Learn how to crop images quickly, with or without resampling the image in the process.
About the crop feature
The Crop function can be invoked by selecting one or more images and clicking on the Crop button on the toolbar (or using the keyboard shortcut Ctrl-K / Command-K). It makes is possible to perform two different types of image cropping.
When used in a network environment in conjunction with a Color Factory server, you may want to let the server handle heavy processing. In such environments, FotoStation can simply add a crop frame to your images, letting Color Factory perform the actual crop later. Such application of a crop frame is called soft-cropping. A soft crop is stored in the metadata of the file, and other applications that support this, such as Photoshop, will be able to see the crop suggestion you have added in FotoStation.
Running FotoStation on a single computer however, it may be preferable to real-crop the image like you would in Photoshop, thus removing physical data from the image. However, you may find the soft-crop (masking) feature useful even in a single-user environment, for example if you would like to keep the original image intact while real-cropping a copy of the image using an action in FotoStation.
Applying a crop frame to an image does not alter the physical image data, it simply adds extra information about the crop to a metadata field. In fact, this is the same metadata as Photoshop uses, so that an image that has been soft-cropped in FotoStation can be opened in the Camera Raw module in Photoshop to display the crop.
Cropping an image
Mark an image and click on the Crop button on the toolbar. The Crop & Size window opens. By clicking the mouse and dragging a mask across the image a crop frame is created. You can change the mask size by clicking and dragging the little «handles» in each corner and on the sides of the mask. By moving the cursor inside the mask it changes to a hand. Now you can position the mask in the image. Positioning the cursor outside one of the corners of the frame makes it possible to rotate the crop frame freely, provided that free rotation of the crop frame has been enabled in the crop options.
Rotating the image
To rotate the image in steps of 90 degrees, click on one of the greet rotate buttons in the Crop & Size window. When you have applied a crop frame, it can be rotated freely by placing the mouse pointer outside the frame itself while clicking and dragging the frame to the desired position.
Tip: To revert the crop frame to 0 degree rotation, press the Shift key when nearing 0 degrees and release the mouse button. The frame will then "snap" back to 0 degrees.
Leveling the picture
The crop window offers an aid to help you adjust the crop frame to compensate for a slightly tilted picture. Look for any straight lines or a horizon in the picture and press the Shift key while clicking and dragging the mouse along it. FotoStation will draw a line where you drag and then adjust the crop frame accordingly.
Previewing the crop
To get an idea of the final result after cropping, you can click on the Cropped Preview button. FotoStation will then preview the cropped image on a neutral background. Simply click your mouse to return to the crop window.
Resetting the crop
To remove the crop frame from an image entirely, click on the Reset Crop button in the toolbar of the crop window.
Setting crop options
As mentioned, FotoStation can perform both a soft and a real crop. Whereas a soft crop only applies a crop frame that can later be removed and does not change the physical data in an image, a real crop will do just that. The kind of crop you choose will depend on how you intend to use FotoStation. It may for example be beneficial to soft-crop your images and set up an action that performs the real crop on a copy. That way, you can always go back and change the cropping on the original.
By clicking on the Options button in the crop dialog you can set options related to the type of cropping you want to perform.
Mode of operation
Soft Crop. No resampling: Performs a soft crop where no image data is lost. A crop frame is applied to the image, but the image data is not altered. You can remove the crop frame later if you like by clicking on the Reset Crop button in the toolbar of the Crop window. Soft-cropping is useful when you are using an action to real-crop the image (using the Apply soft crop sub action) or when FotoStation is configured to send files to a Color Factory server that takes care of the image processing. When choosing this option, all options related to file saving are disabled.
Real Crop. No resampling: The image is physically cropped, altering the image data, but no resampling is performed. Make sure you check the file saving options further down to make sure you don’t overwrite the original file unintentionally.
Real Crop. Resample to new pixel size: The image is physically cropped, and it will be resampled according to the size and resolution set in the Image size dialog. (See Setting Image Size below.)
In this dropdown list you can choose the level of transparency of the area outside the crop frame. Choose 25%, 50%, 75% or 100% white level outside the frame, or choose Marquee line only.
Allow free rotation: By selecting this option you can place the mouse pointer outside the crop frame, then click and drag the frame to rotate it freely.
Display quality information: When you select this option, FotoStation will display a quality indication bar under the image in the crop window. The bar changes color to indicate whether the image contains sufficient data for the set print size.
File saving options
The file saving options are only available when performing a real crop, since it is only then the image data is physically changed. Simply applying a soft crop frame has no effect on the image data, and the frame can be removed at any time by opening the image in the crop window and clicking on the Reset Crop button.
Save image to original file: Overwrites the original file when a real crop has been performed.
Show “Save as” dialog: Displays a Save as dialog to let you choose a folder and new file name for the cropped image.
Save as new image in original folder with a new name: Saves the cropped image in its original folder with a new file name. The file name is specified by adding a prefix and/or suffix to the original file’s filename using the corresponding fields below.
Save as a new image in specified folder: Lets you choose a new folder where the cropped image will be saved using the original file name.
Choosing a file format for saving the cropped file
Use the File format dropdown list to choose between Same format as original file, JPEG or TIFF. If you choose JPEG, you can also set a JPEG quality level using the corresponding dropdown list. If you choose Same format as original file, when you crop a file which is neither TIFF nor JPEG format, FotoStation will display a dialog box that lets you choose between JPEG or TIFF or cancelling the operation altogether.
Save softcrop data to original file: Applies the crop frame to the original file. This may be a good idea if you would like to return to the image later and evaluate or change the crop frame. The crop frame can be removed entirely later by resetting the crop as outlined above.
Set filedate from original file: Saves the new image with the time and date of the original file.
Setting Image Size
By clicking on the Image Size button you can see and change the print size of an image. You can lock the width, height, width and height and resolution and then adjust the values. Notice the Target Screen setting, which is the basis of all quality calculations. You should set the target screen according to what the image will be used for. The target screen is the printing raster screen used when printing on paper. The quality value is image resolution/target screen. A value of 2 is normal. This value is only relevant for printing.
If resampling has been enabled in the options dialog you can also specify the image dimensions in pixels, you can set an output image size in megabyte and you can change the output resolution of the image.
Saving a preset size
To save a size measure, for instance to predefine image sizes to fit a certain number of columns in a layout, set your size preferences and click on the Save size button. Name the custom size and click on the OK button, then click on OK in the image size dialog. This way you can crop an image and then pick a size by clicking on the little arrow next to the Image Size button. (Mac users: click and hold on the Image Size buttn to show the list of sizes.) Pick a predefined size from the list or modify the preset sized by choosing Size options.
Size Quality Control
Note how the quality indicator below the image changes when you change the print size of an image. The quality indicator is calculated from the Target screen resolution set in the Image size dialog.