Join Deke McClelland for an in-depth discussion in this video 334 Straightening and “uncropping” a photo, part of Deke's Techniques.
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Hey gang, this is Deke McCullen, and welcome to Deke's Techniques. Now today, I'm going to show you how to uncrop a photo in Photoshop. To which I would respond if I were you, great, good luck to you, goodbye because not only am I not interested, I have no idea what you're talking about. But in fact, this is one of my very favorite techniques. So here's the setup. I've got this photograph that I shot of my two beautiful boys atop a pyramid known as Ishmoya in the ancient Mayan city of Coba in Mexico, meaning of course, that I'm never going to be back.
Now this was the best composition I came up with, but it's crooked and I made the photographer sin of cutting off a detail, namely, one of my youngest son's toes, which you're never supposed to do. You're supposed to keep all the elbows and fingers and toes and knees, everything that should be in the car should be in the photograph. So, what do I do? Well, notice, I want you to notice here that the empty portions of the page are at the bottom and the top, so generally speaking this is a horizontal photograph. We're going to turn it into what is generally speak a vertical photograph, empty spaces on the left and right sides, and so we've managed in other words to reinstate all of the missing details here.
Let me show you exactly how it works. Alright, here's the final effect we're going for with this perfectly plum horizon. And the reinstated foot down in the lower left corner. Unfortunately we're starting with this image right here. Which is the original image. So the first thing we need to do is straighten the image, of course, because it's crooked. And we also need to uncrop it. That is, add more room both to the top of the image and to the bottom. And I'm going to do both to those things using the crop tool. And assuming that you're working with Photoshop CS6 or later, then you're going to see this straighten tool up here in the options bar.
And you can select it if you like. Or you can access that tool on the fly by pressing and holding the Ctrl key here on the PC. Notice that I'm now seeing the straighten tool cursor. That's the Command key on the Mac. So pressing Control or Command when using the crop tool specifically, gets you the straightened tool on the fly. And then you want to go ahead and drag across that horizon like so. And you want to be careful, and do a good job, because you get one shot at it here. As soon as you release, in other words, Photoshop is going to go ahead and rotate that image.
Now you can apply the straighten tool a second time, if you want to. So I guess you do have multiple chances. However, the tool reacts immediately, as you just saw. All right, the next thing I want you to notice is that I have done an even worse job on this foot down here. So, it's not bad enough that I didn't manage to capture all of the foot in the first place, but now I've cropped some of that foot away. And so what you might be tempted to do is just go ahead and take the whole thing out like so, so that all we can see is the pants leg.
I'm arguing that that is the wrong thing to do in this case, because we can reinstate that foot. We just need to give ourselves room. So I'm going to go ahead and drag this edge down like so, and I'm also going to drag the top of the image up a little bit. And I actually want the height of the image, you can see that height value there in the heads up display, I want it to be 4320. But it's showing up as 4325 for me. That's okay because I can go back and modify the exact size of the image in a separate operation. Right now I'm going to zoom in just by pressing Ctrl plus, or Cmd plus on a Mac, and notice that I have a little bit of a wedge showing up here in the upper right-hand corner.
You may figure that you have to locate that handle wherever the heck it is, it's right there, and, or to move the side, but you can actually drag the side at any point in a crop boundary. So I could drag it right here, which is a little easier to read where this image is concerned in order to crop it in a little bit. And this is a good time, by the way, to turn off the delete cropped pixels checkbox. And what that allows you to do, if you turn that off, that means you're not actually cropping the image, you're just temporarily cropping your view of the image and you're going to end up with an independent, intact layer in just a moment, as we'll see.
All right, now I'm going to zoom back out. And I'm going to drag this guy over until we have a width value of 5484 is what I'm looking for, but again, I probably won't get it exactly right. This is pretty much good enough for now. And what I'm doing is, I'm trying to more or less obey the rule of thirds here, so that this vertical line, this vertical guideline is going right through my older son Max's face. At which point, I'll go ahead and press the Enter key, or the Return key on a Mac, in order to apply that change.
And again, Delete Crop Pixels should be off up here in the Options bar that way you'll end up like an independent layer like so. Let's go ahead an rename layer boys. Now, if I want to I can grab my move tool, and I could drag that image around to any point I like. And you can see it's all there. It's rotated so all the pixels have been modified, but I still have the original image more or less intact. All right. So, I'll go ahead and press Ctrl+Z or Cmd+Z on the Mac to undo that move. And I'm going to tweak the size of this image by going up to the Image menu and choosing the Canvas Size command.
