Cropping Blues

Last week’s reading finally explained to me why I’ve been having such trouble cropping photos in my new PhotoShop. Last year, I got upgraded from CS4 to Creative Cloud 6 or so, and the cropping regime is very different.

On page 120 of the Norman book, he talks about the metaphors we use to control scrolling on a computer screen. Are you scrolling the window down, or are you scrolling the text up? This is an open question on desktops, but on phones it’s pretty obvious that you’re swiping the text up or down. So Apple has switched to a moving-text model, but PCs haven’t followed suit.

It’s similar with PhotoShop. In the old version, you have a photo and you overlay the cropping selection on top of it. You can see it around the 1:00 mark of this video:

With my new PhotoShop, you can resize the crop window, but generally you are moving and zooming the photo behind it. It’s taken me months to get used to the change.

I suspect this change is also driven by mobile. On a phone, it would be silly to change the size of the crop window. The crop would quickly get too small to be usable. So you change the size of the picture while the crop stays constant.

(As usual, my phone implements this in a weird way. You can move the crop window in some cases, but you can’t move a photo after you’ve blown it up within the crop window. So you have to hope the crop window lands on the part of the photo you’re trying to show.)


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