Difference between revisions of "Lens correction model"

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(Removed half sentence about the d parameter; it was misguiding; all parameters have influence on the result image size. Moreover, the "d" parameters does more then mere scaling. Setting it wrongly results in failed un-distortion.)
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{{Glossary|A mathematical model that allows the correction of some [[Lens distortion|lens distortions]]}}
 
== Lens correction model ==
 
== Lens correction model ==
  
The panorama tools have very flexible model to correct for typical geometrical lens errors. Even better, it can estimate the correction parameters under certain conditions.
+
The panorama tools have a very flexible model to correct for typical geometrical lens errors. Even better, it can often even estimate the correction parameters directly from the images in a panorama.
  
 
There are a total of 6 parameters that have to do with lens correction.  
 
There are a total of 6 parameters that have to do with lens correction.  
 
* First of all there is the lens [[Field of View]] (FoV) - not exactly an error, but a parameter that determines the image perspective distortion.  
 
* First of all there is the lens [[Field of View]] (FoV) - not exactly an error, but a parameter that determines the image perspective distortion.  
 
* The actual lens correction parameters '''a''', '''b''' and '''c''' which are used to correct for [[barrel distortion]], [[pincushion distortion]] and even [[wavy distortion]].
 
* The actual lens correction parameters '''a''', '''b''' and '''c''' which are used to correct for [[barrel distortion]], [[pincushion distortion]] and even [[wavy distortion]].
* The lens shift parameters '''d''' and '''e''' that correct for the lens [[optical axis]] not beeing in the image center.
+
* The lens shift parameters '''d''' and '''e''' that correct for the lens [[optical axis]] not being in the image center.
  
Two more parameters correct for image errors that are not induced by the lens but by a scanner or scanning camera for example. The shear parameters '''f''' and '''g'''.
+
Two more parameters correct for image errors that are not induced by the lens but by a scanner or scanning camera for example. These are the shear parameters '''f''' and '''g'''.
  
 
=== Field of View ===
 
=== Field of View ===
  
The [[Focal Length]] is a physical property of the lens. Together with the effective sensor or film size and the focusing distance it determines the image [[Field of view]]. '''Caution''': Cropping the image changes the Field of View. If you need to crop your source images for a panorama, crop them all to the same size!
+
The [[Focal Length]] is a physical property of the lens. Together with the effective sensor or film size and the focusing distance it approximates the image [[Field of View]] (there are other factors that influence it). '''Caution''': Cropping the image changes the Field of View. If you need to crop your source images for a panorama, crop them all to the same size!
  
The Field of View together with the lens projection ([[Rectilinear Projection|rectilinear]], [[Fisheye Projection|fisheye]] or [[Cylindrical Projection|cylindrical]] for swing lens cameras) determine the image [[perspective distortion]]. Perspective distortion is the smaller the smaller the Field of View is. See Helmut Dersch page [ttp://www.path.unimelb.edu.au/~dersch/perspective/Wide_Angle_Perspective.html] for details about different wide angle perspective.
+
The Field of View together with the lens projection ([[Rectilinear Projection|rectilinear]], [[Fisheye Projection|fisheye]] or [[Cylindrical Projection|cylindrical]] for swing lens cameras) determine the image [[perspective distortion]]. Perspective distortion is less with a smaller Field of View. See Helmut Dersch page [http://www.panotools.org/dersch/perspective/Wide_Angle_Perspective.html] for details about different wide angle perspectives.
  
 
=== Lens distortion a, b & c parameters ===
 
=== Lens distortion a, b & c parameters ===
  
The [[lens distortion]] '''a''', '''b''' and '''c''' parameters correspond to a fourth-order polynomial describing radial lens distortion: <pre>r_src = a*r_dest^4 + b*r_dest^3 + c*r_dest^2 + d*r_dest</pre> where '''r_dest''' and '''r_src''' refer to the normalized radius of an image pixel. Normalized means here that the radius oft the largest circle that completely fits into an image is set to 1.0 (or in other words: It is half the smaller side of the image).
+
For perfect [[Rectilinear Projection|rectilinear]] camera optics, all you would need to know is the field of view. Perfect results could be achieved by simply mapping pixels in the image to the [[tangent plane]]. Real lenses deviate from this perfect tangent plane projection.  The deviations push and pull fixed points in the scene away from where they would have fallen.  Luckily, rather than arbitrary pushes and pulls, almost all deviations occur radially, towards or away from some common center, and luckily the deviation amount is almost the same at a given radius around that center. Hence a model that corrects for this deviation based on the radius gives pretty good results.
  
