Category Archives: Abstract Photography 2015 – 2016

How To Turn Your Image Into A Kaleidoscope

How To Turn Your Image Into
A Kaleidoscope
With A Little Help
From Photoshopblog_Fireworks_kaleidoscope_IMG_7388

Yesterday I shared some new kaleidoscope images. Today I thought I’d tell you how I did it so that you can make your own. They are kind of fun to play around with.

I’ve added lots of screen shots to help you follow along. Have fun and let me know how your kaleidoscope images turn out!

  1. Choose an image with lots of bright colors such as a flower garden, a collection of marbles, fireworks, or anything you like! Open that image [or a copy of it] with PS and over in the layers palette double click on your background layer this will make your image into a layer you can work on. You might want to play around with the image a bit to get the bright colors towards the bottom center of the image; in this case I flipped the fireworks upside down.step1
  2. Rotate your image 60° to the right by clicking on Image in the top menu, choose Image rotation from the drop down, select arbitrary and enter 60° clockwise then click ok.step2
  3. Now you will need to move your rotated image into the upper right corner of the canvas so that the two corners [the ones that used to be the bottom corners] lay exactly at the top and right edges of the canvas. This gives you a nice triangle shape to work with. If you don’t think you have enough of your bright colors appearing in the triangle you might want to copy a few extra flowers or fireworks bursts into that empty space. It’s your creation so be creative! You can see that I copied a little of the fireworks bursts and scattered them around in the black areas on this one.step3
  4. You need to crop your image down to the new triangle shape and size. Just use your magic wand tool to select the empty background then right click and choose select inverse from the menu. While those marching ants are surrounding your triangle click on Image in the top menu and then crop in the drop down.step4
  5. Now that you have removed the unnecessary part of the image and are left with a triangle to work with you’re going to need room to work. Increase your canvas size by clicking on Image in the top menu again and choose canvas size. Enter a width that is at least 6 times the original size, bigger is better here, and a height that is at least 3 times the original size. Select the top center anchor point before clicking ok and resizing. Don’t worry too much if the canvas now seems way to big. We’ll crop away the extra later; just be sure to give yourself plenty of room to work. If you get started on the following steps and see that you don’t have enough room just back up and make your canvas larger and start again. I found that I needed it to be much larger than 4 times the original size for this image.step5canvasresized
  6. Finally you are ready to make that kaleidoscope! Duplicate your layer to a new layer. On that new layer make sure you have selected your move tool, click Edit from the top menu, and select free transform from the dropdown. Now look up to the top menus and you will see what looks like a box made from 9 dots this is the reference point locator; select the bottom right dot. Next to that you will see the X and Y axis and the Width and Height etc etc. you want to enter -100% for the width, make sure you have selected the bottom right dot in that box, and this will simply flip that layer over like a mirror image and set it right against the first one. To finish this step you need to merge these two layers together by clicking on Layer in the top menu and merge down in the dropdown. You now have just one layer again and you can see your kaleidoscope beginning to form.step6
  7. Duplicate this new layer, so that you have two layers again, and on that new layer make sure you have selected your move tool. We are going to rotate this layer 60° by clicking on Edit from the top menu, and select free transform from the dropdown. In the reference point locator select the bottom center dot, and enter 60 in the set rotation box [it looks a little like a protractor or an angle being measured and is followed by the little ° for degrees.step7
  8. Duplicate your bottom layer again and repeat step 7 this time entering 120 in the set rotation box. Be sure to select the bottom center dot in the reference point locator.step8
  9. Duplicate your bottom layer another time and repeat step 7 again entering 180 in the set rotation box.step9
  10. Duplicate your bottom layer again! This time enter -60 in the set rotation box.step10
  11. And one last time duplicate your bottom layer and this time enter -120 in the set rotation box.step11
  12. Now we need to add a new layer and move it into the very bottom position. This layer is for filling in your background color. Fill it with whatever color works for your kaleidoscope for this one plain old black seemed to be best.step12
  13. To finish up you need to merge all the layers together, and crop out the extra background. I think these work best with a 1:1 aspect ratio but it is your creation so that is up to you! You might find that as you crop and center your image into the square aspect ratio that you need to paint in a bit more background, just grab a brush of the appropriate color and fill it in. Careful not to paint over your freshly made kaleidoscope! It might be helpful to make a nice straight selection of the empty area so that your painting stays within that area.step13
  14. You can stop here if you’d like or take it a little further… Flatten your image by clicking on Layer in the top menu and flatten image from the dropdown. Now add a little distortion by clicking on Filter in the top menu, distort in the dropdown, and spherize in the pop out menu. Set the amount anywhere you like it, I used 60% for this one, and leave the mode set to normal.step14

That’s it! Your creation is finished! Give it a name, save it, and share it!

You can take this even further by layering the image over itself and resizing it smaller and smaller as you go to add rings of color inside [adjusting blending modes as needed].how to create a kaleidoscope in photoshop

Experiment as much as your imagination allows and have fun with your creation.

Kaleidoscope Fun

Sometimes its fun to spend a couple of hours just playing around with an old image and finding something new to do with it. Such was the case with these old images turned into colorful kaleidoscopes.

fall_leaves_Kaleidoscope_IMG_4429
Fall Leaves Kaleidoscope
crosswalk_kaleidoscope_IMG_4994
Crosswalk Kaleidoscope
tulip_Kaleidoscope_IMG_2624
Tulip Kaleidoscope

Who didn’t love looking into their kaleidoscope when they were a kid!?


Click on the images above to see a larger view, order prints, or download photos.