Photoshop elements 9 : Add A Fisheye Effect To Shots In Elements

7/22/2012 11:31:05 AM

Forget about expensive fisheye lenses; Photoshop can do the hard work for you

What you’ll need

Photoshop elements

We used

Photoshop elements 9

You could try

Photoshop CS version

Photoshop elements 10

What you’ll learn

How to bend a photo and add a vignette to imitate a fisheye lens

‘Photoshop Elements makes it easy to recreate even the toughest of lens effects’

Buying more dynamic lenses for your camera makes photography an expensive hobby. Although having a powerful lens is great when t comes to effects such as fisheye, you may need to simply apply this in the post-production stages instead.

Photoshop elements makes it easy to recreate even the toughest of lens effects. The fisheye effect calls upon the unique warping filters that are specifically designed to bend your image out of shape. The one that’ been put to use here is Spherize, which can be used either convex or concave when distorting an image. We also need to employ a thick circular vignette, which forms the tunnel shape synonymous with classic fisheye-style photographs.

Your image will need to be cropped to square proportions too, although the shape doesn’t necessarily need to be a perfect circle for it to work effectively. Experiment with various vignettes depending on your subject’s movement or shape, but we’ve shown you how to apply this one to get you going in the right direction. If you like the way it looks on your images, you could be in for saving yourself a lot of extra expenditure otherwise put into buying extra lenses.

Creating the fisheye look – no lens needed!

Step 1 – save then crop

Open your image in Elements. It’s worth saving a copy before continuing, just in case you need to go back. Select the Crop tool, hold Shift, and drag a square cropping boundary over the image with the main part of the subject in the centre. Hit Enter to apply.

Description: Step 1

Step 1

Step 2 – duplicate the image

Go to Layer>Duplicate Layer in the Layers palette. Pick the Elliptical Marquee tool and, holding Shift for a perfectly round selection, drag the tool from one corner to the opposite. Leave a thin gap between the edge of the image and the circular selection.

Description: Step 2

Step 2

Step 3 – use the Spherize filter

With the selection active and the top duplicated layer highlighted in the Layers palette, go to Filter>Distort>Spherize. In the Spherize menu, set Amount to 100% and keep Mode set to Normal. Hit OK to apply the bending needed for the fisheye effect.

Description: Step 3

Step 3

Step 4 – inverse selection

To create a new layer on the top of the composition, go to Layer>New>Layer. Hit OK in the pop-up window to apply a new blank layer above everything else. Inverse the selection on the image by going to the Select menu and choosing Inverse.

Description: Step 4

Step 4

Step 5 – fill with black

Add a new mask to the blank layer by clicking on the circle-inside-a-square icon at the base of the Layers palette. Click on the blank layer’s thumbnail on this layer and not the mask. Go to Edit>Fill layer. Set black for Use and hit OK for the dark circular border.

Description: Step 5

Step 5

Step 6 – add softening

Click on the layer mask’s thumbnail on the black fill layer. Go to Filer>Blur>Gaussian Blur to soften the edges of the mask. Set Radius to around 33px. This will vary depending on your preference, but tick Preview to view the results before hitting OK.

Description: Step 6

Step 6

3 of the best apps for creating a fisheye image

Snappr $1.99

Description: Snappr


Snappr for iOS comes with five high-quality fisheye lens effects for you to play with and you can share your shots easily.

Fisheye lens $1.99

Description: Fisheye lens

Fisheye lens

The fisheye app lets you adjust the lens curvature so you can customise the look. There are also other lenses to choose from.

FXCamera (Free)

Description: FXCamera


A great Android app that lets you add fisheye effects as well as a toy camera filter, an Andy Warhol effect and more

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