The Crop tool is one of the many tools in Photoshop CS6 that has been improved. It has been much the same since, well, forever, and it’s nice to see Adobe paying some attention to these everyday functions. When you use the new Crop tool, you will see immediately that it is different. The image moves around as you crop, which takes some getting used to, but it actually makes it easier to visualise your final composition. You can choose from crop Presets as before, or determine your own, as well as work without constraints. You can choose from a range of views too, which overlay grids and rulers to help you conform to compositional rules, such as Golden Spiral, Triangle or Rule of Thirds. These show when you start cropping by default, though you can turn them off.
The biggest change, however, is the fact that cropping is not non-destructive, as long as you untick the Delete Cropped Pixels box. You make your crop like usual and you can even leave the Crop tool. If you want to change the crop, reselect the Crop tool and click on your cropped image. You will now be able to see the areas you originally deleted once again, so you can re-crop the area.
Select the Crop tool and take a look at the Options bar at the top of the screen. Here you can choose to constrain the crop to a set or custom size, or leave it Unconstrained. You can also choose an overlay, which includes things like Rule of Thirds and Golden Ratio, which help you to create the perfect crop.
The most important option to look at, though, is the little checkbox for Delete Cropped Pixels. If this is ticked, then you will destructively crop your image as in previous versions. Untick this and you can go back in at any time to change the crop of your image using the pixels you had got rid of.
Finally, you can crop your image, which works slightly differently to before. Pull the handles in to where you want your crop box and the image will reposition in the new crop area, making it really intuitive to make good crops. Don’t underestimate this simple tool!