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Foundations of Adobe Photoshop CC

Lesson 15 of 36

Straightening An Image

Dave Cross

Foundations of Adobe Photoshop CC

Dave Cross

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Lesson Info

15. Straightening An Image

Lesson Info

Straightening An Image

Now the crop tool also has an associated function which is really nice, and that is when you want to straighten a photograph, there is a function of the crop tool that does that very nicely for you, so that you trying to just manually say, "I'm going to somehow rotate this and make it straight." Up here in the options bar, you'll see after all this other information which is really confusing right here there's a little thing that says "Straighten" you just click on that. Looks like a little ruler and then all you do is drag along whatever should be straight. So this works best in a photograph where you can see an obvious line of horizon or street or building top or something you can say, "That looks crooked, it's supposed to be straight." So you drag along the line that's not straight like I'll just pick the bottom of this hut, for example, and this is the part that, when it happens, then it crops based on, in order to keep this a rectangular photograph, I'll have to crop it this type ...

based on where you drew that line. So the more crooked it is, the more of the photograph you'll lose because it has to, to rotate it that much to fit, that's going to happen. So if it's just slightly off straight, you won't lose that much because it doesn't have to make that big a rotation. Okay. Now, I'm not going to get into this in this particular class probably, but there are methods where if you really, really wanted this photograph to still be this big, see where that white space is, that's like nothing. So there are methods in Photoshop where we can try to artificially fill in those pixels with nearby pixels to kinda make it look like that, but that's a little beyond our scope for right now, what we talk about. Okay? The other thing to keep in mind is straightening is also something which is for the most part I would say fairly destructive. Not that you would necessarily want to preserve the crooked photograph, but let's just say you did for some reason. So the other possibility, do I have it, I don't have a RAW file on here, umm, well, I'll just do it with this one. So you can also do it in Lightroom and Camera Raw because there's also a straightening tool in here. And by the nature of Camera Raw and Lightroom, as we talked about, they're already a little more non-destructive, so if you decided to, not that this makes sense in here, but to straighten something, it's going to open a version of it that looks like that, but that original information is untouched. It's the same reason why many people crop in Photoshop or, sorry, Camera Raw or Lightroom because those programs will always preserve the original. So, for example in here, I don't even have a choice really, I mean I suppose I do, but, when I say, "Yeah, that's what I want," then it's going to crop that, but the original information is always there, I can always go back to the crop tool and you can see right away it's still there, so for people who are wanting to be able to create, open, say, a version of this that looks cropped, that's where Raw or Lightroom is a good choice because you don't have to worry about any Photoshop confusing crop tool, you're just saying that's how big I want it to be. Just to show you one other thing about how the crop tool works, crop tool is all about canvas, when we talk about the canvas size command, how we're enlarging the canvas, when we're cropping, technically we're making the canvas size smaller. But because they're tied together, there's an interesting technique that some people like because some people find, and I've had this feedback from people, say, "I go into this canvas size command, and then it wants me to do math. And figure out, well, if I want it to be 15 inches wide, then I have to add and it's like ughh! So confusing." Some people say, "All I want to do, I want to make the canvas this much bigger." And they're like gesturing like "this much" like in their head they have a "this size." How big is that? I don't know. Visually, it's "this big." So the crop tool, because it's tied to canvas, interestingly enough you can actually do what some people might call "reverse cropping." Usually people always crop to make it, the canvas, therefore the photo smaller, but if I take the handle of the crop tool and drag it outwards, then it adds more canvas because the two are tied together. So it's also for people who look at that whole canvas size thing and go, "Yeah, I don't know, that was just really confusing." Crop tool will let you visually say, "I just want more canvas." So if I undo that, and I go back to the crop tool and say I want to crop all the way around, to add a white border, then that's what it does. In a visual way instead of me having to work out math to go, if I want half an inch, so some people like doing things very specific to measurement; other people like visually doing things, so from the visual standpoint, that's what using the crop tool this way can just add in that whole sort of thing. So, just to summarize this little section on image size, canvas size, etc., the most, one of the most aspects of the whole thing is remembering right from the get-go, anytime you want to go larger you're going to have a problem. So that's why, umm, when I talk to people who have got their brand new camera for the first time, and they're talking about camera settings, I'm going to suggest either RAW or if you don't like RAW, whatever your highest quality, very fine, something, whatever it's called on your camera, means biggest file size possible. Even though ultimately you may think, "But all I'm going to do is put this on Facebook." You might think that right now, but what happens if that person on Facebook goes, "Oh, I love that! Can you make me a big print?" Just in case. So I'm going to do all my work at the bigger size, and then make a copy that's scaled down for my social media, knowing I still have all that, and that's such an important rule because I've over the years run into way too many cases where someone created something beautiful, but they made it this big, then they said, "How do I make it a poster?" [Sigh] Well, heh heh, you kinda don't... And they're like, "Well, but it's Photoshop! Can't I just make it bigger? Because Photoshop is magical!" And I'm like, "Well...heh heh, to a degree," but there's always going to be a factor and that's one of them where it's like, "Sorry, that's just the way it works." Okay? So, I understand that there's always going to be exceptions where, you know, you're working with some group and someone sends you, "this is all we have of our logo, we did it years ago and it's a jpg that's this big." Well, hah, Jim's shaking his head because he hears it all the time through his yearbook work where they're like, "Just take this. We scanned it off our business card and it's this big, isn't that good enough?" No. But, no one understands that, they're like, you know, because again, they think Photoshop and you just go click a few buttons and all of a sudden it look magically great. But unfortunately not. So, now, throughout this process, we've been talking about things, I haven't really talked at all about an order, like a workflow thing, because it's going to really depend on the situation, except with this exception saying that go into it thinking big versus small. Even if you know you're going to make a business card, maybe out of it, I'd still probably start bigger just in case, because you might create something that looks so great, you want to do something else with it, and now you're restricted because of that size you started with. Okay? This is also the reason why some people are like, "I don't want to put photos on social media because someone could take it and print it!" Yeah if they want a horribly looking print they can, but it's not going to be as good as when your version that's a full size, high resolution file for printing, so, something we just have to think about.