Usual values for '''a''', '''b''' and '''c''' are below 1.0, in most cases below 0.01. Too high values suggest that you choose a wrong lens type, f.e. fisheye instead of rectlinear or vice versa. This refers to the absolute values of course since '''a''', '''b''' and '''c''' can be positive or negative (f.e. both 4.5 and -4.5 are considered too high values)
+
The [[lens distortion]] '''a''', '''b''' and '''c''' parameters correspond to a third degree polynomial describing radial lens distortion:
 +
:<math>
 +
r_{src} = ({a}r_{dest}^3+{b}r_{dest}^2+{c}r_{dest}+d)r_{dest}
 +
</math>
  
The fourth parameter ('''d''') is only available in the [[Panorama Tools Plugins#Radial_Shift|Correct, Radial Shift]] filter of the [[Panorama Tools Plugins]]. It controls the result image size and is calculated implicit by [[pano12]] (used by PTOptimizer, PTStitcher and the GUIs) in order to keep the same image size: <pre>d = 1-(a+b+c)</pre> Hence it is not available in the different [[GUI front-ends]] (you can see it in the PTOptimizer result script).
+
where <math>r_{dest}</math> and <math>r_{src}</math> refer to the normalized radius of an image pixel. The center point of this radius is where the [[optical axis]] hits the image - normally the image center. Normalized means here that the largest circle that completely fits into an image is said to have radius=1.0 .  (In other words, radius=1.0 is half the smaller side of the image.) A perfect lens would have '''a'''='''b'''='''c'''=0.0 and '''d'''=1.0 which resolves into  <math>r_{src} = r_{dest}</math>.
  
Unfortunately the parameter '''d''' refers to image shift in PTStitcher and PTOptimizer scripts and the GUIs what sometimes causes confusion. More see below.
+
Sometimes the above formula is written as
 +
:<math>
 +
r_{src} = {a}r_{dest}^4+{b}r_{dest}^3+{c}r_{dest}^2+d{r_{dest}}
 +
</math>
 +
 
 +
which is essentially the same.
 +
 
 +
Usual values for '''a''', '''b''' and '''c''' are below 1.0, in most cases below 0.01. Too high values suggest that you chose a wrong lens type, f.e. fisheye instead of rectilinear or vice versa. This refers to the absolute values of course since '''a''', '''b''' and '''c''' can be positive or negative (f.e. both 4.5 and -4.5 are considered too high values).
 +
 
 +
The fourth parameter ('''d''') is only available in the [[Panorama Tools Plugins#Radial_Shift|Correct, Radial Shift]] filter of the [[Panorama Tools Plugins]]. It is calculated implicitly by [[pano12]] (used by PTOptimizer, PTStitcher and the GUIs) in order to keep the same image size:
 +
 
 +
:<math>
 +
d = 1 - (a+b+c)
 +
</math>
 +
 
 +
Hence it is not available in the different [[GUI front-ends]] (you can see it in the PTOptimizer result script).
 +
 
 +
Unfortunately a different parameter also named '''d''' refers to image shift in PTStitcher and PTOptimizer scripts and the GUIs.  This sometimes causes confusion. (See more discussion below.)
  
 
This polynomial approach is never exact, but can give a pretty good approximation to the real behaviour of a given lens. If you need better correction you must use a distortion matrix, as used by '''Distortion Remove''' (see link below).  
 