So, Canvas Size is another way to either crop your image down to make it smaller or uncrop it to expand it and make it larger. And in my case, I'm going to do a little of both. So, I'll go ahead and choose the command. Notice that the relative check box is off and I'm working in pixels. That's important if you're working along with me. And so I'm going to change the width value to 5484 like so. So in other words, I'm un-cropping the width a little bit. And then I'm going to take the height down 4320. That of course is going to make the image a little less tall.
So I'm cropping the height down a bit. These are my two values. I don't really care about these squares for this operation. So I'll just go ahead and click OK. At which point, you may see an alert message telling you that some clipping will occur. Notice that Photoshop is positive that there's clipping that will occur. It's absolutely wrong. No clipping will occur. Anytime you're working with an independent layer, you will not modify any pixels. You're not going to harm any pixels using the Canvas Size command. It only truly clips a background item. In any case, I'm just going to go ahead and click on the Proceed button in order to let things run here.
And I might press Shift up arrow a few times in order to nudge my image upward, because I just want a little more room. This looks pretty good to me. And now I need to reinstate some more sky and I'm going to do that using, of course as you might expect, content aware fill. So I'll go ahead and grab my lasso tool, and then I'm going to press and hold the Alt key or the Option key on the Mac and click, like so, in order to create a polygonal selection outline around this top section of the sky.
And I might go ahead and zoom in a little by pressing Ctrl+0 or Cmd+0 on a Mac. And now I'll go up to the Edit menu and choose the Fill command, or you can press the keyboard shortcut Shift backspace here on a PC. That's Shift+Delete on a Mac, which will bring up the Fill dialogue box. And I want you to notice here inside the newest version of Photoshop CC, we have this checkbox that reads color adaptation. And you can use it along with content aware. So make sure use is set to content aware. Leave color adaptation off, for the moment, and click OK.
And then go ahead and let it rip. And I'll press Ctrl+H or Cmd+H on a Mac in order to hide that selection outline. Notice that, that area is still selected, I just hid the marching ants. And now I'll go ahead and zoom in a little bit more so I can take in this new bit of sky. So if I press Ctrl+Z or Cmd+Z on the Mac, this is before and this is after. So it's done a pretty good job, but let's see what happens if we turn that checkbox on. We'll go ahead and undo the content aware fill that I just applied and I'll press Shift+Backspace, or Shift+Delete on the Mac to bring up the fill dialogue box, and then I'll turn this checkbox on.
So if you're using an older version of Photoshop you won't see the checkbox, you'll just have to use whatever content aware fill comes up with the first time around. But if you're using the newest version of the software you do have this option available to you, and what its supposed to do is account for total transformations that are occurring inside of the image. So that content aware can be used with gradient regions of a sky for example. Or you could just try it out. You can just see if things perform better with this checkbox on.
So just go ahead and try it and click OK and a moment later you will see Photoshop's new take on this area, and in my case it looks pretty darn good. All right, so now I'm going to zoom back out by pressing Ctrl+0 or Cmd+0 on the Mac. And I'll press Ctrl+D or Cmd+D on the Mac to deselect the image. And then I'll just go ahead and do that alt click thing around the bottom portion of the image like so. Notice that I'm going out into the dark grey paste board, and then I'll just release the Alt key or the Option key on a Mac to complete that selection.
And now I'll press Ctrl+H, or Cmd+H on the Mac, in advance to hide those marching ants. Then I'll press Shift+Backspace or Shift+Delete on a Mac. And again, what you want to do with color adaptation, it's not really actually all that necessary that you understand what it's about. Just know that it's there and it's another option. So, you might try it on and off every time you run a content aware fill. So this time I'll go ahead and try it on. And then, I'll click OK in order to apply my content aware fill.
And this is going to be a little bit rougher. Content aware fill just loves skies, but it's not that great at rocks. And you can see that we have kind of a mess here. So, I'm going to press Ctrl+Z or Cmd+Z on the Mac to undo that modification. Press Shift+Backspace or Shift+Delete on the Mac, turn off color adaptations, and then click OK just to see how the other half looks, just to see what Photoshop comes up with this time around. Now of course, the foot is going to be an absolute mess, because Photoshop is not going to accurately build that back all by itself, because it's totally missing detail.
