Old 04-25-2012, 04:44 PM   #1
JimThias
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Default Adobe Elements (10) question on leveling

I just downloaded a 30-day demo of Elements 10 and have a question regarding image rotation. While using the Straighten tool, when I try to level the image based on a vertical, it rotates the image as if I was trying to level based on a horizon line. So, basically it rotates the image 90 degrees. What the...???

In Photoshop, the Ruler tool does the same thing as the Straighten tool, but when you draw a line over a vertical, it levels the vertical.

I've watched a few tutorial videos on youtube and all of them level based on drawing a horizontal line, with no mention of how to level a vertical line.

Also, I don't see any option in Elements to differentiate between a horizontal and vertical line for leveling.

Surely this feature can't be THAT limited, can it?

This is the only site so far where I saw any mention of drawing a vertical line, but they don't elaborate on it: http://www.photokaboom.com/photograp...ghten_tool.htm
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Old 04-25-2012, 05:51 PM   #2
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Hi Jim,

Using primarily Lightroom now, so a little rusty with Elements, but I hope I can help.

I have an older version of elements. When I was trying to level a shot with it, I would typically go to the View menu and select "Grid" from the drop-down box. Not sure that I would even recognize the current version of Elements, but I can't imagine that they've removed any tools.

As for the rotation itself, I also recall NOT using the straighten tool. I would typically go to the Image menu and select "Rotate" from the drop-down box. Another way to do it would be to go to the Filter menu and select Correct Camera Distortion from the drop-down box. I think there is a pretty effective tool there as well.

Again, I'm using Elements 6, so I am way behind the times. Considered taking B&H up on their 50% off sale the other day to update to Elements 10, but decided that if I'm going to spend more money on software, I'd probably just bite the bullet and get the latest PhotoShop Version whatever.

Someday, I may even learn how to process photos correctly.....
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Old 04-25-2012, 07:17 PM   #3
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Jim - I do what you did and then rotate the photo back 90 degrees. I'll try that correct camera distortion idea though.
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Old 04-25-2012, 07:57 PM   #4
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Jim, I have PSE9 and what I do I learned from you!

\Filter\Correct Camera Distortion
I see now that PSE also has Image/Rotate/Straighten Image

Never tried it. Before you told me about the camera distortion tool I was just doing \Image\Rotate\Custom in conjunction with Image/Transform/Perspective, aka, the hard way.
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Old 04-25-2012, 08:18 PM   #5
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PSE is about the most unituitive program ever. It makes the simplest thing akin to programing in FORTRAN or something.
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Old 04-25-2012, 08:36 PM   #6
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Jim, I too have PSE 9 and was stumped by the technique you described. It only likes horizontal motions. Finally I found the free rotate layer functions which allows me to turn the image as precisely as I want and how I want.
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Old 04-25-2012, 08:59 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CN Railfan View Post
Jim, I too have PSE 9 and was stumped by the technique you described. It only likes horizontal motions. Finally I found the free rotate layer functions which allows me to turn the image as precisely as I want and how I want.
Do tell! So you rotate in a layer? Can you come back and change the amount of rotation, or it is locked in, like the techniques I used and use now?
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Old 04-25-2012, 10:49 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CN Railfan View Post
Jim, I too have PSE 9 and was stumped by the technique you described. It only likes horizontal motions. Finally I found the free rotate layer functions which allows me to turn the image as precisely as I want and how I want.
I used to do it that way in photoshop before I discovered the Ruler tool for leveling an image. When I discovered the Ruler tool, I couldn't believe that I had wasted time all those years doing it the other (and pretty much archaic) way.

It takes a matter of seconds to get an image perfectly level with the Ruler (and Straighten) tool, so doing it any other way is like reverting backward a decade for me.

