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Original posts: Photoshop: Select item and crop it directly

I tried asking on the original post, but it says I need 50 comments or participations to post a comment. Sorry for the confusion.

I was trying the method below from Alan G in the original post:

If you're asking about cropping an individual object on a layer, then no, there's not a direct way to do that. Photoshop crops the entire canvas, not individual layers. There are indirect ways, though, both of which you can make into a one-click Action.

Method 1:

Ctl-click on the layer thumbnail in the Layers Panel to create a selection of just that >object.

Click the Layer Mask icon at the bottom of the Layers Panel to create a mask that reveals >only the object.

Unlock the mask from the layer (click the chain-link icon between the thumbnail and the mask.

With the mask selected (not the pixel layer), press Ctl-T to enter free transform mode.

Your free transform will now act like a crop mask for the layer.

One time it worked. Every time I try it again I get an error: "Could not transform because the initial bounding rectangle is empty". What am I missing?

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Is this a question or an answer to an unasked question? –  plainclothes Mar 31 '14 at 23:33
Hi! It looks like you started answering and then converted your answer into a question. But we are missing the reference from the original one, so as it is, this is quite difficult to understand. I tried to edit it so it's clear which part refers to a different question, but any info you can add will improve the chances of getting a better answer. –  Yisela Apr 1 '14 at 3:33
I tried editing the question, is this clearer? Thank you for pointing that out. Basically I need to crop a pic on a layer but not change the larger layer size. If I crop the pic it makes all the other layers disappear or resize to the new smaller shape. –  user21284 Apr 1 '14 at 15:55

1 Answer 1

This essentially does the same thing, just in a different order. With my method, the mask isn't created until after the selection is adjusted to the area to be cropped.

  1. CTRL+Click the layer's thumbnail
  2. From the menu, select 'Select' -> 'Transform'
  3. Transform your selection as desired
  4. From the menu, select 'Layer' -> 'Layer Mask' -> 'Reveal Selection'
  5. Right-click the layer's mask thumbnail
  6. Select 'Apply Layer Mask'
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