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Polar Coordinates Fun in Photoshop
Posted By: creampuff, 02-11-2008, 08:17 AM

Bored with your pictures?
Here's a method to transform any picture into something quite extraordinary. Basically it uses the Polar Coordinates filter in Adobe Photoshop to create what has been sometimes described as the Orb or Orb of Life. Cool kaleidoscope effect from any image!



How To Do This
Pick any image from your library.
It doesn't have to be very high resolution and it shouldn't be very big as the process requires that the canvas size of the image to be doubled in size. A good size is 800 x 600 pixels and I will use this size to illustrate. Please note that the same image can come out very differently if you rotate of flip the image 180 degrees.

Step 1 - Unlock Background Layer

Open your image, and double click on the Background layer to unlock the layer

Step 2 - Increase Canvas Size
Go to Image->Canvas size and take note of the width of the image. If the image is 800 pixels, you must multiply it by 2, which will be 1600 pixels. For this reason, it isn't a good idea to start off with too big an image. Click OK and your canvas is now doubled in width.

Step 3 - Duplicate image & align
Your image is now on the blank canvas.
Press Ctrl+A to select all,
Press Ctrl+C to copy the layer,
Press Ctrl+V to paste the layer
You can alternatively right click on the layer and select Duplicate layer.
You now have 2 layers of the same image.
Click on the bottom layer,press Ctrl+A to select and proceed to, Layer->Align layers to selection, LEFT edge
Click on the top layer, Ctrl+A if everything not selected,Layer->Align layers to selection, RIGHT edge
You are using the 2 identical images to fill up the canvas side by side. Next go to Edit->Transform->Flip horizontal to flip 1 of the image so they now appear symmetrical.

Step 4 - Merge Layers, Change Image Proportions
Click on the topmost layer, and merge the layers (Ctrl+E) or Layer->Merge Down
If your image appears inverted, the next step is to invert the image
Image->Transform->Flip vertical
Go to Image->Image size and look at the width and height.
Un-check constrain proportions box and change the height to be exactly the same as the width. If you started off with a 800 pixel image, you will now have a 1600 pixel image that is stretched.

Step 5 - Use the Polar Coordinate Filter!
Go to filter->Distort->Polar Coordinates
Select Rectangle to Polar and press OK.
If the image is too big, resize proportionately to a smaller size (eg. 500 x 500 pixels)
You now have a masterpiece! Give it a try.
As this is done in Photoshop, it can be made into an action very easily to save time (which is what I've done). Download here ideastoprint - Downloads



Last edited by creampuff; 02-13-2008 at 01:48 AM. Reason: Added download
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02-11-2008, 08:26 AM   #2
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That's pretty tricky.

I may have to try that out.
02-11-2008, 08:27 AM   #3
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Mods, I realize this thread might be better placed in the Post Processing and Software Section. Appreciate it if it can be moved there.
02-11-2008, 08:58 AM   #4
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K10GP given the Polar Coordinate treatment

02-11-2008, 09:52 AM   #5
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Creampuff, I think you have passed on a nice little gem of a trick.

Thanks
02-11-2008, 06:41 PM   #6
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I have created a free Photoshop action that's available for download. Should speed up the process.

ideastoprint - Downloads

02-11-2008, 09:06 PM   #7
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Fun ! Thanks for the action Will give it a go.
02-12-2008, 07:36 PM   #8
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These are GREAT!!!

What a great play tool.... I really like these shots.. Thanks for the instructions..

Dont forget the monthly is on symmetry!!!! The first one is truely awesome!!!!!!

Thanks for the education!!! Kim

02-12-2008, 08:05 PM   #9
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Thanks for sharing. I love the idea and I will definitely be trying it with some of my pics.
02-13-2008, 01:26 AM   #10
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It's a pigeon world
02-13-2008, 01:36 AM   #11
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Thanks cream. I have thought about this method, working more effective than sigma 8mm anyway!

Great stuff
02-13-2008, 01:41 AM   #12
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OK 2 more... getting addictive.

Golf course verandah


Bridge at night
09-02-2010, 05:54 PM   #13
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Bumping an old thread.
My chihuahua getting the Polar Coordinates treatment!

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