I thought about buying Elements, but if this feature is limited to just horizontal leveling, I will continue my search for someone who can give me CS5 (or any of the CS programs).
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Old 04-25-2012, 10:52 PM   #9
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Quote:
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Do tell! So you rotate in a layer? Can you come back and change the amount of rotation, or it is locked in, like the techniques I used and use now?
J, Free Transform is your friend.
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Old 04-25-2012, 11:52 PM   #10
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Quote:
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Do tell! So you rotate in a layer? Can you come back and change the amount of rotation, or it is locked in, like the techniques I used and use now?
If I understand your question correctly, the answer is the rotation is locked in once you press the "OK" button. Afterward it will show the areas that would be white if not cropped and it is still a layer but it does not remain a "live" rotation layer, per say, that could be rotated at any given time while in Photoshop. For me it is a bunch of successive Ctrl + Z's and "OK's" going back and forth which eventually gets me to the optimal leveling I am looking for.
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Old 04-26-2012, 12:26 AM   #11
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Jim, Josh, I am not following this at all. just went into free transform, couldn't see what it supposed to do. Josh, the rotation? In what function? And "OK" , that is Apple, right? What is the X86 equivalent? I'm confused.
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Old 04-26-2012, 01:17 AM   #12
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Quote:
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Jim, Josh, I am not following this at all. just went into free transform, couldn't see what it supposed to do. Josh, the rotation? In what function? And "OK" , that is Apple, right? What is the X86 equivalent? I'm confused.
For PSE 9 go to the top, "Image," first option, "Rotate," then scroll down to "Free Rotate Layer." This will put handles along the outside of the image which you can grab and rotate the image to your own accord. I should note that before saving the image when you are all finished you must go to the layers palette, right-click on the background layer and select from the drop-down menu, "Flatten Image." Otherwise the file will be a .PSE file and can otherwise not be saved as a JPEG.The "OK" I refer to is simply me confirming the rotation I just made on the layer when playing with an image.
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Old 04-26-2012, 02:27 AM   #13
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Jim - I do what you did and then rotate the photo back 90 degrees. I'll try that correct camera distortion idea though.
After my last post, I headed out and while driving down the road it suddenly occurred to me how simple that solution is. It's an extra step, but it'll achieve exactly what I want. Thanks for the suggestion.

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Jim, Josh, I am not following this at all. just went into free transform, couldn't see what it supposed to do. Josh, the rotation? In what function?
If you select Free Transform (control-T) and move the cursor to the corners of the image, a small, double-ended curved arrow appears. Once the arrow appears, you can grab the corner and rotate the image in either direction. It's not good for very minute rotations, though.

This goes back at least to Photoshop 5 (my first venture into the world of PS) in the 90s. Elements does the same thing.
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Old 04-26-2012, 12:01 PM   #14
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Oh, OK. I wish the handles were available in Correct Camera Distortion. I greatly prefer adjusting perspective and rotation at the same time, but doing rotation in there is somewhat awkward, or imprecise. The angle rotation wheel in there is useless.
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Old 04-26-2012, 12:10 PM   #15
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Oh, OK. I wish the handles were available in Correct Camera Distortion. I greatly prefer adjusting perspective and rotation at the same time, but doing rotation in there is somewhat awkward, or imprecise. The angle rotation wheel in there is useless.
I don't do distortion correction that often, so most of the time I'm only concerned about proper leveling. The Straighten tool is the simplest, quickest and most accurate way to do it. However, if you don't want to have to crop after leveling, using the distortion tool to level a shot works well. I had to do that with this image:

Image © Jim Thias
PhotoID: 353390
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I was hanging way over the fence at the top of the bluff to get that shot (those afraid of heights would have been freaked out! haha), which made it challenging to hold the camera level. Rotating it normally left me with very little room on the right side of the frame, but using the distortion method to level the shot saved what I would have lost by rotating/cropping.
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Old 04-26-2012, 01:43 PM   #16
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Quote:
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I don't do distortion correction that often, so most of the time I'm only concerned about proper leveling. The Straighten tool is the simplest, quickest and most accurate way to do it.
The simplest, most accurate way to level a shot is to bring it to the forum and have someone tell you what fraction of a degree, in which direction, the image must be rotated.

Quote:
However, if you don't want to have to crop after leveling, using the distortion tool to level a shot works well. I had to do that with this image:

I was hanging way over the fence at the top of the bluff to get that shot (those afraid of heights would have been freaked out! haha), which made it challenging to hold the camera level. Rotating it normally left me with very little room on the right side of the frame, but using the distortion method to level the shot saved what I would have lost by rotating/cropping.
I have "saved" a shot once using this method, I vaguely recall.
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Old 04-27-2012, 04:32 AM   #17
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Interesting thread. My first version of PSE was version 6 and I am up to 10 now, but before I got PSE I used Picasa. The straighten feature in Picasa is a total cinch, and as a result I still like to use it. I agree that PSE is not at all intuitive, and I have to refer to "the manual" very often. Picasa is very easy, but it is a bit hamfisted. I wish PSE would combine its powerful features with the simplicity of Picasa. It shouldn't be that hard to use PSE, and shouldn't be that hard for them to make it easier to use.

Andre

PS The free rotate layer feature seems like it would be the closest to Picasa, so I have to give that a try.
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