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DxO ViewPoint 3 review

  |   Articles and reviews, Composition, DxO, Image Editing, Review, Software review, Software update, Tilt / Shift   |   No comment

Review of DxO ViewPoint V3 image geometry correction software

Altering image geometry and simulating tilt/shift effects


DxO ViewPoint has been updated to version three (update announcement).

The software works as a component for DxO Optics Pro, a plugin for many image editing programs and as a stand-alone application.

V3 adds a number of refinements to its editing options and a new depth of field simulation option, giving a ’tilt/shift’ style or ‘miniature world’ look to images.

As a photographer with a hefty set of real tilt/shift lenses, why would being able to simulate these effects in software be of any use?

Keith looks at some example images taken with wide angle lenses and shows why software correction is still of help, and sometimes, you might actually want to add a distortion.

Jump to: Conclusions

dxo ViewPoint 3

Fixing image geometry

There are several times I may want to adjust the geometry of a photo. The obvious case is a building that I’ve shot with a wide angle lens, but tilted it upwards, resulting in converging verticals and maybe a feeling that the building is falling over.

A less obvious problem comes with using wide angle lenses to photograph groups of people, where people get stretched as you go from the centre of the image.

Both these issues are addressed in DxO ViewPoint – which I’ve reviewed in the past (ViewPoint, ViewPoint 2) VP3 adds automatic options for image correction and a tilt/shift effect.

The software installs initially as a standalone application.

dxo viewpoint installer

It will find all the places it needs to go

plugin install

If you start up the software application it even includes a set of sample images to practice with.

DxO also have good documentation and additional help via their web site (where you can get a trial version).

sample images

A group of people

I’ll start with a a group of architects at a local meeting…

The photo was taken with Canon’s wide EF-11-24mm f4L lens. I’m showing examples using ViewPoint as a plugin for Photoshop here, but the options are the same for standalone use.

The file’s opened in the ViewPoint window.

opening a file

View options are along the top of the window and all the adjustment controls at the right.

I can make use of DxO’s lens correction data for (optional) additional correction of supported lenses.

adjustment and lens info

There are two default settings of ‘Volume deformation’ available, which will suit different subjects.

Actually, with the adjustment sliders, you can fine tune the whole effect, since the aim is usually to produce an more pleasing look to the image, rather than geometric precision.

Here’s just a horizontal correction applied

horizontal deformation

Here’s a better looking version correcting on both axes.

When comparing the views look at the relative sizes and proportions of the people -and- the behaviour of straight lines in the room.

volume deformation

You may notice too how the correction comes the the price of having to crop the image.

Leaning buildings

I’ll show a couple of example shots taken with a wide angle lens, where I’ve not been particularly careful with framing…

This view, looking down High Street in Leicester shows the typical problem with shooting buildings when looking up or down with a wide lens.

rooftop view of Leicester

A simple application of the ‘Auto’ button finds verticals in the image and does a really good job of straightening them.

auto correction results

The image is cropped a bit in the process, and I can see the transform applied to the image, by temporarily turning off the crop.

turn off crop

If you look at the edges of the image, you’ll see that they are slightly curved. In fixing the geometry, ViewPoint has also made allowances for the small amount of distortion that the lens introduced.

If I was using a much cheaper lens like the EF-S 10-18mm I reviewed a while ago, the corrections for lens distortions would be even more obvious.

Remember though that the distorted people above and leaning verticals are properties of wide lenses, no matter how good/expensive.

Here’s a bigger version of the photo – click to open in a viewer.

high street Leicester

The miniature version

Having lens tilt is a wonderful tool for controlling the exact placement of the plane of focus, but I’ve come across a lot of people who seem to think that it’s just for ‘miniature world’ style shots – it isn’t.

ViewPoint offers a simple tool that allow you to blur parts of your image on either side of an arbitrary line – it does it very well, but once you’ve tried it…

miniature effect

The blur is a very realistic blur, with lots of options.

blur options

If you’re curious about what real tilt of a lens can do, have a look at my basic introduction to tilt/shift lenses.

It looks quite good (click to enlarge) – if you like that sort of stuff ;-)

miniature view

Leicester bus station

This shot was taken during my testing of the Laowa 12mm ultra wide lens

It’s hand held and although, by keeping the camera level I’ve tried to make sure verticals are true, I’ve only managed it for the pillar on the left.

slight tilt of camera

This is quite easy to do with wide lenses when shooting hand held and is one reason I tend to use a tripod for most of my architectural work.

The auto fix corrects this quite easily (shown with the side by side comparison box ticked)

side by side

However, note the crop, and loss of feet in the bottom RH corner.

You might decide that the leaning vertical at the RH side contributes to the sense of movement in the photo…

Verticals make quite a difference to photos – see this short note on vertical lines and movement in composition for a few more thoughts.

The lens is a fully manual one, so lacks EXIF data for some of the correction calculations.

missing exif data

It still does a pretty good job though.

More corrections

It’s possible to set multiple points/lines in an image and force them to vertical/horizontal.

The lines are simply moved over features you want to use.

eight point

I’m going for an extreme transformation that makes the sign board horizontal.

Showing the uncropped result gives an idea of just how strong the transformation is.

8 point transformed

You don’t have to use the suggested crop.

The resulting (much smaller) image – click to enlarge

8 point result
Not just expensive lenses

All kinds of shots can be processed – this example is a hand held evening photo of the fountains outside of Leicester Town Hall with a Canon 50mm f/1.4 lens

leaning town hall

Of course, you’ll have to decide how to handle the crop and any other work on the image…

Conclusions

A sound update to an already very useful piece of software (See my previous reviews for more sample images).

A trial version of the software is available from DxO.

The automatic setting proved much more capable than I expected – giving good results with lots of images I threw at it.

The ‘miniature world’ function looks like you’d expect it to look, but to be honest, as someone who uses real tilt/shift lenses a lot and finds the miniature look tiresome, you’re not going to be surprised by my impressions.

Where I immediately found the plugin of use is that I often use shifted lenses hand-held and expect to correct slight inaccuracies. Viewpoint handled these images really well, and considering that it’s integrated into DxO Optics Pro, makes one more reason I choose to use it for some of my RAW processing.

All Keith's DxO reviews may be found via the Article Categories listing for DxO in the right column of any page.

System requirements

The following operating systems are supported:

  • Windows 7, 8, 8.1, 10 (64-bit only)
  • OS X 10.8 (Mountain Lion), 10.9 (Mavericks), 10.10 (Yosemite), 10.11 (El Capitan), 10.12 (Sierra)

The minimum hardware configuration:

  • Intel Core 2 Duo or equivalent, 2GB RAM

The recommended hardware configuration:

  • Intel Core i5 or equivalent
  • 4GB RAM
  • Open GL enabled graphic accelerator.

 

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