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In Photoshop Lightroom 3 Essential Training, author Chris Orwig provides a comprehensive look at Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3, the popular photo-asset management, enhancement, and publishing program. The course covers indispensable techniques such as importing, processing, and organizing images in the Library, correcting and adjusting images in the Develop module, and creating slideshows, web galleries, and print picture packages. In addition to exploring all of Lightroom 3's capabilities, this course is rich with creative tips and expert advice on photographic workflow. Exercise files accompany the course.
If you want to take an introductory photography course, in most cases one of the things that you would learn is that you want to try to create level horizons when you are taking photographs, and that's definitely the case in certain situations. Like with this photograph the horizon isn't level, and it just doesn't really work. So let's take a look at how we can level this image out with the Crop tool. Well, currently I am in the Library module and even in a Library module if I press the Crop shortcut it will actually access and open up the Crop tool in the Develop module. That shortcut is the R key, so I will go ahead and press the R key.
It will take me to the Develop module. Now here what I can do is I can manually click and drag this particular angle here, but that's a little bit tricky, or what I can do is click on this tool. Once I have this tool I click and drag across something that should be straight and then let go it will rotate the image and create a crop that will work with this particular new angle. I can reposition that. You can see the line falls right across there. That looks pretty good. I just want to create a nice dynamic photograph. I double-click to apply that.
All right, so far so good. Let's dig a little bit deeper. There is another image that isn't leveled. Here you can see I have a photograph of this statue in London, and the wall isn't quite level. This time it's something that's vertical. I want to straighten that out. Again, I press the R key to access the Crop tool. Now this time what I'm going to do is I am going to level this out by way of a shortcut. Once you've inactivated the Crop tool, if you are on a Mac you hold down the Command key, if you are on a PC you hold down the Ctrl key, and that will toggle your current tool to the Angle tool.
Here all that you need to do is to click and drag across something that you think should be straight by the vertical or horizontal. Let go, and it will create a crop where that is now straight. Double-click inside of the Crop area in order to apply that. All right, so far so good. Let's take a look at one more image. Here we have this photograph of my good friend Martin on the swing in Baja California when we went on a surf trip down there. One of the things that you may notice is that currently the horizon is not level over here, and again I started off saying a lot of times you hear people say "you always have to have level horizons." So let's go ahead and straighten this one out.
I will press the R key to access the Crop tool. I'll hold down my Shortcut Modifier key, which is the Command key on a Mac, Ctrl key on a PC, and then I will click and drag across the horizon here and let go. Double-click to apply. Now the only problem in this particular case is that now that the horizon is a little bit leveled the image isn't quite as interesting. In other words if I undo the Crop, Command+Option+R on a Mac, that's Ctrl+Alt+R on a PC, and when I press that shortcut to undo the Crop, this is even a little bit more disoriented.
It's almost like he's swinging a little bit higher. And the whole point here is that, while a lot of times you do want to have level horizons or level walls or different aspects of your images that are straight, there are times when you may want to stray from the rules. For that matter I will the R key here to access the Crop tool. As we saw previously in another movie, there are times when you may even want to exaggerate things even further and have a little bit of fun with this and create an even more disorienting photograph. Now with this particular image I actually liked all three different versions of the photograph.
So it's not that one version is the best. Rather it's just to get you to begin to think about evaluating how you are cropping your photographs, whether you're cropping for composition, or you're leveling so that you can keep in mind that there isn't always one answer for every image. Maybe sometimes there is multiple answers. And the trick with all of this I think is to keep in mind that while we are learning how to crop in reality what we are doing is we are actually learning how to compose and frame and create more compelling photographs.
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