Many times when taking images of buildings or when doing street photography it can be important to apply perspective adjustments to correct distracting angles. There are a number of software programs that can be used to correct perspectives. I find DxO ViewPoint 2 very effective and easy to use. This article demonstrates how to do a couple of common adjustments.
(NOTE: click on images to enlarge them)
Before we look at two simple types of adjustments I’d like to remind readers that this article is not intended to compare perspective control functions in different software programs. Nor am I inferring that this software is superior to other options available. DxO ViewPoint 2 is simply the program that I choose to use for these types of adjustments.
Let’s have a look at how two specific types of common perspective adjustments can be done using DxO ViewPoint 2.
One of the most common perspective adjustments photographers make with their images is to force vertical parallels, especially when shooting with wide angle lenses.
Here is the original file of one of the images I took in Nafplio Greece and how it appears when it is initially opened up in DxO ViewPoint 2 before any adjustments are made.
You will immediately notice the rather severe angles that are caused when shooting with a wide angle lens. In this case I used a 1 Nikon 6.7-13mm wide angle lens shot at 7mm, or an equivalent field of view of 19mm on a full frame camera.
It is important to remember that the decision to adjust an image using any kind of perspective control software should be made before the photograph is actually taken. This is because you will purposely frame the image differently to allow for the anticipated changes in perspective.
In the case of the above image I purposely included part of the door archway on the right hand side, and the second set of windows on the building on the left hand side. I knew that these parts of the original photograph would not be visible in the perspective-adjusted image but I needed some cropping room for the perspective adjustments. It is also very important to consider how much taller a subject in your image may become when perspective adjustments are applied. Leaving more ‘headroom’ or sky in an image is a critical consideration when planning how to frame an image to allow for perspective adjustments. If you look at the amount of sky in the left hand image of the ‘before and after’ comparison you’ll see how much taller the yellow building is and how much sky has disappeared. The closer you are to a subject, the greater the amount of potential perspective adjustments an image may require.
To activate the vertical perspective function I clicked on the icon showing two pairs of circles connected vertically. Once you click this icon the ‘force vertical parallel’ message appears as well as two pairs of vertical lines on your image.
To set the perspective on the left hand side of the image I clicked and dragged each of the two dots on the left hand guide line. You’ll see that I lined them up with the outside edge of the second set of windows on the building. Precise positioning of the dots can be done by using the ‘loupe’ in the bottom right hand corner of the screen.
To set the perspective on the right hand side I did the same thing and lined everything up along the edge of the door archway.
Then I clicked ‘Apply’ and DxO ViewPoint 2 shows how the image will be adjusted, cropped and displayed. If I didn’t like how the image looked I would click on “Edit”, then “Undo” in the top command line and try a different set of reference points. I also may want a ‘less than square’ appearance. In that case I could use the ‘Natural’ setting or adjust the image by using the ‘Intensity’ slider. I’ve found that for the vast majority of images I prefer the ‘Full’ setting, but this is a matter of personal taste.
If the perspective adjustment is to my liking I simply click “File” then “Save”, or “Save as” and re-name it if I want to keep the original version of the image. A simple adjustment like the one above typically takes me about 15-20 seconds to complete assuming I don’t change the file name (yes, I did use a stop watch to measure the time).
My client business focuses on industrial photography and video productions that are most often related to safety. As a result I take a lot of photographs of safety bulletins posted on bulletin boards, signage on factory walls, and safety stickers on machinery. To have these images look their best in video productions it is important that I adjust both vertical and horizontal parallel orientations.
I had a similar need with one of the images that I took in Mykonos Greece. Let’s have a look at how the original image appears when opened up in DxO ViewPoint 2 when the four-point perspective adjustment is used.
You’ll see that four connected dots appear on the image.
Using the ‘click and drag’ method I have positioned a dot on each of the four corners of the sign.
After clicking ‘Apply’ the sign is now ‘square’ in the image frame.
If I want to crop the image further I often click on the grid icon so I can double check that the four sides of the sign are all exactly parallel with the sides of the frame.
I use the crop function built into ViewPoint 2, selecting ‘Manual’ and ‘Unconstrained’ settings so I can crop as desired. You can see on the above image that I have cropped out all of the background around the sign. If I’m happy with how it looks then I click on ‘Apply’.
I now have a completed image, ‘square’ and cropped that I can ‘Save’ or ‘Save as’. Making adjustments to get these types of subjects ‘square’ in the frame takes about 15-20 seconds. Using the grid and cropping the image can add another 15-30 seconds.
These are the two most common, simple adjustments I do with DxO ViewPoint 2. I am certainly not an expert in the use of this program and readers who want to check its capabilities out further should visit the DxO website, and/or download a free trial version.
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Article and all images Copyright 2014, Thomas Stirr. All rights reserved. No use, reproduction or duplication including electronic is allowed without written consent.