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Every lens distorts the scene whose light passes through it, some more some less. The fact of the matter is that a photograph does not record what we see but how the lens optics bend the light onto the plane of a camera sensor. Beginning with CS5, the Lens Correction filter, using profiles created for specific popular lenses, accounts for and removes the distortions introduced by lens optics. Let's go ahead and take a look. The Lens Correction filter is located in the Filter menu right here, Lens Correction.
Let's open this up, and this is going to kind of put it in its own little world where we can do some things. One of the things that is really useful about the way this works is that Adobe has established a large database of optics models for a wide variety of popular camera lenses. In this case, I shot this with a Canon G10, so if we look over here at the Search criteria, we can see it knows it's from the Canon, and I have to check here to find which camera it is, and right down here is the Canon PowerShot G10.
Now your camera may not be found in this list. The good news is you can actually search for this, and it's done right down here. By clicking on Search Online, you have the option to be able to look for the lens that works with your camera. Not only has Adobe added a lot of popular lenses to this database, but end users using some software that Adobe provides can also create their own lens profiles, so there's a really big array of lens profiles available, and thankfully I was able to find my Canon PowerShot G10.
Now that it's in there, let's just turn the preview on and off and I want to watch what happens to the image. The difference isn't dramatic; we're not seeing some huge change in the image. But if you look particularly at the outer edges of the image, we're seeing a change to the way the image is being portrayed. It's almost like it's removing some curvature that's being produced at the outer edges of our image, and this is the kind of thing that the Lens Correction filter is capable of doing, with that model of the lens available to be able to breed this literally out of the image.
Now it's not going to automatically take out distortions like the keystoning we saw in the earlier video. That's actually caused by the user by tilting the plane of the sensor to a degree where that starts to happen. So that has nothing to do with the lens. That's the user causing that. The only things it's going to correct are true lens flaws, things like what they call pin cushioning where things kind of get distorted in the center of the image, or barrel distortion. That's basically what this is fixing here.
So we've taken that out. The other thing we can do here is if we go right here, we can use the Straighten tool. And I'm just going to do a quick run cross the horizon, even though I don't know that this truly was the true horizon line, but obviously it looks a little distorted. So now, I can straighten that out, and I've gotten some basic lens flaws removed from this image. I can see now that things are tilting, but just like we did earlier, I can use the Free Transform tool to further tweak this out.
So an image like this is going to probably use a combination of both the Lens Correction filter as well as something like the Free Transform tool in order to be able to get all these kinds of distortions out. And as I've said before, all of this is subjective. These are artistic decisions. You may or may not choose to take them out, but the idea behind all of this is to get out of these images as much as possible the language of photography.
So these very things we're talking about are those language elements that make this image look like a photograph. The more we can take this out before we ever apply a brush to it, the more this is going to look like a painting in the end. I can't tell you the sad stories I've seen in teaching classes where people will spend an inordinate amount of time painting an image and when they ask what do you think of it, I'll look at it and I say, "Well, why is the horizon tilted?" They didn't bother to take those things out, and those are the little things you have to get rid of in order to get a successful source image to turn into a painting.
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