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  1. Creating a Tilt-Shift Effect
  2. Intentional Creative Distortion: A Toy Camera Look
  3. Final Thoughts
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From the author of Intentional Creative Distortion: A Toy Camera Look

Intentional Creative Distortion: A Toy Camera Look

While the primary purpose of Lens Correction is to neutralize a lens’s quirks, the controls have enough play in them that you can use them to put those quirks in, making an image creatively “incorrect” instead of “correct.” In this example, I’ll use Lens Correction to simulate some of the major artifacts you get with a plastic toy camera, which is a popular look. I’ll start with the image shown in Figure 7.

Figure 7 Original image (left), and final image (right)

  1. Open the image in Camera Raw, Lightroom, or Photoshop as in the previous example, and apply standard corrections if you want.
  2. Apply the Distortion, Horizontal/Horizontal Perspective, Vertical/Vertical Perspective, Rotation/Angle, and Scale controls as needed to warp the image the way you want (see Figure 8).
  3. Figure 8 After applying distortions.

    Again, notice how much surrounding area was lost by applying the barrel distortion that makes the center bulge out. If I hadn’t left as much room, the amount of distortion I could apply would have been more limited.

  4. Reduce the Lens Vignetting value to darken the corners (see Figure 9). If the effect isn’t strong enough, reduce the Midpoint value to move the effect further into the frame.
  5. Figure 9 After applying vignetting, resulting in the final image.

If you’re working in Camera Raw or Lightroom and you want more vignetting than you can achieve in Lens Correction or if you’re working with a cropped image, you can also apply Post-Crop Vignetting, which is in the Effects tab or panel. Because Post-Crop Vignetting is considered a creative effect rather than a correction, you’re allowed to use more extreme values that also respect cropped edges rather than the entire lens area.

If you’re working in Photoshop, you can also add more simulated camera artifacts such as the Filter > Render > Lens Flare command. Note, though, that Lens Flare requires at least an 8-bits-per-channel color image, so I won’t apply it to this black-and-white image.

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