you will need to use a different method to get the canvas. Sorry.

  12. Ruth Everson
    | Reply

    OK! I got it! I read the instructions for the third time and then it clicked! Great Tut!!

  13. Ruth Everson
    | Reply

    I don’t have the option to “In the Tool Options, set the Grid Overlay to Rule of Thirds” as described in one of the steps above. I’m using PSE 15. I used the first option offered by the Crop tool and clicked. I didn’t have any canvas to add text.

    • Jen White
      | Reply

      One thing I have found is:
      To see the Grid Overlay options, you need to have the program displayed very wide.

  14. Mary Chapman
    | Reply

    I am also unable to find canvas after I crop picture. Not sure what I am doing wrong. Using Photoshop Elements and the picture Is jpg. Have tried numerous times with same result.

    • Jen White
      | Reply

      Sorry you are having difficulty, Mary. You say you are not able to “find canvas” after the crop. What do you get instead?

  15. Dorrie
    | Reply

    Jen, what I found working with this tutorial, is that it works quite well on the Background Layer, but if you try to do it on a Copied Layer is doesn’t.
    The copied layer leaves the extended crop area blank, however if you did not delete the Background Layer and only closed the eye viability, then the extended area on the background layer will show the chosen background color. At least I could not get it to work on a copy, but it did work on the original background layer.

    • Jen White
      | Reply

      Thank you for the insight, Dorrie. 😀

  16. Christine Bishop
    | Reply

    I’m having the same trouble as Julie. I don’t get a canvas on the right side. I’ve tried it 3 times already and not getting anywhere.

    Christine

    • Jen White
      | Reply

      Christine, what software are you using? Are you starting with a jpg image? Could you send me a screenshot of what you are seeing?

      • Christine Bishop
        | Reply

        I’m using PSE13 and am starting with the sample you provided.

        • Jen White
          | Reply

          I tried the tutorial using PSE13 and had good results. Can you tell me where things seems to go wrong?

          • Christine
            |

            I just get the cropped image no extended canvas to type a message. I’ve tried it over and over with no luck. For those that are successful can anyone show their layers. I just get the cropped background.

    • Christine
      | Reply

      I finally got it too. I noticed what Julie said she did, and the light bulb went on for me too. Then I took a closer look at Jen’s diagram of moving the line of thirds and making sure my background color was the pink in the sample. Comments were helpful.

      • Jen White
        | Reply

        TERRIFIC! I agree. Comments from others are always helpful. 😀

  17. Laura Walden
    | Reply

    This is an awesome tutorial. I want to download the PDF but it tells me that the file is not available and that I must check back later. Please advise.
    Thank you.

    • Jen White
      | Reply

      Thanks Laura. I’m having a little difficulty with the PDF. It should be available later today.

  18. Beverly Thiels
    | Reply

    Do you set the size before hand, like will the card be 4 x 6, 5 x 7, etc.?

    • Jen White
      | Reply

      Hi Beverly. Thanks for asking. For this tutorial, I leave the setting as unrestricted. Setting a size for the crop will change the results.

  19. Jo Campbell
    | Reply

    Great tut. The crop tool has always been an enigma to me. Not so much how to use but whether I should. When scrapbooking, is it better to crop (or use marquee tool as I also prefer to do) or to place whole picture and then drag out to resize and clip to mask.

    • Jen White
      | Reply

      Hi Jo. Great question. If you are using this tutorial while scrapbooking, you will need to “crop” the photo before placing it on your scrapbook page.

  20. Julie LaPoint
    | Reply

    I’m missing something, Jen. User-Error as usual. I don’t seem to have a canvas left over when I crop. There’s a step I’m not doing and I can’t find it! Help!! 🙂

    • Jen White
      | Reply

      Hi Julie. I’m sorry you are having trouble. Try taking some time away and then starting again. This often helps me to resolve a misunderstanding I’m having. 😀

      • Julie LaPoint
        | Reply

        I’ve been trying again and still I’m missing some step. There’s no canvas on the right for the journaling. 🙁 You don’t have to set a canvas size do you? I use PSE 2018. TIA

        • Jen White
          | Reply

          Hi Julie. Please don’t give up. Email me directly with some screenshots of what you are seeing in your program and I’ll be happy to help you figure it out. jen@digitalscrapper.com
          😀

          • Julie LaPoint
            |

            I sent the email, Jen. I just can’t figure it out. Signed: DoDo Bird! 🙂

          • Jen White
            |

            I’m so glad we got it figured out, Julie. If anyone else is still having problems, please feel free to email me directly.

  21. Jenifer Juris
    | Reply

    This is such an awesome idea! So quick and handy!! 🙂

  22. Pixie
    | Reply

    Thank you for sharing this use of the crop tool. I will be using it for sure! Love all your examples – they’re inspirational.

  23. Gail Norton-Pell
    | Reply

    Wonderful, I am going to use for Project Life. Adding my journaling. Quick & Easy! You’re the best!

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