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Correcting camera distortion

From: Photoshop Elements 11 Essentials: 02 Editing and Retouching Photos

Video: Correcting camera distortion

The Correct Camera Distortion filter here in the Expert edit workspace is a one-stop shop for fixing several different common problems that typically result from the length or perspective of your camera's lens. Let's see how to use this multifaceted filter. I'll select it here in the Filter menu, and that opens the large Correct Camera Distortion dialog box. The first thing you'll notice here is the big grid on top of the photo. That's a really handy reference when you're dragging the sliders to try to correct distortion in a photo, but sometimes it does get in the way of seeing the photo.

Correcting camera distortion

The Correct Camera Distortion filter here in the Expert edit workspace is a one-stop shop for fixing several different common problems that typically result from the length or perspective of your camera's lens. Let's see how to use this multifaceted filter. I'll select it here in the Filter menu, and that opens the large Correct Camera Distortion dialog box. The first thing you'll notice here is the big grid on top of the photo. That's a really handy reference when you're dragging the sliders to try to correct distortion in a photo, but sometimes it does get in the way of seeing the photo.

So you can turn it on and off by going down to the Show Grid feature and unchecking or checking there. When I do uncheck Show Grid you can better see that this photo suffers from what's called barrel distortion, or this bowing out of content that's caused by shooting with a wide-angle lens. I'm going to use the Remove Distortion slider to try to fix that. I'll turn the grid back on so that I can use it's vertical lines as a reference, and I'll keep my eye in this portion of the photo as I drag the Remove Distortions slider over to the right, away from the barrel icon and toward the pincushion icon, and that straightens up the photo nicely.

By the way, if you have the opposite problem, if you have pin cushioning, which would look like this, then you can often minimize that too by using this same slider, dragging it to the left. I'll put the slider about there, and then I'll click OK and that closes this dialog box and takes me back to the corrected image out in the document window. To show you the difference I'll press Ctrl+Z, that's Command+Z on the Mac, That's where I started, and then I'll press Ctrl+Y or Command+Y on the Mac. that's where I am now. Now let's take a look at another kind of lens-related problem in this image.

If you look closely you'll see that the beautiful building in this photo appears to be kind of leaning back, and that's because I took the photo from street level, with my lens pointing up at the building. When you do that you often get some vertical perspective distortion like this. And you can often improve that with the Correct Camera Distortion filter. I'll go up to the Filter menu and I'll choose Correct Camera Distortion. I'm going to leave the grid showing for reference, as I try to lineup a vertical element in the photo with one of the vertical lines in the grid. Now I already know that I'm not going to be able to lineup all of the vertical content with all of the grid lines, so I'm going to pick what I think is the focal point of the image and keep my eye there.

So I'll go with the side of this column right here toward the center of the image, and then I'll go over to the sliders and I'm going to drag the Vertical Perspective slider to the left until the building appears not to be leaning back so much. So that improves the vertical perspective. I can see there's also a bit of a problem with the Horizontal Perspective. I was a little bit off to the right of center when I took this photo and I'd rather have it look like I was right in the center of the building when I shot the photo. So I'll go to the Horizontal Perspective slider and I'm going to drag that to the left as well.

Notice when I do, the photo appears to be turning horizontally. I'm going to take that back to just about there. Before I'm done, I want to compare a before and after view, so I'll uncheck Show Grid, and then I'll go up to the Preview checkbox and I'll uncheck that to see where I started and where I ended up. So I've taken care of some of the perspective problem. But notice, that part of the photo is now been cut off from view. Again, when I uncheck this box, you can see that there is additional content over here and over here. Now sometimes I like that result, and if I do, I would just click OK and the photo would be cropped as you see it here, I would lose that content at the edges.

But there are other times when I want to include the content at the edges in the photo. In that case I would come down to the Scale slider at the bottom of the dialog box and drag to the left, until I can see the entire photo. I can also see the gray and white checkerboard around it that represents transparent pixels. That transparency and the distortion of the photo that you see here is a result of the corrections that I made. I'm going to click OK now, and then I'm going to use the Crop Tool back in the document window for more control over exactly what gets left in and what will be cropped away from this corrected version of the photo.

