Finding Perspective – Fixing the Perspective in Photos

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Jenny BinderThis tutorial was born out of something that happened to me a couple of years ago. I had volunteered to make a heritage book for a sweet older couple in my church. In discussing which photos they would include, they mentioned photos of his grandparents from the 1800’s, but they were in very large frames—the photos being too big to run through a scanner.

In addition to their size, the frames were antiques and were constructed in such a way that removing the photos would have been a huge task at best, in risk of ruining the frame and the photo at worst. Seeing how badly they wanted these photos included in the book, I said, “Oh, just send them along and I’ll just take a picture of them.” Famous last words.

What I failed to take into account was the fact that these frames, like most other frames, contained glass. Glass reflects every spec of light in any number of directions. I became painfully aware of this as I set the photos up in my living room, which has a large bay window that provides lots of natural light. Normally it is the ideal photo shoot location, but no matter how I positioned things, I could not eliminate the many reflections of light from the window.

“Ok,” I thought. “I need to get somewhere where there’s as little light as possible.” So now I’m going from an ideal photo shoot location, to quite possibly the worst and most difficult location…the den. Long story short, I eventually came to the realization that the ONLY way I was going to get a decent photo was to shoot it from the side and above the frame. Here’s one of my results:

2009-03-30-image2

I was thrilled that this eliminated all of the glass reflections, but clearly it created a new problem—perspective. Did you know Photoshop has a great filter that can help you correct perspective that is distorted? That is what I am going to use to make this photo right again.

For Adobe Photoshop Version click here.

Step 1: Prep Work

First I’m going to do something that will allow me to see my adjustments a little easier. Choose the Polygonal lasso tool from the Tools bar to the left. Click a selection around the frame that will serve as an equal reference point on all sides. For me, I drew my selection as shown by the red line here.

2009-03-30-image3

Press Ctr J (Mac: Cmd J) to copy this selection and put it on its own new layer. You will not see any change to your image, but you should see a new layer in the Layers palette.

Step 2: Correct With a Filter

Choose Filter > Correct Camera Distortion. In the dialog box that appears, there are several things to the right you can adjust. Each photo will be adjusted differently, so I can’t give you exact settings. But I can tell you I adjusted the Angle (which changes the rotation), the Vertical and Horizontal Perspectives, and finally the Remove Distortion slider towards the top to fix the slight “bulge”.

When you’re finished with your adjustments, click OK. You don’t have to get it perfect with this filter. You can also use the filter again, or go to the next step.

2009-03-30-image4el1

Step 3: Create and Fill New Layer

Hold down the Ctr key (Mac: Cmd key) and click on the Create a new layer icon at the top of the layers palette. Fill this new layer with a solid color by choosing Edit > Fill Layer, then choose Use: Color, pick a color that contrasts with your photo (I chose white), then click OK, and then OK.

Step 4: Finish Adjusting Manually

Click on the adjusted photo layer in the Layers palette to make it the active layer. At this point you may want to show your grid by choosing View > Grid. (If you need to adjust your grid, you can do that at Edit > Preferences > Grid.) Press Ctr T (Mac: Cmd T) to get a transform outline. Press and hold Ctr (Mac: Cmd) and then move the corner handles to square up your photo. Try to move as few as possible, and the least amount as possible, to keep your photo true to its proper proportions.

2009-03-30-image4b

When you are finished, release Ctr (Mac: Cmd) and double click on the image to accept the changes. You may want to now hide the grid, using the same path you used to show it.

Step 5: Add to Your Page

Now I have a nice, true photo. A little photo editing and this Grandpa is ready to be placed on my scrapbook page. I don’t usually spend this much effort on acquiring and fixing a photo, but sometimes it is worth it.

2009-03-30-image61

 Credits: Tutorial by Jenny Binder, www.HeirloomScrapbooks.com.

Step 1: Prep Work

First I’m going to do something that will allow me to see my adjustments a little easier. Choose the Polygonal lasso tool from the Tools bar to the left. Click a selection around the frame that will serve as an equal reference point on all sides. For me, I drew my selection as shown by the red line here.

2009-03-30-image3

Press Ctr J (Mac: Cmd J) to copy this selection and put it on its own new layer. You will not see any change to your image, but you should see a new layer in the Layers palette.

Step 2: Correct With a Filter

Choose Filter>Distort>Lens Correction.

In the dialog box that appears, there are several things to the right you can adjust. Each photo will be adjusted differently, so I can’t give you exact settings. But I can tell you I adjusted the Angle (which changes the rotation), the Vertical and Horizontal Perspectives, and finally the Remove Distortion slider towards the top to fix the slight “bulge”. When you’re finished with your adjustments, click OK. You don’t have to get it perfect with this filter. You can also use the filter again, or go to the next step.

2009-03-30-image4

Step 3: Create and Fill New Layer

Hold down the Ctr key (Mac: Cmd key) and click on the Create a new layer icon at the bottom of the layers palette. Fill this new layer with a solid color by choosing Edit>Fill, then choose Use: Color, pick a color that contrasts with your photo (I chose white), then click OK, and then OK.

Step 4: Finish Adjusting Manually

Click on the adjusted photo layer in the Layers palette to make it the active layer. At this point you may want to show your grid by choosing View>Show>Grid. (If you need to adjust your grid, you can do that at Edit>Preferences>Guides, Grid & Slices.) Press Ctr T (Mac: Cmd T) to get a transform outline. Press and hold Ctr (Mac: Cmd) and then move the corner handles to square up your photo. Try to move as few as possible, and the least amount as possible, to keep your photo true to its proper proportions.

2009-03-30-image4b

When you are finished, release Ctr (Mac: Cmd) and double click on the image to accept the changes. You may want to now hide the grid, using the same path you used to show it.

Step 5: Add to Your Page

Now I have a nice, true photo. A little photo editing and this Grandpa is ready to be placed on my scrapbook page. I don’t usually spend this much effort on acquiring and fixing a photo, but sometimes it is worth it.

2009-03-30-image61

Credits: Tutorial by Jenny Binder, www.HeirloomScrapbooks.com.

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