This polynomial approach is never exact, but can give a pretty good approximation to the real behaviour of a given lens. If you need better correction you must use a distortion matrix, as used by '''Distortion Remove''' (see link below).  
 +
 +
==== Lens distortion and fisheyes ====
 +
 +
Unlike rectilinear lenses, fish-eye lenses do not follow the tangent-plane geometry, but instead have ''built-in'' distortions designed to achieve wide fields of view.  The radial lens distortion parameters are used the same way for rectilinear lenses and [[Fisheyes|fisheye lenses]], but they should never be used to attempt to remap a fisheye to a rectilinear image.  This is done by selecting the proper source and destination projection.  Fisheye geometry follows a rapidly-changing trigonometric function which can hardly be approximated by a third degree polynomial.
 +
 +
For fisheyes, the lens correction parameters correct for the deviation between a real lens and the [[Fisheye Projection|ideal fisheye geometry]].
  
 
=== Lens or image shift d & e parameters ===
 
=== Lens or image shift d & e parameters ===
  
Sometimes a lens or an image sensor might not be centered to each other. In this case the [[optical axis]] doesn't hit the image center. This is particularly the case for scanned images where you never can say whether the film is centered on the scanner or not.
+
Sometimes a lens and image sensor might not be centered with respect to each other. In this case the [[optical axis]] doesn't fall on the image center. This is particularly the case for scanned images where you never can say whether the film is centered on the scanner or not.
  
If the above lens correction algorithm is used on such images both lens correction and perspective correction work on the wrong center point. The lens shift parameters '''d''' (horizontal shift) and '''e''' (vertical shift) compensate for that problem. They contain values in pixel units which determine how the center for correction is shifted outside the geometrical image center.
+
If the above lens correction algorithm is used on such images both lens correction and perspective correction work on the wrong center point. The lens shift parameters '''d''' (horizontal shift) and '''e''' (vertical shift) compensate for that problem. They contain values in pixel units which determine how far the center for radial correction is shifted outside the geometrical image center.
  
=== Image shear f & g parameters ===
+
=== Image shear g & t parameters ===
  
Image shear is no [[lens distortion]] but nevertheless part of the panotools lens correction model. It corrects for a distortion induced by scanners or scanning cameras that causes a rectangular image beeing sheard to the form of a parallelogram (one side of the images is shifted parallel to the opposite side)
+
Image shear is not a [[lens distortion]] but nevertheless is part of the panotools lens correction model. It corrects for a distortion induced by scanners or scanning cameras that causes a rectangular image being sheared to the form of a parallelogram (one side of the images is shifted parallel to the opposite side)
  
 
=== Determine lens correction ===
 
=== Determine lens correction ===
  
'''a''', '''b''', '''c''' and '''FoV''' are physical properties of a lens/camera-combination at a given focus distance. Since if you always shoot at infinity or [[Depth of Field#Hyperfocal_distance|hyperfocal distance]] you can savely reuse the parameters.
+
'''a''', '''b''', '''c''' and '''FoV''' are physical properties of a lens/camera-combination at a given focus distance. If you always shoot at the same focus setting, f.e. infinity or the [[Depth of Field#Hyperfocal_distance|hyperfocal distance]], then you can safely reuse the parameters.  At different focus settings, '''FoV''' will change noticeably, but usually it is fine to reuse '''a''', '''b''', and '''c''' even then.
  
There are a number of ways to determine the a, b, c and [[field of view|fov]]
+
There are a number of ways to determine the a, b, c and [[Field of View|fov]]
parameters for a particular lens/camera combination:
+
parameters to calibrate a particular lens/camera combination:
  
* Taking a single photograph of a rectangular object, selecting lots of horizontal and vertical control points, then optimising [[roll]], [[pitch]], [[yaw]], [[field of view|fov]], a, b & c. You need to set the output format to [[Rectilinear Projection]] for this technique to work.  The process is similar to this [http://hugin.sourceforge.net/tutorials/architectural/ hugin architectural tutorial]:
+
* Taking a single photograph of a subject containing straight lines, defining one or more sets of [[straight line control points]] (types t3, t4, etc.), and optimising for just a, b, c. You need to set the output format to [[Rectilinear Projection]] for this technique to work.  This method is used by the author of [[PTLens]]. The [[calibrate_lens]] tool also uses this technique and can operate with [[Fisheye Projection]] images greater than 180°.
  
