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How to straighten the bridge in this photo!


JayDavis

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My wife and I took a sunset cruise in Charleston on Monday afternoon, in spite of no sun.

I took this photo, and it is very distorted up at the top end of the photo. I like the photo, but there has to be a way to straighten out the bridge! Can anyone explain with steps how to straighten the bridge where it doesn't look like an earthquake is taking place?

IMG_8839_TEST.jpg
 

Rich54

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Personally, I don't really see the distortion that's bothering you. My guess is that you don't like the fact that the perspective seems to take a sharp downward slant up at the top, where I drew the red arrows. If that's the case and you want to straighten those out to be more horizontal, then I think the Warp tool could work here.

1700856965302.png



  • Copy your image to a new layer and activate the warp tool.
  • Grab the upper-right corner of the warp and extend it upward, like below.
  • Try not to introduce too much curvature to the overall span of the bridge.

1700857108426.png



In this particular image, there (luckily) is not much other detail surrounding the bridge that could be subject to unintended distortion. But the warping did have the effect of curling-up the shoreline on the right side of the image. To fix that, add a layer mask to your warped layer and fill the mask entirely with black. Then paint with white in the mask to reveal only the bridge, leaving the shoreline and clouds as unaffected as possible.

1700857594541.png
 

Peano

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I assume you want the cross beams under the bridge to be parallel with the horizon. To do that, select the bridge (in the new Photoshop, "select subject" will do it). Copy that selection (Ctrl-J) to a new layer. Put a grid (Ctrl-') over that. Ctrl-T to put that new layer in a transform box. Then skew that, using the grid as a guide to make the cross beams horizontal. When you get it right, you'll have to crop some off the top. Result:

IMG_8839_TEST.jpg
 

IamSam

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@Peano

Still twisted and looks very "unnatural".

Screen Shot 2023-11-24 at 9.49.41 PM.png
Closer look...
Screen Shot 2023-11-24 at 10.22.03 PM.png
 

IamSam

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Much better!!! The new image demonstrates your method more accurately. Looks natural now. I'm not picking at you, I felt the first image was just wonkey enough that it left some doubt.
 

Peano

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I assume you want the cross beams under the bridge to be parallel with the horizon.
On second thought this assumption seems mistaken. Look at the cross beams under the Brooklyn Bridge below. Using that as a guide, I re-edited the original image using the geometry filters in Camera Raw. I'm more partial to this new version.

brooklyn.jpgbridge2A.jpg
 

IamSam

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On second thought this assumption seems mistaken.
Yes. Now we are getting back to a more realistic perspective.

Rich in post #2, was more accurate and I agree with him in that I'm not certain what distortion the OP is viewing as problematic in the original image.
 

JeffK

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Just my opinion - I agree with @Rich54 that it's difficult to determine what's meant by distortion. It's actually quite a dramatic shot. Both Rich and @Peano both did great - and persistent - work. But the OP should be proud of the shot he took as is. :)
 

Rich54

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This has become quite the discussion. I guess it comes down to the differences between one-point and two-point perspective. The point of view in the original image is almost, but not quite, directly under the bridge. As we move past the bridge and view it more and more from the side, then two-point perspective (or even three-point!) becomes more "correct". The OP's image occupies a gray area where I could make a case for @Peano's original idea (one-point perspective) vs. what the camera actually sees, which is two-point.


1700928197699.jpeg
 

Peano

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This has become quite the discussion. I guess it comes down to the differences between one-point and two-point perspective.
Yes! The VP for the sides of the bridge is easy. Those lines (red) just converge at the horizon (VP1). The question is how to place the other vanishing point the slopes of the crossbeams under the bridge look right. I don't think there's a geometrically correct answer to that. It's a matter of aesthetic judgment: How far outside the frame would you place VP2 as a reference for adjusting the slopes of those crossbeams?

VP2.jpg
 

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