Laura Shoe's Lightroom (and Occasionally Photoshop) Blog for Digital Photographers

Archive for February, 2009|Monthly archive page

Photoshop CS4 Content Aware Scaling

In Uncategorized on February 24, 2009 at 12:10 am

For me there were not alot of exciting additions to Photoshop CS4,  but I have to say that the new Content Aware Scaling is quite impressive.

Here’s an image that I like, but I feel that there is too much empty space between the photographer and the subjects:

Original Photograph

Original Photograph

Here’s how to easily eliminate some of this empty space:

In the layers palette,  double click on the background layer and hit OK to convert it to a regular layer that can be transformed.

Go to Edit>Content Aware Scaling.  Drag in on the right hand center square of the transform bounding box, to shrink the empty space.

Scaling with Content Aware Scaling

Scaling with Content Aware Scaling

Hit enter to commit the change, and then crop the image with the crop tool (C) to eliminate the now empty canvas on the right.

With no guidance from me,  CAS has detected most of the important content, and protected it as it threw out information in unimportant areas.   The only area that it has distorted perhaps unacceptably is the shadow of the center woman.   So let’s let Photoshop know that this is an area that it should protect:

Undo the content aware scaling you have done, with Ctl/Cmd Z.

With the Lasso tool (L),  circle the shadow and the clamming tube:

Select area to protect

Select area to protect

Then up in the Lasso tool options bar,  select Refine Edge and soften the selection by increasing Feathering to 10.

Save the selection as a new channel by going to Select> Save Selection, and naming it Area to Protect.

Deselect the selection, Ctl/Cmd D.

Now go back to Edit>Content Aware Scaling, and in the options bar, click the drop down next to “Protect” and specify the new channel “Area to Protect”.

Specifying channel with information on area to protect

Specifying channel with information on area to protect

Pull in the right side of the image again, hit enter, and crop.

Not bad!  What we come to take for granted in 2009 is actually pretty impressive.

cas-after-21

After Guided Content Aware Scaling

Straightening Your Horizons

In Uncategorized on February 9, 2009 at 1:17 pm

When I don’t take the time to use a tripod, my horizons are often not straight.  Here’s an example:

Crooked Horizon

Crooked Horizon

To fix this in Lightroom, in the Develop Module tool drawer underneath the histogram, click on the Crop Overlay tool (R).    Crop options appear beneath it, and a grid is placed over your image.

Crop Overlay Tool

Crop Overlay Tool

Now you have two choices.  The first is to rotate the image visually.  Hover the mouse outside of a corner of the image until the double arrow appears.

Rotating visually

Rotating visually

Click and drag the cursor up or down, aligning the grid with your horizon.

Straightened Image

Straightened Image

When you are satisfied, hit Enter/Return or click again on the crop overlay tool symbol to exit crop mode.

The second method is to click on the ruler (i.e. the Straighten tool) in the crop options box to select it, and then click and drag it over your crooked horizon — the whole horizon or just a part of it.   Lightroom will calculate how far off from level the horizon is, and rotate the image the proper amount to fix it.

The Straighten Tool

The Straighten Tool

Drawing Along the Horizon with the Straighten Tool

Drawing Along the Horizon with the Straighten Tool

When you are satisfied, hit Enter/Return or click again on the crop overlay tool symbol to exit crop mode.

With either method  you do lose part of the image — this is the price you pay for not getting it straight in camera.

You can use the same methods in Camera Raw.  The Straighten tool is right next to the Crop tool.

Point and Shoot Camera Reviews

In Uncategorized on February 1, 2009 at 1:24 pm

A colleague of mine, Kathy Eyster, brought to my attention a great series of compact camera reviews that Digital Photography Review (dpreview.com) published for the holidays:

Enthusiast Digital Compacts

Premium Digital Compacts

Ultra Compacts

Budget Compacts

Digital Photography Review also has excellent  in-depth reviews of DSLR’s and lenses.

Kathy is a an excellent photography  instructor, by the way.  Check out her blog at www.essentialdigitalcamera.com.