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How to crop a circle in Photoshop

You’ve all seen great images that are cropped to the perfect circle – but how is this done? After some googling a while back I learned a few quick tricks in Photoshop to make this whole process extremely easy. You’ll be amazed at how simple this actually is once you learn. Here’s a step-by-step tutorial for how to crop a circle in Photoshop. Let’s get started!
Step 1: Open your image in Photoshop
At this point you should have the image and no other layers.
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Step 2: Double click on the Background layer and make it a Normal layer – just click OK.
You can name it if you want, but it really doesn’t matter. You just want ‘Background’ to go away and the lock to disappear.
photoshop lesson, photoshop circle cropping, crop circle image
Step 3: Select the Elliptical Marquee Tool
If you see a square when you first look at the toolbar, click and hold down so that the window appears to the right like below. Then select Elliptical Marquee. The default setting is Rectangular marquee.
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Step 4: Create the circle
Drag your mouse and create a circle – Photoshop has numeric guidelines so you can see how big it is. Hint: If you hold SHIFT while you move it will retain a perfect circle.
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Step 5: Inverse the layer
Once your circle is created, go to the toolbar and hit Select > Inverse.
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Step 6: Delete the outer layers
Once you’ve hit inverse, a dashed box will appear around the rest of the image. Hit delete. Poof! It all goes away.
photoshop lesson, photoshop circle cropping, crop circle image
Just like this:
photoshop lesson, photoshop circle cropping, crop circle image
Step 7: Crop your image to save
Go back to your marquee tool and switch to Rectangular – select the area right around your image. Then to go Toolbar > Image > Crop. This will remove all excess space around your image.
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Step 8: Save as .png
Save the image as a .png format using the dropdown. This will save the image with no background (unlike JPEG and the others) so that whatever color or pattern is behind this image when you upload it or use it, the border will start with your perfect circle.
photoshop lesson, photoshop circle cropping, crop circle image

I hope you found this tutorial helpful! Let me know if you have any questions, I’m happy to help!

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