Keep things in per­spec­tive

Con­trol­ling per­spec­tive has its chal­lenges. Martin Evening re­veals how to com­bat dis­tor­tions in Adobe Pho­to­shop

Amateur Photographer - - 7days -

Martin evening tells us how to com­bat dis­tor­tions in adobe Pho­to­shop

When pho­tograph­ing ar­chi­tec­tural sub­jects it can be dif­fi­cult to con­trol the per­spec­tive un­less you are us­ing a tilt-and-shift lens and have the cam­era per­fectly aligned ver­ti­cally. Fur­ther­more, when­ever you edit ar­chi­tec­tural images in Pho­to­shop, it is im­por­tant to en­sure that the per­spec­tive still looks cor­rect and any el­e­ments you choose to com­bine with the orig­i­nal also cor­rectly match the per­spec­tive. With this in mind, it can cer­tainly help to en­able Lens Pro­file corrections in Light­room or Cam­era Raw. This is be­cause a lens pro­file can cor­rect any geo­met­ric dis­tor­tion and en­sure the straight edges ap­pear straight. You can also make use of Upright ad­just­ments in the Trans­form panel to auto-cor­rect the per­spec­tive at the raw edit­ing stage. How­ever, there are some ex­tra tools avail­able in Pho­to­shop that you can also use to man­age the per­spec­tive.

The key to suc­cess­ful re­touch­ing is to make use of the per­spec­tive clues that are avail­able in the pic­ture to help de­ter­mine the po­si­tion­ing of ad­di­tional el­e­ments. For ex­am­ple, the main im­age here shows a view of Mid­town New York shot from a ho­tel bal­cony. In this scene one can eas­ily de­fine the three main axis planes by track­ing the lines of the streets and build­ings. There are lots of clues here that can be ref­er­enced. Now, let’s say I wanted to re­place the poster high­lighted here with some­thing more ap­peal­ing, such as our favourite mag­a­zine. The sim­plest way to do this would be to use the Free Trans­form com­mand. With the Free Trans­form ac­tive you can drag the cor­ner han­dles to ac­cu­rately align the cor­ners, or hold down the Shift key as you drag a cor­ner han­dle to scale the Trans­form. As I ex­plain in the fol­low­ing steps, it may also help to first con­vert the layer to a Smart Ob­ject so that the orig­i­nal pixel im­age data is al­ways pre­served no

mat­ter how many times you need to fine-tune the po­si­tion and scal­ing. With other types of sub­jects it can be harder to match the per­spec­tive if there are no ob­vi­ous clues in the im­age to work with, such as a land­scape scene that’s devoid of straight lines. If you are shoot­ing to in­ten­tion­ally com­bine el­e­ments to­gether there are steps you can take which can help you achieve more re­al­is­tic-look­ing re­sults. For ex­am­ple, if you are able to place a 3D ref­er­ence shape, such as a cube frame, in the scene that you are about to shoot, this can pro­vide a use­ful guide to the per­spec­tive – plus it can also in­di­cate the direc­tion of the light. Pro­fes­sional pho­tog­ra­phers of­ten do this when pre­par­ing a scene that is to be pho­tographed for use in a CGI com­pos­ite. Hav­ing done that you can use the Vanishing Point fil­ter to cal­cu­late the planes in the cap­tured scene and re­touch the pho­to­graph and match the per­spec­tive. Or, you can use the Free Trans­form or Per­spec­tive Warp tools de­scribed in this ar­ti­cle to get added lay­ered el­e­ments to match the orig­i­nal scene’s per­spec­tive.

An­other thing you can do is to en­sure that the pho­tos you wish to com­bine are shot from the same height and an­gle. I have done this on a num­ber of shoots where the ob­jec­tive was to create a com­pos­ite im­age. Ba­si­cally I would care­fully note down the tri­pod mea­sure­ments and sub­ject dis­tances as I shot lo­ca­tion and stu­dio pho­to­graphs. Merg­ing the dif­fer­ent el­e­ments to­gether is a lot eas­ier then.

Martin Evening Martin has a com­mer­cial back­ground in beauty pho­tog­ra­phy, and an in-depth knowl­edge of Pho­to­shop and Light­room. His books in­clude Pho­to­shop CC 2018 for Pho­tog­ra­phers and The Adobe Pho­to­shop Light­room Clas­sic CC Book. In 2008, he was in­ducted into the NAPP Pho­to­shop Hall of Fame. Visit: www. pho­to­shop­for­pho­tog­ra­phers.com.

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