I have another really cool tip for you today. You can put this one in the “best tips ever” category if you want. It’s going to save a lot of people a lot of headaches. I know it did for me when I first learned about this.
Have you ever rotated and cropped an image, only to be left with those empty areas up in the corners? You know which one’s I’m talking about. The ones that show the transparent checkerboard background. This type of thing is really annoying to deal with because oftentimes we want to keep as much of the image as possible. If all we have to do is a bit of twisting or rotating, wouldn’t it be better to keep those corner areas? I think it would be.
In today’s post, I’m going to show you how you can fill those empty areas in for many cases inside of Adobe Photoshop. While this technique won’t work for all cases, it will for a good majority of them. And it’s a really good technique too because Photoshop these days does an awesome job when it comes to healing and filling.
I’ll first take a regular average photo and rotate it, just to show you what I’m talking about here. Perhaps my descriptions up above wasn’t all that clear. I want you to really know what I’m talking about. After that, I’ll crop the rotated photo, which will leave behind some empty edges. I’ll then use a few tools and some tricks to fill those empty edges so you would never know they were empty in the first place. You’re going to love this post.
The Demo Photo
For this technique to work, you’ll need to use a photo that is hospitable to it. The one I chose has nice homogeneous edges. I think the one below is just perfect.
Rotating & Cropping the Photo
Okay, the image is already opened up inside of Photoshop. To start things off, I’m going to use the Crop Tool to give things a little twist.
Once the tool is active, I’ll place my mouse pointer just outside the outer edge, click and drag up or down. Doing this will give me those empty edges I spoke of above.
Now, let’s say that it was critical that I keep as much of this photo intact, but since those edges are empty, I’m sort of stuck. That doesn’t matter, because with what I’m going to show you below, I can still click and drag the corners of this crop area outward. I’ll do that now so the photo area is the same as when I started. When I’m done, I’ll press Enter on my keyboard to apply the changes.
This is what I’m left with. I’m sure you’ve faced something like this is you’ve spent enough time in Photoshop. It usually happens when you’re dealing with a crooked photo and you’re attempting to straighten it out. In my case, I’m actually making the photo crooked, but just ignore that. I chose a photo with a distinct horizon line so it’s easier to see that the image has been rotated. Anyway, just because you’re trying to straighten a photo out, it doesn’t mean that you’d like to lose part of the photo itself.
Filling in Those Empty Areas
To correct the problem in this image, I’ll head over to the left toolbar and choose the Magic Wand Tool.
After that, I’ll make sure the Contiguous option up in the top options bar is unchecked. That’s important because the areas that will need to be selected aren’t touching one another. After that, I’ll go ahead and select all four empty areas by clicking in just one of them with the tool.
You can see the marching ants surrounding the empty areas in the screenshot above.
The next step is very important as well. In order to avoid a frustrating little detail, I’ll enlarge each selected area by five pixels. If I didn’t do that, you’d see a faint white line that traces each area. I’d like to avoid that.
To enlarge each selected area, I’ll go up to the Select > Modify > Expand menu item and click.
When the Expand Selection dialog box appears, I’ll enter the number 5 and then press OK.
Now, if you look very closely at the marching ants below, you’ll notice that they are encroaching on the image by a few pixels. This is what I want.
This next step will actually fill the empty areas quite wonderfully. I’ll go to the Edit > Fill item up in the top menu.
When the Fill dialog box appears, I’ll choose Content-Aware from the Contents drop-down. I’ll then press the OK button to apply the fill.
Here is what things look like after they’ve been filled.
To get rid of the marching ants, I’ll use the Select > Deselect menu item up top.
And here’s the final product. Doesn’t it look good?
If there were any missed areas or areas that weren’t exactly to my liking, I’d use the Spot Healing Brush Tool to touch them up. Overall, I think this is an excellent method for rectifying a very annoying situation and for keeping as much of the photo as possible when rotating and cropping.
I hope I clearly explained how to fill in the empty edges when it comes to rotating and cropping an image in Adobe Photoshop. If you have any questions about this post, please leave them in the comment section below. Thanks for reading!