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Cropping assistance


Well-Known Member
Hoping you expert folks can assist me with this little project, we are trying to crop a face from a photo, and then print it onto a T-Shirt design....

The idea is to crop this chaps face area, and then us the cropped image for printing, ie we dont want any background....

How can I do this in Photoshop Elements 6, I have basic PS Skils but cropping an awkward shape is something I have not had an success with, So any advice is very much appreciated....

When you say "cropping", are you attempting to literally crop the image in a complex shape? Or are you asking how to make a selection of the head in order to extract it from the background? As far as I'm aware, you can only crop in rectangular shapes, and all photographic files (PSD, JPEG, etc.) have rectangular dimensions. The solution to what you want is to create a selection of just the head, copy it to its own layer, and discard (or turn off) the underlying layers. That will leave just the head on a transparent background. If you then save the image as a PNG file, it preserves the transparency of the background. So even though the image is technically still rectangular, it will print exactly as you want it to.

Photoshop Elements is a bit awkward because it's lacking several essential tools, as well as the ability to attach a mask directly to a layer. For this particular image, the Quick Selection tool did a reasonable job selecting just the person, which should be good enough for a T-shirt. I used it to create the image below, saved as a PNG. You'll need to pay attention to the top of the head, as well as the shadows along the side of the face. And once I had a satisfactory selection I gave it a 1 pixel feather. Not sure if you want the entire body below the neck. If not, there are some work-arounds in Elements to create a layer mask, which you can then use to fade-out the body if that's what you want. Not sure of your skill level, so let me (or anyone else here) know if you need help with that.

Thats amazing, thanks so much for your advice!! if I can be pushy and ask how can I change the background colour to black.........Once again thanks for your help!!!!
Once you've successfully created the subject on its own layer, you can add any background you want. Take my PNG file, open it in Photoshop, and then create a new blank layer. The new layer will automatically appear above the headshot image, but you want it the other way around, so grab the layer icon and move it below the headshot layer. Now, on that blank layer, you can do anything you want. If you want it black, click on Edit>Fill>Black. If you want to get creative you can find any image you like on the internet and Copy/Paste it onto that blank layer.

By the way, I feel that the original image could use a bit of exposure correction and some skin-tone adjustments. Use this one if you like it better,

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