Review Nik Perspective Efex
Review: Perspective Efex
Part of the DxO Nik Collection 3
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Keith reviews the new Perspective Efex plugin in the DxO Nik Collection 3. [Review of other Nik plugins]
This plugin and standalone app can be used to correct verticals and image projection. It can adjust wide angle distortion for groups of people shot with a wide angle lens and add an adjustable tilt/shift look.
Keith has used it for some time in the guise of DxO ViewPoint where it’s one of his more widely used plugins.
This review looks at aspects of the plugin and links to more detailed exploration of function in our Viewpoint reviews.
There is a free demo of the Nik software
See here for a review of all of the other Nik plugins
Perspective Efex is new to the Nik Collection. Its main function is to apply geometric corrections to images. To aid this it makes use of the large database of lens characteristics that DxO has built up over the years, as used for basic lens correction in DxO Optics Pro and now PhotoLab.
Minor errors such as pincushion/barrel distortion are addressed based on lens data, but the software works fine with any lens. You just don’t get the automatic corrections. Indeed, most of the time I use it with tilt/shift lenses which are not amenable to automatic correction anyway.
The new plugin works in Lightroom and Elements. Due to it altering the document size it won’t work in Affinity Photo, but you can use it as a standalone app.
I’ve used DxO Viewpoint for some time as a Photoshop plugin and it’s now part of Nik Collection 3.
That means that I’ve a lot more detailed examples in my ViewPoint reviews (it works just the same in the Nik Collection). I’ve several examples here, but do have a read of the older reviews since they show a lot more.
This photo was taken hand held with a shifted lens. With the extreme vertical shift and wide angle (TS-E17mm) the building is leaning. I wanted the shot with the person included and had just stopped on a walk into Leicester city centre.
First I’ll try the ‘Auto’ correction mode. The software is not applying any lens specific corrections since that doesn’t work for tilt/shift lenses.
As you can see, it’s now got correct verticals, but cropping to the original aspect ratio has chopped off quite a bit.
Instead I’ll apply manual correction, by specifying two vertical lines in my image.
Holding the shift key down whilst placing the control points magnifies the view and slows movement.
This really helps when a feature such as a window frame has several closely spaced vertical elements.
The crop now shows a lot more of the original, and the verticals are still true. I’ll come back to why in a bit.
The cropping was in auto mode. It sometimes helps to use a manual crop, where there is a good range of options.
Anyway, here’s the final crop [click to enlarge]. It’s the same image thjat I show being lightened in the main Nik Collection 3 review.
In this next example I’ve used a 24-70mm zoom and pointed it upwards to get the whole building in.
I use shift lenses to avoid this, but let’s say I don’t have one with me.
With a normal lens, there is a correction module available for the combination of lens/camera I was using.
Once again, I’ll try the auto fix. This time however I’ve left the crop switched off so you can see the amount of correction being applied to the image.
It’s far more at the left, which suggests that some horizontal correction is being applied as well.
A manual correction shows a lot less asymmetry in the correction.
The slight left/right difference is due to ‘photographer pointing error’ from another handheld shot.
Here are the three images on their own,
The auto shot is overly compressed on the left side of the building from a height point of view.
You might prefer the auto version, but I know from experience that the architect usually wouldn’t
I’ve a short article with more about correcting such images and one about what’s needed for architectural photography that may be of interest.
People in a group
Wide angle shots of groups of people show a distortion towards the edges of the frame.
Even in this view, at an industry social event, it’s visible with the 17mm lens I’m using.
Using the anamorphosis tools fixes this, but as you can see, a crop is necessary.
Adding a small amount of correction of verticals to the anamorphic correction and then cropping gives a more balanced look.
It’s not always needed with the 17mm lens, but go to say 12mm and people stretch a lot.
It works well with fisheye lenses too, such as the EF8-15 used here.
There are many more examples in the earlier viewpoint reviews
Miniature or small world views
A tilted lens lets you produce an effect often called the ‘Model World’ look or even the ’tilt-shift effect’.
A thin plane of focus passing horizontally through the scene in front gives a narrow zone of sharpness which can, to varying degrees be simulated by applying specific levels and types of blur.
The style is often more effective when looking down on subjects, such as this example of rows of terraced houses in Leicester.
Here are the before and after examples using Perspective Efex.
As ever, click to enlarge and notice how the effect looks different at different image sizes.
Perspective Efex gives very good control over just how the blur is applied.
If you like this stuff it’s very good at it.
Personally I find this a style of image which rapidly overstays its welcome – yes, it’s a neat trick but if you’ve a real tilt/shift lens only a tiny tiny part of what they can do (pun intended ;-)
Perspective Efex in the Nik collection
I can see why DxO would add this useful plugin to the collection. I’ve long felt ViewPoint deserved a wider audience. Worth a look via the free 30 day demo.
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