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Cropping Photos

Cropping Photos

There may be many reasons why you want to crop your photos – maybe you have too much background or unwanted objects, or you may wish to delete background to enlarge just a center portion, or you may wish to have a photo in a particular shape, like a circle or ellipse.

Both MAGIX Xara Photo and Graphic Designer and Xara Designer Pro contain a fast and non-destructive set of photo tools that enable you to crop and improve your photos in a few easy steps.

Firstly, load your photo by dragging it from your file explorer onto the program’s title bar to open it as a photo document (or drag it into the empty black editor). Photo documents are designed specifically for storing photo data so that no matter what changes you make, you can always return to the original (or ‘master’) high quality image.

The easiest way to crop your photo is to click on the Enhance tool in the Photo tool fly-out bar and drag across the photo. When you release the mouse pointer, you can see the uncropped area. If you change your mind and want to alter the size of the uncropped area, you can drag the sides or corners to adjust the crop borders.

You can also use the Clip tool to crop a photo, especially if you want to set a precise width or height or lock the aspect size. Simply click and drag on the cropping rectangle to move it around the photo. When you are ready, click the ‘Clip’ button. This, too, can be undone at any time, either by dragging on the clip border or by selecting ‘Unclip’.

I can add an effect such as a ‘vignette’ edge to the photo by selecting the Feather slider (top right of the program) and in this case I set it on the maximum 50 pixels.

If it quite common to see a photo of a face in an elliptical shape. The easiest way to do this is to apply a mask and crop the unwanted area. First, I will select the Mask tool that places a red mask on the whole photo. Then I will select the Ellipse tool and the circle on the fly out menu bar. To achieve an ellipse I press the ‘alt’ key and drag the mouse to create my ellipse in the desired size. If it’s not quite the right shape then I can drag on the handles to stretch it in any direction or use the Selector tool and drag on one of the corner handles to enlarge or reduce the whole ellipse. You can create any shape, even a freehand drawn shape.

I want to keep the shape that I have drawn and delete the rest of the photo so I select the Window menu and Invert Mask so now the circle is the only area of the photo covered by the mask. I then select the Delete key to delete the unwanted area. The program asks me if I want to delete the masked object – or the mask. So I confirm that I want to delete the object. Now all of the unwanted bits of the photo have gone. I will now enlarge the photo by dragging the corner handle.

Now I can enhance the photo even further. I will ‘feather’ the edges to give a vignette effect, so I select the feather tool and move the slider along to until the required effect is achieved. For this photo it is 34.6 pixels.

I’ll undo that and instead add an outline. Using the Set Line Width option at the top, I choose 8pixels and then I hover over the blue on the bottom palette of colors and press ‘shift’ and click my mouse to set the color.

To save your final image, select File > Save. Your adjusted photo will be saved along with a copy of the original in a Master’s folder. At any time you can open the modified photo and make further changes or undo changes and even restore the original unmodified photo

To enhance your photos see the separate tutorial on the MAGIX online magazine.

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