Fisheye Lens

Fisheye lenses were originally developed as a way to provide a hemispherical view in unreasonably tight places, generally for technical reasons, such as examining the insides of a boiler, or for photographing things like the sky's canopy for astronomical research. Because of their specialized nature, they tended to cost a fortune to buy, but that didn't stop photographers of the 1960s who were looking for a way to come up with novel images. My own first fisheye lens was a second-generation Nikon optic, an improved 7.5mm lens that replaced the original 8mm Nikon fisheye, and which required locking up the single lens reflex's mirror and using a separate viewfinder. I later got Nikon's 16mm "full frame" fisheye lens, which did not produce a circular image like the original.

Today, fisheye lenses are available as prime lenses for conventional cameras, or as attachments for many digital cameras, but they're still not something you'd want to use everyday. So, you might want to try Photoshop's equivalent effect. Figure 2.31 shows you an image of a water tower in its original perspective (left) and transformed into a fisheye view with Photoshop (at right).

Figure 2.31. The water tower (left) and its fisheye version (right).

Figure 2.31. The water tower (left) and its fisheye version (right).

You can apply the fisheye effect in a more creative way. Try the following technique.

1. Load the toledoview.jpg file from the website, or use your own image. The sample image looks like Figure 2.32.

Figure 2.32. This is a view of a military academy located inside Toledo, Spain.

Figure 2.32. This is a view of a military academy located inside Toledo, Spain.

e center of the image. Hold down the Shift key as you drag to create a perfect circle.

3. Choose Filter > Distort > Spherize to produce the dialog box shown in Figure 2.33. Set the Amount slider to 100% to produce the maximum amount of spherization (to coin a term). Click on OK to apply the modification.

Figure 2.33. The Spherize dialog box lets you apply fisheye effects to an image.

Figure 2.33. The Spherize dialog box lets you apply fisheye effects to an image.

4. With the circular section still selected, copy the selection and paste onto a new layer (press Ctrl/Command + C to copy and Ctrl/Command + V to paste).

5. Use Image > Adjustments > Brightness/Contrast and move the brightness and contrast sliders each to the right to lighten the fisheye view and increase its contrast.

6. Use Filter > Sharpen > Unsharp Mask to sharpen up the fisheye view a bit.

7. Choose Layer > Layer Style > Outer Glow to add an eerie glowing effect around your fisheye view, adusting the various aspects of the glow to make it look a bit like a crystal ball.

8. With the circular area still selected, click on the original image layer and press Shift + Ctrl/Command + D to invert the selection so it includes only the area outside the fisheye view.

9. Use the brightness and contrast controls again to darken the area surrounding the fisheye, providing greater contrast. Your image should now look like Figure 2.34.

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