I'll get the Crop Tool and I'll click and drag a bounding box, I am going to try to get the maximum amount of this photo inside my bounding box, but I want to make sure not to include any of the transparent pixels, so I'll take this corner and drag it in. And I'll drag this corner in just a bit as well. Everything else looks fine, so I'll click the green checkbox. And there's the resulting corrected photo. Now, it's not perfect, there's still are parts that appear to be tilting a bit. So if I wanted to correct those, I would again crop the image and just crop away this little bit at the left edge.

Now there is one more kind of distortion problem, which you can see in this photo, and that is vignetting, or the darkening of the corners of the photo that sometimes caused by the falling off of light around the edge of a very wide-angle lens. To try to correct this, again, I'll open the Correct Camera Distortion dialog box, I'm going to uncheck Show Grid, so we can see the photo, and then I'll go over to the Vignette section of the sliders, I'll take the Amount slider and I'll drag toward lighten, and as I do I'm brightening up those dark corners.

I'll click OK, and I've managed to correct that problem as well. As you can see, the Correct Camera Distortion filter is pretty powerful and multifaceted, but it can be overlooked, since it's kind of tucked away in the Filter menu. If you have photos with geometric, perspective, or vignetting distortions, don't forget to visit the Filter menu to put the adjustments in the Correct Camera Distortion filter to use.

Show transcript

This video is part of

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  1. 6m 14s
    1. Welcome
      1m 10s
    2. Using the exercise files
      1m 30s
    3. Overview of the editing workspaces
      3m 34s
  2. 43m 14s
    1. Touring the interface
      4m 21s
    2. Making the most of the tools in Elements
      4m 6s
    3. Arranging the panels
      4m 32s
    4. Zooming and panning
      4m 3s
    5. Viewing multiple photos
      3m 51s
    6. Undoing
      5m 15s
    7. Cropping
      3m 46s
    8. Resizing
      7m 18s
    9. Saving images and examining formats
      6m 2s
  3. 19m 23s
    1. Understanding layers
      7m 59s
    2. Managing layers in the Layers panel
      4m 33s
    3. Creating new layers
      6m 51s
  4. 38m 28s
    1. Why use selections?
      4m 20s
    2. Selecting with the marquee tools
      3m 56s
    3. Selecting with the lasso tools
      6m 40s
    4. Selecting by color and tone
      6m 22s
    5. Refining a selection
      4m 51s
    6. Selecting hair
      5m 42s
    7. Hiding content with a layer mask
      6m 37s
  5. 46m 54s
    1. Why use adjustment layers?
      5m 15s
    2. Adjusting color with a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer
      4m 32s
    3. Correcting lighting with a Levels adjustment layer
      3m 32s
    4. Adjusting part of an image with an adjustment layer
      5m 19s
    5. Exploring auto adjustments
      3m 55s
    6. Improving shadows and highlights
      2m 14s
    7. Removing a color cast
      1m 47s
    8. Fine-tuning with Color Curves
      3m 16s
    9. Converting to black and white
      2m 26s
    10. Correcting camera distortion
      5m 32s
    11. Reducing noise
      2m 56s
    12. Sharpening
      6m 10s
  6. 20m 51s
    1. Creating a panorama
      5m 6s
    2. Merging bracketed exposures
      6m 0s
    3. Removing people from a scene
      5m 25s
    4. Combining group shots
      4m 20s
  7. 29m 24s
    1. Removing blemishes
      3m 42s
    2. Reducing wrinkles and circles
      4m 16s
    3. Enhancing eyes
      5m 19s
    4. Removing red-eye
      3m 15s
    5. Adjusting skin tone
      2m 21s
    6. Removing dust spots
      4m 7s
    7. Removing content
      6m 24s
  8. 52m 36s
    1. What is Camera Raw?
      5m 18s
    2. Using the latest Camera Raw controls
      3m 16s
    3. Camera Raw basics
      6m 22s
    4. Making use of the histogram
      3m 45s
    5. Setting white balance
      3m 44s
    6. Adjusting lighting
      4m 28s
    7. Adjusting color saturation
      2m 9s
    8. Cropping and straightening
      3m 58s
    9. Reducing noise
      3m 33s
    10. Sharpening
      3m 38s
    11. Synchronizing edits to multiple photos
      3m 36s
    12. Outputting from Camera Raw
      6m 14s
    13. Using Camera Raw with JPEGs
      2m 35s
  9. 48s
    1. Next steps
      48s

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