As a 3d autocad user with a master carpenter background and as and artist and craftsmen working to program CNC routers and drawings, at a company that produces in physical reality the often impossible designs that designers come up with, it is not difficult for me to see how crop circles (laying crops down) can be done and the art of creating them improved over time, by humans,
Now I can go into a pissing match as who has more talent but that would be skipping over the point while proving the point.
As an example of improving the art quality and speed of doing, what would be better than a rope strung plank? Snow Shoes. and even better custom shoes to better spread a person weight and amount of crop laid in a step.
Once basic method is established for a given design then for speed, maximum number of people can be determined.
As to bending crops, rather than breaking them, steam can most likely be used (perhaps added to the shoes) via back pak based gas flame powered heating of water through output lines. What makes me think of this, well for one basket weaving I learned to do in elementary school.
How not to snap even dried out straw.
Of course plenty arguments can be said against, like but it would burn the user. Where such arguments would really just be insulting to human ingenuity.
Deception has its easy to apply and safe from proof techniques. There were established by a research scientist. Proof establish not from a viewer perspective but by the doer perspective. So a comment from a viewer perspective like "I don't see it" does not dismiss the possibility of applied deception as that is the very thing such a deceiver achieves.
But there is a way to view indications of probable deception, as such techniques applied do leave a trail of acts and avoidances.
Of all the alien species described, the grays are the most common experienced. Even in the radio telescope reply, its a gray depicted. It is possible that they are the only species currently interacting with humans and they use techniques of telepathy to present even the illusion of other beings. Telepathic communication is most certainly a common experience among those who have had encounters with such beings. Telepathy is real enough that even governments and militaries have studied it. And I know there are those who have used hallucinogen and experienced such Telepathy, as this was even done in the late 60's US military, a Time Magazine cover story.
At a level of telepathic communication there is no different psychology of consciousness. There is a notable evolution of consciousness and thought capabilities of any race or even of any animal species. Dolphis are noted to be very intelligent and their communication fits their environment and physical make up.
There has been a study done regarding our ability to create to the extent we have and far beyond any other popular recognized life form.
There is a reason related to our physical makeup, to legs walking upright, with arms and even fingers are important in this. So it is not unusual to expect alien intelligence capable of such technology as UFOs to be similar in physical make up.
Imagine what it would be like to live in a world of telepathic communication. Imagine what you can do to a less evolved species by accessing their telepathic communication ability.
Life evolves and goes through expected and predictable stages of evolution very knowable via hind sight and genuine research. Of course any intelligent life form more advanced than us, that is studying us, especially for such a long time, would know of our skepticism and other yet to evolve primitive qualities quite well. With deception comes skepticism, but before either can exist for us there had to be a breakdown of the bicameral mind to bring about introspection capable consciousness. This was research by Julian Jaynes and recorded in history as an analogy of the tower of babel. Where we developed higher level abstractions. We evolved, when through a transition, as we are about to do again go through another transition that out modes abstract based deception. What we now call telepathy. As this happens people will begin to see through deception while the deceivers have trouble understanding what is going on.
Are there alien based crop circles? probably. Why? I believe I have just answered that