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Learn Photography

Photoshop Elements >

Recompose Tool

The Recompose tool:

• Deletes unwanted areas in a photograph, such as too much space between people.

• Converts a horizontal photograph to vertical, and vice versa.

The tool is located with the Crop tool in versions of Photoshop Elements before 11.

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In Photoshop Elements 11 and later versions, the Recompose tool is located next to the crop tool.

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Example by David Morel

David Morel kindly provide an exemplary example of the power of the Recompose tool.

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Before

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After

Basic Operation

Do the following.

1) Open a photograph and make a Background copy layer.

If you haven't already done so, go to Create a Background Copy Layer.

2) Make sure the Background copy layer is active (highlighted).

3) Select the Recompose tool.

4) In options bar/Tool Options, open the Preset menu . . .

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. . . and select:

• No Restriction.

You can crop the photograph to any aspect ratio.

• Use Photo Ratio.

The aspect ratio of the photograph is used for the cropped version.

• Other aspect ratios.

5) To covert a horizontal photograph to vertical, and vice versa, click the double arrows in options bar/Tool Options.

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6) Click and hold on one of the handles on the edges of the photograph, and drag.

David Morel, the photographer of the example above, suggests moving more than handle to get the desired effect.

7) Click the:

• Green check mark to keep a change.

• Red circle-with-diagonal to cancel a change, or press Esc.

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8) To compare the recomposed layer to the original, deselect and select the eye icon on the Background copy layer.

9) Select the Crop tool and do the following.

a) Drag a shape that matches the bounding box from the Recompose tool.

b) Click the green check mark.

10) Use the Spot Healing Brush tool, and the Clone Stamp tool, to retouch any imperfections.

11) You may want to save the photograph with a new name, to preserve the original.

If you're using a Windows computer, Photoshop Elements will append copy to the file name.

Helping the Tool

You can lend a hand to the Recompose tool.

Photoshop Elements uses the term highlights to mean areas—not bright areas.

Amount

In options bar/Tool Options, you can change the Amount percentage.

100% minimizes distortion.

This feature is not available if the Preset menu in options bar/Tool Options is set to No Restriction.

Paint Areas to Keep & to Delete

You can define areas to keep and area to delete.

People

If there are people in the photograph, click the green-person icon in options bar/Tool Options.

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The faces and bodies will turn green.

If Photoshop Elements misses a limb, you can paint it with a brush below.

The program may mark non-human areas that similar to skin tones, such as sand at a beach.

If it does so,

Mark for Protection

Mark for Deletion

In options bar/Tool Options there are four icons.

Click the first icon and paint areas that you want to protect.

You can mark areas for deletion with the third icon.

If you make a mistake, use the eraser icons, the second and fourth icons.

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Again

When you're finished, repeat these steps from the first section.

1) Click and hold on one of the handles on the edges of the photograph, and drag.

As suggested previously by David Morel, you can move more than handle to get the desired effect.

2) Click the:

• Green check mark to keep a change.

• Red circle-with-diagonal to cancel a change, or press Esc.

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3) To compare the recomposed layer to the original, deselect and select the eye icon on the Background copy layer.

4) Select the Crop tool and do the following.

a) Drag a shape that matches the bounding box from the Recompose tool.

b) Click the green check mark.

5) Use the Spot Healing Brush tool, and the Clone Stamp tool, to retouch any imperfections.

6) You may want to save the photograph with a new name, to preserve the original.

If you're using a Windows computer, Photoshop Elements will append copy to the file name.