Thursday, April 22, 2021

New Kaleidoscope Images


A friend's FB comment that maybe she should try this with some of her fireworks photos prompted me to encourage her to give it a go and to do a few more myself. The above is one I did in response to her comment. I stopped at what I call a 4-way, flipped and blended horizontally and vertically because I thought a 45° layer would be excessive. An optical kaleidoscope would have 6 or 8 depending on the angle of the mirrors inside the tube. I followed up with this one, another 4-way.  

I tried adding a 45° layer but it made the center too bright (I had to burn in the center of the above image) and then I tried using Darken as the blending mode for the 45° liyer in the one below.

I like it. 

Since posting these on FB I am suddenly getting ads in my feed for "Kaleidoscope filters", digital programs that supposedly automate the process but as I look at the results they use in their ads I note that they are almost all 'bug eye' effects, more like a multi faceted lens effect than a true kaleidoscope which is just two strips of mirror reflecting each other. The kaleidoscope I had as a kid had a bunch of colored plastic or glass at the end of the tube that produced different patterns as I turned it and the colored bits fell into different relationships. I had thought I would try making a true kaleidoscope with just a clear lens at the other end instead of glass bits. That way I could use whatever I pointed it at to create images. The Photoshop virtual kaleidoscope method is easier than fabricating a lens.

This, as anyone who follows my work knows, is not my usual style. Even fireworks are not something I spend much time photographing but it is a fun way to while away the return to winter that we are experiencing the last couple of days. I might even try the technique on some of my nature images just to see how they come out.


Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Playing with a Kaleidoscope Effect


A friend on FaceBook posted a photo that he had altered with a kaleidoscope effect in Paint Shop Pro and I wondered if I could do that in Photoshop. Apparently PSP has an automated way of doing it but Photoshop expects you to know how to do it yourself, step-by-step. It turns out that it isn't hard. I found a YouTube video at that takes you through the process. The result above is a bit different however because I started with an already modified image that I had turned inside out (see that looked like this...

And the orginal was this photo cropped square...

I decided to see how the kaleidoscope effect would look if I started with the cropped original that was not 'inside out' and got this...

I did not follow the YouTube instructions exactly. He tells you at several points to duplicate the current layer and either flip or rotate it 45° and then make the blending mode of the upper layer "Darken". I experimented with the blending mode to get the effect I liked best. Bear in mind that not all blending modes will result in the upper layer showing all the detail in the layer beneath so look carefully at the result to insure that you are getting the full kaleidoscope effect.

I suspect that the same steps would would work in other editing software and you could create an action to run the whole process. If you wanted to play with the blending mode like I did, you could insert pauses at the appropriate points and simply resume the action after you had chosen which blending mode you wanted.

These photos are all copyrighted. If you want to share them, please link to this post. Playing in Photoshop is a good way to spend time during the pandemic. Enjoy, get vaccinated and stay healthy.