Creating a Photo Mandala
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.
- 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.
- 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.
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
- Camera – I captured these photos with the Canon EOS R6, but just about any camera would be fine for this project.
- Lightroom & Photoshop – The Adobe Photography Plan includes both and is a great value.
- Topaz Studio 2 – My go-to app for creating beautiful and unique photo art. Save 15% when you enter ANGANDRIEUX at checkout.
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!
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