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How to Correct a Tilted Horizon Line with Straighten Tool


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Correcting a tilted horizon line with the Straighten tool

Another common problem that you might need to fix is a crooked horizon. Again, camera RAW makes this easy. In order to open this document, I'll select it and then use Cmd R on the Mac, or Ctrl R on Windows, in order to open it in Camera RAW. There are really 3 ways that you can fix a crooked horizon. The first is going to be using the crop tool. So I'll click and hold on the crop tool and I'll make sure that it's set to normal. I don't want to be constraining to a certain size or an aspect ratio. Then I'll click and drag out my crop mark key.

Now in order to fix this horizon, I need to rotate the cropmark key so you can see when I position my cursor outside of the cropmark key, I get the double-headed arrow. This allows me to click and actually drag in order to rotate the cropmark key so I'll I need to do is align it with the grid that automatically shows up as I start dragging. In order to rotate. When I release the crop and then tap the Enter or Return key, you can see that I have straightened this horizon. Now, let's undo that.

Then you notice that if I use the keyboard shortcut Cmd + Z on mac or Ctrl + Z on windows, all it undoes is the straightening. It didn't actually undo the whole crop and that's because Camera Raw actually treats those as 2 separate steps. So, if I want to go back further in time, I can use command + option + z on the Mac or control + alt + z on Windows, or I can simply select and hold down on the crop tool and choose set to original crop. The second way to quickly straighten a horizon is by using the straighten tool.

We can either click on it here in the tool pallet or just tap the a key. Then we'll notice that the cursor's rather large. I'm not exactly sure where the hot spot is. So I'll tap by Caps Lock Key in order to turn that on. Now I know exactly where to click and then drag across the horizon, and when I release the cursor, Camera Raw will automatically straighten that. Now you want to remember to turn off your Cap Locks key at this point. So tap it again and then we can tap Enter or Return in order to straighten that horizon.

Alright. Let's use Cmd+Z or Ctrl+Z on Windows in order to undo that. We'll take a look at the third way. Now, the third way is definitely the easiest in my opinion. I'm going to move over to the Lens Correction panel. And then I'm going to make sure that the manual panel is selected and under the upright area I'm going to click on this middle icon that will allow me to level my image automatically. I said it was the easiest way but it's not always the most accurate way. You can see in this image it got confused as to what should be level. It's probably not sure if this is the strong horizon line. Or if this is a strong horizon line, an the building actually has a tilted roof. So, most of the time this is a great option because, Camera Raw will automatically analyze the image an straighten it for you. But I wanted to show you that it's not always going to work. In which case, all we need to do is come down to the rotate slider right here. And then, I can click and simply rotate in order to straighten the horizon. And you'll notice that there's a little option down here to show the grid, so that now, as I use the Rotate slider, I can easily align, for example, the horizon here to that grid, so now we can turn off the grid. But you should notice that there's a little bit of transparent area in the upper left and the lower right.

So I will need to go ahead and crop this. I will tell camera raw that I want it to constrain to the image, so I don't want there to be any transparency. And then I will just click. And drag out my crop marquee. When I get it where I want it, I'll tap Enter or Return, and we've straightened the horizon. When I click Done, and we return to Bridge, you can see that the preview's been updated and we see the Crop marquee icon here letting me know that I've cropped my image. So there you have it. 3 easy methods for straightening images non destructively in Camera Raw.

Correcting a tilted horizon line with the Straighten tool
Video duration: 4m 12s 14h 58m Beginner Updated Oct 06, 2014

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Correcting a tilted horizon line with the Straighten tool provides you with in-depth training on Photography. Taught by Julieanne Kost as part of the Photoshop CC Essential Training

Subject:
Photography
Software:
Photoshop
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