Video + Blog Post: Using the Crop Tool to Expand Your Frame

When we think of using the Crop tool in Photoshop, we obviously think of removing portions of an image, right?

In this Photoshop tutorial, the Pretty Actions team show you how use the Crop tool in a way that allows you to add information to your image. There are many situations where you can use this technique, but for this tutorial, let's look at how you can use the Crop tool to turn a horizontal image into a vertical one, while adding to the top of the image.

Here is a short, step-by-step video:

For those of you who prefer written tutorials, you can read the step-by-step directions below:

With your image open in PS, select the Crop tool, then select the W x H x Resolution preset:

For this image, I am expanding the frame upwards, using the rule of thirds grid. I am going to be adding the expanded sky to the top 1/3 of the frame:

Once you have created the desired crop, flatten your image:

Use the Magic Wand tool to select the portion of your image that you have just added with the crop tool:

Next, we want to expand the selected blank area so that it bleeds into our original image. This will create a more seamless blend when we expand the sky:

For this tutorial, I am using a rather large original image file, so I am expanding by 100 pixels. How much you expand will depend on the dimensions of your original file, but the main goal is to create some overlap when you expand, as in the example below:

Now, press the Delete key. You will see this dialogue appear:

Select Content-Aware, then press OK. It may take several seconds for your expanded image to render, depending on the size of the file and your computer's available RAM.

At this point, you may see a bit of distortion in the content-aware expansion portion of your image. In this example, I am going to reduce the distortion by first right-clicking to feather the select at 100 pixels:

I am adding a Gaussian blur to blend the distortion. The amount of blur you add, again, will depend on the size of your image. Since I have a large file, I blurred at 300+ pixels:

As you can see below, the sky looks much more smooth after the Gaussian blur was added:

Do you have any questions about what we have discussed here? We love hearing from you! Please be sure to visit us in our private Pretty Photoshop Actions Facebook group!


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