Using Polar Coordinates In Photoshop

Make a square selection

1. Open an image in Photoshop (screenshots are from Photoshop CS2 on Mac). Higher resolution and size will give better results. I used a picture I found online on Freedom Wallpaper.

2. You need to make a selection that is squared. Use the selection tool, and set the aspect ratio to fixed:

fixed-ratio

3. Enter the same number in both fields. 1 and 1 works.
1-by-1

4. Make a selection.
make-a-selection

Apply The Filter

5. Apply the filter Polar Coordinates:
apply-filter

6. In this step, use the bottom radio button, marked “Polar to Rectangular”:
rectangle

7. Now your image will turn into something that may look interesting at best, but we’re not yet there:
after

Rotate And Apply Filter Again

8. Rotate the selection 180 degrees. There are a few different ways to do this. One of them is to use the Edit menu, then Transform and Rotate 180 degrees.
rotate

9. Now apply the same filter we did in point 5. But do NOT just choose it from the top of the Filter menu. We are going to change one of the parameters so you have to choose it from Filters > Distort > Polar Coordinates… again.

This time, choose the upper radio button, labeled “Rectangular to Polar”:
switch

Crop And Save

10. Crop your picture to get rid of the stuff surrounding your new circle:
final

Any suggestions, ideas? Feel free to comment on this article!

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