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Occasionally, you may have a picture sent to you of a framed photograph, maybe from a relative who has an old family photo that they don't want to take off the wall. Ideally you'd like to have a number of photos taken of the picture, all from different angles, so you can stitch it together to make one great image, but sometimes all you get is one photo taken in bad light, complete with lens distortion. This photo was taken straight on of an oval bubble-glass portrait, and it has a distortion both on the sides and the top.
Let's go over a couple of ways to correct that. Begin by duplicating the original layer, Ctrl+J on a PC, Command+J on a Mac, and then go to Filter > Lens Correction. You can go over here to the Remove Distortion tool, but it can be a little on the frustrating side, pulling it down and up trying to get it exactly the way you like it. If you don't like how it looks and you want to start over, you can hold down the Alt or Option key, and it will turn your Cancel button into Reset, and go back to the original photo.
You may find it easier to go into the Custom menu and work with the Setting sliders. It offers a bit more control. If the distortion is bowing out, as this is, you want to bring it back in. If the sides bulge out in a convex manner, you want to make them more concave. So looking at the two icons on the Remove Distortion slider, you want to move this towards the right, towards the Concave icon, to around +60 or so. You can move the slider, or you can also just type in the amount you'd want to try.
The image is still going outward at the top corners, so let's go down to the Vertical Perspective slider and put it at about -25 or so. Again, you can just type in the value if you don't want to move the slider. Now let's go down here to the bottom and uncheck the Preview, so we can see the before and the after. You can continue to tweak the settings while you are in the Lens Distortion dialog, but I am going to click OK and get out of Lens Correction, and we'll go over one other way, the manual way.
Let's begin by hiding this layer, clicking the eye icon. And again we're going to duplicate the original layer by using Ctrl+J or Command+J. Select the Duplicate layer and press Ctrl+T on a PC, Command+T on a Mac to initiate Transform. Now right-click on the image and select Distort. The idea here is the same as we discussed regarding the lens correction. Make the convex distortion more concave to correct, grab on the top transform handles one at a time and pull them slightly up and out.
You can hold down your Shift key. It will help you make it a little more even across the top. Now, right-click on the image again and select Warp. Bring the midpoints of all sides in to create the concave shape. Bring the corners in or out as needed. Just move things around until it looks right. This method is mostly based on perception, what you see and what looks right. You can also do this manual method after the lens correction if you feel it needs a little more tweaking.
When you get the result you like, hit Enter. Let's look at a before and after, and see if there's any improvement--and there is just a bit. You can always use more tweaking; you can go back again to the Transform or back into Lens Correction if you like. Sometimes you have no control over images you have. If a distorted image of a framed family photo is the only one you have, you need to make the best of it and correct what you have. The Lens Correction filter in Photoshop does an admirable job of correcting distortion, and a little manual transformation can help even more.
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