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The Photoshop Elements 11 Cookie Cutter Tool

The Cookie Cutter tool in Photoshop Elements 11is a cute name for a powerful tool. Think of it as a Custom Shape tool for images. But, whereas the Custom Shape tool creates a mask and only hides everything outside the shape, the Cookie Cutter cuts away everything outside the shape, much like a traditional cookie cutter does with dough.

The preset libraries provide you with a variety of shapes, from animals and flowers to symbols and faces.

Here’s how to use the Cookie Cutter:

  1. In the Photo Editor, in Expert mode, choose the Cookie Cutter tool from the Tools panel.

    The tool icon looks like a star. You can also press the Q key.

  2. Specify the following options in the Tool Options:

    • Shape: Click the down arrow and choose a shape from the Custom Shape picker preset library. To load other libraries, click the panel drop-down menu and choose one from the submenu.

    • Geometry Options: Draw your shape using certain parameters: Unconstrained, Defined Proportions, Defined Size, Fixed Size, and From Center.

    • Feather: Create a soft-edged selection.

    • Crop: Crop the image into the shape. The shape fills the Image window.

  3. Click and drag the mouse on the image to create your desired shape and then size and position the shape.

    You can size the shape by dragging one handle of the bounding box. You can then position the shape by placing the mouse cursor inside the box and dragging.

    You can also perform other types of transformations, such as rotating and skewing, manually or via the options in the Tool Options.

    Take a gander at the Layers panel. Notice the temporary creation of a Layer Mask icon.

  4. Click the Commit button (green check mark) near the Cookie Cutter bounding box, press Enter, or double-click inside the bounding box to complete the cut.

    The following figure shows the image cut into a flower. If you change your mind and don’t want the cut, click the Cancel button (red slashed circle) near the bounding box or press Esc.

    [Credit: ©istockphoto.com/Maria Pavlova Image #13009049]
    Credit: ©istockphoto.com/Maria Pavlova Image #13009049
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