Using the Crop Tool
The Crop tool activates onscreen cropping handles that you can drag to resize the borders
of a layer.
Cropping allows you to chop off any of the four edges of a layer to eliminate parts you
don’t want to see in your composition. Common examples of layers you’d want to crop
are video clips with a black line or unwanted vignetting around the edges. You can use
the crop operation to remove these undesirable artifacts. You might also crop a layer to
isolate a single element of the image.
Cropping in the Inspector Versus Cropping in the Media List
When you crop an imported image using the Crop tool (which yields the same result
as using the Crop controls in the layer’s Properties Inspector), only the instance of that
file is cropped. The source image in the Media list is not cropped. To crop the source
image, you must select the layer in the Media list, then use the Crop tools in the Media
Inspector. For more information, see
Note: If you must isolate a more irregularly shaped layer, or you want to create a border
of a specific shape, see
Using Shapes, Masks, and Paint Strokes
To crop a layer in the Canvas
Choose the Crop tool from the 2D tools pop-up menu in the toolbar.
In the Canvas, drag any of the eight handles around the edge of the layer to crop the
• Drag the top, left, right, or bottom handle to only crop one edge.
• Drag a four corner handle to crop two adjacent edges simultaneously.
• Press Shift while you drag to constrain corner or edge cropping to the aspect ratio of
Note: If a layer is modified with the Distort tool, the Crop tool and its onscreen controls
become disabled. However, you can still crop a distorted layer by adjusting its Crop
parameter settings in the Properties Inspector.
Additionally, the crop area and the image can be manipulated separately.
To move the crop area while keeping the underlying image in place
Drag inside the crop area.
The crop area moves, allowing you to adjust the crop to a new location without changing
its size or shape.
To move the image while keeping the crop area in place
Press Command while you drag inside the crop area.
The crop area remains static, but the image underneath it moves, allowing you to change
the visible area of the layer.