A fish-eye lens, also known as a wide-angle lens, allows a photographer to capture a wide angle of view and include more area within a scene. The trade off, however, is distortion, which may make the image appear circular or warped in some way. There are steps you can take to correct this kind of distortion digitally.
Things You'll Need
Use Digital Methods to Correct for Distortion
Let Photoshop do it for you. With your image open, click the "Filter" pull-down menu and choose "Distort," then "Lens Correction." This will open a new view of your image inside Photoshop. By default, you will see a grid placed over your photos.
Experiment with the first "Remove Distortion" slider. Sliding to the left will increase the barrel distortion you see with fish-eye and wide-angle lenses. Move the slider to the right until you see a decrease in distortion. Use the grid as a guide. Click "OK" when you are satisfied, and the image will appear inside Photoshop with the correction applied.
Free "Transform" for more control. If your image is a "Background" layer, double click its layer in the layer stack to make it a regular layer. Type the "Control" and "t" keys ("Command" and "t" on a Mac) to invoke the "Transform" option. You will see a border with boxes at each corner appear around your image. Right click (or "Command" click on a Mac) to choose what kind of transformation you want to perform. Choose "Warp" from the options. A grid will appear over the image.
Click on the middle left side of the grid on the small box and drag inward. Do the same on the right side until your image looks less distorted. Press the "Enter" key to end the transformation.
Choose "Liquify" from the "Filter" menu. Your image will open in a separate window with many options. Select the fourth option down from the upper left. This is the "Pucker" tool. The "s" key will also activate it. In the tool settings on the right, make sure the brush is large enough to cover your entire image, or as close as possible.
Now click with the brush for the "Pucker" tool placed in the center of your image. This should bring the sides of the image in towards the center, and reduce some of the distortion. If the effect is too extreme, undo it and try decreasing the "Brush Rate" for the "Pucker" tool options, and try again.
Tips & Warnings
- Always work on a copy of your original, since these techniques usually work directly on your image's pixels.
- When using a fish-eye lens, keep in mind that techniques as in this article will usually require you to delete areas towards the edges of your image, since they will be pulled inwards to correct the distortion and leave transparent areas behind. Therefore, do not include important elements towards the edges of your image.
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