Making the Keystone Effect Using Photoshop

A typical problem when taking snapshots of tall structures is they look as though they are leaning backwards. This is whats called the “keystone effect” (or even the “tombstone effect”), and it’s really a very distracting type of distortion inside your images.

It’s caused because you need to tilt the digital camera backwards to suit the whole building in. This puts your building as well as your lens on several angles, causing parallel lines within the image to converge. It impacts all objects but is most noticeable on very tall ones, for example structures and trees.

Photoshop’s Lens Correction tool causes it to be super easy to fix keystoning and straighten your structures up again. I’ll demonstrate while using following photo you can download it and follow combined with the steps yourself.

A city skyline with buildings exhibiting the keystone effect

The photo i will be correcting. The structures suffer from the keystone effect, where they appear like they are tilting backwards. Image by Andy Leo.

1. Enlarge the Canvas

Open the look in Illustrator and choose the Crop Tool. Drag a box within the entire image, after which make use of the adjustment handles to tug both sides outwards by a few hundred pixels approximately. Double click to help make the canvas bigger.

Enlarge the canvas

Enlarge the canvas to provide a little room round the image.

Getting a bigger canvas will be handy later when our image is not square it provides us some room to experience with and means we will not lose any important areas of the photo.

2. Open the Lens Correction Tool

Select Filter > Lens Correction to spread out the tool. Within the right-hands panel, click on the “Custom” tab to show a number of sliders. These allow you to control several various kinds of distortion to fix the photo having a high amount of precision.

Prior to making any adjustments, switch on the grid (click “Show Grid” at the end from the window). This gives an opportune mesh to align our structures with, to ensure that we are able to make certain we have got them perfectly straight.

The Lens Correction tool

The Lens Correction tool user interface.

3. Correct the Vertical Distortion

The keystone effect is really a vertical distortion, so we’ll make use of the Vertical Perspective slider to repair it. Drag the slider left and you will begin to see the structures start to align. Keep dragging before the buildings’ sides fall into line nicely using the vertical grid lines. Within my situation, I have pulled the slider to some setting of “-50”.

The image with vertical correction applied

Make use of the Vertical Perspective slider to straighten the structures.

4. Crop the image

As you can tell, by correcting the distortion we have left the edges from the image slanted. The ultimate step would be to crop these out, making the photo rectangular again.

The final image

The ultimate image using the keystone effect removed.

Should you compare the initial and final images you will see just how much difference it has made. The keystoning continues to be completely removed, departing us having a natural-searching photo.

Comparison of original and final images

A side-by-side comparison showing the remedied keystoning.

The keystone result can be highly distracting, and extremely draw your attention in the primary subject of the photo. Now you know what it’s, you can place it easier, and employ Photoshop’s Lens Correction tool to get rid of it within minutes.