Monday, October 20, 2008

my Hero: Bill Waterson

(note distortion from camera angle and page not being level)

(note the use of a distort filter in Photoshop)

Today in class we went over the basics on how to shoot 2D and 3D artwork. The three major problems with photographing flat art, like prints, drawings or paintings: 1) flash bouncing off of the surface (like the glass or varnish) making lots of distracting highlights, 2) uneven light source creating light and dark spots all over the art and 3)artwork and camera not being level and square to each other. If they're not directly facing each other, at the same height and angle, then the painting won't look square. It will be a trapezoid like the top Calvin and Hobbes image.

Someone in class mentioned a way to fix the distortion using Photoshop. I've fought with this before, so I had to go home and try it myself. To correct the trapezoid and make it square, open the image in Photoshop and apply a distort filter called Lens Correction. A window pops up with slide bars that you get to move around to see what they do! If the edges of your paintings are too dark, you can fix that here. You can also change the angle and vertical and horizontal relation. That is what I did to make the comic more square. Then I recropped it to make it look cleaner. It is still not perfect, but it is getting there.

To avoid having to fix the trapezoid image, use a tripod with a level. If you are photographing something that is hanging, use a level on that too. Then make sure the camera lens lines up with the middle of the artwork. If you shoot down on it or from below, this will also cause distortion. Good luck!

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