Introduction: Kaleidoscope Tutorial

About: I'm a student currently at UW and am currently undecided on my major. One of my greatest passions and hobbies is photography which started with me taking my first photography class in high school. Another pass…

Hello every one,

Well, here it is, my first Instructable. This is a tutorial to how I made one of my favorites picture, the kaleidoscope. Some more of my work can be found at the following websites:

So now down to the gritty work. This tutorial was done using Adobe Photoshop CS6, but you should be able to do this with any previous version. If you do not have photoshop there are quite a few alternatives out there such as gimp.

P.S: The photo in the intro is a kaleidoscope I did before making this tutorial. For this tutorial I will start from scratch and document my progress as I turn the same base photo into a kaleidoscope. So the end result will look different.

P.S.S: Some of the photos are small so I suggest clicking on the photos and scrolling through them for each step. There are are also some useful notes tagged along with the photos that may help clear up any misunderstandings.

Step 1: Choose a Photograph

The first step is to find a photograph that you want to edit and turn in to a Kaleidoscope. Here is the base image I will be using. Open up your image in photoshop.

Some good photos to use are ones with bright colors, patterns, interesting shapes, and properly focused and lit throughout.

Step 2: Pre Edit

Once you open up the image, it is time to edit your photo. This first edit is just to color correct and to get your photo looking nice. DO NOT CROP YOUR PHOTO since this will be done in a few steps. So go ahead and move around some sliders, get rid of blemishes using the patch tool, do what ever you want to make the photo look nice. Here is my photo before I made it look nice(er).

Step 3: After the Pre-Edit and Framing

Just a quick look at the photo after a really quick pre edit. After you pre edit left click and flatten the image.

This is also the part where you chose what part of the photo you want to use for the kaleidoscope. I left the man in the bottom since I decided that I was going to use the building itself for the kaleidoscope.

Step 4: Now for the Canvas

Next, we need to set up the canvas where we will actually be making the kaleidoscope. Go to the tool bar at the top and click on:


A pop up window like the one shown in the pictures should come up and set up the dimensions as needed. The photos should be sized as a 1 to 1 ratio meaning the length and width of the photo should be same the same length. Depending on what you want to do with the photo you can set the dimensions and resolution differently.

I set the new file as an 8 by 8 and 300 pixels per inch (ppi) since I was going to print this on an 8 by 10 photo printer.

If this kaleidoscope is for online use or will be kept on as a digital document, set the photo to 72 ppi.

If it is for printing, set the photo to at least 300 ppi, and to the size you need it to be on the photo paper.

Once you have the dimensions set as needed hit OK and another tab/window in photo shop should open up

Step 5: Draw the Guidelines

For you to do this tutorial properly you need to have guidelines set up so that the selections you make later on in this tutorial will be symmetrical.

First make sure that there are rulers along the top and sides of your photoshop window. as shown in the first photo. If there isn't go to the top drop down menus and click on VIEW>RULERS. Or you can use the shortcut which is Control+R or Command+R for Mac.

Now for the guidelines. You want the guides to be in the middle of the photo vertically and horizontally. Simply click on one of the rulers on the side and drag and place the guide line in the center of your photo in both vertical, and horizontal directions. So for me, since the canvas is 8 by 8, the guides will be on the 4 inch marks on the ruler.

If you are confused on this step simply search up "how to create guides in photoshop" on google or youtube.

Step 6: Resize the Base Photo

Resize the base photo so that the PPI of the original photo matches the PPI that you set for the canvas you created in step 4 of this Instructable. To resize the photo go to the tools bar at the top and click:

Image>Image size

Don't worry about the size of the photo since it will be resized as shown in the next step.

Step 7: Transfering Over the Photo

Now simply drag over the pre-edited photo from its window to the blank canvas using the move tool. Make sure that the show transform controls box is selected.

Once the photo is in the new canvas resize and turn the photo so that the section you want to be used is visible in one of the squares on the canvas. I wanted my photo to be in the top left corner of the four squares so I rotated the photo and flipped it. I suggest you put your image in the same square so that the rest of this tutorial makes sense.

Make sure to HOLD DOWN SHIFT while resizing the photo so that the dimension of the photo stay the same, and nothing in the photo becomes warped.

Step 8: The First Flip

Now that you have the part of the image you want to use in a selected square use the rectangle marquee tool and select that whole entire square, from the edge of the canvas all the way to the guides. The Marquee should automatically snap to the dimension set by the guide.

Then left click and hit layer via copy. Once you have done this make sure that the copied layer is selected and duplicate that layer.

Now you can hide the original photo by making it invisible. Simply click on the eyeball and it should hide the photo.

Step 9: Flipping Across the Y

Now select one of the two duplicate layers, and using the move tool flip the image along the Y-axis across the vertical guide.

Next merge the two layers that fill the two squares by left clicking and merging the two layers of the base photo. Now you should have one layer that fills two boxes.

Step 10: Flipping Across the X

The next step is to duplicate the layer that fills the two boxes and to flip it over the horizontal guide. Simply left click duplicate layer. Then using the move tool hold on to the top center box and drag the edge of the image across the horizontal line.

Next flatten the image again so that all four squares are filled with an image that is in a single layer.

Step 11: The Triangles

Now this is the part where the guides become extremely useful. Using the Polygonal Lasso tool Make a selection from the top left corner to the middle, then to the top right corner, then back to the top left corner. The cursor should once again automatically snap to the intersection made by the two guides.

Then once you have a nice clean selection that you're happy with, left click and hit layer via copy. After that left click and duplicate the layer with the triangle you just made so that you have two layers with the selected triangles.

Step 12: Flip the Triangles

Now select one of the two triangle that you have duplicated. Select the move tool and quickly click on one of the corners of the transform box that pops up. The tool bar should change to show spaces where you can manually enter in numerical values for how you want to manipulate, turn, and re-size a layer.

In this tool bar there is an entry place for the number of degrees you want to rotate a photo. With the one of the triangle layers selected enter in 90 degrees.

Using the move tool, move it so that the long side matches up with the right side of the photo.

Select the second triangle layer and simply repeat the steps above. But this time enter -90 degree instead of 90 so that the photo rotates the other way. Then drag and match up the long edge of that photo with the left side of the canvas.

Finally merge down all layers of the image and delete the original base layer image.

P.S:To get rid of the guides, simply click on and drag the guide all the way back to the ruler at the top or the side.

Step 13: Final Edit

This is where you polish up your work. Mess around with the hue, the saturation, the brightness, the color balance. Do whatever you want to make your photo look nicer.

Step 14: SAVE

The final and one of the most important steps SAVING! I suggest saving two copies of your work. One as a .psd file, and one as a .jpg file. This way you can come back and re-edit your photo, and you have a photo that you can show off.

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