HOW TO CIRCLE CROP A PHOTO IN PAINT.NET

We often see scrapbook and journal pages with photos that are in their original state. They’ve been printed and used as is. But what if we get creative with our photo and give it a little style? Cutting it into circular shapes is one way to do this. In this tutorial, I’m going to show you one easy way of doing this: using Paint.net. Paint.net is a free photo software that I’ve been using to great satisfaction. It’s more than enough for basic photo manipulation. We’re going to create this lovely circular dog photo shape:

And here’s our starting photo:

photo by Vizslafotozas

Naturally, all this happens in Paint.net and the result is you end up with a digital photo that has a circular shape. If you scrapbook digitally, all you need to do is save for future use.

This tutorial focuses on digital cutting in two words.

If you need this photo cut and on paper, you may want to try alternative cutting methods such as using scissors or circular shape cutters like those paper crafters use.

Let’s dive in.

Step 1 – Open Photo in Paint.net

First, we need to open our photo in Paint.net:

Step 2 – Ellipse Select the Area of the Photo We Wish to Keep and Fit in a Circle

Go to Tools on the top menu bar (row 3, first on the left):

Click the dropdown arrow and Pick “Ellipse Select”.

The cursor now shows a “+” sign next to a dotted circular ellipse.

Move the cursor near the dog’s left ear, press Shift and left click your mouse to anchor your cursor then right drag it to draw the circle. As you right drag it, a perfect circle will shape up.

Tip

  1. We pressed Shift to get a perfect circle. Without Shift, you’d get a flexible ellipse that’s very sensitive to movement and it’s hard to get a perfect circle in those conditions
  2. The reason we placed the cursor near the dog’s left ear is to ensure we can close the circle without the top being cropped and that’s because the dog’s head is near the top edge of the photo

So, now we have our circle showing up with a marching ants edge:

Step 3 – Invert Selection

The marching ant selection tells Paint.net we want to perform some sort of manipulation involving the selected area. But what exactly would that manipulation be?

Indeed, we could either delete the selected area or keep it and instead delete the surrounding area.

Try it out for yourself. At this stage, if you press Delete, you’ll erase what’s in our circle from the photo. Now though this could be useful – say you wish to paste it onto a brand new document – it would require us to move away from our photo. So, I suggest we shortcut the hassle with a very simple trick: Invert Selection.

Go to Edit then pick Invert Selection at the bottom. And now we’re looking at this:

What happened here? Paint.net went selecting the area surrounding our circle instead. Our circular selection has switched from being just a circular selection to delimiting the inner edge of the area surrounding our selection .

Step 4 – Delete

All we have to do now is press Delete on our keyboard to delete it:

And now we are left with our circular selection only, which is what we want. Isn’t it nice?

From here, you can save as is for use in your digital scrapbooking or crop it further to get rid of the extra transparent space. I know I like the latter better because I prefer working with graphics that’s close to the size of my canvas than having to resize them all the time. It’s a question of personal preference.

I hope you found this tutorial useful and wish you happy scrapbooking!

Share it if you enjoyed it!

Alex of Log & Mitten

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