How to Fix Keystone issues in Photoshop Elements - Digital Photography School

How to Fix Keystone issues in Photoshop Elements

keystone-pse_beforeafter.jpg

One issue you’ll often encounter when you photograph tall buildings is a keystone effect caused by the angle at which you are forced to photograph from. The bottom of the building often looks wider than the top making it look out of proportion.

Most photo editing programs have tools for fixing keystone problems and, in this post, I’ll show you two methods you can use in Photoshop Elements both of which work the same way in Photoshop.

Method 1: The Move tool

Step 1
The first method involves using the Move too. Start by converting the image Background layer to a regular layer by double-clicking it and click Ok.

keystone-pse_step1.jpg

Step 2
Enlarge the image canvas by selecting over it with the Crop tool and let go the mouse button. Then drag the crop handles outwards to select a larger area around the image and press Enter to fix the selection. You need to enlarge the canvas or the process will end up cutting off some of the image.

keystone-pse_step2.jpg

Step 3
Ctrl + Click on the layer thumbnail for the image to select the image but not the extra background.

Click the Move tool to select it and hold the Ctrl key as you drag on one of the corner handles. When you do this you’ll notice that you distort the image – you’ll use this feature to straighten it.

If you choose View > Grid you can display a grid over the image to make it easier to see line everything up. Choose Edit > Preferences > Grid to change the grid dimensions if necessary.

Drag each corner of the image in turn and, if desired, rotate the image until it looks correct to you. When you are done, turn off the visibility of the grid (View > Grid) and Crop the image to remove any excess.

keystone-pse_step3.jpg

Method 2: The Correct Camera Distortion filter

Step 4
The second method uses the Lens Correction Filter. Select Filter > Correct Camera Distortion and the image will open in the filter dialog. From the Size dropdown list select Fit in View so that you can see the entire image.

Enabling the grid helps you ensure the image is squared off nicely. If necessary, drag on the Angle to rotate the image – in this dialog, the scrubby slider method works best so drag on the word Angle to adjust the angle (not the dial which tends to jump around a lot).

Select the Vertical Perspective slider and drag it to adjust the vertical perspective of the building. Choose Horizontal Perspective to fix horizontal perspective issues.

keystone-pse_step4.jpg

Step 5
The Correct Camera Distortion filter also includes a Remove Distortion slider which helps fix the sucked in or blown out effect you often see around the edges of an image caused by the curvature of the lens.

You can extend the canvas around the image by dragging the Scale slider to the left or drag to the right to crop the image.

When you’re done click Ok. ?

keystone-pse_step5.jpg

These tools also work well to fix an image of any rectangular object which is out of proportion – big or small.

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Helen Bradley is a Lifestyle journalist who divides her time between the real and digital worlds, picking the best from both. She writes and produces video instruction for Photoshop and digital photography for magazines and online providers world wide. She has also written four books on photo crafts and blogs at Projectwoman.com.

  • Harry Duong

    It is actually a nice tip. But I think it would be better to have original image so that beginner like me can start practice and then compare to see how my skill is improving.

  • Jeff Plum

    Oh my goodness, how many of these tutorials about perspective correction are we going to have? This is third one I’ve counted in as many months!

  • http://personalpages.manchester.ac.uk/postgrad/Sohaib.Khan Sohaib

    This is really handy,, you can laso do the same, in Canon DPP software on raw images as well !!

  • Paulette

    Thanks for posting this sort of stuff, gives me something else to learn.

  • Phil Ball

    These methods work but seem overly complicated to me, especially the first one. Why not just Open the image, Select All, Free Transform to taste using the grid, and then just deselect. No layer promotion or fooling with cropping needed. It is cropped automatically by the pre-existing boundaries of the image. When I know that I will be needing to do this, I simply compose with a little extra so it can be cropped off when I straighten the keystoning.

  • http://www.travel-wonders.com Mark H

    What is the difference between these methods (#2 seems straightforward and works well) and >Image>Transform>Perspective followed by a crop, if needed, which works fine for me? Is this achieving something different?

  • http://photoscenics.ws Joanne

    Thanks, I have been trying to straighten the edges of a framed picture that was taken at an angle. This should work for re-alligning the frame to be straight. Your ideas are presented in easy to understand ways.
    Keep up the good work.

Some older comments

  • Joanne

    January 10, 2010 07:04 am

    Thanks, I have been trying to straighten the edges of a framed picture that was taken at an angle. This should work for re-alligning the frame to be straight. Your ideas are presented in easy to understand ways.
    Keep up the good work.

  • Mark H

    June 12, 2009 12:45 pm

    What is the difference between these methods (#2 seems straightforward and works well) and >Image>Transform>Perspective followed by a crop, if needed, which works fine for me? Is this achieving something different?

  • Phil Ball

    June 12, 2009 07:49 am

    These methods work but seem overly complicated to me, especially the first one. Why not just Open the image, Select All, Free Transform to taste using the grid, and then just deselect. No layer promotion or fooling with cropping needed. It is cropped automatically by the pre-existing boundaries of the image. When I know that I will be needing to do this, I simply compose with a little extra so it can be cropped off when I straighten the keystoning.

  • Paulette

    June 12, 2009 06:18 am

    Thanks for posting this sort of stuff, gives me something else to learn.

  • Sohaib

    June 12, 2009 02:22 am

    This is really handy,, you can laso do the same, in Canon DPP software on raw images as well !!

  • Jeff Plum

    June 10, 2009 07:35 am

    Oh my goodness, how many of these tutorials about perspective correction are we going to have? This is third one I've counted in as many months!

  • Harry Duong

    June 10, 2009 01:34 am

    It is actually a nice tip. But I think it would be better to have original image so that beginner like me can start practice and then compare to see how my skill is improving.

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