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Photoshop Elements 4: The Missing Manual by Barbara Brundage

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Transforming Images

If you ever photograph buildings, you know that it can be tough to do with a fixed-lens digital camera. For example, when you get too close to the building, your lens tends to introduce a certain amount of distortion into the photo. There are special perspective-correcting lenses available, but those won't help if you have a pocket camera (quite aside from their cost, which can be significant).

Fortunately, Elements has a series of Transform commands to help you with some of the more common problems, as shown in Figure 10-7. These commands aren't just for buildings, incidentally, although it's most common to see obvious distortions in architectural photography or photos of room interiors. You can also apply these commands just for fun to create wacky photos or even type effects. You can also use these commands on a selection if you make your selection before you begin.

Skew, Distort, Perspective

Elements gives you four commands to help straighten up the objects in your photos. While they all move your photo in different directions, the way you use them is the same. The Transform commands have the same box-like handles that you see on the Move tool, for example. You choose the command you want, and then the handles appear around your photo. Just drag a handle in the direction you want your photo to move. Figure 10-8 shows how to use the Transform commands.

Left: The Transform commands make quick work of straightening up slanting buildings like this one. But if you do lots of architectural photography, you may want to investigate some of the perspective-correcting plug-ins available for Elements (see Chapter 17).Right: Here, it took only a dose of Skew and a bit of Distort to pull the building straight and make it tall enough again.

Figure 10-7. Left: ...

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