How to create a photograph with a Droste effect
I always was a big fan of M.C.Escher and his recursive and impossible pictures. When I saw the first escheresque photograph I could not resist to search the web and find out how it is done. A few days ago I rediscovered the technique of the Droste effect. A Droste effect picture is a picture within a picture within a picture within a picture… a neverending spiral.
This tutorial is based on the tutorial by Josh Sommers, which is a little outdated so I wrote a short guide on how to do it with current versions of the tools. As the original this version is directed at Windows users.
What you will need for this tutorial:
- A working installation of GIMP version 2.6
or newer. Unfortunately MathMap does not work on the new releases of GIMP (as of 2012-06-22).
- A copy of the MathMap plugin version 1.3.5
- Obviously a picture! To make things easy, your picture should be square and the area to be left out should be in the middle. I chose a mirror shot. Feel free to use the picture from Flickr for your personal proof of concept.
Step 1: Preparing the picture
What you need for this particular example is a picture “with a hole inside”. I prefer the border to be soft and the inside will have to be transparent.
- Select the area to be made transparent with the circle tool (if your area is rectangular you will have to adapt this part to your needs.
- Feather the selection using select>feather from the menu.
- Invert the selection and cut it [Ctrl]+[X].
- The cut selection has to be added into a new transparent layer.
- Anchor the selection to the layer.
- “Unselect” the selection.
- You can now turn off the layer with the circular hole or delete it. We won’t need it any more.
Step 2: Droste effect with MathMap
- Start the Droste plugin with General>MathMap>Map>Droste and you will see something like the following.
- Change to the Tab marked User Values.
- Adjust the inner and outer radius until the picture looks OK.
- Zoom in to fill the frame, rotate it a little bit and check the box AutoSetPeriodicity.
- Press OK.
Congratulations. You just created your first Droste.
So this was a simple one. Now you can go on and create something more difficult. Take a picture of yourself with a board in your hand and make the picture rectangular. All you need to do is play with the settings. Or maybe you ask someone else to hold a box…