Flatiron Building Workflow

July 29, 2011  •  Leave a Comment
So how do you go from this:
DSC_8707-1
Meh.
To this:
DSC_8707-2
Booya!
Photoshop Elements, and a little help from my friends. First, the picture is tilted, and as nearly always happens when photographing something tall, there's a perspective issue. So after loading the image in Elements my first stop is Filter -> Correct Camera Distortion. After playing a bit with the sliders I ended up with this intermediate monstrosity:
DSC_8707distortion
This is an improvement?
I was using my Tamron lens, which means the firmware in my camera did not correct or reduce the distortion automatically. That's supposed to be my punishment for not buying a Nikon lens. My final results were +39 on remove distortion, -34 on vertical perspective, 1.5 degrees of rotation, and 108% on edge extension to make it mostly fit back in the box. Incidentally, the Tamron lens only exhibits this degree of trouble when it's zoomed all the way out to 18mm - if I had simply zoomed in to around 25mm and not included so much of the ground I probably could have avoided most of this. But I was in a hurry as we had a lot to do that day, so I just fired a few shots knowing I could do the touchup later.

After clicking OK I cropped the image to remove the curved edges and the buildings on the sides, coming down to this:
DSC_8707crop
Better.
Now, the real magic happens. I ran the Mini Fusion action available from MCP Actions. It's a free download to demonstrate what the rest of the product lineup can do, and it's totally amazing. After running the action my layers palette went from nothing to this:
DSC_8707layers
Gadzooks!
 And the image instantly changed to this:
DSC_8707mfbefore
Now we're talking!
With a little more jiggery-pokery on the layer visibility, opacity settings, and some masking to darken the sky a bit, the final result is the second image above - but in case you forgot:
DSC_8707-2
Click for full size. Click it, I tell you!
Total editing time was around ten minutes, and most of that was spent in the distortion screen. Next time I'll zoom in and have this in five.

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