ChromaticSoul :: The Blog

Fish-eye Lens Effect Without a Fish-eye Lens

Posted on: 30 December 2007

Santa didn’t bring me a fish-eye lens. Boo hoo hoo! I really wanted one.

I’m going to show you how to get that fish-eye lens effect without an expensive fish-eye lens. Instead, we’ll use Photoshop.

First, you need to start with a square photo. (see photo 1)

I made the adjustments in Lightroom and then took it into Photoshop CS3. However you can simply bring your photo into Photoshop and then go to Image > Image Size and in the Image Size dialog box, check the Resample image check box to be sure that Bicubic is selected for interpolation type. Then uncheck Constrain Proportions so that you can alter just one dimension. You will want to click in the Height of the box and type in exactly the same value that is displayed for the Width and Click OK. There may be a little distortion, but this will not be noticeable after we apply the fish-eye effect.

Once you have a square image you go to Filter > Distort > Spherize. In the Spherize dialog box you should select Normal for Mode and increase the Amount slider to a maximum of 100%. Click OK to apply the filter. (see photo 2)

Next we need to select the Elliptical Marquee tool from the Toolbar, choose Fixed Aspect Ratio from the Style box in the Options bar and then position the mouse pointer in the center of the image. While holding down the Alt key we click and drag a circular selection. Don’t worry about the selection fitting exactly; we’ll adjust that in the next step.

To adjust the selection to fit the distortion, go to Select > Transform Selection and click the Maintain Aspect Ration chain link in the Options bar and grab one of the corner handles on the selection bounding box. Carefully adjust the size of the selection with these handles until the circular selection matches the size of the lens distortion. Commit the transformation by clicking on the checkmark in the Options bar.

Now we need to fill the area around the outside of the lens distortion with black so invert the selection using, Select > Inverse and then go to Edit > Fill and choose Black for Contents. (see photo 3)

For the next step, we need to extent the canvas a little. First, hit D on the keyboard for default black/white colors, then hit X to swap them so that black is the background color. Then go to Image > Canvas Size. Check the Relative box and enter 2 cm in both dimension boxes. Check to be sure that the central Anchor square is selected and that the Canvas Extension Color is set to Background. That gives us a nice little border. Now we’ll add a touch of Lens Flare for added effect.

Go to Filter > Render > Lens Flare. In the Lens Flare dialog box, set the Brightness slider to 100% and choose the 105 mm Prime for the Lens Type. Drag the crosshair in the Preview pane across to the very edge of the circular image and voila! (see photo 4)

pre_fisheye.jpg spherize.jpg fisheye_bkgrnd.jpg fisheye.jpg


2 Responses to "Fish-eye Lens Effect Without a Fish-eye Lens"

[…] Fish Eye Lens Effect Without a Fish Eye Lens […]

The new Photoshop package costs a lot more than a Fisheye lens! I know what I’ll be buying!.

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