Working with the Crop Controls

You use the Crop tool and the Crop adjustment controls when you want to improve the composition of your image by trimming the edges, or when you want to change the aspect ratio of the image. For example, you can change an image’s aspect ratio from 4 x 6 to 3 x 5.

Figure. Image before and after a Crop adjustment.

There are two methods for cropping an image: you can use the Crop tool to manually crop the image, or you can use the Crop adjustment controls. The method you choose is determined by the level of precision you require. The Crop tool provides a fast freehand method and works in conjunction with a Crop HUD that contains controls for setting the aspect ratio of the crop. The extra precision provided by the Crop adjustment controls is useful when you want to specify exact dimensions for the cropped image.

Cropping Images with the Crop Tool

Cropping an image with the Crop tool is the easiest method. You simply select the Crop tool and drag a rectangle over your image to exclude the unwanted areas. The Crop HUD appears, providing additional controls for setting the aspect ratio of the image and displaying crop guides to help visually align the composition of the image according to the rule of thirds.

To crop an image using the Crop tool
  1. Select an image.

  2. Select the Crop tool in the tool strip or the Full Screen view toolbar (or press C).

    The Selection tool changes to the Crop tool, and the Crop HUD appears.

    Figure. Controls in the Crop HUD.
  3. With the Crop tool selected, drag a rectangle over the image to exclude the areas that you want to trim.

    A Crop overlay appears on the image with resize handles, and the trimmed edges are dimmed. When you release the mouse button, the image is cropped.

    Figure. Image showing a Crop overlay placed over the trimmed areas of the image.

    For instructions for viewing the cropped image without the Crop overlay, see Displaying the Cropped Image Without the Crop Overlay.

After adding a Crop overlay to an image, you can always change the size and shape of the overlay.

To change the size and shape of a Crop overlay
  • Drag a resize handle on the Crop overlay to change the size of the crop.

    Figure. Image showing a resize handle on the right side of the Crop overlay.

You can adjust the placement of the crop by moving the Crop overlay across the image.

To adjust the placement of the crop
  • Drag the Crop overlay to the appropriate position.

    Figure. Image showing the Crop overlay being dragged to a new position.

You can set the Crop overlay to a specific aspect ratio using the Crop HUD.

To set the aspect ratio of the Crop overlay
  1. In the Crop HUD, do one of the following:

    • Choose an aspect ratio from the Aspect Ratio pop-up menu.

      Figure. Aspect Ratio pop-up menu in the Crop HUD.

      The Crop overlay is updated to match the chosen aspect ratio.

    • Enter a custom aspect ratio by entering values in the Width and Height fields.

      Aperture interprets small (single and double-digit) numbers as inches and larger numbers as pixels.

  2. If you wish, click the Switch Aspect Ratio button to switch the orientation of the Crop overlay to portrait or landscape.

    Figure. Switch Aspect Ratio button in the Crop HUD.

The values in the Width and Height fields are reversed, and the Crop overlay is updated to show the new orientation. (Entering a number in the Width field that is smaller than the number in the Height field sets a portrait orientation. Entering a larger number in the Width field sets a landscape orientation.)

You can also display cropping guides within the Crop overlay to help you compositionally align the Crop overlay according to the rule of thirds.

To show cropping guides within the Crop overlay
  • Select the “Show guides” checkbox.

    Figure. "Show guides" checkbox in the Crop HUD.

Displaying the Cropped Image Without the Crop Overlay

When the Crop tool is selected, the whole image is shown, with the trimmed edges dimmed. You can also have Aperture display the cropped image without the trimmed edges.

To display the cropped image without the trimmed edges
  • Select another tool in the tool strip or the Full Screen view toolbar. For example, select the Selection tool (or press A).

    The cropped image appears in the Viewer.

Select the Crop tool again (or press C) to make the trimmed edges visible in the Viewer again.

Cropping Images with the Crop Controls

You use the Crop adjustment controls when an extra level of precision is required. For example, if a client wants an image cropped to a precise dimension that is different from the standard aspect ratios, you use the Crop controls.

Aperture uses a simple coordinate system to position the Crop overlay on the image. You simply set x and y coordinates to specify the position of the bottom-left corner of the crop. The x-coordinate moves the bottom-left corner of the crop horizontally, and the y-coordinate moves the bottom-left corner of the crop vertically. Then you set the width and height to determine the area within the crop.

To set crop dimensions using the Crop adjustment controls
  1. Select an image.

  2. If you wish, use the Crop tool to place a rough crop on the image.

  3. If the Crop controls are not shown in the Adjustments inspector or the Adjustments pane of the Inspector HUD, choose Crop from the Adjustments pop-up menu.

  4. In the Crop area of the Adjustments inspector or the Adjustments pane of the Inspector HUD, click the X value slider’s left or right arrow, or double-click the number and enter a new number, to set the horizontal position of the bottom-left corner of the Crop overlay.

    Figure. Controls in the Crop area of the Adjustments inspector.

    The X value is measured in pixels, and as the value increases, the Crop overlay moves to the right.

  5. Specify the vertical position of the bottom-left corner of the crop using the Y value slider.

    The Y value is measured in pixels, and as the value increases, the Crop overlay moves up.

  6. Specify the width of the crop using the Width value slider.

    The width is measured in pixels, and the measurement starts at the bottom-left corner, increasing from left to right.

  7. Specify the height of the crop using the Height value slider.

    The height is measured in pixels, and the measurement starts at the bottom-left corner, increasing from bottom to top.