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Digital perspective control

Digital perspective control - Use image editing programs to get a different view on the world.

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Use image editing program to get a different view on the world
Words and pictures Peter Bargh of ePHOTOzine.

You may have noticed that buildings look as though the are thinner at the top when you shoot from a low viewpoint, also a person's nose looks bigger when a wide angle is used close up, or how about a road disappearing into the distance? All these are result of perspective distortion and all affected by the angle of view and focusing point. Sometimes the results are out of your control and sometimes you can't create as much distortion as you would like, by a computer...it's all possible digitally
Digitally image-editing programs such as Photoshop and its budget version, Elements, have a transform tool that lets you pull the picture in different directions. Doing this allows you to make areas thicker or narrower to correct or enhance distortion. in this tutorial we'll look at how you correct perspective.

In Elements there are four transform options,accessedfromtheImage>Transform menu, these include: Free Transform, Skew, Distort or Perspective, and perform as follows:

Free Transform
Lets you resize a picture but keeps the horizontals and verticals parallel. You can make an image thinner or squatter, you can also rotate, but you can't correct distortion. Use this to make a landscape stretch out into a panoramic format.


Right: This allows you to pull one corner out along the horizontal or vertical edge. All sorts of distortion can be made, but it's slower to use than the distort tool.

Pull any of the corner or centre marks to distort the shape of the picture box in any direction


When you pull one corner out along the horizontal or vertical axis the opposite corner moves the same distance in the opposite direction so it's a quick fix for perspective correction in buildings but doesn't have the same flexibility as the distort tool so that's the one we will use.

Step by step to perfect perspective control

1 With a picture open inElementsgotoSelect>All which puts a marching ants selection around the whole picture. You can also make a smaller selection using a marquee tool or magic wand and transform that but in this example we'll keep things simple.

2 NowgotoView>Show Grid which displays a grid of horizontal and vertical lines over your photo. These are only present when the picture is being displayed in your software and disappear when the picture is put on the web, printed or viewed in different software.
You can change the colour of the grid or the number of lines and spacing of the gridbygoingtoEdit>Preferences.

3< /b>SelecttheDistorttool,Image>Transform>Distort and with your curser over one of the square corner markers click and drag to extend the box. Pull it so that the wall of the side that you are pulling becomes straight.

4 Repeat with the opposite side.

5 The image will now look too squat so we need to stretch it by clicking on any of the top three markers or bottom and drag up or down to make the picture elongated and more natural.

6 Pull one side higher than the other if the image is still not square on and play around pushing and pulling on any of the markers until the image looks natural.Magnify the image to check for perfect alignment using the grid.

7 When you are satisfied, click on Return key to process the transformation.

8 If you've drag the picture inwards on the canvas use the crop tool to remove blank canvas and square up the photo.

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beautifully explained technique, easy but essential...

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For a novice like me that is clear, useful and potentially fun.
I can't imagine the disappointment of someone who bought a tilt and shift lens yesterday and realised today that he can do corrections with software.

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