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Droste Effect Step #1 | by Josh Sommers
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Droste Effect Step #1

The Droste Effect

(The following is a duplicate of what is on the set page because many people seem to miss that page)


Here is a tutorial on how to do the droste effect using Mathmap- For Windows (also works for Linux and even Mac, but this tutorial specifically for Windows users).


IMPORTANT: This tutorial will ONLY work with mathmap version 1.0.1, which is the version linked to above, and you must carefully follow the following installation instructions for it to work.


You can download all the source code and images HERE (~3megs).


You can download the GIMP and GTK for windows Here.


You can download mathmap for GIMP on windows HERE.


Mathmap install instructions:

1) Unzip it.

2) Copy mathmap.exe, libgsl.dll, libgslcblas.dll into the gimp plugin directory. On my system it is here:

C:\Program Files\GIMP-2.0\lib\gimp\2.0\plug-ins

3) Copy mathmaprc and new_template.c into a new directory named:

C:\Documents and Settings\ "your-user-name" \.gimp-2.2\mathmap.



If your computer is in any language other than english, there are steps you must take to get Mathmap to work correctly, involving setting the decimal point in regional settings. Click here for an explanation: Mathmap and Foreign Language Packs


Enjoy, I hope you find this to be educational and helpful.


If you use the tutorial and produce an image, you should submit it to the Escher's Droste Print Galley group. A link to this tutorial or to my stream from your first droste effect image would be appreciated. I am sharing this technique freely, but it bums me out when someone uses the tutorial and the code and doesn't give some kind of credit or thanks.


Step 1 of the tutorial:


1.0 - Start this tutorial by downloading the code and images used in the tutorial here: Droste Effect Tutorial Download (~3 mb).


1.1- Open this image in Photoshop or GIMP (Mark.jpg) (I used Photoshop). Do some levels to correct the overall darkness. In this example, I also decided to desaturate everything except for the picture frame, but it is not necessary to do that.


1.2- Right click on the layer "background" and select "Layer from Background". This will make it so that when you erase in the next step, you erase to transparency and not a background color.


1.3 - Using the eraser tool, the selection tool, or any other means you are comfortable with, erase the inside of the picture frame. Use an anti-aliased brush so that the edges are soft and not pixelated.


1.4 - Use the crop tool to select the area you have just erased. You may need to rotate the cropping frame to get it to fit correctly. Once you have aligned the crop area with the area you erased, hold down the alt and shift keys and expand the crop area as far as you can without going beyond the edges of the picture. It is important to hold down shift and alt because that will confine the proportions of the crop area and force it to scale outwards from the middle. Press enter when you are ready to crop.


1.5 - Save the image as a PSD and close it. (In the tutorial folder this is called Mark.psd).


Proceed to step 2

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Taken on December 25, 2006