Fix perspective with Upright Lightroom 5
Fixing perspective with Upright
The Upright Corrections. Which you'll find in the Lens Corrections Panel in Lightroom 5, is a great way to straighten a photo vertically, horizontally or both. You can use it to automatically straighten a crooked horizon. Or to fix the keystoning effect that makes tall buildings look like they're leaning back. When you shoot up at them. Before I apply any upright corrections, I like to turn on the grid overlay that's available in Lightroom five. That will help me judge what's straight and not straight as I'm evaluating the photo, and as I'm applying the upright corrections. To enable the Grid Overlay you can go up to the View menu, and down to Loop Overlay, and select Grid. Or there's a keyboard shortcut, which is Cmd + Opt+ O on the Mac, or Ctrl +alt+ O on the PC.
You can customize this grid by holding the Cmd key on the Mac or the Ctrl key on the PC to bring up this overlay at the top of the screen. And then, with that key still held down, if I wanted to change the size of the grid squares, I could click and drag. On the size label here and if I wanted to change to opacity of the grid making it easier to see. Or allowing me to see the photo better I would drag to the right or left respectively. Another thing I will do before actually clicking any of the upright buttons is to go through the options at the top of the Lens Correction panel.
The Upright Correction does the best job if you've already enabled Lens Profile Corrections. So, here, I'm going to check Enable Profile Corrections and keep your eye on the photo as I do this. And you can see a slight change. I'll do that again turing that off and then back on. If you don't see a change when you enable Profile Corrections here, then go to the profile tab of the Lens Correction panel. And come down to the lens Profile menu, and choose the combination of camera and lens that you've used to take a particular photo. As you can see, this photo was taken with an Apple iPhone. I'm going to go back to the Basic tab and I'm also going to check Remove Chromatic Aberration.
In case there is any chromatic aberration along the high contrast edges of this photo. And you probably have to zoom in closer to see that, but I always just go ahead and check this anyway. Now, I'm going to leave constrain crop unchecked for now. And I'm going to come down to the upright buttons, and give each one a try on this photo. If all you need to do is straighten a crooked horizontal or vertical element in a photo, then you can try out the Level button here. Keep your eye on this photo as I click, Level. And after just a second, there is a slight change.
I'll do that again. I'll click Off and then Level. But Level doesn't try to fix perspective or converging horizontal or vertical lines. So if a photo needs both leveling and has a perspective problem like that. Then there are three other options that you can try, each of which has a slightly different effect. For example, you might try the Vertical option. I'll click the Vertical button. Keep your eye on the photo. And you see quite a change this time between level and vertical. Vertical not only tries to level the photo, but it also tries to fix that perspective problem. And it did such an extreme job here that we now have some white pixels on the bottom right and the bottom left.
And I'll talk about how you can crop those away in just a moment. But first, let's take a look at what these other options do to this photo. In many cases, the best option is the Auto option. Let's click that. An you can see that we get quite a different effect on this photo. The photo is more straight than in the original. Let's click off here and then we'll click Auto again. And you can see there is a difference there, but it still is not perfectly vertical. Because what Auto does is a relatively conservative job of fixing perspective. It tries to retain some of the natural perspective that you might've seen when shooting an image like this from street level.
Now, if this correction isn't strong enough, then you might try Full. So I'm going to click the Full button and that gives me quite a different result than Auto. Full not only levels and corrects converging lines, or the perspective problem, it also applies a full three-dimensional correction. In this case, it's quite similar to the Vertical option, but on other photos, you'll see a difference between Full and Vertical too. So, what's the best choice? Well that just depends on the photo you're working with, and your own personal tastes. I usually try out all these buttons before choosing the one I like best on a particular photo.
In this case, I'm going to stick with Full. Now, by the way, you may be wondering what this message means at the bottom of the basic tab in the Lens Correction panel. This means that if you've applied a crop or any manual transforms to a photo. Before choosing one of those upright options, your crop or manual transforms will automatically be removed from the photo. If you don't want that to happen, then hold the Opt key on the Mac or the Alt key on the PC while clicking on one of the Upright buttons, but that wasn't the case here. Now if I'm still not satisfied with the results of this automatic upright correction.
There's one more thing that I can do and that is to tweak these results manually using the sliders in the Manual tab of the Lens Corrections panel. So I'll click that Manual tab and here I have all these sliders to work with including in Lightroom 5 this aspects slider. If I drag that to the left the building looks a little bit wider and if I drag it to the right It looks thinner. So the right gives me a kind of a slimming effect that may come in handy on other kinds of photos too, like photos with people in them. In this case, I might drag the aspect slider just slightly to the left. Because I remember, particularly this round area of the building, being a little wider than it looked after applying the Automatic Upright Correction.
Finally, often but not always, an Upright correction will tilt the image so far that there are blank pixels at some of its edges. Those are the white areas that we see here on the right and the left in this case. If that occurs, you can have Lightroom crop those away by checking Constrain Crop here in the Manual tab or back in the Basic tab. So let's see what happens if I click Constrain Crop here. And then I'm going to turn off the Crop Overlay so we can see the photo better, pressing Cmd+ Opt +O. So, as you can see, the photo looks quite straight.
But this automatic constrain crop has cropped away a lot of content on the bottom. So I'm going to undo and see if I can get a better result by cropping myself, which is always an option. So press Cmd+ Z on the Mac or Ctrl+ Z on the PC or you could step back in the History panel. And then, I'll come up and open the Crop Overlay panel, either by clicking this Crop tool in the toolbar, or by pressing R on my keyboard. I'm going to make sure that the Lock icon is unlocked by clicking it. And that allows me to move each of the Crop boundaries independently, as I explained earlier when we were talking about cropping.
So I'm going to take this boundary and move it over to the left. And this boundary and move it to the right, and that way I can get rid of the white pixels on the left. And the right that were caused by the upright correction, but I still have my content down here at the bottom. I really like this statue down here, so I want that in the photo. And then I'll press Enter or Return on my keyboard to confirm that crop. I can always go back in and adjust that crop, like any crop that I make in Lightroom. Now the outbreak correction in Light Room 5 works better on some images than others. But in many cases, like this, it can save you the time and effort of trying to fix perspective and straighten a photo manually.
And, as with all adjustments that you make in the Develop module, Upright corrections are non-destructive and re-editable in the future.
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