Using Guided Upright In Lightroom’s Transform Panel

Perspective correction with Guided Upright
Figure 1. An image of trays of fish eggs that was taken with no care, and is in desperate need of perspective corrections.

Not too long ago I posted here at Outdoor Photographer and blogged about Adobe’s announcement of Project Nimbus, which is a new cloud service technology that should someday make its way into a version of Lightroom. In that post, I set the stage for how Lightroom 6 and Lightroom CC are different, how they’ll likely continue to diverge over time, and I provided a few examples of their distinctions — all of which brings me to this here blog post.

One of the things I mentioned was the new Guided Upright feature that was released in Lightroom CC 2015.6. This feature is part of the all-new Transform Panel, and it snuck its way in a couple releases back. I’ve been using the Guided Upright more and more and have grown to love it. I use it for all kinds of images that need perspective corrections, so wanted to share, so it’s not sneaking it’s way by you as well. Here are the basics for how to use it…

Figure 1 shows an image I snapped at the Coleman Fish Hatchery in northern California. The trays are incubators for salmon eggs. And, being the master architectural photographer I am, I captured the trays with a less than perfect view of the horizontal and vertical lines in the scene. There was admittedly some forethought in shooting it without care, and knowing there are tools I can use in post to straighten it all out later. Fortunately, the Upright Tool has taken easier to the next level.

TIP: It’s a good idea to check both the Remove Chromatic Aberration and Enable Lens Profiles in the Lens Corrections Panel before applying an Upright correction, to ensure the best results possible.

The Upright Tool can be found in the Transform Panel (available in Lightroom CC). Click to activate or use quick keys: Shift, T.
Figure 2. The Upright Tool can be found in the Transform Panel (available in Lightroom CC). Click to activate or use quick keys: Shift, T.

The new tool can be found in the new Transform Panel as shown in Figure 2. To activate it, click on the Upright icon in the upper left of the panel, or use quick keys: Shift, T. Next, I suggest finding either two horizontal or vertical lines on opposite sides (or as close to opposite as the image allows) or the image that could use some straightening. A small magnifying window will help you precisely align the small crosshair on the line's edge that you want to correct.

Figure3
Figure 3. A magnified view of your image allows you to precisely place a cross hair on the line you wish to correct.

Click and drag the Upright Tool along the line and settle your crosshair on another part of the same line, as shown in Figure 3. Notice how nothing happens after setting your first area to correct. Don’t worry. All is well. This tool is designed such that you have to create two guiding lines for Lightroom to use to accurately initiate a correction. Figure 4 shows my second point of correction and my careful placing of the crosshair on a second line.

Figure4
Figure 4. You will not see any changes, or rather corrections, triggered on your image until a second line is created.
Here is the image after the vertical lines have been corrected.
Figure 5. Here is the image after the vertical lines have been corrected.

Figure 5 then shows the vertical correction after the two correction guides have been set. I say first because as you can see, the vertical lines look much better, but things are not perfect looking at the horizontal lines of the trays on the top of the image vs. the bottom. So, as you might have guessed, I repeated these steps, but this time creating two correction guides on the top and bottom of the frame. Figure 6 shows the result after both vertical and horizontal corrections have been made. However, because we are performing perspective corrections, such adjustments can tweak the aspect ratio of the image, which is why Figures 5 and 6 reveals some white in the corners, as the underlying canvas is exposed. I suggest two fixes for this.

Figure6
Figure 6. Here is the image after both vertical and horizontal lines have been corrected.

First, make sure the Constrain Crop box is checked (see Figure 7). This has Lightroom automatically crop out the white edges. Of course, this is an auto feature, and like most auto features, a bit of fine-tuning may be needed. So, it’s a good idea to open the Crop Overlay Panel (quick key: R) to adjust your crop as needed. Finally, Figure 8 shows the end result of applying Upright corrections.

FIGURE 7. Checking the Constrain Crop box allows Lightroom to automatically crop into your image when edges of the underlying canvas is exposed.
Figure 7. Checking the Constrain Crop box allows Lightroom to automatically crop into your image when edges of the underlying canvas is exposed.
The final image after applying Upright corrections.
Figure 8. The final image after applying Upright corrections.

Happy straightening, and tune back in soon for more Lightroom tips and tools!

Jason Bradley has a unique set of skills. He specializes in nature and wildlife photography both underwater and above; he’s the owner and operator of Bradley Photographic Print Services, a fine art print lab; he leads photographic expeditions around the world, and is the author of the book Creative Workflow in Lightroom, published by Focal Press. Visit BradleyPhotographic.com to see more of his work and find info on his upcoming workshops and expeditions, and BradleyPrintServices.com to learn about his fine art printing services.

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