First, let’s get introduced to layers of photoshop, it is like a stack of papers where we can quickly draw or edit pictures/images without affecting or changing the quality. Layers in photoshop help us to organize our work in a convenient and faster way.
Now to Crop a layer in photoshop we can easily use the Crop Tool (C) to crop the image but the main problem is that the Crop Tool will cut the whole artboard/background which will end up cropping all our accommodation from all layers.
There are lots of methods to crop a layer in photoshop among them the two easy methods are The Marquee Tool method and The Layer Mask method.
How to crop a layer in photoshop editing steps:
The Marquee Tool method
So crop a layer in photoshop by using The Marquee Tool method also known as The Basic method. First, we go to the bottom right side of photoshop of the layer panel and select the layer we want to crop.
After selecting the layer go to the tool panel bar and select the Rectangular/Elliptical Marquee Tool and drag a selection around the area of the image.
A black and white dotted line (also known as marching ants) will appear and only the area inside the dotted line will be selected.
If the selection is not perfect we can press (Ctrl+D) on the keyboard to deselect the selection and start making a new selection or go to the Select menu and choose Transform selection and reposition the selection.
Now we need to invert the selection to crop the layer. So we can press (Shift+Ctrl+I) on the keyboard or go to the Select menu and choose Inverse to invert the selection.
After pressing the Inverse we can see another dotted line or marching ants appear throughout the edge of the layer. These marching ants will select every little thing outside of the first selection line.
Now simply press the (Delete key) on the keyboard to crop a layer in Photoshop.
Almost everything is done but still, the dotted lines or the marching ants are visible, we can press (Ctrl+D) on the keyboard or go to the Select menu and choose Deselect now the lines or ants are gone.
And now we have finally cropped a layer in photoshop, most importantly this method is not reversible like the areas that were cropped out are deleted permanently.
The Layer Mask method
So crop a layer in photoshop by using The Layer Mask method also known as The Advance method. First, we select the area that we want to crop with the help of the marquee tool then we go to the bottom right side of photoshop of the layer panel and select the layer we want to crop then click on the layer mask icon at the bottom of the layer panel to create a layer musk on the selected layer.
Notice that we have a new layer mask on the layer. Photoshop crops everything on the layer that was outside of the selection but this time the area outside of the selection is not permanently gone they are just hidden. The layer mask is hiding everything that was outside our selection.
The white area on the mask is where the contents of the layer are still visible and the black areas are where the contents are hidden. Always remember in a layer mask Black – Conceal and White – Reveals. If we press (The shift key) on the keyboard and click on the layer mask thumbnail it will turn the layer off and we can see the hidden areas of our contents. And click on the thumbnail again to turn the layer mask back on.
And if you hold the (Alt key) on the keyboard and click the mask thumbnail we will view the layer mask
itself on the canvas. Hold the (Alt key) on the keyboard and click the thumbnail to return to the image.
Now since we are just hiding pixels not deleting them, we can edit the crop by resizing that visible area
on the layer mask at any time. First, click the link icon to unlink the mask from the layer itself then click
the mask thumbnail to select it if is not selected already we should see a white border around the layer
Go up to the Edit menu and choose Free Transform then in the Options bar again make sure the Link
icon between the Width and Height fields is not selected so that the aspect ratio is unlocked. Then
simply drag the handles or anchor points to resize the visible area of the layer mask when we are done
click the checkmark in the Options bar or simply press (Enter) on the keyboard to accept it.
Finally, if we want to move the cropped image into the center or anywhere use the Move tool from the
Toolbar panel or we can press the (V) key on the keyboard to quickly access the move tool but when we
click on the image and drag it, we will notice that it is dragging the layer mask but not the image. That’s
because the layer mask thumbnail is selected. If we click on the layer’s thumbnail to select it and drag
the image, now only the image is moving not the mask.
The reason is that the layer and the mask are still unlinked. So we need to click between the two
thumbnails to relink them and now when we drag the image and the mask it moves together.
Now we have finally cropped a layer in photoshop by the Layer Mask method. This method is a very
an effective way to crop because it is a non-destructive method and can be resized or modified anytime without deleting anything permanently.
We can also use the Pen tool, Quick Selection tools, or Shape tools to crop a layer in photoshop.
- The Pen tool helps us to get a custom and refined edge selection to crop a layer or image.
- The Quick Selection tool uses (AI) artificial intelligence which selects similar tones of the image and
- stops at the edge.
- The Shape Tools give us access to use any shape we want and crop or edit along that shape.
If you’re a Photoshop user, then you know that cropping is an essential skill. Cropping allows you to remove unwanted areas from your image, and it can also help you to compositionally improve your photos. By learning how to crop a layer, you can create compositions that are more balanced and visually appealing. Cropping can also help you to focus on a particular area of an image, or to eliminate distractions.
We hope you enjoyed this blog on how to crop a layer in Photoshop! For more information on Photoshop and other Adobe products, be sure to check out our other blogs where we cover a variety of topics in much more detail.
Be sure to check out our other blogs where we cover other topics in much more detail.