In this short tutorial, we’ll go over how to use the Perspective Crop Tool in Photoshop to extract
the face of a building to be used for design analysis or as a texture for a 3D model. This lesson is adapted from Chapter 1 of our Photoshop for Architects course, authored by design and CAD expert Scott Onstott.
Of course, the Perspective Crop Tool has wider applications outside of architectural modeling, and this technique can be used to extract a flat, orthogonal (direct-facing image) of a prominent element from almost any photo. While our example is demonstrated with Photoshop CC, the tool is also available in Photoshop CS6.
The first thing you’ll want to do after loading the sample image into Photoshop is activate the Perspective Crop Tool. You can access it from the Crop menu by clicking on the Crop icon from the toolbar on the left, as shown below.
Once you have the tool selected, draw a rough rectangle around around the shape you want to crop, in our example, the face of the building.
Now you’ll want to adjust the rectangle grid so that the outside edges line up with the outside faces of the building. It doesn’t have to be perfect, as long as the edges are parallel the vertical and horizontal lines of the structure. Zoom in if needed, and feel free to drag outside edges of the grid inward to better match the angles.
Once you have achieved the correct angles with your grid, expand the edges of your selection box so that everything you want to capture is enclosed. Now you can also set the desired dimensions of your cropped image, by using the height and width dimension boxes above. Click the Front Image button if you want the dimensions of your current uncropped project (or if you have multiple projects open it will pull the dimensions of the project you have active).
We will use the original 900×1200 dimension as a baseline, and estimate our new cropped image size to be 600×800. Once you’ve entered the new dimensions, click the checkmark button at the far right of the same toolbar to confirm the crop. Your resulting image should be a direct front-facing perspective of the building, as seen below.
To see this entire process demonstrated by Scott onscreen, click on the video clip below. For hundreds of additional free and premium Photoshop tutorials, see our Photoshop training catalog for more info.