Amazing Circles and Other Oddities

Amazing Circles and Other Oddities

Several of my readers, most recently ~W~ and Safiyyah, have asked me how I make my circles and other creative images.  Honestly, I do not know. I can tell you how to start, but you must allow the image to take shape of its own accord. You must lose technique in the art. When I finally post an image, I cannot remember the sequence of steps that produced it.

However, with practice, I’m getting better at controlling the technique, choosing filters, effects, and colors to produce remarkable images. Here is how anyone can start:

A good photo editing program is essential. I use Photoshop Elements 6 and Microsoft Digital Imaging Suite.

A base photo is not so important. Any photo will do. A photo with good color and  contrast will be easier to transform, but the most interesting images result from poor photos that I would otherwise delete.

The easy way to get started is by making an Amazing Circle using dumpr’s automated technique: You don’t need any software to use this technique; just plug in your photo.

When you tire of that, use the manual technique found on Flickr’s Amazing Circles group:

The resulting circles are delightful, but you’ll soon tire of them, so then you must plug them into your photo editing software, and subject them to random filters and transformations, until you land on one you’d like to keep. The key here is to continue subjecting the resulting image to repeated filters and transformations, until you have an image that is far removed from its origin.

Then, you must adjust properties such as shadows, lighting, levels, brightness and color, on the Enhance menu of PSE. Then, think up a title and post the image to your Flickr account. That’s all there is to it!

Would you believe, that this:


became this:IMG_1221_edited-1

became this:IMG_1221_edited-6

became this:IMG_1221_edited-8 ?

About Marahm

At first glance, I may appear to be a middle-aged American woman with kids, grandkids, retired from a job in a hospital, gratefully relieved from the responsibilities that come with all of that. Behind the image, which is true enough, I am fairly unhinged from much of American mainstream living, having spent twelve years in Saudi Arabia, years that sprung me from societal and familial impositions, and narrow bands of truth. I have learned to embrace my identity as a seeker, an artist, and a writer. I study Arabic and Italian language, because I love them, and I love their people. I still dream of spending more time in the Middle East and Italy, though the dreaming now seems more real than the possibilities. I am a photographer. I write, and sometimes publish, flash memoir, and now a blog or two.
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14 Responses to Amazing Circles and Other Oddities

  1. iMuslim says:

    Wow! Amazing, masha’Allah! I actually like the first transformed image the most. It looks the most ‘real’. For some reason it brings to mind spiders. I hate spiders but love the image! 🙂

  2. Safiyyah says:

    Salaams Sis:

    Masha Allah! You know I sit at the hem of your jilbab as your apprentice! You rock!

    Has ~W~ started to make images?

    May Allah (swt) reward you for this tutorial for those, like me, who want to create fabulous images similar to what we see at your site.

  3. Safiyyah says:

    Girl! Look what I just did with your Dumpr:

    First try!!!!!!!

  4. Marahm says:

    Wow, Safiyyah, you are really taking off! Thanks so much for the comments; all I’d like is to see you create images that excite you and inspire others.

    That day won’t be long in coming. I’ve already taught you nearly everything I’ve learned myself. There’s more, of course. Late on, we’ll learn “layers.”

    iMuslim, I never though of spiders in the image until you mentioned it. I’m always surprised that different people perceive different things in images, but when pointed out, everyone can see everything!

  5. Hning says:

    That’s AWESOME!! I’m intrigued! Thank you for this beautifully informative post. That first modification, the green and gold one, dropped my jaw.

    Now please excuse me while I collect my jaw and look more into this pixel art you’ve introduced.

  6. Solace says:

    Wow, so cool.

    I should try it myself!

  7. ~W~ says:

    Thanks Marahm! I love your amazing circles and I love them now even more after seeing the before and after.
    Thanks for the links and tips. I will try some myself. 🙂

  8. iMuslim says:

    I’m still not sure exactly what it is so ‘arachnid’ about the image. Perhaps the five small blobs at the top look like spider eyes, the blue circle below, the thorax, and the multiple curved lines surrounding both are the legs?

  9. Safiyyah says:

    @ iMuslim: I saw the same thing you did 🙂 I’ll go a step further: it looks female-arachnid to me, ha ha.

  10. Thanks for posting this, Marahm. You know I’m a big fan. I can hardly wait to try this out for myself!

  11. iMuslim says:

    @Saffiyah – Yes! Defo female! hehe

  12. Coolred38 says:

    I can make cool circles in the mirror in my bathroom after a hot shower… 😦

  13. Marahm says:

    Coolred, I don’t suppose we’ll get a chance to SEE those circles, will we? I’ve seen people make circles with cigarette smoke, too, and frosty breath in winter. Those kinds of circles would also make a nice photo collection, no? Well, maybe not.

    I warn all of you who want to try making circles– it’s addictive. You won’t be satisfied for long, then you’ll start to crave more and more creative techniques for your photos!

  14. Aafke says:

    Awsome! Actually I love all photos! I can’t choose which one I like better!

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