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Have you checked your verticals lately? Any signs of keystoning? I know, it sounds like a medical condition; it's not, but it is definitely an image condition that you should watch for. The Free Transform tool is a quick way to eyeball tilted buildings and horizons into square. In this video, we'll look at how to get the most out of this useful tool. I'm going to begin by going to the exercise files, and in Chapter 3 we'll find the original photo_image. And let's take a look at this, because what we want to find out is where we're having issues with the way that camera was positioned when it was photographed.
If the sensor which captures that image is not perpendicular to the faces of the buildings, you start to get this kind of funny distortion that's happening in here. So this building seems to be leaning over, about to fall on these pedestrians, same here, but that's not reality, so we need to take that out. It may look correct in terms of the language of photography, but in the language of painting, a painter at this scene is not going to record an image that way; he's going to record it as if all of those verticals are truly vertical, and so we need to get that out of there.
And the way we're going to do that is with Free Transform. And I'm going to make a copy of this, and what I can quickly do is just click and drag this down to the layer icon and make a copy. And once we've done that, the second thing we want to do is we want to see a grid that we can use as a reference for what is vertical and horizontal. So I can go up to the View menu and go down here to Show and enable the Grid. And you'll notice at the same time that you can use the keyboard shortcut, which is very useful. I'll do it right now.
There's going to be times where I may want to shut this off as I'm working on it, so I can see clearly what's going on, and so to be able to have that toggle can be very useful. Now that we've got our grid up, what I want to do is go into Free Transform mode. And if I go to the Edit menu, down to Transform, what I want to do here is select Distort. This let's me now grab a corner, and you can see that I'm moving this around and distorting the image; however, I'm doing it in both the vertical and horizontal at the same time, which is a little imprecise way to do this.
So I'm going to undo, and if I hold down the Shift+Command or Ctrl+Shift key, now when I grab one of these handles on the corner, whatever direction I start dragging in, it's only going to drag in that direction. So in this case I'll move it horizontally. You can see now I'm only moving it and distorting things according to my horizontal movement. So what I want to do at this point is watch the grid and try to get my verticals lined up with basically the same orientation as those gridlines.
Let's look over here. There is a little bit of distortion going on there, so move this in a little bit. And it's just a matter of kind of eyeballing it and looking. You don't have to necessarily be precise down to the decimal point. What you want to do here though is just get it so that it doesn't look like a distorted-by-the-user-holding-the-camera-type distortion in the image. I'd say that's pretty good. And I'm going to use my toggle here to shut that off. Now if I turn off the background, you can see this is what we've adjusted, so we've distorted the rectangular area of the image, but we've also straightened out the distortion within that rectangle.
Now what I want to do is crop this down. And if I grab my crop tool, what I'm going to do is start by grabbing the whole thing and then hold down my Shift key and just kind of move this in, so that I stay within the confines of the actual image itself. And I just want to get the most imagery I can, and it looks pretty good. Now by hitting the Return key, we've now got our image. So now I've got an image that is much closer to the way an artist is going to render this image, as opposed to the way the camera mechanically records it based on the position of the sensor within the camera.
So this gives us a great way to get our images into that space that provides us with a painterly approach to how the image should look. The Free Transform tool is a great tool for quick and easy adjustment of simple camera distortions created by camera tilt. Of course, all adjustments such as this are subjective and another place where you can exercise creative control.
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