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172 The Principles of

172 The Principles of Beautiful Web Design By cropping out some of the bottom and the right side of the photo, the entire image—shown in Figure 5.15—feels less busy, more like a casual holiday shot. In the original photo, the perspective made the church steeple the focal point, but the image included too many other elements that competed for viewers’ attention. With the image cropped, the steeple is still the focal point, but the pair of shoppers jumps out as a secondary focus, due, in part, to the rule of thirds I talked about in Chapter 1. Even though the steeple is no longer in the center of the composition, the perspective lines that run along the top of the buildings, the edge of the road, and even the yellow line point toward the steeple’s base. Having this off-center element as the focal point of the image creates a more interesting composition, and helps to give the image a more intentional, balanced feel. Figure 5.16. Charleston cropped We can also crop images in unexpected ways to portray a sense of emotion, show an interesting perspective, or change the overall message of the image. In Figure 5.17, an image of a guitar player has been cropped tightly to show only the body of the guitar. This treatment highlights the sense of movement that’s inherent in a musical performance, and provides a degree of anonymity that allows more people to connect with the image.

Imagery 173 Figure 5.17. Tight cropping to give an image a sense of emotion and movement When cropping images tightly, like the guitar image above, it’s important to be aware of the overall size of the image you’re working with. You may want to crop to a very detailed area of the photo and then enlarge it, but if the image’s resolution is too low, the cropped image will look pixelated. 21 Fortunately, images that are used on the Web can have much lower resolutions than those used in print, but always check the quality of your final image to make sure that it isn’t grainy or blurry. Images don’t always have to be contained in boxes. Many of the fun and useful ways in which we can crop photos are more creative than just trimming off the sides. The photo in Figure 5.18 is one that I took from the banks of the Saluda River. I love this picture so much in its unedited form that I made it into a background image for my computer, but let’s try to think outside the box. Figure 5.18. The Saluda River Unconventional cropping methods can come off as amateur if they’re poorly executed, but if they’re done well, they can be used to create some very striking graphics. Let’s say I was designing a website 21 Unless, of course, you find yourself in an episode of CSI.

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