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Image ProcessingUsing Distortion Adjustment to Square Up an Image

Post-processing: Editing techniques, software, hardware and other resources. Chemical or digital.
From simple corrections to multi-layered edits, actions, tone mapping and more.
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Ceropegia
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Using Distortion Adjustment to Square Up an Image

Postby Ceropegia » Sun May 28, 2017 3:01 pm

When in LA a couple of years ago, I took a photo of a mural I very much liked that was at the Main Street entrance to the James K. Hahn Los Angeles City Hall East Building. The mural by Millard Sheets is called "The Family of Man". From left to right, it depicts a South America Native, Islam, Japan, Africa, Mexico, Ancient Egypt, China, Scandinavia, Native America, India, and Russia. Because of pillars and the limitations of the camera I had with me, I was unable to get a full on view. So I set about seeing if I could get a better rendering of the mural. I increased the canvas size to make more working room then, using PSE12's image transformation distortion option, I squared up the image and stretched it to approximately its size proportionally (60 feet by 28 feet). Also the colors in the mural are purported to be quite vibrant but their luminance is lost in the shade of a deep overhang, so I also added a little saturation to increase the vibrancy. While portions within the image have certainly been distorted somewhat by this process and I doubt it is true to color, none-the-less, for me, at least, the totality of the mural is now much easier to take in. Below is the unedited original and the digitally manipulated version.
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Last edited by Ceropegia on Sun May 28, 2017 7:18 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Using Distortion Adjustment to Square Up an Image

Postby minniev » Sun May 28, 2017 3:16 pm

I think you did a great job of this task, and I appreciate your talking about the "how". I have run into this many times, especially with big paintings in places with difficult angles like cathedrals. Enlarging the canvas is a step I sometimes fail to use in mitigating these situations but you're right, it has a solid place in the workflow.

Thanks for bringing us this discussion, and the very pleasing image you came out with.
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Re: Using Distortion Adjustment to Square Up an Image

Postby Didereaux » Sun May 28, 2017 5:19 pm

Now grasshopper your next step is to correct the distortion while keeping the subject in its environment. PS6 ( if I remember correctly) and one or two commercial addons (Topaz(?) ) can do this using any number of orientation lines you have patience for. But to make the work easier, if you know you are going to want to do this, then square up the viewpoint on site. This would have been a simple perspective correction had you stood more centered in front of the mural.

...and of course, if you are going to make a habit of these kinds of shots (lol) then you should definetly look at a tilt-shift lens. At half the price of the Canon, and Nikons I have found the Samyang/Rokinon to do a very decent job. You really only ever need the shift function, and since all t-s lens are manual you might look on eBAy or the camera shops for an old 1970's Nikon PC lens(is shift only) and is quite a nice lens and runs in the $200 range (like all Fmount lens it will mount on just about anything named Nikon.. An adapter to Canon runs $10-$15 from Fotodiox it is a 24mm lens which is really the one you want. the longer focal lengths have very limited usefulness.
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Re: Using Distortion Adjustment to Square Up an Image

Postby Ceropegia » Sun May 28, 2017 6:56 pm

Didereaux wrote:But to make the work easier, if you know you are going to want to do this, then square up the viewpoint on site. This would have been a simple perspective correction had you stood more centered in front of the mural.

...and of course, if you are going to make a habit of these kinds of shots (lol) then you should definetly look at a tilt-shift lens. At half the price of the Canon, and Nikons I have found the Samyang/Rokinon to do a very decent job. You really only ever need the shift function, and since all t-s lens are manual you might look on eBAy or the camera shops for an old 1970's Nikon PC lens(is shift only) and is quite a nice lens and runs in the $200 range (like all Fmount lens it will mount on just about anything named Nikon.. An adapter to Canon runs $10-$15 from Fotodiox it is a 24mm lens which is really the one you want. the longer focal lengths have very limited usefulness.


