How to Prototype a Lens Distortion Setup in Houdini

Watch Ivan Arsic Prototype a Lens Distortion Setup in SideFX Houdini

Recently CG generalist, compositor, supervisor Ivan Arsic got his hands on a GoPro 7 and thought that it would be fun to track clips shot in its super-wide mode. The problem became that it was not so straight forward to solve. “I tried, and I tried to track/undistort it but always with a fairly big error in the track, so it made me look better at its specs. It turned out that it’s 16:9 format is 4:3 squeezed BUT in a non-linear way,” Ivan notes.

So Ivan decided to create a lens distortion setup from scratch in Side FX Houdini. Why Houdini? “Well besides being excellent VFX tool, its also awesome prototyping tool for anything that involves geometry and math in general, especially when you want to visualize your results easily,” Ivan says.

Nerdy, and interesting!

Ivan chose five examples of lens distortion to produce a small demo:

  • Gopro 7 “superwide” mode
  • Gopro 7 “wide” mode
  • Anamorphic 28mm (Mustache LD)
  • Anamorphic (Barrel LD vertically / pincushion LD horizontally)
  • Samyang 8mm 180 degree Fisheye, stereographic (this kind of lens is not meant to be undistorted this way, but it’s still a nice example)