Q: How does the option in the Crop tool, Delete Cropped Pixels, work? If I turn it off what does that mean?
A: When the Delete Cropped Pixels option is on (checked) and you crop with the Crop tool, the pixels outside the cropped area are deleted. Once the document is saved, there’s no way to retrieve those deleted pixels (unless you have a backup copy of the original file). By turning off the Delete Cropped Pixels option (unchecked) the crop isn’t permanent and the deleted pixels can be recovered, even after saving. To retrieve the cropped pixels, use the command, Image>Reveal All.
Note: When you don’t delete the cropped pixels, some effects, such as adding a Stroke layer style, will display as if the hidden information is still visible.
Q: How do I make a series of objects spaced evenly around a circle?
A: On one layer, use the Elliptical Marquee tool to create a circle and fill it with any color, then press Command-D (PC: Ctrl-D) to deselect. Press Command-R (PC: Ctrl-R) to show the rulers and drag a horizontal and vertical guide onto the center of the circle (View>Snap should ensure the guides line up with the center of the circle). On a separate layer, add your object at the top of the circle. It works best if it’s not a shape layer, and if you used a selection, make sure it’s deselected. With that object layer active, press Command-Option-T (PC: Ctrl-Alt-T) and then move the reference point to the center of the circle, where the guides intersect (if you don’t see the reference point, click the Reference Point Location checkbox at the left end of the Options Bar).
To calculate the angle to use, divide the total number of objects you want into 360; for example, say I want 8 objects, then it’s 360/8=45. In the Options Bar, enter your calculated angle into the angle field and press Enter. You’ll have to press Enter a second time to finalize the rotation. Then Press Command-Option-Shift-T (PC: Ctrl-Alt-Shift-T) repeatedly until you have all your objects. Each object will be on a separate layer (in case you need to make any tweaks to the objects, so next you’ll want to merge the layers, put them in a group, or make a smart object. Here’s the result with the circle layer hidden.
Q: I have a bunch of layers and I want to copy elements from all layers. Can I do that without flattening?
A: Yes. After you make a selection, instead of using Edit>Copy (which would only copy from the current layer), use Edit>Copy Merged. This command copies the information from all the visible layers—as if the layers were merged—without actually merging or flattening them. You just have to make sure that all (and only) the layers that you want included in your selection are visible before you use Copy Merged.
Q: I need to extend a photo to make it wider. What is the best option for this?
A: The best method will depend somewhat on the photo itself: It might be easier to get good results with a photo of grass, for example, than one with more structure, such as a brick wall. First, you have to increase the canvas area of the document: Go to Image>Canvas Size and decide where you want the extra canvas to be added. For example, to add extra to the left side of the canvas, click on the right side of the anchor box (as shown). Then enter the amount of extra canvas you need.
Next, to extend the photo itself, you can use either Content-Aware Scale or the Content-Aware Move tool. For Content-Aware Scale, make a selection of the area you’ll try to extend—the bigger the area, the better. Press Command-J (PC: Ctrl-J) to copy the selection to a new layer, and then go to Edit>Content-Aware Scale. Depending on your version of Photoshop and whether you have enabled a setting in Preferences, you’ll either have to hold down Shift to scale non-proportionally, or the Shift key won’t be necessary. Click-and-drag until the side handle matches the side of the canvas and then press Enter. If nothing looks too stretched, you’re good to go.
With the Content-Aware Move tool (press Shift-J until it’s selected), add a blank layer, and in the Options Bar, make sure the Mode is set to Extend, and Sample All Layers is checked. Use the Content-Aware Move tool to make a selection of the area you’ll use to make the extension and then drag it into position. If necessary (and before deselecting), you can adjust the Structure and Color settings, and the results will update. Use a higher Structure number (on a scale of 1–7) when you want to adhere very strongly to existing patterns, or a lower number to adhere very loosely to any existing patterns. For the Color setting (with a scale of 0–10, use 0 for no color blending and 10 for maximum color blending.
As with any retouching techniques, look for obvious repeating patterns and use tools like the Spot Healing Brush and Patch tool to cover up obvious repetition.
Q: When I copied-and-pasted a photo into a new document, the pasted photo was too big. When I tried to use Free Transform, I couldn’t see the handles. How do I transform it?
A: You have a couple of options. You could press Command-0 (PC: Ctrl-0) to change the view to Fit on Screen, which will scale the view to include the transform handles. If that’s too zoomed out a view to see what you’re doing, you can also leave the view as is and use the controls in the Options Bar to change the position (X and Y), the scale (W & H), and the angle. Make sure the link symbol is on between W and H if you want to scale proportionally.
ALL IMAGES BY DAVE CROSS