Fixing Perspective Distortion on iOS
Image credit: Chris Connolly of Instagram
Since one of the recent updates to Instagram added their superbly simple image correction tools, namely the perspective distortion adjustments, I have been trying to find a good "out of app" alternative. This is one of those times where the developers have gotten the tool so right that I would use it many more times than just when I am posting to the service.
The best alternative I could find for iOS that has the magic sticker price of free is FrontView, which despite its slightly dated interface, still works wonderfully. Instagram's built-in tools win by a long shot, as they allow for easy (and separate) rotation, horizontal and vertical adjustments, whereas FrontView is built more like Photoshop's Perspective Warp or new Perspective Crop Tool (choosing XYZ planes or reference points).
If you are down with spending a few bucks on possibly worthwhile software (yes Apple, we all still want the ability try out applications first), then next on the list would be Perspective Correct and SKEW. The latter feels pretty robust, allowing you to independently distort any anchor of a photo and remove lens distortion. However, I also found those controls more difficult when all I needed was one simple correction. The plus for SKEW is that, depending one when you read this, it is on sale for zero dollars.
If you are unfamiliar with perspective distortion (or tilt shift as it is occasionally referred to on the Google), this article and the below image perfectly exemplify the idea. On the left, is the image as it was taken, where the right is how we would like to present the moment.
That's it. Carry forward and adjust on! If you know of a better iOS app that offers dead simple adjustments like the Instagram app or even a desktop version that removes the complexity of Photoshop from the equation, be sure to chime in.
** Update: Of course, the same day I sing the praises of Instagram's developers, news arrives that they are updating their API to exclude access of their content to third-party applications. This puts a halt on several mediocre web-apps and some pretty stellar iPad apps I currently use to view Instagram (namely Flow). Sigh.
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