At first glance, you may think the Cookie Cutter is a pretty silly tool. Actually, it's a very handy tool that you may use all the time, once you understand it. The Cookie Cutter creates the same shapes as the Custom Shape tool, but you use it on a photo to crop it to the shape you chose. Want a heart-shaped portrait of your sweetie? The Cookie Cutter is your tool. If you're a scrapbooker, with a couple of clicks you can get results that would have taken ages and a bunch of special scissors to create with paper.
If you're not into that sort of thing, don't go away, because hidden away in the shapes library are some of the most sophisticated artistic crop shapes you can find. You can use them to get the kinds of effects that people pay commercial artists big bucks to create—like creating abstract crops that give a jagged or worn edge to your photo (an effect that's great for contemporary effects).
You can also combine the result with a stroked edge, as explained in the box above, and maybe even a Layer style (Adding Layer Styles). Even without any additional frills, your photo's shape will appear more interesting, as shown in Figure 12-28.
Elements gives you a couple of other ways to create cutouts and fancy edge effects, which you might want to check out. If you plan to print out your cropped photo, for use in a scrapbooking project, for example, check out the Picture Package (Picture Package). The frames there include some shape crops, and you can do everything ...