Hands-on with Photoshop’s new Perspective Warp: For when you can’t fit a ladder in your pocket

Hands-on with Photoshop’s new Perspective Warp: For when you can’t fit a ladder in your pocket

Sometimes you just can’t be where you want to get the right angle on a shot. Or maybe you thought you were, but later you need to use the photo in a different way and want to move your perspective around. Photoshop has always offered some tools to do that, but today Adobe added a powerful new one – Perspective Warp. Using it you can shift the apparent point of view of an image around, even creating combinations of perspectives that could never have been captured in a single photo…

How to get started with Perspective Warp

You start with Perspective Warp by singling out one or more areas of your photo that need to have their perspective changed. In the case of this Buddha statue in Bagan, Myanmar, I’d always wished that I could photograph it from straight on. However, in addition to completely blocking the entrance, I’d need to be about 15’ in the air. While Perspective Warp isn’t as good as having a ladder in my pocket, it does allow me to shift the angle of the photograph after the fact.

So to begin I made my image a Smart Object (PW can take a lot of back and forth experimenting, so it is much easier to do it as a smart filter on a smart object), and then choosing Edit –> Perspective Warp. That starts me in Layout mode, where I draw one or more perspective planes that I’m going to want to change. To keep this example simple, I chose one that represents the projection of the back wall, so that I could warp it around to look as if it was directly in front of me.

After drawing my plane with the outline matching the existing projections of horizontal and vertical along the back wall, I switch the PW tool to Warp mode. Now I can redefine the projection to be the way I want. Here I simply warp it around to look like a level rectangle. The tool provides a couple accelerators for that – buttons that will force nearly horizontal lines to horizontal and nearly vertical lines to vertical. The result is a front-facing Buddha.

Now, if you look back and forth between the original and the new version, the new version is going to look somewhat artificial, but if you had never seen the original, you’d probably never notice. This is somewhat similar to the “trick” Ansel Adams used to play on viewers by photographing landscapes from the roof of his station wagon but tilting his ground glass to make it seem like he was at eye level.

You’ll notice that, like any type of perspective correction, you lose content when you warp. So if you know in advance that you’ll want to manipulate an image later, make sure and frame very loosely. Below is the final image after cropping. Have fun, and once you get the hang of modifying the perspective of a single plane, experiment with two or more. Photoshop can automatically attach them together to keep corners and joins intact.

Photoshop adds 3D Printing support, other features

For a more detailed discussion of the new 3D Printing support in Photoshop, and the other new features added by Adobe, check out the . If you’d like to take some photos like this of your own on a trip with plenty of professional photo instruction, we’ll be .