Anything Photoshop or Photography

Pixel Bender Droste Effect

This week I read an interesting blog by John Derry on the Droste Effect using the free Adobe Pixel Bender plug-in (click to download) for Photoshop. Note often an error warning comes up when applying Pixel Bender – just say OK. Most tutorials on the Pixel Bender plug-in have used the Oil Painting Effect. You can click here to download the Droste Effect that must be added into this plug-in to use.  It can also be downloaded at the Adobe Pixel Bender Exchange here.  I have been having some fun with this effect and thought I would share some of my results. I found it worked best for me to use a more graphic look as opposed to pictures I have taken, but you might get a very different result using different settings.

For the above image, I followed a tutorial at Computer Arts called “All-new abstract illustration techniques” by Per Gustafson to create the original graphic-looking image (a free pdf file with instructions can be downloaded from this site).  I also used an OnOne PhotoFrames plug-in to add the extra whitish look. These are the settings I used in the plug-in to get this effect:
Size 680/680
Radius Inside 27.073
Radius Outside 100
Periodicity 1
Strands 1
Check Strand Mixer
Zoom 4.35
Rotate 25.2
Antialiasing 1
Center 90/64
Center Shift 150/2
Background RGB 0/0/0/1
Levels 9
Level Start 3
Check Transparent Inside
Check Transparent Outside
Check Twist
Uncheck Periodicity
Rotate Polar 36
Rotate Spin 0
Uncheck hyperDroste
Fractal Points 0


The above image is the same original image as the first one, but I just continued tweaking the sliders and got this totally different look.  I did not record all the changes but it was quite easy to make.  After applying the plug-in, I used Nik Silver Efex Pro to convert the image to black and white, set the layer to 43%, made a composite (CTRL+SHIFT+ALT+E) and applied the Sunshine filter from Nik Color Efex Pro, and finally added an Inner Glow and a Stroke layer style.

The image below was created using this beautiful texture – you can download it here. I thought it turned out quite interesting.   These are the settings I used for this effect:
Size 373/490
Radius Inside 36.064
Radius Outside  52.48
Periodicity 1.44
Strands 2
Check Strand Mirror
Zoom 0
Rotate 147.6
Antialiasing 1
Center 20/70
Center Shift (-20)/200
Background RGB 0/0/0/1
Levels 14
Level Start 1
Check Transparent Inside
Check Transparent Outside
Check Twist
Uncheck Periodicity Auto
Rotate Polar (-97.2)
Rotate Spin (-352.8)
Uncheck hyperDroste
Fractal Points 0

I tried to follow the settings included in the blog entry from the Digital Photography School on the Droste Effect for the hibiscus image below.  I used completely different settings from the other pictures.  I followed the tutorials suggestion of making it a floral square image.  Settings for this Pixel Bender Droste Effect are as follows:
Size 2616/2616
Radius Inside 51.549
Radius Outside 100
Periodicity 1.2
Strands 1
Check Strand Mirror
Zoom 3.6
Rotate (-36)
Antialiasing 1
Center (-6)/0
Center Shift 0/0
Background RGBA 0/0/0/1
Levels 5
Start Level 3
Uncheck Transparent Inside
Check Transparent Outside
Check Twist
Uncheck Periodicity Auto
Rotate Polar 0
Rotate Spin (-115.2)
Uncheck hyperDroste
Fractal Points 0


Overall this is a really fun plug-in to try. I believe that with a little effort and becoming familiar with the settings, you could get some great artistic effects……Digital Lady Syd

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6 responses

  1. Jose Romero

    In a circular droste…how do get the center of the picture be the center of the droste?

    12/16/2011 at 8:17 pm

    • Good question. The trick is to adjust the center [0] and [1] sliders and the [0] and [1] sliders to move the center around. If that is not good enough, go up to the size sliders and adjust. The settings I used give a good basic starting point, but the sliders will still need a bit of adjustment depending on what the image is…..Digital Lady Syd

      12/17/2011 at 11:35 am

  2. How Can i get a droste effect that spirals out.. like the image of the clock given below

    http://bit.ly/sF0OH3

    .. Thanks in advance.. 🙂

    12/19/2011 at 5:42 am

    • I had seen this effect before – Gavin Hoey, an Adobe guru from Britain, did a short video in November that is linked here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b8D5e6bSW0g&feature=relmfu . I had to adjust the setting a bit, but it came out just like your linked image. This should work – just follow his steps. Good luck! Digital Lady Syd

      12/21/2011 at 8:29 pm

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