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Hot word about perspective in ICE

Updated on June 3, 2013

What is there may not be what you see

Right you are. I am trying to mess with your mind – but just a little.

Perspective is all about how you see something. Close to you, things are large. Far away, they get small. Not really, but it seems to be that way to your eyes.

When your eyes see something, your mind translates the view. When things look to be large when close to you, your mind tells you, “Yes, they are large” or “No, they are really small” or “Maybe yes, maybe no, for I can't remember and I can't calculate which of the two it is.”

Cameras don't have memory or translating-capable minds like yours. Close to the lens, stuff looks big and, far away, it can look mighty tiny. For example, look at this picture. It shows a long building. The camera is close to the nearby part of the building. The farther away the building gets from the camera lens, the smaller it looks. That's no big surprise to you. You knew that it would be that way.

That gray building in the background is supposedly the tallest skyscraper outside of any downtown in the USA. Perspectively speaking, it is only twice as tall as this one-story tall shopping center
That gray building in the background is supposedly the tallest skyscraper outside of any downtown in the USA. Perspectively speaking, it is only twice as tall as this one-story tall shopping center | Source

Brain power over program power

Computer programs don't know such things unless you and your brain clue them in on the perspective involved. This is especially true about computer programs designed to stitch individual photo frames together to form composites of them; that is, panoramic images.

As it often happens, the image frames showing parts of a scene closest to the camera can become very distorted parts of a stitched-together photo image. True enough, those closer image parts of the whole do appear larger than the parts farther away, as you would expect. What you probably would not expect to see is the near image part becoming curved. That is not really the sort of perspective with which you see the same scene using your own eye vision in place of your camera's vision. Check out the stitched photo here. Also, take a look at the single photo frame. It has the same tendency to curvature where no curvature exists in the actual building structure.

Curves from a non-curved pano photo
Curves from a non-curved pano photo | Source
Even when the view is narrowed down, the curvature remains
Even when the view is narrowed down, the curvature remains | Source

Cooling a hot problem with ICE

Enter ICE – Microsoft's Image Composite Editor software.

If you use this computer program to produce stitched-together photos – panoramas they are often called – there is a perspective correction feature in the program you can use to “fix” those unwanted curvatures. There are some caveats to be followed, however.

It is easy to over-apply perspective corrections. As in digging holes in the ground, cooking cakes in the kitchen, or driving your car down the highway, you can overdo things. Thus, there is a need for you to utilize the artist in you – to let your eyes and that marvelous brain tell you when enough is enough correction. It's like that common expression we often hear, “If it doesn't feel right, then don't do it.”

Here is a stitched photo of the seemingly curved storefront, above, with the curvature edited out in ICE by use of its perspective option.

Perspective has been changed by the ICE software, but note the distortions now at both right and left ends of the photo. Also, the photo was not cropped, helping you to see what has been changed.
Perspective has been changed by the ICE software, but note the distortions now at both right and left ends of the photo. Also, the photo was not cropped, helping you to see what has been changed. | Source
The above perspective-corrected photo cropped for normal illustration use in an article. Both right and left sides of the image are distorted as before.
The above perspective-corrected photo cropped for normal illustration use in an article. Both right and left sides of the image are distorted as before. | Source

Maybe there is more software like ICE - somewhere...

There are other photo editing programs that provide options for you to change the photo viewing perspectives. I intend to become familiar with them. One such program is Gimp." Perhaps "Paint.net" is another. For now, I am happy to know that I can improve the apparent viewing perspective of my camera whenever it is warranted.

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    • GusTheRedneck profile imageAUTHOR

      Gustave Kilthau 

      5 years ago from USA

      Hello Dim Flaxenwick -

      There is so much to be learned and enjoyed as to the now-common equipment and software technology available to us all. Just yesterday I learned of several computer programs with which to generate composite digital photos - posters and large panoramic photo prints. I am continually amazed by all of this.

      So, I am happy that you found this hub to be of interest.

