Articles, Blog

Affinity Photo – Cropping

Let’s look at cropping
in Affinity Photo. Cropping is achieved by
using the Crop Tool located on the Tools Panel here. And we can access
this tool either when developing a RAW image
in the Develop persona, or when editing a document in
the main Photo Persona, which is what we will be doing here. So I will choose the Crop Tool. And now, we have the
crop window that appears. So to resize the crop
window, we can hover over any of these handles
here, and just click-drag. And then, to move the
crop window around, we need to click-drag inside
the boundaries of the window. Now, we also have some
presets that we can use. We can access the presets by
clicking the cog icon here, and then just click
on one to apply it. So, for example, I’ll
click the 1-by-1 preset to apply a nice, square
crop aspect ratio. We can also enable snapping,
which helps us when we’re positioning our crop window. So we can enable snapping by
using the magnet icon up here. Now, watch what
happens when I try to move the crop window to
the edge of the document. It will snap to the edges. So I can snap to the top here. I can snap to the bottom. And then, if I move my
crop window to the left, it will snap to the
far left as well. But I’m not actually going
to stick with a custom ratio, 1-by-1 crop. Instead, I’m going to change
the mode to Original Ratio. And this is also
quite a useful mode, because it will use the original
aspect ratio of your document before you started to
crop it, but it will constrain the width and height. So they can no longer be
resized independently. OK. Once we have the
crop looking good, we can apply the crop by either
using Return on the keyboard or by clicking Apply up here. Now, cropping in Affinity
Photo is non-destructive. To demonstrate
this, I’ll move back to the Crop Tool using
C on the keyboard, and I’ll check Reveal up
here on the context toolbar. There’s our information that
we’ve just cropped away. So if we decide that
we need to re-crop, we can easily do so by simply
expanding the crop window to include more of
that information. We also have these
thin gray lines here. And this is a guide for the
crop that we just applied. So if we decide to
change our mind, and we actually prefer
the crop as it was, we can simply just move back
to those original crop lines. While we’re here, then, let’s
look at the Overlay options. So, by default, we
have a Thirds Grid, and this is the rule of thirds. It’s common among photographers
as a compositional guide. We also have Golden Spiral. Now, Golden Spiral is
a logarithmic spiral. It has its background
in mathematics and art. And, generally speaking, you
have the point of interest at the beginning
of the spiral here. So, for example, I can just move
my crop down and in slightly. So here is my planet. And then, gradually,
it spirals out to the rest of the composition. Now, for the final
Overlay, I’m going to switch to another document. OK. And then I’ll bring up the
Crop tool again using C, and I’ll switch to Diagonals. So Diagonals helps
compositions where areas need to be perfectly
centered or positioned on these intersecting
diagonal lines. So, for example,
with this image, I’m going to bring the
right-hand side in, and then bring the bottom up so that
this circular window meets the top set of intersecting
diagonal lines exactly. Then I can just commit
my crop, this time by using Return on the keyboard. Another quick way to actually
undo the crop, or un-crop, is to go to Document
and Unclip Canvas. And notice when I do this, we
get the original dimensions of the document back. Finally, then– once again,
just selecting the Crop Tool– we can crop and resample
at the same time. So on the mode dropdown, we
can change this to Resample. And here’s a great use case. Let’s say we want
to crop and resize to a particular print size. So for units, we can
change this to inches. And, here, let’s say we
want a 12 by 10-inch print. In width, we can type 12. Tab to get across to
the height, and type 10. Hit Return. And then for the
DPI, we want 300, which is considered
optimal for print. Hit Return. And you can see it calculates
the appropriate pixel resolution here. So now, I can just bring
my crop window in like so until I’m happy with
the composition for a 12 by 10-inch print. Then I can apply
the crop, again, by using Return on the keyboard. And notice, on the
context toolbar, it’s also resampled
my document to the appropriate pixel resolution
for a 12 by 10-inch print at 300 DPI. So I could send this to print,
confident in the knowledge it will print correctly. And there we go. That was just a brief
overview of the Crop Tool. Hope you found it useful,
and thank you for watching.


  1. johnlochness Author

    I'm really enjoying your latest crop (see what I did there?) of videos. They cover techniques I have already found, but I don't know about all the extra features, such as ratios and re-sampling you mentioned here, so that's really useful, thanks.

    You didn't mention the "straighten" option in cropping, which surprised me because I use cropping the most for this.

  2. Philip Zwick Author

    Learned something new as usual, James. A question: using the brush to apply or eliminate an effect when masking, is there a way to do it in Affinity with edge control, or smart brushing?

  3. Johan Siegers Author

    One more thing: If you are going to use the Nik Collection plugins like siver effex pro, you must rasterize before calling the plugin, or you will see the uncropped version in the plugin.

  4. Dave Nelson Author

    Every time you come out with a video, I am amazed at how much information you pass along with the question…. how do you figure out all this stuff????? You are a veritable font of knowledge!!!


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