Photoshop Basics: Infinite Photo





Introduction: Photoshop Basics: Infinite Photo

About: Currently pursuing a degree in Mechanical Engineering. contact: jamesrpatrick(at)
Here's how to make a photo within itself. It's easy to get started. This is what you'll need:
-Picture Frame
-Image-Editing Software(Photoshop, GIMP )

This tutorial is mirrored on my blog.

Step 1: Shoot Frame

Take a shot of your subject holding the picture frame.

Step 2: Create New File

In Photoshop, open a new file. (File-New-Blank File...)
Open the properties window of your photo. (Right click on photo-Properties-Details tab)
Match the length, width, and DPI(resolution) of your photo to the new Photoshop file. 
Place your photo into this file. (File-Place...-Select File-Commit)

Step 3: Adjust Levels(optional)

Tweak sharpness, exposure, and other settings with the dropdown menus. For example:
(Enhance-Adjust Lighting-Brightness/Contrast...-OK)

I increased the Brightness to 85 and the Contrast to 35 .

Step 4: Remove Inner Frame

Use the Magnetic Lasso or Polygon Lasso tool to cut out and delete the inside of the picture frame.

Step 5: Duplicate Layer

Make a copy of your current layer. (Layer-Duplicate-OK)
In the Layers window, drag the copy layer below the original layer.
Resize and rotate the copy layer to fit within the original picture frame. Use the copy layer's handles to manipulate it.
Commit the new layer position. 

Step 6: Duplicate All Layers

(Ctrl+Click all layers-Layer-Duplicate-OK)
Drag these copied layers to the bottom of the layer stack. (This puts them underneath all other layers.)
Resize these layers to fit in the previous frame.

Step 7: Repeat

Keep duplicating layers until the resolution degrades to nothing. That's all there is to it!

Step 8: Export

Now you'll want to get your image out of Photoshop and into a regular file. 
Export the entire image as a JPEG, PNG, or any other desired file. (File-Save As...-Save-Maximum Quality-OK)

This instructable is also archived on my blog .
If you try out this technique, be sure to post your image in the comments!



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    This is known as the Droste effect after a Dutch CoCoa brand that had this effect on the label. Actually you can get a free plugin for Gimp called MathMap that has code for doing Droste that allows you to do this effect very easily with great control. (There is a free one for Photo Shop CS4 too). The plugins also allow you to do spiral forms like Escher used.
    You can find lots on this if you search for "Gimp Droste" for example:

    That's really good! I like how it looks like a mirror.

    Thanks! I'm having it printed, hopefully tomorrow, then I'll put it in that actual frame and hang it there. I'll post a picture of the setup when it's completed.

    That's awesome. Way to take it to the next level!

    OK, I printed and hung the actual picture in place tonight; here are the kids admiring their modeling/acting skills before going to bed. No, really, this is not just another virtual level!

    This was quite a fun project!


    Haha I'm considering doing this myself.

    That's pretty cool Alan!


    Simple, easy, fun, great results..... Nice instructable!

    This is my try with an old illustration I had. I also used Gimp. Thanks for the tutorial! F.

    2 replies

    Looks like you got the hang of it! Good job cutting around the hands, by the way.

    Is there a way to do this with a portrait, for instance? I can't think of how that would work?

    1 reply

    There is! Take this example of Stephen Colbert. Now, he had this painted for himself, but you could emulate it by scanning a portrait with a picture frame somewhere on the canvas. Just replace whatever's in the frame.