Photoshop: Confusing Crop tool function

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  • Updated 4 years ago
  • (Edited)
Picture this. You have a real photograph in front of you. Its dimensions are 7x5 inches, and you want to cut out of that photograph, a 4x4” square. You’re not bothered by the rest of the photograph, you’ll discard that, so you mark your 4” square on the photo at the place you want to keep, and with a pair of scissors, cut (crop) the photo accordingly.

Using the analogy above, I’m having difficulty achieving what should be an extremely simple operation in Photoshop CC 2014. I have an image which is 5000px wide x 3800px high at a resolution of 240px/inch.

Using the “W x H x Resolution” option of the crop tool, I want to crop the image to 2100px x 2100px, maintaining the original image resolution of 240px/inch. No matter what settings I use in the crop tool toolbar, the crop tool insists on sizing the crop by assuming the full length of the shortest axis on my image. In this instance the vertical distance. If I initiate the crop, I do end up with a 2100px square image at 240px/inch, but the shortest original dimension (and hence pro-rate the image) has been rescaled and resized.

What I was expecting to see is the crop tool outline simply showing a square which represents 2100px a side at 240px/inch relative to the image I’m viewing. I would then drag the outline to the position where I wanted it, and then crop the image. This isn’t happening. I can manually resize the crop area with my mouse, and rely on the floating information pop-up to check the actual crop dimensions, but this seems counter-intuitive (not to mention difficult when attempting a pixel accurate crop).

Strangely enough, if I change the size of the crop window by using the mouse, and right click inside the crop area, the context menu has the option “Use Crop Box Size & Resolution”. Selecting this option updates the toolbar with the chosen crop size and everything is as expected. Surely, this is what the crop toolbar should do in the first place?

Am I missing something here? I may not perform this particular operation very often in Photoshop, but I’m sure it worked the way I thought is should before!


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Stephen Donoghue

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Posted 4 years ago

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