Using Photoshop to Make Orbs

One of my favorite plants is flowering kale, a preference that must shared by the landscapers at Palmetto Dunes since these plants dot the landscape everywhere here.  Today I’m writing about those flowering kale images being transformed using a Photoshop technique I learned from Bill Barber on the CNPA forum.

The technique is a simple application of features built into Photoshop CS5.  To perform this magic one only need select an interesting image in Photoshop and follow these steps:
1.1. Open up your image, but make sure it is only one layer.
1.2. Crop the picture into a square (if not the end result will be a oval not a circle)
1.3. Filter>Distort>Polar Coordinates>Polar to Rectangular
1.4. Image>Rotate>Flip Vertical
1.5. Filter>Distort>Polar Coordinates>Rectangular to Polar.
1.6. Admire your orb!

All this talk of polar coordinates and rectangular coordinates reminds me of the mathematics of quantum mechanics and atomic physics which I once taught at the college level.  That is all long gone now, a part of my past that I fondly remember but have no desire to revisit.

This orb was produced using a photo posted on this blog in February (New Growth), and since I thought it makes an interesting candidate for the “orbification” technique I’ve included the result here.  I cropped this image to a square format so the orb is circular.

Many different designs are possible, and the only limitations appear to be one’s imagination and the time required to experiment with Photoshop and brightly-colored images.  I have a small collection of orbs produced from several of my flower images which I’ll share here.  You can imagine what the original images might have looked like!

About Tom

Professor Emeritus of Chemistry, Appalachian State University.
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One Response to Using Photoshop to Make Orbs

  1. Billie says:

    Beautiful is the only word I can find! I find joy in staring at the image you have created. What fun you must have had!

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