Digital Marble – Christmas Tree Ornaments

A Digital Marble (Amazing Circle) made from a photo of a decorated Christmas Tree.

Original photo

Photo manipulating programs have a polar coordinate filter that can turn a photo into a circular shape that is reminiscent of a fortune teller’s orb or marble – or a Christmas Tree ornament! They are also commonly called Amazing Circles.

I’m very excited with my marble photos, though I will soon have so many of them that I expect the novelty will wear off – for you. I don’t think I will tire of it soon because each one is so unpredictable. I never know what will be inside the marble photo until it is complete! Here are the directions for making these using one purchased program and one freeware program.

1. Photoshop Elements 10:

a. Open your picture in Photoshop Elements or Photoshop and enhance it as desired. I usually adjust the lighting levels and sharpen.

b. Crop it to a square, or a ratio of 1:1

c. Click on Filter – Distort – Polar Coordinates – Polar to Rectangular – OK

d. Click on Image – Rotate – Flip Vertical

e. Click on Filter – Distort – Polar Coordinates – Rectangular to Polar – OK. Then I opened FastStone Image Viewer to add borders and text, and also to resize it to fit my blog. This finished marble is 778X778 pixels.   (photo above)

2. GIMP: is a freely distributed program.

The technique for making Amazing Circles is similar to above.

a. Enhance the photo as desired.
b. Choose the Crop Tool (looks like a knife, sort of). Select a Fixed Aspect ratio of 1:1 and select the area you want to use.
c. From the menu bar, choose Filters- Distorts- Polar Coordinates. Uncheck the “To Polar” button. Okay.
d. From the menu bar, choose Image- Transform- Flip Vertically.
e. From the menu bar, choose Filters- Distorts- Polar Coordinates again. Check the “To Polar” button. OK.
f. The resulting circle may not have the background color you desire. Use the Color Picker Tool to select a color from the image. Then use the Paint Bucket Tool to fill the background.

This isn’t a new technique. It has been around for a few years. Click on this link to see a large number of Amazing Circles that have been submitted to flickr.

2 thoughts on “Digital Marble – Christmas Tree Ornaments

    1. I finally abandoned Photoshop Elements and moved on to GIMP! What with computers crashing and Windows 10 issues, GIMP was a much easier solution. GIMP was harder to learn, but it is free and is upgraded frequently.

      Liked by 1 person

There, I'm finished. Now it is your turn:

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s