Welcome to the third and final installment of Cropping in Expression Design (if you’re just joining us, you can catch up by reading Parts I and II). This last bit explores yet another way to create simple crops. Using the Slice tool, you can draw and export your crops in a flash. This could be especially useful for quickly cutting images from an object or photo that contains multiple elements that you want to isolate. Here goes.
Cropping with the Slice tool
The primary function of the Slice tool is to cut out rectangular sections of your artwork and export those sections as several different file types. This, then, makes it perfectly suitable for cropping. And, a couple of very nice twists on the theme make this almost too quick and easy to believe. This example shows you how to take a piece of artwork and slice it up into several neat and clean files.
- Open your artwork and press K to choose the Slice tool .
- Let’s say that we want to grab three of these avatars to show to our client. We want them each as a separate JPEG file that can be easily attached to an email. First, decide which element (heads, in this case) that you want to start with and then, using the Slice tool, draw a marquee around the element. Don’t worry about how close you come to the element, or how perfect the dimensions of the marquee are. We’ll fix that in the next step!
- The marquee above is clearly a bit too much of a selection, but it’s easily fixed. In the Object menu, click Fit Slice to Content.
Once you choose this option, the slice boundaries compress to fit snugly to the edges of your artwork.
(If you should happen to get a pixel or two clipped from an edge of your artwork, just use the Selection tool to select the slice and then use the arrow keys to reposition the slice.)
- Now, let’s choose two more elements (avatars, in this case). Make sure that the Slice tool is selected and then, find two more avatars and draw around each of them. Then, to select the new slices, click the Selection tool and hold down Shift as you click each of the new slices. Now, choose Fit Slice to Content from the Object menu, just like we did in step 3 above. This will adjust all of the slices you selected.
- With the elements that you want to extract now cleanly-sliced and fitted, press Ctrl+ E to open the Export dialog box. You should see all of the slices you selected lined up in the preview area.In the Export dialog box, we’ll do a number of things to define our files. First, make sure that you select Slices in the Items to Export category. Then, if you want, you can name each of your slices by clicking the thumbnail to select the slice, and then, in the Slice name box, typing a new name and pressing Enter. Do this for each of your slices.
- To make things quicker, we want to export all of these at once, so, now hold down Shift and select each of your slice thumbnails. Once you do this, you can now change the Format and Color mode for the whole set. I will change my file format to JPEG. Notice that I have different options to set since I have changed my file format. I like all of the default settings, so I won’t change them. But you can, of course, change to other values if you need to.Then, in the Location box, type the location where you want to store the slice files, or click Browse to navigate to a location.
- Now, all you have to do is click Export All and that’s it (you also have the choice of exporting only the slices you selected here, in case, for example, we only wanted to export two of the avatars, then we would have just selected two of them and then chosen Export Selected Slice(s) from the menu). Your slices will each be an individual file in the format that you selected. You’re done! Go check out your new slice files wherever you saved them. Nice, right?�
With a minimum of practice, you can accomplish this procedure in minutes, maybe even seconds, resulting in a wealth of clean crops ready for the next step in your workflow.
The flexibility of Expression Design extends across several different types of tasks. Cropping is simply just another example of this flexibility. Over three articles, we’ve shown you how to perform simple to complex crops so that, whatever your need is, you can get it satisfied in Expression Design.
Stay tuned for some new Expression Design insights down the road. Until then, thanks for reading.