I mentioned previously that when I got my new laptop set up, I downloaded the newest versions of UFRaw and Gimp and was happy to find some additional features in them and promised to come back and write about them in more detail.
I’m going to start with UFRaw today. If you need a refresher, I originally wrote about UFRaw here – and everything I wrote about there still exists today, there’s just some additions.
My favorite addition – and, in fact, the only one I’ve used so far – is the Lens Correction tab, which looks like this:
As you can see, it already knows that I shoot with a Canon Rebel XTi. If I click the two little gears next all the way to the right of the Lens box, it will fill in what kind of lens I used, as well as adjust some parameters in the section below:
So, the section below that gets shown by default is the Lens distortion tab (it’s the one selected above that looks like a blue square with arrows pointing in). It automatically switches the dropdown to the PanoTools lens model – I’m assuming it does that because it’s the only model that it can adjust automatically for you. There are other models available, but it would require manual adjusting of values, and since I’m not quite sure what all of them do, I’ve been sticking with the PanoTools one. You might have figured out that the goal here is to get a photo that you could use in a panorama. Have you ever noticed that when you take a couple photos in a row to stitch them together, that they often don’t look quite “right”? It often looks a bit wavy – kinda like it’s going in and out. This is because your lens distorts the image some on the side, and this tool here is trying to correct that. Which I find to be nice even when I’m not doing a panorama.
For instance, check this example out. The image you see below is the image Straight Out of Camera (SOOC), and if you hover over it, it will switch to the automatic lens distortion correction from UFRaw (the last time I did hover-overs a couple people complained, so if you’d rather open the images yourself and compare, you can: SOOC, Corrected).
I think you can really notice on the sides of the room – it doesn’t look like it’s bulging out quite as much. This is the type of thing that I might not have noticed as I was glancing at the photo, but as soon as I see it fixed, I can definitely seen an improvement.
One thing I really like that UFRaw does, is that it sites where the formula it’s using come froms, as you can see at the bottom of the tab:
That link goes to here, in case you wanted to check it out.
So. The other tab that I’ve played around with in the Lens Correction section is the Optical Vignetting tab, which is one over the left (a red, green and blue rectangle):
Once again, the goal here was to correct things that would really show up when doing a panorama. If you switch the Model dropdown to 6th order polynomial, you’ll see some sliders and – once again – a url at the bottom that explains where the formula is coming from:
The reference this time is for this site, where you will see the type of thing it is trying to correct. What I like to use this tab for is to add some subtle vignetting to my photos. Remember I talked about a couple ways to do this in gimp a while ago, but this is really a lot easier if you’re going for the subtle approach. Just start moving the sliders to see what they do. For example, I started with this photo:
… and then I moved all three sliders to the right in order to get this:
And there you have it – my favorite new features of UFRaw!
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