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Photoshop CS5 Hidden Gem: Lens Correction

This week a few of us from the Photoshop, Lightroom, Photoshop Touch and Carousel teams are in NYC with an agenda focused on photography.

Product managers, engineers and evangelists Eric Chan, Tom Hogarty, Bryan O’Neil Hughes, Julieanne Kost, Sharad Mangalick, John Nack and Chris Quek plan on presenting and attending sessions at Photo Plus Expo and are hosting a few photo walks at Fotocare, leading photographers along the new section of the Highline and providing free instruction and demos.

All this activity makes it that much more timely that the latest Hidden Gem is around the topic of Lens Correction. Having just arrived off a flight from San Francisco, Bryan O’Neil Hughes, senior product manager for Photoshop, and I opted to caffeinate ourselves at Starbucks this morning and talk about one of his favorite features in Photoshop CS5.

What are the common reasons why photographers need to utilize Lens Correction?

Bryan: Any lens will benefit from it…every single lens, even a prime Zeiss lens, will be improved by lens correction. I’d say that Barrel distortion is the most obvious and egregious of the problems that we account for. We’ve all seen the wide angle shots where people on the edges of the image have unflattering limbs and features…or the straight lines of an architectural image are bent – those can be corrected automatically in Photoshop CS5 (or Adobe camera raw 6.1 or later and Lightroom 3). While distortion is the most obvious with a wide–angle lens, any lens has artifacts – color fringing and darkened corners (or vignetting) are also problematic. Truth be told, additive vignetting is enjoying active use these days, but our adjustment can also exaggerate these distortions if desired.

What do you feel is particularly exciting about Lens Correction in Photoshop CS5?

Bryan: Historically lens correction was a very manual process and one only reserved for “hero shots” or very patient, meticulous users. Photoshop CS5 reads the camera’s EXIF data and matches the lens, aperture and camera body to a database of profiles – the effect is automatic and instantaneous.

Lens correction is also in Lightroom, right?

Bryan: Lens correction actually lives in three places:
1) Photoshop’s Filter menu – this is unique in that community profiles can be browsed directly from within the dialogue and some additional controls are available
2) Adobe camera raw 6.1 or later- remember that this can be used for JPEG and TIFF files as well as over 400 proprietary raw files
3) Lightroom 3 – offers the same experience as Camera raw 6.1, as the Develop module utilizes the same engine

Which images do you use Lens Correction on?

Bryan: While every image benefits in some way, I ALWAYS use it for iPhone imagery (yes, we have profiles for them!) and wide shots from my DSLR. I also have a Canon S95; lens correction makes a huge difference with cameras like that which have a significant zoom range.


Example of a lens corrected Canon S95 image – Bryan O’Neil Hughes’ captures his son at Mission Ranch in Carmel, CA

Example of a lens corrected iPhone image – Bryan O’Neil Hughes amid clouds and fog in Big Sur, CA

How do Adobe Lens Correction profiles differ from community profiles and how do you decide which ones go in the application?

Bryan: Well, there are a lot more lenses than cameras…and we profile by camera AND body, so you can imagine how many variations there are! We’ve added (and continue to add) what we hear are the most popular, but there’s a lot out there. We have a pretty regimented program for testing in-house at various focal lengths and apertures, so the profiles you see from us represent a very high level of quality. For the community, that’s why we enabled a ranking system, so that the users can judge which work best – the community aspect has been a really exciting twist in adding to the library of lenses we correct.

For those in the NYC area, Bryan will also be speaking about Hidden Gems in Photoshop CS5 at a workshop session at Shoot NYC on Friday, October 28 at 1:45pm.

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nice blog and nice point out for correcting the common problems, i like it :-) thank you

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