Creating a Photo Mandala

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I was on the hunt for wall art to match my lovely yellow and turquoise shower curtain and decided to make my own photo mandala artwork.

A mandala is a geometric configuration of symbols. In various spiritual traditions, mandalas may be employed for focusing attention of practitioners and adepts, as a spiritual guidance tool, for establishing a sacred space and as an aid to meditation and trance induction. Wikipedia

I decided to use patterns and colors in my shower curtain to create a mandala look which is not only beautiful, it has a focusing and calming effect as well. Here are my photo mandalas that now hang on the wall in my home. I love how they turned out!

Below, I’ll walk you through the steps I used, so you can create unique artwork for your space, and perhaps find new inspiration in your photo and art creation.

Step 1: Capture a photo of an interesting pattern

To create my photo mandala I captured a handful of photos, close up, of the patterns in my shower curtain, being sure to include the colors I wanted to showcase in my wall art.

Step 2: Lightroom – raw adjustments

Next, I brought my photos into Lightroom for raw conversion and basic adjustments.

  • White balance
  • Auto tone
  • Square Crop

Step 3: Photoshop – create photo mandala

Here is where the fun really starts.

  • Open your photo in Photoshop by right-clicking on your photo in Lightroom > Edit in > Edit in Adobe Photoshop
  • Unlock the background layer by clicking on the Lock symbol on the layer
  • Duplicate your image layer 3 times (so you have 4 copies)
    • Layer menu > Duplicate Layer
  • Enlarge the canvas to fit all four copies of the image
    • Go to Image menu > Canvas Size
    • My image is 1935×1935 pixels, so I want to make that twice as wide and twice as tall, and anchor my image to the upper left corner.
  • Grab the Move tool (V) and position each copy at one of the four corners of the canvas.
  • For the image in the upper right, go to Edit > Transform > Flip Horizontal
  • For the image in the bottom left, go to Edit > Transform > Flip Vertical
  • For the image in the bottom right, go to Edit > Transform > Flip Horizontal, and then Edit > Transform > Flip Vertical

Congratulations! You just made a mandala from your photograph!

Step 4: Topaz Studio as a Photoshop plugin – creative adjustments

If you like the result from Step 3, you can stop there, or you can take it a step further and create a more artistic look with Topaz Studio.

  • Select all layers and go to Layer > Duplicate Layers
  • With the duplicated layers still selected, go to Layer > Merge Layers (this will group your layers into a single image that you can now edit with a plugin).

Now it is time to dust off your inner artist and get really creative.

You can start with a Look inside of Topaz Studio (similar to a preset) or manually select the adjustments you like by clicking on Add Filter. I typically choose the latter.

  • Click Add Filter > Smudge (in the Stylistic category) and then adjust the tool settings as desired.
Stylizing a photo mandala with the smudge tool in Topaz Studio 2
  • Add other tools as desired. For this image I also added Filter > Basic Adjustment to increase saturation and exposure to make the colors a bit more vibrant.
Stylizing a photo mandala in Topaz Studio 2
  • Once you’ve stylized your mandala, click the Accept button to return to Photoshop.
  • Go to File > Save, then Photoshop (Mac) or File (Windows) > Quit Photoshop to return to Lightroom.

Step 5: Print

Now that I’ve finished my mandala photo art, it is time to print and frame the photo an hang it on the wall. I chose to print these two images on my Canon Pixma Pro 100 printer on Epson Metallic Glossy Photo Paper. I love this paper because it gives the photo an almost 3-dimensional look.

Turquoise and Yellow Photo Mandala
Photo Mandala 2

The final pieces are look amazing and are the perfect addition to the decor in my master bathroom.

Get the Tools to create a Photo Mandala

Questions?

If you have any questions on this tutorial or the tools that I used, please let me know in the comments below or send me a note. I’m always happy to help!

Angela Andrieux

Photographer Prone to Wanderlust | Photography Coach | Foodie | Cat Lover | Navy Wife

4 Comments

  1. Nigel Moore on January 20, 2021 at 12:15 am

    Excellent easy to follow walkthrough. I don’t have PS, but I do have Elements 2020 and it looks like it would work in that too. I was also intrigued to not that you have a Canon R6. On my “should I shouldn’t I” upgrade from Fuji XT3 to full frame….just concerned by the low 20mp sensor and loss of IQ and cropping capabilities which seems to defeat the object of FF
    Thanks again for your very well explained tutorial….I will be experimenting with this!

    • Angela Andrieux on January 20, 2021 at 10:41 am

      Hi Nigel – I’m glad you enjoyed the tutorial! You should be able to do the same thing with PS Elements. Let me know how it goes!

      As for the Canon R6, I upgrade from the Canon 6D which is also 20mp. I never felt limited by it and have printed up to a 48×72 canvas with stunning results. There are also some great tools out there for increasing resolution if you need to crop aggressively (I use Topaz Gigapixel AI) and it is remarkable what it can do. I have to say that I’m extremely happy with my investment in the R6. It is a fabulous piece of equipment!

  2. Nick Buchko on January 20, 2021 at 8:52 am

    Nice job. They look good. I would have never thought of something like that.

    • Angela Andrieux on January 20, 2021 at 10:42 am

      Thanks, Nick! I’m glad to have shared a creative spark. Be sure to let me know/tag me if you try it out!

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