Class Description

Join Dave Cross in this beginner friendly class starting at the very basics with Adobe® Photoshop® CC. You’ll learn how to begin navigating the software and what the best practices and work habits are to approach different projects.

Dave will cover:

  • Working non destructively on your files
  • How to resize, crop, and straighten images
  • Using layers with basic layer examples
  • Adding text, color, and painting to images
  • How to retouch and adjust images using selections and masks
  • Learn how to use the tools you need to create the image you want. Dave will demonstrate using sample workflows that take you through projects from start to finish.

Don't have Adobe Photoshop yet? Get it now so you can follow along with the course!

Software Used: Adobe Photoshop CC 2017

Class Materials

Bonus Materials

Adobe Stock Contributor

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Quick Notes Guide

Landscape Image for Practice Edit

Senior Portrait Missing Element for Practice Edit

Senior Portrait With Element for Practice Edit

Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

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I really like Dave's methodical teaching style. Step by step works best for my learning processes. He also has a lovely voice to listen to during his classes, that is important if you have to listen to someone talk for any length of time. I also like the "dance" he does by explaining what he is going to do, then does it, and then comes back to explaining the choices he made and why. Very, very easy to follow him in his straight forward explanations. He increased my understanding of so many tools I use and so many I have never used. Wow! Photoshop with Dave took away a lot of "fear"! (Wish I had a "happy face" to place here!) I bought this class today because I don't think I can get along without it!

Jim Bellomo

I was so lucky to get to attend this class in person here in Seattle. I have been a fan of Dave's for years and own a number of his courses from Creative Live. When this class was announced I almost decided to skip it since it was listed as a "beginners" class but decided that it "might" be worth it. One of the reasons I wanted to take it was that I am self-taught. I had started with Photoshop 5 (not CS5 but 5) about 15 years ago (at least). I figured it I took this class I might learn a little something that would help me in my work. Well, two days later I have 18 pages of handwritten notes, a whole new way to work and it has already paid off in a huge way in my daily workflow. I bill out my hours at around $100 an hour as a graphic designer and marketing person. That means in the two days that I spent 10 hours a day taking the class and commuting to it, it cost me about $2000 in working time. But it didn't. I can guarantee that I am way ahead on this one. I l learned so much. The real world things I learned will pay off for a very long time. Within one day after the class I had already started changing my workflow to be more non-destructive and faster. Dave is an awesome teacher and I can't say enough good things about this class. Even if you think you know Photoshop, you don't. I teach it in my small world but I learned so much.


A writer and an old person (over 60), I rarely use neat exaggerations like "great" or "fantastic," and never say "awesome" in the currently fashionable manner. However, I would call this class both great and excellently planned. Cross is well-spoken and a consummate teacher with a rarely non-irritating voice. It is information packed, clearly presented, well-organized, and extremely helpful. I wish I could afford his others.