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 that is not only beautiful, but it also has a focusing and calming effect. 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.
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.
2. RAW adjustments in Lightroom Classic
Next, I brought my photos into Lightroom Classic for RAW conversion and basic adjustments:
- White balance
- Square crop
3. Creating the photo mandala in Photoshop
Here is where the fun really starts. Start by opening your photo in Photoshop by right-clicking on your photo in Lightroom Classic. Go to Edit in > Edit in Adobe Photoshop.
Once in Photoshop, unlock the background layer by clicking on the Lock symbol on the layer.
Then, duplicate your image layer three times (so you have four copies). You can do this by going to the Layer menu and clicking Duplicate Layer.
Enlarge the canvas to fit all four copies of the image (Image > 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.
Then, grab the Move tool (V on your keyboard) and position each copy at one of the four corners of the canvas.
Once you’ve done that, you can transform your images:
- 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!
4. Use Topaz Studio for 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.
In Photoshop, 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).
Then go to Filter > Topaz Studio 2 > Topaz Studio 2.
Now’s the time to dust off your inner artist and get 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 > Quit Photoshop (Windows) to return to Lightroom Classic.
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 looking amazing and are the perfect addition to the décor in my master bathroom.
Tools I used to create my photo mandala
- Camera — I captured these photos with the Canon EOS R6, but just about any camera would be fine for this project.
- Lightroom Classic & 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.
Editor’s note: We welcome Angela Andrieux to the Photofocus team. Angela is a Southern California based fine art photographer and photography coach. She will photograph just about anything, but her love to travel tops it all and feels there is nothing better than exploring someplace new, camera in hand. She also enjoys helping photographic artists find their creative voice. Whether through
her blog, workshops, or one-on-one coaching, her students’ excitement to learn keeps her inspired.