Please help me create the effect of a magnifying glass
Amy Bloque, Poland
Readers who wear spectacles will be familiar with the benefits of distorting lenses to compensate for eyesight deficiencies. I count myself in that large group. Yet folk often worry about painting such distortion effects, when they should be licking their lips at the fun you can have.
If photographic realism is the goal, then good reference is always going to be the best way to go. But this isn’t the approach that I want to take with this question. Access to some lenses to peer through will definitely help, though.
Convex lenses tend to magnify, while concave do the reverse. The fun begins when the curvature and/or lens thickness vary, so that objects may be magnified or reduced more in the centre, compared to the edges. It depends on the strength of the particular lens. Each has its own specific focal length that can mean objects appear fuzzy or sharply focused, depending on how far from the lens it is. These variables are what make things interesting. If you really want to go to town you can play with reflections on the lens surface, scratches, dust and imperfections. But it’s best to master the basics first.
I place the various lenses in the scene first, and then consider how the magnifying effects would look.