Wednesday, January 31, 2007
Trade Tricks: Getting It Straight
Correcting distortion of architecture in the computer
Correcting Perspective. In this photograph of a downtown street, the buildings would look better—more natural and probably more pleasing to the eye—if they weren't bending so dramatically toward the center of the frame. Here's how to correct it.
1. Open the photo with any software that allows you to work in Layers, or at least one that will allow skewing the image. Select the image, copy it and paste it onto a new layer. Hint: Use your software's ruler guides to give you a target for alignment.
2. Using the Transform function (Photoshop: Edit > Transform > Perspective), grab the image with corner markers and stretch the top of the photo horizontally. Using the Perspective tool, you can distort the image equally on both sides, but this doesn't always provide a symmetrical result. Instead, go to Edit > Transform > Distort and drag the corners of the image independently.
3. You'll notice that parts of the original picture that were once in the upper corners are now lost outside the frame. If you absolutely have to have those details in the photo, you'll need to live with less correction. If you plan for this before you shoot the image, you can leave extra space around the subject to be cropped out later.
4. After dragging bits of your picture around, it might look as if it has been squished. In order to remedy this, use the same Distort tool to stretch the image taller.
5. Finally, you should see a nicely retooled version of your once distorted image. Compare the before and after versions by toggling the layer view on and off. When you're satisfied, merge the layers to create a finished photo, and save it with a new file name so you can go back to the original, if desired.
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