Using the Straightening Tool

Hello, and again, these tutorials are from the perspective of Corel’s Paint Shop Pro, specifically X4. This time, we will use the Straighten and Perspective tools over two tutorials. These tools haven’t changed since at least version 9 (X4 would be version 14), and they probably work very much the same in other graphic packages.
perspective small

See the above image. Click on it to open a full-size version in a new tab. Do you see how its perspective is skewed? There may have been a good reason to take the picture that way, or perhaps it was a limitation of the camera. Either way, if we want to, we can fix it. So, load it up into your Paint Shop Pro.

The first thing we should do is straighten the picture. Bot the Straighten and Perspective tools are under the same position in the toolbar, so the one you see is the one you used last. It should be the sixth tool down, just below the Crop tool.

Pick the Straighten tool and notice that it places a horizontal line on your picture, with little drag boxes at the end. When you move your cusor over the straightening line, the cursor changes to a Move icon. If you click and drag the little drag boxes at the line’s endpoints, the line will rise of fall just on that side. If you grab the line anywhere else, you can move the line up or down at its same angle. Like many things, it’s easier to get it by just trying it than by reading about it, so try it now. Move that line around.

But how should you really position the line? What you must do is find two points on the picture that should be perfectly level and horizontal but are not. Position the line so it touches those two points.

Here’s what I did. The line can be hard to see, so I circled it with a red ellipse. Obviously, you won’t be drawing an ellipse around yours. straighten line

Once you’ve positioned you straightening line, either click on the checkmark up on the horizontal tool options bar, or double-click on the picture itself. The picture will immediately straighten itself out.

There are a couple of options in the tool options bar. One of them is whether or not to crop the image after straightening it. For the most part, you should check this box. The other option is whether you should rotate all layers or not. Right now, that option is grayed-out because you have only one layer. But you’ve worked with layers before, and you will know when you need all layers rotated or just the current one.

Finally, there’s the option of whether to use the Straighten tool vertically or horizontally. So far, we’ve used it horizontally, but there could be a situation where you want to straighten something according to vertical visual cues. For example, there might be a post, column, or tree that is leaning, and you want to straighten the picture by aligning the straightening line with said post, column, or tree.

Well, that’s it for the Straightening Tool, which takes two minutes to learn and fifteen to discribe! Next time, we’ll look at the Perspective tool.

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