A photo a week challenge – Whimsical

Whimsical Meaning

1. spontaneously fanciful or playful

So for Nancy Merrill’s challenge of being whimsical, I thought I would take the playful route of playing with photos in Photoshop.

Using the Orb method a blue hydrangea that I used today for my flower of the day, ended up an orb.

Hydrangea Orb

Continuing with the orb theme some colour jets of water taken at Southend on Sea ended up like this.

Water Fountain

And this time with the orb effect plus a twirl in Photoshop a long exposure photograph of car headlights turned into this artwork.



Instructions for Orbing

  • Crop image to 1:1 (square) Ratio (optional 1:1 will create a round orb whilst all other dimensions 3:2, 6:4, etc will create an oval orb.
  • Filter ► Distort ► Polar Coordinates…. ► Polar to Rectangular ► OK
  • Image ► Image Rotation ► Flip Canvas Vertical
  • Filter ► Distort ► Polar Coordinates…. ► Rectangular to Polar ► OK

Instructions for Twirling


1.) Open your image in Photoshop

2.) With your background layer selected > select Filter > Pixelate > Mezzotint. Set your mode to “Medium Lines.” OK.

3.) Next select to Filter > Blur > Radial Blur. Change settings to Amount 100, Blur Method zoom, Quality best. OK.

4.) Repeat step 3 as many times as you like. I ran mine about 3 times.

5.) Create a duplicate layer [CTRL/CMD J].

6.) With the background layer highlighted, Select > Filter > Distort > Twirl. On this layer, you want to use a positive number ie +200.

7.) Highlight Layer 1, select > Filter > Distort > Twirl. For this layer, we need a negative number ie: -150. OK

8.) We now need to blend these two layers together, select Layer 1, and change your blending mode, try darken and lighten, Exclusion and Difference, it really depends on your image and what effect you like. Try all the blend modes, some will work, some won’t.

9.) Now flatten or stamp your image (Ctrl, Shift, Alt, E) and transform it (flip horizontal or vertical) and use another blend mode, or even the same one, to create a really great piece of unique art.

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