Make magnificent mandalas
from kittehs and other
kritters. By Erico Narita
A typical kaleidoscope contains 2
mirrors angled at 60°, which reflect a
pattern to create a symmetrical effect
that we can emulate in software such
as Photoshop. Here’s how I did it.
Choose a photograph that has a wide range of
shading from light to dark, and some features that
will be recognizable after they’ve been chopped,
rotated, and reflected (eyes always work well). For
my first effort, I made an LOL-cat. Here are the
steps in Photoshop 6 or later.
Photography by Erico Narita and Charles Platt
1. CHOOSE THE POLYGON TOOL
Choose the Polygon tool, which looks like a hexagon
and is hidden in the toolbar. You may have to read
Help to find it. After you select it, use Window ⇒ C
Options to show the tool Options bar, and click the
button “Create new work path” or just “Paths” (the
wording varies in different Photoshop versions).
Also in the tool options, specify 3 sides.
2. FIND AN INTERESTING PART
Drag to create an equilateral triangle over your
photograph, then go to Edit ⇒ Transform Path ⇒
Rotate, or Edit ⇒ Transform Path ⇒ Scale (while
scaling, hold down Shift so that your triangle
remains symmetrical), to modify the size and posi-
tion of your triangle, until it contains an interesting
area of your photograph. While scaling or rotating
your triangle, you can also drag it around. When you
have what you want, press Enter to confirm.
3. COPY PATH TO A NEW LAYER
If your Paths palette is not open, open it from
Window ⇒ Show Paths. Photoshop will have put
Fig. A: Looking for a cute subject? Start with a cat.
Fig. B: An eye, a nose, and a striped fur pattern
guarantee that this image will work kaleidoscopically.
Fig. C: This is how kitty would look through a kaleidoscope. Fig. D: By duplicating more triangles, flipping
and turning them, you get a pattern that could work
as upholstery for kitty’s favorite couch. He’ll blend
84 Make: Volume 17