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Review of DxO ViewPoint V1.1

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Review of DxO ViewPoint V1.1

Straightforward correction of image geometry.


If you use wide angle lenses then you can’t have failed to notice the distortions that come with shooting groups of people (stretched faces) or that when pointing the camera upwards at tall buildings, they tend to look as if they are falling backwards.

Keith has been looking at the ViewPoint software from DxO that allows for relatively simple corrections of these deficiencies.

portrait image correction

Software tested on a Mac, but works on both Mac & Windows. DxO ViewPoint from Amazon US | Amazon UK
There is a free demo of the software available which gives a time limited, but fully functional version of the software.

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


ViewPoint 1.1 – What do you get?

The software work as a standalone package or as a plugin for common imaging programs.

During installation, it found several versions of software that it could work with.

viewpoint install options

Since I use Photoshop for all my editing work, I’ll be using that for the examples here.

The software functionality is however the same, whatever way you use it.

Using DxO FilmPack

Viewpoint appears in my filters list like any other plugin (note that I’ve got DxO FilmPack too)

I’ve picked an image from a Christmas party I was at last year (as a guest, not the photographer!) where the wide-angle distortions attendant with using a 14mm lens are very obvious with faces.

selecting plugin from filters menu

The image opens up in the ViewPoint window (full screen is an option)

The simplest adjustment is just to go for the stretch anamorphosis setting at the top of the controls panels

(move your mouse over the image to see the drastic improvement).

Because I’m looking downwards, there is also a ‘keystone’ distortion, which I can simply select with a couple of indicator lines. The lines are matched up with what I know are verticals in the image(mouse over the image to see)

Note how the magnified Loupe tool, shows the position of the control lines very clearly, and makes for easy setting against image features.

If I move to a manual crop setting for the image, you can see just how much of your image area is lost when performing corrections like this.

image cropping

Note too, how the correction has completely changed the foreground/background emphasis.

There are a wide range of image cropping options, forcing different aspect ratios, and optionally constraining the crop to areas of image detail – i.e. avoiding any black triangles in the corners of your image.

setting crop aspect ratio

The anamorphosis adjustment works just fine for portrait images (again with the 14mm on a full frame Canon 1Ds mark 3)

correcting images in portrait orientation

I’d note that the ‘intensity’ of correction can be fine tuned. You don’t need to get a ‘perfect’ fix – it’s what looks best that matters.

An outdoor shot (again with the 14mm) shows distinct converging of verticals.

setting vertical correction guides

The only problem is that far too much of my image is lost.

I can though, turn down the intensity of this correction – a bit of convergence is not always bad, it can look more realistic (mouse over the image to see).

After adding a small rotation (0.7 degrees) to fix the horizon, and altering the crop, I’m left with an image that looks better, apart from that black wedge in the corner.

partial correction of image geometry

If you’ve much Photoshop experience, it’s a trivial matter to create some grass/rock to fill in the gap, but I’d rather not be doing it – even though I do use Photoshop most days.

Even a partial correction of the image below, loses quite a bit of the image, if you want to keep to a similar aspect ratio.

crop with geometry correction

The tool offers fine tuning of the intensity of many adjustments, so you can stretch and squeeze vertically and horizontally to get an image that looks right (or at least ‘less wrong’)

Take this somewhat extreme version of a printer – I’m altering it so that the front is ‘face on’. Of course it looks very unnatural, but you can see how powerful the adjustment can be.

perspective correction - horizontal and vertical

before and after geometry correction

Note that big black wedge again…

Conclusions

The software works efficiently and intuitively when fixing what it fixes.

It’s good to see a plugin that doesn’t try and do too much.

If you’re converting RAW files for example, it’s best to fix basic lens faults, such as chromatic aberration, vignetting and distortion at that time.

Note that the stretched heads effect with wide lenses is not a lens fault, it’s a natural consequence of trying to project a very wide angle ‘rectilinear’ image onto a flat plane. It’s no more a lens fault than the curved lines of a fisheye lens. You could have the most perfect 14mm rectilinear lens and still it would stretch heads.

Why use the software…

For myself the anamorphic corrections are the ones that allow a bit more freedom in using wide angle lenses in groups of people. As a professional commercial photographer, I don’t cover weddings or many events where groups of people need photographing in cramped spaces, but I do cover corporate product launches and other business events where having this extra adjustment at hand is worthwhile.

For the problem of converging verticals I have specialised shift lenses that I use very widely (See my tilt-shift lenses and TS-E17 articles for more). These manual focus lenses address the problem of converging verticals (and horizontals if you wanted) in a specific way. However I do still need to fine tune images on occasions. It’s worth noting that the ability to back off on adjustments and being able to simultaneously apply horizontal/vertical compression/expansion to an image are features not found in the normal Photoshop lens correction tool.

Definitely one of those plugins that I won’t use very often, but when it is needed, it will make all the difference.

Many of the features are available in the DxO Optics Pro software package, but that’s not part of my everyday workflow, more something I use on specific images where I want a certain look.

Trying it out

There is a free demo of the software available which gives a time limited, but fully functional version of the software.

Updates: DxO ViewPoint 2 | ViewPoint 3

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

Disclosure: Keith sometimes tests pre-release software for DxO, but has no direct business relationship with the company. Some of his commercial photos are included on the DxO web site, for which he receives no payment.

Summary

Plugin and standalone program that makes corrections of image geometry issues, such as converging verticals, or the inherent distortion of using very wide angle lenses with groups of people (stretched faces in the corners)

Easy to use with Photoshop, Lightroom, or as a standalone application.

DxO ViewPoint from Amazon US | Amazon UK

System requirements

DxO ViewPoint is optimised for use with Adobe Photoshop CS3, CS4 (32 & 64 bits), CS5 (32 & 64 bits), CS6 (32 & 64 bits) and Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3 and 4.

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