Using the Guided Upright Tool in Lightroom

Jason Bradley

In "One (More) Reason to Use Adobe's Creative Cloud," I discussed Project Nimbus, a new cloud service technology that should eventually make its way into a version of Lightroom. I also set the stage for how Lightroom 6 and Lightroom CC are different, how they’ll likely continue to diverge over time, and provided a few examples of their distinctions—all leading to this blog post.

Additionally, I mentioned the new Guided Upright feature released in Lightroom CC 2015.6, which is part of the all-new Transform panel. I’ve been using the Guided Upright tool more and more and have grown to love it. I use it for all kinds of images that need perspective corrections, and want to share the basics of how to use it.

Figure 1: This image of fish egg trays was taken haphazardly and is in desperate need of perspective corrections.

Figure 1 shows salmon egg incubator trays at Coleman Fish Hatchery in northern California. Being the master architectural photographer I am, I photographed the trays with a less-than-perfect view of the horizontal and vertical lines in the scene. There was some forethought in shooting carelessly, however, knowing there are tools in post-processing to straighten it all out. Fortunately, the Upright tool has taken easier to the next level.

Figure 2: The Upright Tool is in the Transform Panel (available in Lightroom CC). Click to activate or press Shift + T. 

TIP: To ensure the best possible results, check both the Remove Chromatic Aberration and Enable Lens Profiles in the Lens Corrections panel before applying an Upright correction.

The new tool is in the Transform panel (Figure 2, above). To activate it, click on the Upright icon in the upper left of the panel (keyboard shortcut: 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 an image that could use some straightening. A small magnifying window will help you precisely align the small crosshair on the edge of the line you want 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 (below left). You’ll notice that nothing happens after setting your first area to correct, but don’t worry; all is well. This tool is designed so that you have to create two guiding lines for Lightroom to use to accurately initiate a correction. Figure 4 (below right) shows my second point of correction and my careful placing of the crosshair on a second line.

Figure 3 (left): A magnified view of your image allows you to precisely place a crosshair on the line you wish to correct.

Figure 4 (right): You won't see any changes (corrections) triggered on your image until you create a second line.

Figure 5 (below left) shows the vertical correction after the two correction guides have been set. As you can see, the vertical lines look much better, but things aren’t perfect at the horizontal lines of the trays on the top of the image vs. the bottom. So I repeated these steps, creating two correction guides on the top and bottom of the frame. Figure 6 (below right) shows the result after both vertical and horizontal corrections have been made. However, perspective corrections can tweak the aspect ratio of the image, which is why Figures 5 and 6 reveal some white in the corners; the underlying canvas is exposed. I recommend two fixes for this.

Figure 5 (left): The image after the vertical lines have been corrected. 

Figure 6 (right): The image after both vertical and horizontal lines have been corrected.

First, select the Constrain Crop box (Figure 7, below left) and Lightroom will automatically crop out the white edges. But like most auto features, a bit of fine-tuning may be needed, so open the Crop Overlay Panel (quick key: R) to adjust your crop as needed. Figure 8 (below right) shows the before and after views of the image with and without Upright corrections.

Figure 7: Checking the Constrain Crop box allows Lightroom to automatically crop into your image when edges of the underlying canvas are exposed.

Figure 8: Before and after views of the image with and without Upright corrections.

Happy straightening, and watch for more Lightroom tips and tools, coming soon!

Jason Bradley is the owner and operator of Bradley Photographic Fine Art Print Services and the author of Creative Workflow in Lightroom. Bradley is also a nature and underwater photographer based in Monterey, California, and leads photo expeditions both above and below water. To see more of Jason’s work, or learn about the workshops and services he provides, please visit his website or find him on Instagram and Facebook


Adobe Creative Cloud Jason Bradley Lightroom & Photoshop

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