Droste Effects: Using MathMap and Pixel Bender

Hello everyone,

I’m always searching for new ideas when it comes to my macro photography work.   As I was searching, I found this great ebook by Evan Sharboneau, “Trick Photography and Special Effects”. 

Once you purchase this book and if you decide to print it, don’t delete it from your computer!!  He attached links to help you with the steps needed for each project, etc…  I definitely liked the read and it inspired me to play with the Droste Effect.

So, I tried both suggestions he wrote about the GIMP+Mathmap file+The Droste Code and the Pixel Bender+Droste.pbk.

The ebook has several ideas on Droste effects.  If you’re feeling a bit burned out and need some new creativity flowing through your work, I highly recommend this book.

Here is my first attempt…I plan to work more on this for some cool effects.

The MathMap is very slow unless you download the x-code like suggested….. but you can work with large files, which is a plus for me.

When you open MathMap:

You will see these panes:


Figure 1: MathMap when you first open it. 

Start by Dragging the Droste icon to the filter.

Figure 2: Drag filter.

Drag the photograph you want to work on to the small pane and adjust your image.

Figure 3:  Adjusting your image. 

When you’re done go to File at the top and click on export; MathMap will save your image as a tiff – just add your dimensions and click on > export.

Figure 4: Exporting to save your image. 

Viola :

Example of the Pixel Bender:

Once you download Pixel Bender, download the Droste Effect Filter (link above):

I just double clicked on the Droste Filter and it opened up Pixel Bender.

Figure 5: Double click on Droste Filter. 

You can see from Figure 6 that the Droste Filter is running.  On the right side of the pane they tell you the steps needed to start.

Figure 6: Steps to start your Droste.

I next loaded a pic (remember it needs to be a jpg or png)

Figure 7: Loading your image.

Click on Build and Run

Figure 8: Once your load image click Build & Run.

One of the best suggestions Evan has is to make sure you are viewing on “fit to screen”.  I wasted time not doing this.

Figure 9: Click Fit to Screen. 

Next is the best part!!  Have fun tweaking the photo !

Figure 10:  Play with your image using this pane.  

Now Save your work:

Figure 11 & 12: Click File>Save Image As


Here are some of my first Droste effects before and after shots.  I had such a great time that I wanted to share it with you all.  Trust me…it starts those creative juices flowing!







If you have any questions feel free to email me or post to this article.

Happy Drosteing !



5 Comments on “Droste Effects: Using MathMap and Pixel Bender”

  1. […] you tried the Droste effects I wrote about in my last article.  Today I would like to show you another fun effect to affect […]

  2. jimdaniel43 says:

    You can add effects to your photos at http://www.addeffects.net without installed software

  3. Hi Rainbowheartlove for the comment 🙂 Sorry to say I’m a newbie but I plan to start a discussion on LinkedIn In the Professional Photography group. I would like Ideas and info on the programs and more on the Droste effects. If you’re part of LinkedIn you may want to check it out.

    Have a great day!

  4. rainbowheartlove says:

    Are you good with Gimp? I have tried to use Gimp but I am not to good with it yet. Is there so good guides on adding words to pictures that doesn’t seem to take to long?

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