The recent launch of Photoshop CS6 introduced a wealth of exciting and genuinely useful and creative tools. However, one of the most impressive for photographers is the introduction of Photoshop CS6’s Adaptive Wide Angle filter.
This amazingly powerful tool is like the Lens Correction filter on steroids. What makes it so great is the level of control you have in specifying which parts of the image need correction.
Naturally, the Adaptive Wide Angle filter will be a big draw for interior and architectural photographers, especially ones using wide-angle lenses.
However, in this tutorial we’re going to use it straighten out the trees in our woodland scene, above. It was shot with an old 20-35mm f/2.8 lens at 20mm with the camera pointing upwards, so there’s plenty of work to do. Let’s see how it works…
01 Edit the RAW file
Open your original image in Adobe Camera Raw (ACR). To tease out detail in the shadows, reduce blown-out highlights and boost the colours, go to the Basic tab and set these values: Exposure +55, Highlights -100, Shadows +50, Blacks +60, Clarity +55 and Vibrance +16.
02 Work smart
Hold down Shift and the Open Image button will change to Open Object. Click this to open the image in Photoshop as a Smart Object. Go to Filter > Adaptive Wide Angle, and change the Correction to Perspective from the drop-down menu. You now need to change the focal length to 20mm.
03 Straighten the trees
Select the Constraint tool from the Tools palette at the top left of the Filter window. Mark out any parts of the image that you want to straighten by specifying a start and end point with the Constraint tool. Hold down Shift to snap to 90° vertical. Be careful, though, because not all the trees are meant to be dead straight.
04 Crop the rough edges
There’s an element of trial and error when marking out the lines, so be prepared to experiment. Mark a horizontal horizon line too. Once you’re happy, click OK. In the main Photoshop window, select the Crop tool from the Tools palette and remove most of the transparent edges that have been left as a result of the distortion.
05 Fill in the missing trees
Make a duplicate layer and rasterise it by going to Layer > Rasterise and selecting Smart Object. Make a rough selection around the transparent corners by using the Lasso tool and then go to Edit > Fill > Content Aware. This should deal with most of the problematic areas in your image. You can also use the Clone tool if necessary.
06 Add the final effects
For the finishing touches on your woodland image, create a Curves Adjustment Layer to tweak the tones and then draw a gentle S-curve to boost the contrast. A Vibrance Adjustment Layer is helpful for boosting the intensity of the colours. These are, of course, re-editable, so you can go back at any time and tweak the settings.