But, some of the other areas may look a lot better. Now, if you get some rough transitions, which you undoubtedly will, then press Ctrl+D, or Cmd+D on the Mac in order to deselect the image. And then, the best thing for this image anyway, is to switch to the standard healing brush tool. So go ahead and select that tool, and then you want to press the Alt key, or the Option key on the Mac, and click in order to set a source point inside of your image. And now you can just paint wherever you want. I'm going to increase the size of my cursor, my brush there, by pressing the right bracket key a few times.
That's one or two square bracket keys. That's right next to the P as in Paul key on an American keyboard. And then I'll just paint in this region. Stay away from the foot. Don't paint directly over the foot in this point in time. And then you might just want to paint cleverly around these rocks in order to give the impression that the big rocks are buried behind some smaller rocks as opposed to, sort of, swimming in some kind, of rocky goo which is what it looks like right now. Now, I've done a very poor job in this location here because I managed to integrate some of Sam's pant leg, right there.
So, I'll press Alt key, or the Option key on the Mac, again to set a new source point. And then I'll just paint over this region like so to get rid of that stuff. And then you want to move over here. You're going to see a kind of straight line of stuff that doesn't look right at all. At which point you can just kind of paint around this rock, unfortunately, I'm bringing in Sam's leg again, so I'll undo that. And I will press the Alt key or the Option key on the Mac and click up here. Let's say, this time around. Right about there. And then, I'll try to paint around this big rock.
I might paint over in this region as well. Now, in order to fix this area here, at least temporarily. What you need to do is switch to the rectangular marquis tool, and then just kind of marquis roughly this area right here. In order to select it, and then move it just by dragging it. So just dragging that rectangular outline to a different location. And what I might do, I'll just go ahead and zoom out a little bit, I might move it over to this region over here.
So the reason I marqueed Sam's foot is to identify the size of the area that I need to replace. Now I'm moving it over to the area of imagery that I want to use for the replacement. And now I'll press the Ctrl and Alt keys, that's Cmd and Option on the Mac, and drag the selected pixels, like so, until they basically snap more or less into alignment with the bottom of the image, which has not happened. In order to get the snap, you have to actually manually switch to the move tool. And then drag it up and should feel the snap as that selection snaps to the bottom edge of the image and then you can press Ctrl+D or Cmd+D on the Mac to deselect the image.
And of course you'll end up with the sharp transitions here, which you can then modify, you can soften them by switching back over to your healing brush, and then, I'll go ahead and zoom out a little bit here, and I'll press the Alt key or the Option key on the Mac. Sample this area right there by clicking on it and then I'll just kind of paint over these transitional edges right there, the sharp edges, in order to smooth them off. And I'm going to do that again, I think, Alt click or Option click right about there, and this time I will paint like so around these edges.
And you just want to paint into these transitional areas in order to make sure that you don't have any really super obvious delineations. Now, do not paint right next to the shoe like that, because then you'll integrate a bunch of its tonal values, as you're seeing right there. All right. So I'll press Ctrl+Z or Cmd+Z on a Mac to undo that change. And from here on it's just a matter of looking for bad transitions which I can see right along here. You can see here we have a very bad transition indeed.
So I'll press the alt key or the option key on a Mac, click right about there, and paint over this area in order to cover it up. And again, what we're trying to achieve is the natural transitional effect that's nice and bumpy, because what happens here in this dirt and rocky area is when you apply content aware fill. Photoshop has a habit of doing this. Notice how it's kind of overly smoothing these regions along the edge. We definitely don't want that. We, of course, don't want this nice, hard transition, right there.
And so, what we're trying to do is basically spread the rocks around, and create an effect as if these bigger rocks are being covered up by some of the smaller rocks. And we just have as much random rock action as humanly possible, really. And that looks pretty darn good to me. You may find that you have to work a little harder on things. The sky should look great right away. So you probably won't have to heal at the sky at all. And so what I'm going to do now is press the F key a couple of times in order to fill the screen with the image.
Now, if I press the F12 key in order to revert the image, this is that original version of the image. It's crooked. We don't have enough headroom above my son, Max. We don't have enough room down below Sam's foot in order to reinstate that foot. Compare that to, if I press Ctrl+Z or Cmd+Z on a Mac, the new straightened and uncropped image that's ready for us now to reinstate that foot, as we will do in the next movie. If you're a member of the lynda.com online training library, I have a follow-up movie in which I show you how to reinstate that missing foot.
And for all the rest of you, the secret is this, find the foot. If you are waiting for next week's free movie, I'm going to show you how to draw the opposite part of the human anatomy, the hand, in all kinds of wonderful detail, only inside of Illustrator, complete with variable width strokes. Deke's Techniques, each and every week. Keep watching.