* Taking two or more overlapping photographs and selecting lots of normal control points, then optimising [[roll]], [[pitch]], [[yaw]], [[field of view|fov]], a, b & c. This technique works with any output [[Projections|projection format]] but rquires [[parallax]] free images shot exactly from the [[Nodal Point]]. Note that to get a really accurate measure of the [[field of view]], you have to take a full 360 degree panorama.
+
* Taking a single photograph of a rectangular or grid object, selecting lots of [[horizontal control points|horizontal]] and [[vertical control points]], then optimising [[roll]], [[pitch]], [[yaw]], [[Field of View|fov]], a, b & c. You need to set the output format to [[Rectilinear Projection]] for this technique to work. The process is similar to this [http://hugin.sourceforge.net/tutorials/architectural/ hugin architectural tutorial]:
  
* Using a tool such as [[PTLens]] or [[clens]] to read the [[JPEG]] [[EXIF]] data and correct the image automatically by looking up the lens in an existing database.
+
* Taking two or more overlapping photographs and selecting lots of normal control points, then optimising [[roll]], [[pitch]], [[yaw]], [[Field of View|fov]], a, b & c. This technique works with any output [[Projections|projection format]] but requires [[parallax]] free images shot exactly from the [[Nodal Point]]. Note that to get a precise measure of the [[Field of View]], you have to take a full 360 degree panorama.
 +
 
 +
* Using points that are known to be directly above each other such as edges of buildings, windows, reflections in ponds etc... This is the [[vertical control points]] method and works with [[Equirectangular Projection]] or [[Rectilinear Projection]] output and all lenses including those wider than 180°.
 +
 
 +
* Using a tool such as [[PTLens]], [[lensfun]] or [[fulla]] to read the photo [[EXIF]] metadata and correct the image automatically by looking up the lens in an existing database.
  
 
=== Optimize for lens correction ===
 
=== Optimize for lens correction ===
  
If you optimize for lens correction in order to f.e. calibrate your lens you should keep some facts in mind:  
+
If you optimize for lens correction in order to calibrate your lens you should keep some facts in mind:  
  
Since lens correction parameters are determined by evaluating the distortion at different radiuses you should provide enough control points at different radiuses.  
+
Since lens correction parameters are determined by evaluating the distortion at different radius values you should provide enough control points at a large range of radii from the image center.
* If you use a rectangular pattern for that task, make sure you set control points in all distances from the center.  
+
* If you use a rectangular pattern or straight lines for that task, make sure you set control points in all distances from the center.  
 
* If you use two or more images make sure you overlap regions with large potential distortion (f.e. the corners) with regions with low possible distortion (f.e. the center). An only horizontal overlap would do, but use at least 50% in order to overlap the image center of one image with the border of the other.
 
* If you use two or more images make sure you overlap regions with large potential distortion (f.e. the corners) with regions with low possible distortion (f.e. the center). An only horizontal overlap would do, but use at least 50% in order to overlap the image center of one image with the border of the other.
  
'''a''', '''b''' and '''c''' parameters influence [[Field of View]], especially for images in landscape orientation but slightly for portrai oriented ones, too. This is because although the implicit calculation of the fourth polynomial parameter tries to keep the image at the same size, this is only possible along the radius '''r_src''' = 1.0.  
+
'''a''', '''b''' and '''c''' parameters influence [[Field of View]], especially for images in landscape orientation but slightly for portrait oriented ones, too. This is because although the implicit calculation of the fourth polynomial parameter tries to keep the image at the same size, this is only possible at the radius '''r_src''' = 1.0.  
  
Outside this radius, especially in the image corners the size and hence the Fild of View might differ. This is why you should always allow the optimization for FoV too, if you optimize for '''a''', '''b''' and '''c''' with more than one image. (You can not optimize for FoV with only one image). As noted above you need a full 360 degree panorama in order to get an accurate measure of the [[field of view]].
+
Outside this radius, especially in the image corners, the size and hence the Field of View might differ. Since they are interconnected in this way, you should always allow the optimization for FoV too, if you optimize for '''a''', '''b''' and '''c''' with more than one image. (You cannot optimize for FoV with only one image). As noted above you need a full 360 degree panorama in order to get an accurate measure of the [[Field of View]].
  