      Gus :-)))

    • Dim Flaxenwick profile image

      Dim Flaxenwick 

      5 years ago from Great Britain

      Such an interesting hub and the photos were beautiful.

    • GusTheRedneck profile imageAUTHOR

      Gustave Kilthau 

      5 years ago from USA

      Hello Sally (sallybea) -

      Your reading is right on. ICE is nice. For pano pix that are composed of several layers of frames of differing elevations, ICE does a great job of collecting and stitching the frames. As you saw here, there are some reasonable editing facilities, too. It is a free download and well worth the several minutes required to capture the program. Learning to use it takes less time than does the downloading.

      Have lots of fun...

      Gus :-)))

    • GusTheRedneck profile imageAUTHOR

      Gustave Kilthau 

      5 years ago from USA

      Howdy Lela (AustinStar) -

      One should NEVER eat small cakes. Go for the BIG ones - ALWAys.

      The venerable Sharpstown Mall (one of the first of the big shopping malls in the USA) suffered greatly for several good reasons, one of which was the big "Sharpstown Scandal" that got lots of people in trouble both financially and with the law - like Frank Sharp and the then Lt. Governor of Texas... Another big reason was a change in the demographics and decline of the Sharpstown area of Houston. Yet another was the clobbering of the mall in the several hurricanes and tropical storms visiting the area. The mall is now under new ownership and has been transformed into what is very much like a big Mexican bazaar sort of thing. When you go into the main building through its front entrance, you walk your way through a long, long corridor with junk jewelry stalls all along both sides. Then you reach the main part of the mall enclosure - one Mexican-style store after another. Not much "Anglo" in the place any longer. Slowly, though, the place is shaping up and the falling-down stuff and "dry rot" caused by years of neglect are slowly disappearing. I think the place will be OK sooner or later - probably sooner. I will try to post some stuff here on HubPages when I get some new pix.

      Gus :-)))

    • sallybea profile image

      Sally Gulbrandsen 

      5 years ago from Norfolk

      Hello Gus, I have been reading some great reviews on this program - definitely going to bookmark this one so I can come back to it when I have a bit longer than a few minutes!

      Sallybea :-)))

    • Austinstar profile image

      Lela 

      5 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

      But why, when you eat small cakes, does your waistline get bigger? Or am I looking at it wrong?

      Sharpstown Mall has a new name? I wonder if that incredible Chinese restaurant is still there? I forgot the name, but it was awesome. I guess not if it's gone south of the border now.

      There are very few times that I miss Houston or even think about it anymore. My childhood home is still there on Google Earth street view. But with the distance of age, it looks much smaller.

      Perspective is a funny thing.

    • GusTheRedneck profile imageAUTHOR

      Gustave Kilthau 

      5 years ago from USA

      Howdy Good Doctor bj (drbj) -

      Had I known you were comin' I'd have baked a cake...

      I have found one other program that promises to do perspective and distortion corrections such as can be done with ICE, but I don't have the bread to spend on it. I did locate another freebie, but it seems to not work for me, either that or I don't seem to work for it.

      When I saw the correction that could be applied to the pano distortion using ICE's facilities, I let out a yell loud enough to make the war Dog bark and my long-suffering bride believe i was having a fit of some sort. I guess that I was, too. You could see what that rascally ICE program did to square the Bering Store front up nicely.

      Will be trying to make the scene at Mickey Altman's new "Viva" theater this coming week. That place has an interesting history (of which I will have to take good advantage). That part of the original Sharpstown Mall (now PlazAmericas) had been clobbered by the hurricane ofa few years back and had lain idle for around 5 years until now. The mall is now about 100% dedicated to the Mexican-flavored folks, and so I guess that the theater will be, too. Should be some good tales and pix for me in the place, anyway. Quem sabe? (Portugal talk for "who knows?"

      Gus :-)))

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 

      5 years ago from south Florida

      Thanks, Gus, for the info on how a Hot program can be cooled down with ICE - so to speak. You are becoming so knowledgeable in this area soon I'll have to call you the Professor of Panorama.

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