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How to correct Converging Verticals

How to correct Converging Verticals.

I'm sure many of you already know about the following technique, but judging by the number of uncorrected images in the Dreamstime files, I think it may be worth sharing this technique here.

If you angle your lens up or down when photographing something like a tall building you will get 'Converging Verticals'.

In the example below the minarets of the Taj Mahal appear to lean inwards.

I know that in some cases this can be used for dramatic effect, but often it just looks wrong and the image would look far better with the verticals corrected.

*Please Note: both examples are cropped to fit this letterbox format. (click on the pictures below to see the full image)

Taj Mahal Travel Agra, India, Blue Sky

To correct the leaning verticals use the following method........

1. Open your image in Photoshop

2. Make a duplicate layer. Go to: 'Layer' then 'Duplicate Layer'

A new layer will appear in your 'Layers' list.

3. Delete the 'background' layer (drag from list into the trash).

4. Go to 'Edit' then 'Transform' then 'Perspective' - A box will appear around your image.

5. Go to a top corner of your image. Click on the small square and pull outwards until the verticals are straight.

6. Flatten your image - go to 'Layers' then 'Flatten'.

7. Save your image.

Taj Mahal - Agra - India

A more selective method is to use 'Edit' then 'Transform' then 'Distort'

This will enable you to manipulate each corner separately.

You can also fine tune your correction using 'Edit' then 'Transform' then 'Warp' just pulling a little from selected points to get the effect you want.

The above method (using 'Distort') can also be used to correct leaning horizons or other types of 'skewed' images.

Of course, you can always use these techniques 'in reverse' to ADD distortion effects to an image. Especially using 'warp' which you can use to create some really weird effects.

Hope you find this useful.

Steve Allen

www.steveallenphotography.com

PS: I've come across an interesting fact.

I understand that the minarets of the Taj Mahal actually lean outward from true vertical. This is only very slightly, but the idea is that if they should fall, due to an earthquake, they will hopefully fall away from the main building!

The builders of the Taj didn't need Photoshop to get their verticals right!!

Photo credits: Steve Allen, Wisconsinart.

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March 19, 2016

Prookesphotography

Hi, Old post I know, the comments 're Nikon in-camera correction, maybe referring to 'Retouch Menu' and 'Perspective Control'.........
I may be wrong, but I suspect the in camera will only allow jpeg images to be corrected.

May 08, 2015

Adeliepenguin

You are so right about converging verticals. I am lazy and have used DxO Viewpoint to fix the problem--used it for a few years. It is very fast and easy to use. It also has tools to correct some distortions created by wide angle lens. For people who don't use Photoshop or Lightroom, it is free-standing as well as a plug-in. Thanks again for sharing.

May 05, 2015

Bhabotoshchakraborty

good tutorial for newbie

May 04, 2015

Williamsphere

I didn't know how to fix this issue. Thanks for the tutorial!

May 04, 2015

Vilaimages

Mrallen, thanks for taking the time to give your advice on this subject and I hope you don't mind me being so stubborn or hard headed.
I'm having trouble understanding your term "converging verticals". This converging effect involves vertical, horizontal and all lines in between. This curved effect or distortion can be more of less significant depending on the perspective, focal length used, etc. But it is always Distortion.
My intention by bringing the firmware into the discussion was to suggest an additional correction tool to solve the problem. The latest distortion correction firmware from Nikon is specifically aimed to partially correct these issues. Please read "partially". Additional corrections with imaging software will be necessary when the distortion is too big depending on how you position the camera or lens used.
Thanks again for allowing me to discuss this in your blog.

May 04, 2015

Mrallen

Hi Vilaimages - I stand by my statement : Camera fimeware will NOT control converging verticals.
Take your camera (with the firmware installed) and go out and photograph a building from a close distance were you need to angle the camera upwards to get the top of the building in shot. You will get converging verticals. The top of the building will look narrower than the bottom. The firmware will help to control any lens effects like barrel and pincussion distortion, vignetting effects and color fringing, but it can't control PERSPECTIVE effects like convirging verticals. For architectural photography I use a 'perspective control' or 'shift' lens that CAN be used to control convirging verticals and other PERSPECTIVE effects. It is also useful for contoling depth of field in close up 'tabletop' photography.
Yes, Canon also do lens correction firmware too. With Canon you can turn the lens correction on or off in Adobe Raw by checking or unchecking a box in the software. By doing this you can see exactly what effect this type of correction has.

May 04, 2015

Maocheng

That is useful.

May 03, 2015

Vilaimages

Hi, Mrallen. In my modest opinion, converging lines are caused by Distortion. One of the purposes of the firmware is to correct distortion of specific lenses and REDUCE the converging lines effect. By definition, there are three types of lens distortion: Barrel, Pincushion and a mixture of the two called Wavy or Mustache. All of these produce the effect of distorting lines in different ways. Camera and lens manufacturers try to reduce these unwanted effects with their firmware. I made the Nikon recommendation because this the brand I use, I'm sure other brands do the same. The Nikkor 16-35mm I use is not very good for architecture and I have to correct converging line distortion all the time with Photoshop because the Nikon's in-camera corrections are not enough for this particular lens. But surely, the firmware helps.

May 03, 2015

Mrallen

Hi Vilaimages
This kind of camera firmware will help control lens distortion such as barrel distortion and vignetting, The lens manufacturers know there lenses are not perfect, especially zoom lenses, so this type of firmware is intended to correct the lenses inherent optical faults.
However it will NOT control converging verticals.

May 02, 2015

Vilaimages

For Nikon DSLR users, install the latest distortion control firmware for your camera:

https://support.nikonusa.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/13783/~/current-firmware-downloads-available-for-nikon-products

April 30, 2015

Sebastian423

I will try it out as well thanks for good advice :)

April 30, 2015

Kikiritkata

Thank you for this article!

April 30, 2015

Joezachs

That is well explained (step by step)
Will try out this in photoshop. :-)

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