The '''a''' and '''c''' parameters control more complex forms of distortion. In most cases it will be enough to optimize for the '''b''' parameter only.
+
The '''a''' and '''c''' parameters control more complex forms of distortion. In most cases it will be enough to optimize for the '''b''' parameter only, which is good at correcting normal [[barrel distortion]] and [[pincushion distortion]].
  
If you want to see how changing the parameters influences distortion correction go to http://www.4pi.org/downloads/ and get '''abc.xls'''. Don't deactivate macros on loading.
+
If you want to see how changing the parameters influences distortion correction go to http://4pi.org/downloads/ and get '''abc.xls'''. Don't deactivate macros on loading.
  
See also [http://www.path.unimelb.edu.au/~dersch/barrel/barrel.html Helmut Dersch's barrel distortion page].
+
See also [http://www.panotools.org/dersch/barrel/barrel.html Helmut Dersch's barrel distortion page].
 +
 
 +
There's an excellent tutorial on how to optimize by John Houghton: [http://johnhpanos.com/optitute.htm]
  
 
=== Tools to correct barrel and pincushion distortion ===
 
=== Tools to correct barrel and pincushion distortion ===
Line 75: Line 108:
 
* [[nona]] or [[nona_gui]] (both part of the [[hugin]] distribution) can be used identically to [[PTStitcher]].
 
* [[nona]] or [[nona_gui]] (both part of the [[hugin]] distribution) can be used identically to [[PTStitcher]].
  
* The [[Panorama_Tools_Plugins#Radial_Shift|Correct Radial Shift]] filter in the [[Panorama Tools Plugins]] for the [[gimp]] or [[photoshop]] uses the same a, b & c parameters as [[PTStitcher]].  Note that it doesn't know about d & e parameters and uses 'd' as an overall scaling factor instead, which should be d = 1-(a+b+c) to keep the image roughly the same size. If you need to shift the correction center like with the d & e parameter you must combine it with [[Panorama_Tools_Plugins#Vertical_Shift_.26_Horizontal_Shift|Vertical Shift]] and/or [[Panorama_Tools_Plugins#Vertical_Shift_.26_Horizontal_Shift|Horizontal Shift]].
+
* The [[Panorama_Tools_Plugins#Radial_Shift|Correct Radial Shift]] filter in the [[Panorama Tools Plugins]] for the [[gimp]] or [[photoshop]] uses the same a, b & c parameters as [[PTStitcher]].  Note that it doesn't know about d & e shift parameters and uses 'd' as an overall scaling factor instead, which should be d = 1-(a+b+c) to keep the image roughly the same size. If you need to shift the correction center like with the d & e parameter you must combine it with [[Panorama_Tools_Plugins#Vertical_Shift_.26_Horizontal_Shift|Vertical Shift]] and/or [[Panorama_Tools_Plugins#Vertical_Shift_.26_Horizontal_Shift|Horizontal Shift]].
  
 
* [[PTLens]] is a [[Photoshop]] plugin and a stand-alone Windows tool that uses the same a, b & c parameters and comes with a database of popular lenses.
 
* [[PTLens]] is a [[Photoshop]] plugin and a stand-alone Windows tool that uses the same a, b & c parameters and comes with a database of popular lenses.
  
 
* [[Clens]] is a command line version of [[PTLens]].
 
* [[Clens]] is a command line version of [[PTLens]].
 +
 +
* [[fulla]] is a command-line tool that uses the same a, b, c & d parameters to correct [[barrel distortion]].  It can also correct [[chromatic aberration]] and [[vignetting]] at the same time.
  
 
* [[PTShift]] determines different a, b & c parameters for the three color channels in order to correct for [[Chromatic aberration]] with the [[Panorama_Tools_Plugins#Radial_Shift|Correct Radial Shift]] filter.
 
