Photographers often have an idea or vision of what they would like for the outcome of their photographs to be, but in reality, our images don’t always turn out that way. Sometimes it may be the camera, sometimes the environment or the lighting, and sometimes the subject itself can give us problems. Every now and then, we run into the problem of having a distorted or crooked image, but with Photoshop, we can correct that fairly easily. The following image slopes at an angle, which isn’t necessarily wrong, but if you want to straighten the roofline, then you can do this with Photoshop.
One way to fix this is to go to File> Automate> Crop and Straighten Photos. What this does, is it detects your image and straightens it automatically. At the same time, it crops the image to fit the canvas. This is great if you have multiple images that you quickly want to straighten at one time. You may end up with blank parts of your image, which is normal because it can’t create image information that was never there to begin with, at least not inside this menu.
If your missing image info isn’t too complicated, then you might be able to make a loose selection around the area and hit Command/Ctrl + Delete to bring up your fill options. You can click the dropdown box and choose content Aware, which will examine the surrounding area and try to fill in the selection with surrounding pixel information to create a seamless blend.
The results are shown in the image below:
Content Aware Fill is a great tool, but it isn’t always perfect. For extremely complex images, you may have to simply crop the image or clone a section of the image and blend it together to fill the canvas. You will also notice that Auto Straighten isn’t perfect as well, because the image above is now sloping to the other side.
If you want more control over straightening your images, you are in luck. Photoshop has a setting under the filter menu called lens correction. Go to Filter> Lens Correction to bring up the dialog box.
The dialog box shows you a preview of your image, so that you can see it while you are making adjustments. For Auto Correction, you can tell Photoshop to auto scale the image when it is corrected, and you can also check the checkbox under the image preview in order to turn a grid overlay off and on. This is helpful, because it can be difficult sometimes to judge when an image is truly straight.
If you select the custom tab, you can control different aspects of the lens correction filter, giving you ultimate control of each minor detail. Geometric distortion controls the fisheye effect, and can actually reverse this effect. You can also get a concave effect when doing a panorama, and this is the perfect place to correct that problem, giving you a straight photo every time. You can also fix Chromatic Aberrations individually by color, and you can fix or add vignette effects or take them away if they are unintentionally featured in your image.
The features that will help you straighten a crooked image are found at the bottom under the section called transform. Vertical Perspective tilts either the top or the bottom of the image toward you, as if it were set in a 3-dimensional plane. Move the slider to the left to tilt the top toward you, and slide it to the right to tilt the bottom of the image toward you.
Horizontal Perspective tilts the left or the right side of the image toward you. Move the slider to the left to tilt the left side of the image toward you, and move the slider to the right to tilt the right side of the image toward you. This will help you to straighten your image if it slopes in a certain direction, but you may lose some image information, and if you have an important part of your image featured at one of the edges of your image, you might end up moving it out of your image if you tilt it too far.
Another important setting is the angle. This will rotate your image by a specific degree within a 360° range. Keep in mind that if your image is like ours and one side tapers inward at the top and bottom of the image, then you won’t be able to completely straighten your image with this feature alone. You might want to combine this setting with either one of the vertical or horizontal perspective settings.
The roof line is straight across, but the buildings are not completely vertical, so the whole image is thrown out of proportion. A tip for the Lens Correction Filter is to convert your image to a smart object, before you run the filter. Then, when you use it, if it isn’t exactly right, you can double-click on the layer icon to open up the smart filter, where your settings are saved.
You can make adjustments and hit okay as many times as you like. The only downside to this is that if you convert the image to a smart object, you won’t be able to transform the image and preview your changes. The image will actually revert back to its original view while you are making the transformation. Once you are finished, you should see something similar to the results found below:
It can be difficult to correct distorted or skewed images, but luckily Photoshop has the tools for you to be able to correct your image, straighten it, and finish with a nice end result. Converting your image to a smart object will allow you to make multiple tweaks and adjustments, and you can save a lot of time.