cjmcguinness Posted May 27, 2007 Share Posted May 27, 2007 This tutorial is available as a PDF. Click here to view or download it As PDN is more than a digital art creation medium and is used by many for enhancing their own photographs (myself included) I thought I'd post this tutorial regarding cropping of photo's for most pleasingly artistic composition. This tutorial will show you how to crop your digital photographs according to a tried and tested method known as the Rule of Thirds. The Rule of Thirds is a well known and respected compositional rule of thumb in photography. Whereas most 'amateur' photographers tend to place their main object in the centre of their view, the Rule of Thirds works on the principal that when an image is divided into nine equal parts (by two equally-spaced horizontal and vertical lines) and the main feature is positioned according to the four intersecting points it produces a more aesthetically pleasing and professional-looking result than simple centering of the feature would. The rule is usually applied by lining up subjects with the guiding lines and placing the horizon on the top or bottom line instead of the center. Although commonly known as the 'Rule' of Thirds this is really more a guideline than a hard rule. The picture below demonstrates these principals: You will notice that the main feature in the picture is the tower. This is perfectly centred on the right vertical dividing line. Also, the horizon in the background is positioned according to the bottom horizontal line. Cropping a landscape picture: The usual reason for cropping a picture is to remove extraneous material and leave a pleasing image for printing. This tutorial aims to produce a final image of 8" x 6", a standard photographic print size, but can be adjusted to suit any size. First, load the required image into PDN. I am using this picture of the Washington Monument. This image was originally 1024x768 - I have scaled it down to 600x450 for display purposes As you can see the monument itself is perfectly centred in the photograph. We are going to crop it according to the Rule of Thirds to produce a more professional and aesthetically pleasing look. Create a new image and enter the canvas size as follows: At 96 DPI your canvas should now be 768x576 Create a new layer and call it 'Thirds'. On this new layer we are going to create the grid. Position your cursor at the top of the canvas, at the position 256,0 (see below), and using the Line/Curve tool draw a line straight down the canvas, ensuring you finish at position 256,576 (you can go below the canvas). Repeat this, and draw another vertical line from position 528,0. Now, start on the left side of the canvas and position the cursor at 0,192 and draw a horizontal line across the canvas. Repeat this from position 0,384. You now have your 3x3 grid. Zoom out to about 66%. This will give you some space to work when you paste the original image in. Go to your original image and press CTRL+A, to select all and CTRL+C, to copy. Move back to the image with the grid, select the Background layer and press CTRL+V to paste. You will get the following dialog: Select 'Keep Canvas Size'. This will paste the image so that it is outside the bounds of the canvas. Use the mouse, click and drag the image to position the main feature (the monument) along the left vertical line. You should also position the horizon along the bottom horizontal line. You may wish to include more (or less) of the picture within the bounds. To do this you can click on one of the corner nodes and, holding the [sHIFT] button drag to adjust the image size. Press CTRL+D to deselect. You can now uncheck the 'Thirds' layer to remove the grid. Your image is now cropped and compositionally complies with the Rule of Thirds. Compare this to the original image; is this a more pleasing picture? Cropping a Portrait picture: If you are cropping a picture of a person you can follow the same 'Rule of Thirds'. Take this picture of a well know political leader (just a random picture that happens to suit my needs). The object is centrally positioned. If we create a canvas that is 6" x 8" and recreate our grid (same principal, only portrait in orientation) you should position the subject so that their eyeline intersects the top horizontal line and the bodyline follows the right (or left, depending on your composition) vertical line. This is a well established methodologhy for picture composition and I lay no claims to any inventiveness on my part here; I just thought that PDN could do with some different tutorials for those interested in enhancing their photographs. However, the same Rule of Thirds can apply to creative compositions as well. If, for example, you are creating a space scene - try positioning the main feature (planet, sun, etc..) according to these rules. I hope this tutorial is in some way enlightening and informative. Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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