* [[PTShift]] determines different a, b & c parameters for the three color channels in order to correct for [[Chromatic aberration]] with the [[Panorama_Tools_Plugins#Radial_Shift|Correct Radial Shift]] filter.
Line 92: Line 127:
  
 
* [[Distortion Remove]] uses a completely different approach with a distortion matrix. Page in german only: http://www.stoske.de/digicam/Artikel/verzeichnung.html
 
* [[Distortion Remove]] uses a completely different approach with a distortion matrix. Page in german only: http://www.stoske.de/digicam/Artikel/verzeichnung.html
 +
 +
=== See also ===
 +
[[Image positioning model]]
 +
  
 
[[Category:Glossary]]
 
[[Category:Glossary]]

Revision as of 16:51, 30 November 2012


Lens correction model

The panorama tools have a very flexible model to correct for typical geometrical lens errors. Even better, it can often even estimate the correction parameters directly from the images in a panorama.

There are a total of 6 parameters that have to do with lens correction.

  • First of all there is the lens Field of View (FoV) - not exactly an error, but a parameter that determines the image perspective distortion.
  • The actual lens correction parameters a, b and c which are used to correct for barrel distortion, pincushion distortion and even wavy distortion.
  • The lens shift parameters d and e that correct for the lens optical axis not being in the image center.

Two more parameters correct for image errors that are not induced by the lens but by a scanner or scanning camera for example. These are the shear parameters f and g.

Field of View

The Focal Length is a physical property of the lens. Together with the effective sensor or film size and the focusing distance it approximates the image Field of View (there are other factors that influence it). Caution: Cropping the image changes the Field of View. If you need to crop your source images for a panorama, crop them all to the same size!

The Field of View together with the lens projection (rectilinear, fisheye or cylindrical for swing lens cameras) determine the image perspective distortion. Perspective distortion is less with a smaller Field of View. See Helmut Dersch page [1] for details about different wide angle perspectives.

Lens distortion a, b & c parameters

For perfect rectilinear camera optics, all you would need to know is the field of view. Perfect results could be achieved by simply mapping pixels in the image to the tangent plane. Real lenses deviate from this perfect tangent plane projection. The deviations push and pull fixed points in the scene away from where they would have fallen. Luckily, rather than arbitrary pushes and pulls, almost all deviations occur radially, towards or away from some common center, and luckily the deviation amount is almost the same at a given radius around that center. Hence a model that corrects for this deviation based on the radius gives pretty good results.

The lens distortion a, b and c parameters correspond to a third degree polynomial describing radial lens distortion:

r_{{src}}=({a}r_{{dest}}^{3}+{b}r_{{dest}}^{2}+{c}r_{{dest}}+d)r_{{dest}}

where r_{{dest}} and r_{{src}} refer to the normalized radius of an image pixel. The center point of this radius is where the optical axis hits the image - normally the image center. Normalized means here that the largest circle that completely fits into an image is said to have radius=1.0 . (In other words, radius=1.0 is half the smaller side of the image.) A perfect lens would have a=b=c=0.0 and d=1.0 which resolves into r_{{src}}=r_{{dest}}.

Sometimes the above formula is written as

r_{{src}}={a}r_{{dest}}^{4}+{b}r_{{dest}}^{3}+{c}r_{{dest}}^{2}+d{r_{{dest}}}

which is essentially the same.

Usual values for a, b and c are below 1.0, in most cases below 0.01. Too high values suggest that you chose a wrong lens type, f.e. fisheye instead of rectilinear or vice versa. This refers to the absolute values of course since a, b and c can be positive or negative (f.e. both 4.5 and -4.5 are considered too high values).

The fourth parameter (d) is only available in the Correct, Radial Shift filter of the Panorama Tools Plugins. It is calculated implicitly by pano12 (used by PTOptimizer, PTStitcher and the GUIs) in order to keep the same image size:

d=1-(a+b+c)

Hence it is not available in the different GUI front-ends (you can see it in the PTOptimizer result script).

Unfortunately a different parameter also named d refers to image shift in PTStitcher and PTOptimizer scripts and the GUIs. This sometimes causes confusion. (See more discussion below.)

This polynomial approach is never exact, but can give a pretty good approximation to the real behaviour of a given lens. If you need better correction you must use a distortion matrix, as used by Distortion Remove (see link below).

