Friday, June 4, 2010

Cropping layouts in Paint Shop Pro

We were recently asked how we crop our layouts on the TD forum. I work with both Paint Shop Pro X2 and Photoshop. For some reason I prefer PSP for cropping my layouts, and defer to PS for editing photos. You can click the links above, and test the trials for the new versions of these photo editing programs.

Today, I will walk you through how I crop a layout for posting online. I'm sure there are lots of different ways to achieve this, I'm just sharing how I do it.

Try as I might, I never can fully get 100% over top of the layout when taking a photo of it, to get that perfect crop, and without the camera lens distorting my layout.

Below is a photo straight out of the camera.
The bottom portion of the layout if you look closely, appears to be wider and more turned up than the top portion of the layout. If we want to fix this to get a near perfect crop, we have to straighten the layout up a bit.
In PSP (Paint Shop Pro) there is a tool called a straighten tool. You can either straighten the layout horizontally, or you can use Perspective Correction to straighten all the sides. That will get rid of the distortion caused by the camera, and by us not fully taking the picture directly over top of the layout.
It is the 6th tool from the top, we'll be using perspective correction.  (If you hold your mouse over the little arrow, you will get the drop down menu as shown below)
When you select it, you will see this on your image. Click the image to enlarge it.. the tool places itself on your photo. See where the arrows are pointing to?

What we need to do, is zoom in a bit, and align all 4 sides of the tools lines with the 4 sides of our layout.
I zoom in until I can clearly see the edge of my layout against the background. The, you just grab a corner of the perspective correction tool, and drag it to one corner.
 I always start at the top left of my layout, and work clockwise. Keep dragging the little square to the corners of your layout(there are 4 squares for each corner of your layout)... making sure you get as close to the edge of your layout as possible. You can click the photo to view it larger...
Once you've outlined your layout with the perspective correction tool, double click.
You may not be able to actually see the difference, but once you are ready to crop your layout, you should be able to get a clean crop, so none of your background shows behind your layout.
Before we go any further, we need to make sure you have your tool palette options showing on the ribbon above. To make sure your tool options are available, go to View->Palettes->Tool Options. Make sure there is a check mark beside it.
Now, select your crop tool, 5th tool from the top.
Before we crop, we need to tell our crop tool what size to crop to. So on your ribbon above, look for the tool options for your crop tool. (highlighted below)
You want to change the numbers for width and height to 600 x 600 pixels, then check the toolbox to maintain aspect ratio. (this will give you a perfect square as you drag the crop tool around your layout.)
Now, position your crop square at the upper left corner of your layout, then drag the bottom right corner of the crop square to the bottom right corner of your layout.
Everything that is shaded, or darker, will be cut away. Everything inside the lighted area is what will be kept.
When you're ready hit the apply check mark button (the green circle) or double click your mouse.
You should be left with just your layout showing.  Now it's time to resize for uploading. Click on Image->Resize.
Put in your dimensions in the middle section. I usually save as 800x800 or 600x600.
Then save it!
You should have something like this layout, cropped close without your background showing.
If any of you use Paint Shop Pro, I hope this helps you a bit!
Happy Friday!

1 comment: