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No doubt you'll find among your family photos a few that are less than perfectly aligned. Maybe you'll have photos by one relative, like I do, that all tilt decidedly to the left. While it's hardly worth throwing them away, sometimes you might wish for them to be just a little straighter. Luckily, it's an easy matter to straighten things out. First thing you want to do is duplicate your original layer in your image. You do that by selecting Ctrl+J on a PC, Command+J on a Mac. We are going to go over three ways to straighten an image.
The first is using ruler guides and Transform. If the ruler guides aren't visible, go to View > Rulers or press Ctrl+R or Command+R to bring them up. Having rulers visible is the only way to pull down the guides you need for this. Click on the top ruler and pull down your guide to around the horizon line. Press Ctrl+T or Command+T and select one of the corner handles to rotate the image so the horizon line follows the guide and click Enter to accept.
Make sure your Move tool is selected and move the guide down closer to the horizon to check how straight it is. If you click off the eye icon on your original layer to hide it, you'll see there is all these areas of transparency we need to take care of. You can do that of course either with the Content-Aware fill if you have Photoshop CS5, or with your Clone Stamp tool, or your Patch tool, or you can select Ctrl+T or Command+T to transform and make the image larger until the transparent areas are gone, and select Enter.
That makes it easier. If you don't want it too big and you still have a transparent area, you can either make it bigger, or you can correct it with one of your healing tools, like the Clone Stamp or the Patch. Before we do the next method, I'll hide this layer, making sure our original is visible, and select the background layer. Now I am going to move our guide back up into the ruler. Again, we're going to duplicate the original, Ctrl+J or Command+J, and we'll go to Filter > Lens Correction.
This time we are going to use the second icon down, the Straighten tool. Click on one area of the horizon and move the tool to the other side, and it straightened it for you automatically. If you have an image with a lot of horizontal and vertical lines, it may take a few tries along different lines to get a satisfactory result. But the Lens Correction filter does a pretty good job. Now let's click OK to get out of this dialog. And for our third method, we are going to actually duplicate the image, by going to Image Duplicate, and click OK.
We are going to get rid of the other layers-- we have our original--because this method will try to straighten all of your layers. Go over to your Eyedropper Tool dialog and select the Ruler tool. And again I'm going to drag it by clicking one side and bringing it over so the line follows your horizon line. Then we'll go up to the top and click Straighten. And this method also fills in all the transparent areas for you.
Even if you have a few less-than- straight images in your family photo collection, there are at least three easy ways to straighten things up again.
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