Lightroom looks and feels a lot like Lightroom 4, but there are some key new features. One of these is the new Upright tool, which can automatically correct perspective problems in shots of buildings and other rectangular objects.
Note: In the latest versions of Lightroom, the Upright tools are now found in the Geometry panel.
The first thing is that this tool is easy to miss! It’s been integrated into the Lens Correction panel in the Develop module, rather than getting a tool or a panel of its own.
The second is that it works really well! It looks for lines in your image which it thinks should be horizontal or vertical, then applies the necessary corrections automatically. Sometimes it’s unable to work out a correction and sometimes it goes way too far, but most of the time its ability to fix perspective with a single mouseclick is uncanny.
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Here’s a before-and-after example to show its effectiveness, followed by a quick walkthrough on how it’s done. As ever, you can click the images to see larger versions.
Here’s the Lightroom Develop module. As you can see, the original picture has strong vertical ‘keystoning’ distortion (converging verticals). We need the Lens Correction panel near the bottom of the list on the right.
02 Choose your correction
Before you use any of the Upright options, though, check the Enable Profile Corrections box. If Lightroom does have a profile for your particular lens, it’s important this is applied first to correct any barrel distortion – this will make the perspective correction more reliable.
Now simply click one of the buttons under the Upright heading. The Auto and Full buttons attempt to correct both horizontal and vertical perspective at the same time, and it’s worth trying both to see which works best – though occasionally the results can go a little haywire. If your perspective issue is in one dimension only (vertical, in this case), you may get better results.
Finally, any perspective correction will distort the shape of the whole image, so you’ll need to crop off some wedge-shaped edges. You can either let Lightroom do this automatically by checking the Constrain Crop box, or do it yourself with the Crop tool – this takes longer but it’s sometimes necessary to preserve important bits of the image.
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