Join Tim Grey for an in-depth discussion in this video The Adaptive Wide Angle filter, part of Photoshop CS6 New Features Overview (2012).
Wide angle lenses enable you to capture images with a unique perspective. But they can also lead to some unique distortion issues. The new adaptive Wide Angle filter in Photoshop CS6 enables you to very easily correct for that distortion in wide angle shots. Let's take a look at how it works. I'm going to start off by creating a duplicate of this image, just so that we can get a better sense of the before and after when we're all finished. I'll go ahead and choose Image and then Duplicate from the menu. I'll go ahead and click OK, accepting the new name for this duplicate image, and we're ready to get started.
To access the adaptive wide-angle filter I'll go to the Filter menu and choose Adaptive Wide-Angle. That will bring up the Adaptive Wide-Angle dialog, and we can get started applying some corrections. Note first of all that the filter has recognized, based on the metadata, which camera and lens, and in fact, the specific focal length was used to capture this image. And so it's able to apply some automatic adjustments. I'll go ahead and turn off the preview and then turn it back on. And you can see that it has applied an automatic correction to his page based on that metadata. But I'd like to take things a little bit further.
So I'm going to switch from the Auto Corrective mode to the Perspective Corrective mode. And that will allow me to exercise just a bit more control as you'll see in a moment. The first thing I'd like to do, is straighten out some of the curvature. You'll notice especially over on the left hand side here, there's a bit of curvature from the bottom of the image up towards the top. I'm going to add a constraint line with the Constraint tool. You'll notice it's active by default, so I can simply come into the image and then click and drag across the image. Essentially following the line, of these windows.
But notice that that line is automatically curved and that's curved based on the known behavior of the lens that was used to capture this image. I'll go ahead and move this line around a little bit so you can get a better sense of the curvature. Going diagonally here, you see that we have a straight line, or very close to a straight line. But if we go vertical you'll see quite a bit of curvature based on the lens behavior. I'll go ahead and release the mouse there and you'll see that that line is straightened out, we've applied a correction over on the left side. Of course we still have some curvature over on the left side.
So, I'll go ahead and look for what should be a straight line over here. Not quite as much distortion on this side, but you can see that there is a bit of curvature in that line, and releasing the mouse, we get a correction. Of course, I also have a little bit of an issue with leaning in this image. The vertical line here is not exactly vertical. I could certainly correct that outside of the adaptive wide-angle filter. But as long as I'm here, I might as well correct that as well. I'll go ahead and click and drag, but I'm going to add the Shift key while I'm dragging.
Notice that changes the line color to magenta. And that's telling Photoshop that I would like to use this line in order to set a vertical plane for for the image. So I'll define that edge of the building. And then again, holding the shift key while I'm dragging, I'll release the mouse and that point will become vertical. I'm going to reduce the scale setting here so we can get a sense of just how much distortion has been adjusted in this image. You can see the curvature and the angles around the outer edge of the photo, for example. We can use the scale setting in order to eliminate the area around the outer edge, effectively cropping the image. But we don't have quite as much control here.
So I'm going to save that for later, and in fact I'm going to leave the scale set relatively low so we can see more of the image. So we'll get a better sense of the cropping a little bit later. Notice by the way that we can adjust the individual settings, for example the Focal Length and Crop Factor, in order to fine-tune the distortion correction. But generally speaking, I would allow Photoshop to automatically calculate these values based on the metadata. But you can certainly apply either additional distortion, or additional correction to the image if you'd like. For example, in this case adjusting that focal length gives me a little bit more of a vertical line along the left edge. That looks to be a pretty good correction.
Note by the way that I could also specify a polygon. So for example if I wanted to start with a polygonal shape, I could click and drag around the outer perimeter of the image, for example, in order to apply a correction based on that area. So you can see here for example. That eliminates some of the curvature at the bottom, et cetera. But in this case I just wanted to adjust that vertical curvature and set that centered line to straight, perfectly vertical, so I don't this polygonal adjustment. I'll go ahead and just press Backspace or Delete to remove that polygonal shape for correction.
At this point, I think I'm in pretty good shape. I'm ready to apply the final effect. So I'll click the OK button, and that will process this image, so that the correction is applied. I then choose the Crop tool, and I'll just drag each of the edges inside the actual image area, as a starting point. I want to make sure as much as possible, that I'm not leaving any of that transparency in the background. I think I this case that will work out pretty well, essentially just keeping as much of the image as possible. I'll go ahead and apply that crop, and then I'll adjust the zoom setting here. And I'm going to switch back and forth between the two images so that you can get a better sense of the correction that was applied. The curvature over on the left side for example, has now been removed, and that middle line is now perfectly vertical.
So a very significant correction in this case, and one that I think improves the overall perspective for the photo.
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