So this afternoon I downloaded a copy of GIMP and I’ve been playing with it ever since. Thanks Wolfman for the tip! This looks like exactly the kind of tool I’ve been hoping for since PhotoShop is out of reach for my budget right now. I expect it to take quite a while to even discover all the tools this program offers, much less to master them. So far I’ve been messing around with the perspective adjustment tool.
Here are a couple of samples:
I call this first picture ‘The Motor Pool dun Froze!’
Here is what the camera saw:
Here is what my eye wants the picture to be:
Had I taken the time to set up a view camera I could have achieved that image on film. (And then would have had to find someone who could process it for me since all my darkroom gear is in storage…) Being able to make the adjustments electronically is much simpler and doesn’t require waiting on the negatives getting back from the lab.
Comparing the two images:
In the first all of the supports for the awning seem to be converging as they get closer to the ground. In the background my neighbor’s home seems to be down by the stern and listing badly to port. It just doesn’t look right.
In the second version made from the same camera original the verticals have been corrected and the neighbor’s house is sitting level as it should be. I had to crop the image slightly because the edges became keystoned as the image was manipulated. This version looks much better to my eye – even though it is not exactly what the camera originally recorded. It seems to me to be much truer.
The ‘verticals’ that aren’t in the railing in the lower left that your eye wants to make vertical but can’t are actually out of plumb. The railing was installed parallel to the slope of the ramp so the top railing is not actually horizontal and the uprights are perpendicular to the angle of the ramp. So even though it looks wrong it really isn’t.
This second image shows a much more drastic correction.
Here is what the camera saw:
Here is what my eye wants this picture to be:
Same kind of thing. The camera was not square to the very rectilinear subject and the parallax in the recorded image really shows it. But after a bit of ‘tweaking’ with GIMP it looks at least a little bit more like a catalogue photo for my recently acquired file cabinet. There is still a bit of barrel distortion and I may have scrunched it a bit vertically, but I’d say it’s not too bad for my first time playing with this software.
BTW: In that first pair of photos the retired phone company van’s given name is Mabell (though she prefers to be called Butch…), the Westy is Thunder (the very first Vanagon to have his Floppy Mirror Syndrome cured by my open source and free for anyone to use rubber washer technique), and hiding in the background doing a very credible imitation of a snow drift is my world famous Punch Buggy, Galileo.