Lens distortion and fisheyes

Unlike rectilinear lenses, fish-eye lenses do not follow the tangent-plane geometry, but instead have built-in distortions designed to achieve wide fields of view. The radial lens distortion parameters are used the same way for rectilinear lenses and fisheye lenses, but they should never be used to attempt to remap a fisheye to a rectilinear image. This is done by selecting the proper source and destination projection. Fisheye geometry follows a rapidly-changing trigonometric function which can hardly be approximated by a third degree polynomial.

For fisheyes, the lens correction parameters correct for the deviation between a real lens and the ideal fisheye geometry.

Lens or image shift d & e parameters

Sometimes a lens and image sensor might not be centered with respect to each other. In this case the optical axis doesn't fall on the image center. This is particularly the case for scanned images where you never can say whether the film is centered on the scanner or not.

If the above lens correction algorithm is used on such images both lens correction and perspective correction work on the wrong center point. The lens shift parameters d (horizontal shift) and e (vertical shift) compensate for that problem. They contain values in pixel units which determine how far the center for radial correction is shifted outside the geometrical image center.

Image shear g & t parameters

Image shear is not a lens distortion but nevertheless is part of the panotools lens correction model. It corrects for a distortion induced by scanners or scanning cameras that causes a rectangular image being sheared to the form of a parallelogram (one side of the images is shifted parallel to the opposite side)

Determine lens correction

a, b, c and FoV are physical properties of a lens/camera-combination at a given focus distance. If you always shoot at the same focus setting, f.e. infinity or the hyperfocal distance, then you can safely reuse the parameters. At different focus settings, FoV will change noticeably, but usually it is fine to reuse a, b, and c even then.

There are a number of ways to determine the a, b, c and fov parameters to calibrate a particular lens/camera combination:

  • Taking two or more overlapping photographs and selecting lots of normal control points, then optimising roll, pitch, yaw, fov, a, b & c. This technique works with any output projection format but requires parallax free images shot exactly from the Nodal Point. Note that to get a precise measure of the Field of View, you have to take a full 360 degree panorama.
  • Using a tool such as PTLens, lensfun or fulla to read the photo EXIF metadata and correct the image automatically by looking up the lens in an existing database.

Optimize for lens correction

If you optimize for lens correction in order to calibrate your lens you should keep some facts in mind:

Since lens correction parameters are determined by evaluating the distortion at different radius values you should provide enough control points at a large range of radii from the image center.

  • If you use a rectangular pattern or straight lines for that task, make sure you set control points in all distances from the center.
  • If you use two or more images make sure you overlap regions with large potential distortion (f.e. the corners) with regions with low possible distortion (f.e. the center). An only horizontal overlap would do, but use at least 50% in order to overlap the image center of one image with the border of the other.

a, b and c parameters influence Field of View, especially for images in landscape orientation but slightly for portrait oriented ones, too. This is because although the implicit calculation of the fourth polynomial parameter tries to keep the image at the same size, this is only possible at the radius r_src = 1.0.

Outside this radius, especially in the image corners, the size and hence the Field of View might differ. Since they are interconnected in this way, you should always allow the optimization for FoV too, if you optimize for a, b and c with more than one image. (You cannot optimize for FoV with only one image). As noted above you need a full 360 degree panorama in order to get an accurate measure of the Field of View.

The a and c parameters control more complex forms of distortion. In most cases it will be enough to optimize for the b parameter only, which is good at correcting normal barrel distortion and pincushion distortion.

If you want to see how changing the parameters influences distortion correction go to http://4pi.org/downloads/ and get abc.xls. Don't deactivate macros on loading.

See also Helmut Dersch's barrel distortion page.

There's an excellent tutorial on how to optimize by John Houghton: [2]

Tools to correct barrel and pincushion distortion

  • The original PTStitcher can be scripted to batch process images with known a, b & c parameters. It can also be operated with one of the GUI front-ends.
  • PTLens is a Photoshop plugin and a stand-alone Windows tool that uses the same a, b & c parameters and comes with a database of popular lenses.
  • CamChecker is a tool for automatically determining lens distortion and generates a different set of parameters from everything else.

See also

Image positioning model