Join Michael Ninness for an in-depth discussion in this video Correcting a rotated horizon line with the Straighten tool, part of Photoshop CS5 Essential Training.
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Correcting a crooked horizon line is another common problem and Camera Raw makes it easy to make that kind of fix as well. So here I have my image. You can see there is a horizon line here that's not horizontal. It's actually crooked. So let's open up this image in Camera Raw. We'll click the Open in Camera Raw button to do so. Once this is in Raw, we actually have two different ways to correct this problem. One method is more of a free-form method and the other method is more precise. So I'm going to teach you the free-form method first and that involves using the Crop tool. I'm going to press the letter C to switch to the Crop tool, and I'm going to go ahead and drag out a Crop Box here, a vertical one by dragging down in a downward direction.
Now in this particular crop, I actually want to include the sand and the horizon line as part of the composition. So that actually makes it kind of easy to do this. If I put my mouse outside of the Crop bounding box, you'll see that cursor changes to a Rotate icon, and I can just simply click-and-drag and rotate the box to kind of match visually the horizon line there, just kind of make these two edges perpendicular with each other. Then when I press Return or Enter, you'll see it does the crop and rotate in one fluid step there. So not bad.
It's not necessarily guaranteed to be straight, but pretty close. Now I want to undo this to get back to the original image so I can show you the more precise method. Now Photoshop and Camera Raw are very similar in their undo mentality here. If I do Command+Z or Ctrl+Z it only undoes the last thing you did. So it's a toggle, Command+Z, Command+Z, Ctrl+Z, Ctrl+Z, to go back and forth between the previous and last step there. So how do I get back to multiple undos basically? Camera Raw does support multiple undo.
It's Command+Option+Z on the Mac, or Ctrl+Alt+Z on Windows, and this is one of those things where you actually have to memorize the keyboard shortcuts because there's no menu commands for Camera Raw. It's all self-enclosed in this dialog box here. So Command+Option+Z undoes more than one time. So instead of using the Crop tool, let's use the Straighten tool. There's a dedicated tool for this task. It's to the right of the Crop tool. It's called the Straighten tool. I can press the letter A to switch to that tool as well. Here instead of dragging out a Crop Bounding box first, what you're going to do is you're going to drag a line across something in the image that you know you want to be straightened.
Now the tool cursor isn't all that helpful because you're not really sure what to line that up with. So here's a little bonus tip for you, if you hit the Caps Lock key on your keyboard. It's a little dedicated button on your keyboard called the Caps Lock button. That changes your tool icon into a precise cursor; this little crosshair. That just makes it easy to line up where you want to start dragging. So I'm going to click and drag through the horizon line to the other side, and then when I let go, Camera Raw creates a bounding box with the correct rotation already.
What it does by default is it's making the bounding box as large as possible, to contain as much of the image as possible when you do the Crop and Rotate. So I'll go ahead and hit the Return key, and there you have it. You get a straightened and cropped image all in one step.
- Automating image adjustments with Camera Raw
- Adding keywords, ratings, and other metadata to images
- Filtering a large collection of images down to the "keepers"
- Cropping, correcting perspective, and straightening images
- Creating, naming, hiding, and deleting layers
- How to make selections and masks quickly
- Improving mask quality with Refine Edge
- Techniques for combining multiple images
- Non-destructive editing techniques with adjustment layers and Smart Filters
- Retouching essentials, such as blemish removal and body sculpting
- Color correcting images
- Using the essential blend modes, layer effects, and styles
- Creating contact sheets and web photo galleries