Well, I apologize, it’s been a few weeks since I posted. I appreciate everyone’s patience while I attended to some family matters (and of course surviving the biggest snowfall in Philadelphia’s history…brrr). All is well and I’m excited to get back to the blogging!
For those who have been following along, you know of my recent obsession with all things Photoshop. I have even gone so far as to go through a very extensive training program (three phases, about 20 hours each) to get certified and I can honestly say, it was well worth it! I learned so much that I can’t wait to share with all of you!
Today’s post is going to be spotlighting a wonderful tutorial on The Droste Effect, along with one of the filters which can be used in Pixel Bender plug-in within Photoshop (as well as other products in the CS suite).
There are a number of examples out on Flickr of the Droste effect, some a little creepy but cool all the same, found here. First though, a few definitions…
What is the Droste Effect?
The term refers to a specific type of recursive picture…well, wait, recursive? What’s that? There’s an a long and completely confusing definition, used in both computer science and mathematics, regarding functions and components. Long story short, it’s a broad term used to describe objects self-duplicating themselves repeatedly, seemingly infinitum.
Example please!! Ever been to a Hall of Mirrors? I don’t know about you but, as a kid, I had fun making the Millions of Tracey’s dance and jump and, well act silly all in unison. Because the mirrors were set at particular angles to one another, the image would repeat over and over, and the reflection got smaller and smaller for what seemed like forever.
The Droste Effect is the same concept, meaning a picture depicting a smaller version of its self and, within that a smaller version, and so on and so on. While, to the eye, this duplication appears to continue on forever, it will only truly continue until the resolution of the picture will no longer allow it.
What is Pixel Bender?
I won’t even begin to boggle everyone’s minds with the exact definition of what Pixel Bender does, especially as I’m only on my first cup of coffee. I have, however, attached a link to Adobe Labs definition of how it works. In laments terms though, it’s a pretty cool plug in for several Adobe products, including Photoshop, which very quickly processes a bunch of complex algorithms to apply filters or effects to your photo or illustration, in this case, the Droste Effect.
First things first, in order to use Pixel Bender, you have to download the actual Pixel Bender plug in- found here. (check the very bottom) Now, once that’s downloaded, if you have a mind to, you can code your own image processing algos (the filters and effects) or, you can take advantage of the wealth of shared knowledge on the dedicated Pixel Bender Exchange site within Adobe. (Yes, it’s just that amazing that it has its own site.)
Now, as I don’t claim to be a computer genius, to achieve the Droste Effect, I am using the best (at least in my opinion) filter out there, created by a developer by the name of Tom Beddard. Tom, also known as “subblue,” has created a number of amazing Pixel Bender downloads that he offers up for free (oh did I mention the actual Pixel Bender plug in is free as well?? Thank you Adobe!) His graphic design work, blog and downloads can be found here on his site.
Tom also provides a wonderful tutorial on how to use his Droste Effect filter, along with the filter download, here. I’ve attached a couple of my own initial attempts and plan on providing many more down the road. I won’t dare to repeat everything Tom provided in his tutorial but I’ll offer up one suggestion… don’t be afraid to play around with the tool on a copy of your photo. (I’ve said it before and will say it again, if you’re going to play, especially when messing with pixels, save an original copy somewhere else as you never know what can happen.) The more you tweak the settings, using Tom’s basic tutorial as a guide, the more interesting the results and guaranteed you’ll end up with something different each time.
If you decide to play around with the Droste Effect, I would love to see what you’ve done with it. Please feel free to comment and post!