Keystone effect

Perspective distortion from a flat object being shot by a camera at other than a perpendicular angle.
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The keystone effect is the apparent distortion of an image caused by projecting it onto an angled surface. It is the distortion of the image dimensions, such as making a square look like a trapezoid, the shape of an architectural keystone, hence the name of the feature. In the typical case of a projector sitting on a table, and looking upwards to the screen, the image is larger at the top than on the bottom. Some areas of the screen may not be focused correctly as the projector lens is focused at the average distance only.

In photography, the term is used to describe the apparent leaning of buildings towards the vertical centerline of the photo when shooting upwards, a common effect in Architectural photography. Likewise, when taking photos looking down, e.g., from a skyscraper, buildings appear to get broader towards the top. The effect is usually corrected for by either using special lenses in Tilt–shift photography or in post-processing using modern image editing software.

Key Terms

angled surface
apparent distortion
image dimensions
keystone effect
square look

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Keystone effect
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Sources & Credits

Last modified on September 16 2019
Content adapted from Wikipedia is service provided by Codecide, a company located in Chicago, IL USA.
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