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Adobe Photoshop essentials: How to crop, resize, and edit photos like a pro

JD Sartain | June 16, 2015
Adobe Photoshop's deep trove of features lets you manipulate every aspect of even basic editing tasks, such as cropping and resizing images. For example, you can edit an amateur snapshot of an executive and transform it into a professional-looking image for corporate documents or a website. Just follow these easy, step-by-step instructions. Note: This exercise uses the Move tool, Marquee selection tool, Polygonal Lasso selection tool, Magic Wand selection tool, and Zoom.

Adobe Photoshop's deep trove of features lets you manipulate every aspect of even basic editing tasks, such as cropping and resizing images. For example, you can edit an amateur snapshot of an executive and transform it into a professional-looking image for corporate documents or a website. Just follow these easy, step-by-step instructions. Note: This exercise uses the Move tool, Marquee selection tool, Polygonal Lasso selection tool, Magic Wand selection tool, and Zoom.

1. Open Photoshop and select File > Open. Browse to the Pictures folder, click the image to select it, then click the Open button. 

2. First, check the image size. Select Image > Image Size. The Image Size dialog box is divided into two sections: Pixel Dimensions, which shows the width and height of the image in pixels, plus the file size (for the Internet); and Document Size, which is used to size images for printing.

Pro Tip:Internet/website images are sized at 72 pixels/inch, but all print media is sized at 300 pixels/inch (or larger, in some cases). Regardless of the medium, always edit photos at 300 pixels/inch because, you can always downsize an image without losing image quality; but you cannot upsize from low resolution to high resolution. Upsizing results in fuzzy, blurred, shadowy halos (called compression noise) around the objects in the image. Basically, upsizing stretches and distorts the pixels (called pixelation), which, in turn, distorts the image.

3. Before you alter the resolution, notice the three checkboxes in the last panel at the bottom: Scale Styles, Constrain Proportions, and Resample Image.

Scale Styles is for images or projects that use Layer Styles such as posters, flyers, greeting cards, etc. Many Layer Styles use patterns constructed from images or graphics. Resizing and/or resampling a photo affects how these styles appear in an image. The default is checked and, even if your image has no styles, leave it checked (in case you decide to reuse this image later on a campaign poster or brochure that uses styles).

Constrain Proportions means if the width is changed, the height is changed accordingly, so the correct proportions are maintained.

Resample Image means the number of pixels in the image increases or decreases based on the size you input. Unchecking this box means the image is resized, but the number of pixels remains the same. Unchecked is preferred by most, because resizing without resampling allows Photoshop to redistribute the pixels evenly based on the size, which generally works out.

4. To change the Resolution to Print quality, uncheck the Resample Image box (leave Scale Styles and Constrain Proportions checked) and enter 300 in the box, then click OK. Note that the image Width and Height adjust to a smaller size to accommodate the higher resolution.

 

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