Because of the spacing of pillars in front of the building, I could not position myself in a more centered location and take in the whole mural. I did not have a wide enough angle lens. I took the best angle I thought I could get (note the pillar on the right side of the original) Additionally, a tilt shift lens or a wider angle lens would have been no help because the camera I had with me at the time did not have interchangeable lenses. Even if I did have a camera with interchangeable lenses, there is a limit to how many I can take with me if, when on vacation, I must fly to reach my destination. Fancier lenses with greater capabilities would most likely have remained at home. BTW, my DSLR equivalent camera is a SONY with an A-mount, essentially making Canon and Nikon lenses out of the question and limiting my choices overall.
Last edited by Ceropegia on Sun May 28, 2017 10:19 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Using Distortion Adjustment to Square Up an Image

Postby Ceropegia » Sun May 28, 2017 7:09 pm

minniev wrote:I think you did a great job of this task, and I appreciate your talking about the "how". I have run into this many times, especially with big paintings in places with difficult angles like cathedrals. Enlarging the canvas is a step I sometimes fail to use in mitigating these situations but you're right, it has a solid place in the workflow.

Thanks for bringing us this discussion, and the very pleasing image you came out with.


Thanks,
I am "required" by my sister to edit her photos from her world travels where she often takes odd angled shots of museum paintings, floor and wall mosaics, things high up on buildings, etc.; so through the years I think I have gotten better at providing her better images. But, not until recently did the light bulb in my head go on to increase the canvas size to allow more room to operate without losing part of the desired object. (May have to go back and redo some of the earlier attempts I did for my sister.)
Another thing, I was lucky with this conversion because I knew the relative size of the mural. When I do not have this information, especially true in the case where I am editing my sisters photos and have no idea what size the object was, I have to guess how much to stretch it length and width wise once I get the image squared up.

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Re: Using Distortion Adjustment to Square Up an Image

Postby pop511 » Sun May 28, 2017 7:12 pm

Thank you for doing the how and why
ed davis

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Re: Using Distortion Adjustment to Square Up an Image

Postby LindaShorey » Sun May 28, 2017 9:00 pm

Fantastic demo (and a beautiful mural). I've done a few distortions in PS Elements 13. I think for a couple I increased the canvas size, but now I need to go back and figure out if I had a brain cramp on others and lost part of the image by not doing that. Thanks so much for the info, Martha!
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Re: Using Distortion Adjustment to Square Up an Image

Postby St3v3M » Tue May 30, 2017 3:42 am

I'm going to keep this in mind when in a pinch as I often see the same and wonder how to get the shot with trees and architecture in the way.

Thank you so much for this. It's helping knowing I can and now knowing how. Thank you! S-
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Re: Using Distortion Adjustment to Square Up an Image

Postby Ceropegia » Wed May 31, 2017 1:35 pm

LindaShorey wrote:Fantastic demo (and a beautiful mural). I've done a few distortions in PS Elements 13. I think for a couple I increased the canvas size, but now I need to go back and figure out if I had a brain cramp on others and lost part of the image by not doing that. Thanks so much for the info, Martha

!
St3v3M wrote:I'm going to keep this in mind when in a pinch as I often see the same and wonder how to get the shot with trees and architecture in the way.
Thank you so much for this. It's helping knowing I can and now knowing how. Thank you! S-


pop511 wrote:Thank you for doing the how and why


You're welcome and thanks for commenting!

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Re: Using Distortion Adjustment to Square Up an Image

Postby Charles Haacker » Wed May 31, 2017 3:14 pm

Martha, I think that's a terrific job! I can see at a glance at the top of the original that monster support column almost dead-center, plus close to the mural (ya gotta wonder why somebody decided to put a gorgeous work of art there but I guess it hadda go someplace). I cannot perceive any major distortion, especially at the right end where I would expect it to be most apparent. I can see a faint grid of lines (tiles, perhaps?) that is perfectly aligned vertically and horizontally. The colors are vibrant and if not accurate who (frankly) cares? I have done this myself but never on this scale, assuming going in that it wouldn't work, a bridge too far. You've proved that it can be done and I think it's wonderful! :thumbup: (OK)
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