Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Gadget Bag: Special-Effects Camera Filters
Craft the image in-camera instead of wrestling with Photoshop
Certain filters can be used in combination with others, and it’s popular to use those discussed in this article with solid-color filters to create a unique result. But these shouldn’t be stacked on top of skylight, UV or other so-called “protection” filters because the additional thickness can cause the corners of the image to vignette, especially when your zoom lens is in the wide-angle position.
Can a Photoshop expert reproduce the effects of these camera filters exactly? Some will argue this point, but the general consensus is a qualified “no.” These filters change the plane of focus before the image is captured. It’s possible to achieve very similar results using editing software, but they won’t be 100 percent the same. And that’s a big part of the fun.
You can create a moody ambience with fog filters. In design and construction, they’re similar to soft-focus filters, but generally cause a significant reduction in contrast and sometimes obliterate fine detail. Try one the next time you shoot a sunrise for an eerie, supernatural effect.
If you want to feel as if you’re inside the House of Mirrors, screw in a multi-image filter. The surface of this thick filter is a symmetrical set of facets that intersect at carefully arranged angles to produce multiple images of your subject. There’s some degradation of sharpness because of the optical aberrations that are introduced by the cascading images, but color and focus are mostly unaffected.
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