Want your images to stand out? Try playing around with the Aspect slider and give your images that edge you are looking for.
In last week’s tip, Peter Eastway mentioned that he often uses the Aspect slider in the Keystone Tool to adjust the appearance of the image.
“Although I’m sure the developers in Copenhagen didn’t design the Keystone Tool for me, it’s amazing how often I use the Aspect slider to either squish things together or stretch them out.”
Therefore I decided to elaborate on Peter’s technique in case you can find a place for it in your workflow.
The Aspect slider is found in the Keystone Tool.
The traditional use of the Aspect slider is to alter the effect of any perspective adjustment to make it look more natural to the eye. Sometimes the ‘perfect’ correction isn’t the best one visually. This is why by default, if you use the Keystone correction tools, the Amount slider is set to 80% as opposed to 100%.
The Aspect slider has no automatic values applied, so it’s up to you to dial in the look you want to achieve. In a lot of cases of the normal use of the Keystone Tool, the Aspect slider can be left alone, but it’s often worth experimenting with it, in case it can help the image.
We can reduce the aspect value a little to make the building a little taller. Notice that the Amount slider has defaulted to an 80% correction. This still removes most of the ‘falling down building’ syndrome but looks more natural.
The lead image without any corrections looks like this.
As there are a couple of lofty towers in Chicago’s skyline, it makes sense to try and convey that a bit more… even though it is cheating somewhat! The image could also do with some help in the way of contrast and probably some Local Adjustments.
If we start to drag the Aspect slider we can gradually stretch the buildings making them look taller. You can see the difference between the original and the same image with a -18% Aspect adjustment.
Now that the building shape is a bit more dramatic I can complete it with some image adjustment.
The contrast is really flat, probably from a lot of flare from the sun off the glazed surface. The Levels look ok with a nice even Histogram, but the mid tones could definitely use some help by pulling the mid tone slider towards the highlights.
A positive Clarity adjustment will also help with the haziness of the image. Remember, set to ‘Punch’ the saturation will be increased as well, which is perfect for the blue sky. The final thing that needs to be done is to warm the white balance so the sun is more obvious on the side of the building.
Before brushing onto the image, I’ll call the new layer ‘Dodge’ and right away increase the exposure for that layer by 1.5 stops. The brush Opacity should be nice and low so the effect can be built up and remain subtle.
Oh… and here is a Black and White… now to stop playing!