Learning Paths

Straightening an Image

Taking pictures that are perfectly framed can be difficult. Take a look at the picture below, which was taken on Loch Ness on a speed boat. The horizon line of the water, isn’t horizontal – nothing to do with the whisky, promise!

In this blog, we will look at making the horizon line of the water horizontal again. But this technique works just as well with verticals too – and its easy to do as well.

So lets start by zooming into the problem area, the bigger we can get it the more accurate we can be. Holding down Command + Spacebar (mac) or Control + Spacebar (windows) click on the horizontal line of the water which allows us to zoom in to that area.

Next find the Ruler Tool, its usually hidden underneath the Eyedropper Tool. So click and hold down the Eyedropper Tool for about 1 second to reveal the Ruler Tool then select it.

The Ruler Tool, as you have probably guessed, is used for measuring distances and angles. We are going to use it to inform photoshop what we want to make horizontal. To do that, we can click and drag along the edge of the water from one side to the other. A line is left across the waters edge, that is the ruler. The ruler has + symbols on each end. You can use the + symbols to adjust the ruler to make it more accurately match the angle of the water – just drag on them to move them. You might want to zoom in more before moving the + symbols.

The image below has been lightened so the Ruler Tool can be easily seen.

Click on the Straighten Layer button in the Control bar to straighten the image. Perfect, the water is now horizontal again.

There are many different solutions for what we could do to the corners. I have  used the Crop Tool to crop the image a little bit smaller, so deleting the missing corners.