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Photoshop is the world’s most powerful image editor, and it’s arguably the most complex, as well. Fortunately, nobody knows the program like award-winning book and video author Deke McClelland. Join Deke as he explores such indispensable Photoshop features as resolution, cropping, color correction, retouching, and layers. Gain expertise with real-world projects that make sense. Exercise files accompany the course.
Download Deke's free dekeKeys and color settings from the Exercise Files tab.
In this exercise I am going to introduce you to the Ruler tool and show how it allows you to straighten an image here inside Photoshop. Now, this used to be one of the ultimate secret handshakes in the software, because there was no way you were going to find it out on your own, somebody had to show you. Now it's a little bit more intuitive, easier to find the feature, and it's actually more automated as well. It both straightens and crops the image automatically. I have gone ahead and opened an image called Crooked Pisa number 3.jpg, yet another one, found inside the 06_crop_straight folder.
This one comes to us from Soul Catcher of the Fotolia Image Library. This time the land is tipped in such a way that the tower appears to be leaning more precariously than ever. So the image is kind of cheating the way it is now. We need to straighten it out. So I am going over here to the Eyedropper tool. Click and hold, and that brings up this flyout menu. There is the Ruler tool right there. You can cycle to it by pressing the I key if you like. And then you go ahead and drag along an edge that ought to be perpendicular, either something that should be strictly vertical or strictly horizontal.
Speaking of horizontal, there is nothing like the horizon line for horizontal inside of an image. So I am going to go ahead and drag along the horizon so. After you get done making your line, you can drag the endpoints in order to get things exactly the way you want them. All right. Once you have done that, in the old days, just so you know, you would go to the Image menu, choose Image Rotation, and choose this guy, Arbitrary, which actually is code for highly specific, a highly specific angle of rotation.
Not an entirely arbitrary one. You have got a keyboard shortcut if you loaded Deke keys, of Ctrl+Shift+Alt+R or Command+Shift+Option+R on the Mac. You choose this command. It tells you exactly the Angle of Rotation required. You click OK. You are done. What a fantastic feature! The thing is it leaves a bunch of wedges, as you can see here. So the image has been rotated inside of a rectangular environment. The Arbitrary command is slow to do any cropping whatsoever, so you have to do the cropping manually.
Compare that to the new way it works. I will go ahead and Undo that rotation by pressing Ctrl+R or Command+R on the Mac. So I will go ahead and draw myself a new line using the Ruler tool to match the angle of that horizon. And then notice this button here, Straighten. It's new to Photoshop CS5. It's one of the so-called just do it features, ideas that should have happened a long time ago essentially. When you click Straighten, you not only straighten the image. You crop it as well. If you bring up the History panel, either by clicking on this icon or choosing History from the Window menu, then you will see that in addition to Opening the image, I have applied two operations: I Rotated the Canvas and I Cropped it.
So in another words, you can back step to the crop. If you don't like the crop that Photoshop performed, you can perform your own crop on the image and you can Undo the Angle of Rotation totally, independently of each other. Anyway, I am going to check out that crop and it looks pretty good. Actually, I think Photoshop has done a good job. With the exception of the fact that this other building is left in here and that looks kind of odd. So I am not going to Undo the crop, I am just going to apply my own additional crop, using either the Crop tool or the Rectangle Marquee. It doesn't even matter.
I might as well just do the Marquee in order to switch things up. I will go ahead and drag around this area. Now, notice that I have included a little bit of the building in my drag. As you are dragging with a Rectangular Marquee, you can press the Spacebar to move it on the fly, like so. So I will move it away from that building. Then I will release the Spacebar and I can continue scaling my Marquee. After I release, I have got a selection outline to work with, I am automatically, by the way, snapped to the edges. I don't have any of that problem I have with the Crop tool here either, which I think is fascinating.
And then I will go to the Image menu and choose the Crop command or press Ctrl+Shift+Alt+C, Command+ Shift+Option+C on the Mac. If you loaded Deke keys, click off the image in order to deselect it. We now have a properly oriented Tower of Pisa, thanks to the newly enhanced Ruler tool or should we call it the Straighten tool here inside Photoshop CS5.
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