In this tutorial, you’ll learn how to create a fractal mirror effect in Affinity Photo. This effect places a piece of a face or the subject in an image into multiple panes. This fractal mirror effect can be applied to a variety of different images, but it works best with portrait images. You can apply this to things such as album covers, posters, etc.
Before you begin this tutorial and create a fractal mirror effect, go to the following link to download the image used in the tutorial.
First, go to File > Open and select the image you downloaded.
Next, go to the Layers Panel and click the Adjustments icon. Select the Black and White adjustment. For the Red and Green, slide the sliders to the left. I set the Red to 71% and the Green to 65%. Go to the Yellow and the Magenta and slide those sliders to the right. I set the Yellow to 110% and Magenta to 131%.
In the Layers Panel, lower the Opacity of the Black and White adjustment to 80%. Then, press CTRL and click the Background layer. Right-click on the selected layers and select Merge Visible. Turn the original image and the background layer off.
Select the new layer. Grab the Rectangular Marquee Tool from the Tools Panel. Take the tool and make a selection from the left of the image. Then, drag the selection down.
Once you’ve dragged the selection down to the bottom, press CTRL + J.
Now, select the image layer again. Grab the Move Tool from the Tools Panel. Take the move tool and drag a guideline from the Rulers area and place the ruler on the right side of the selection box. If the rulers aren’t active, press CTRL + R to activate them.
Next, grab the Rectangular Marquee Tool again from the Tools Panel. Make sure the 4 bold arrows are showing. Then, take the selection box and move it to the right of the guideline. Also, make sure the image layer is still selected. After that, press CTRL + J to place a copy of the selection onto a new layer.
Switch back to the Move Tool. Then, drag the guideline onto the right side of the selection brush. After that, grab the Rectangular Marquee Tool and move the selection to the right side of the guideline.
In the Layers Panel, select the image layer, then press CTRL + J so that the selection can be placed onto a new layer.
Keep doing step 8 and step 9 until you’ve reached the other end of the image.
Once you finished making all the panes, take the Move Tool and drag the guideline to the left back into the Ruler area. Then, press CTRL + D to deselect.
Grab the Crop Tool from the Tools Panel. Stretch the left and right sides outward by stretching the middle nodes on the left and right sides. When you’re done, hit Apply.
In the Layers Panel, click the Add Pixel Layer to add a new layer. Drag the layer above the image layer. With the new layer still selected, go to the Edit menu. Select Fill with Secondary Color. The pixel layer should be filled with black. Also, the pixel layer should cover up the rest of the area we expanded. If it doesn’t, take the Move Tool and expand the pixel layer to cover the area on both sides. In the Layers Panel, turn off the image layer.
Select the first pane on the right side. Press the Shift key and drag the pane all the way to the right side. Then, select the pane on the left side. Press Shift and slide it all the way to the left side.
Press Shift and slide each pane to its respective side making sure you leave space between each one. Then, select all the panes. Go to the Alignment Panel and select Space Horizontally.
With the panes still selected, press CTRL + G to group the panes together. Then, press CTRL + J to duplicate the group. Label the original group Bottom and the duplicated group Top.
Select the Bottom group. Go to the Filters menu. Select Blur > Gaussian Blur. Set the Radius to 5 px.
Press Shift and slide the Bottom group to the left. You want to slide it to the point where the face is connected.
Now, select the Bottom group again. Click the fx icon in the Layers Panel. Check the Color Overlay box and select it. Set the Blend Mode to Normal, the Color to Black, and set the Opacity to 40%.
After that, select the Top group. Click the fx icon in the Layers Panel. Check the Bevel/Emboss box and select it. Set the Type to Outer. Unlink the Radius and the Depth. Next, set the Radius to 10 px, the Depth to 100 px, and the Soften to 5 px. Then, go to the Highlight area. Set the Blend Mode to Normal, the Color to Black, and the Opacity to 100%. After that, go to the Shadow. Set the Blend Mode to Normal, the Color to Black, and the Opacity to 50%.
Next, click the Add Pixel Layer in the Layers Panel to add a new layer. Make sure this layer is at the top of everything. With the new layer selected, go to the Edit menu. Select Fill with Secondary Color to fill the layer with Black.
Grab the Paintbrush Tool from the Tools Panel. Go to the Brushes Panel. Now, go to the Basic brushes and select one of the Round Soft brushes. Go to the Context Toolbar and set the Width of the brush to the max which is 4096 px. Set the Opacity and the Flow to 100% and set the Hardness to 25%.
Once you’ve done that, go to the Swatches Panel. Select the white color. Take the brush and click once in the center of the document.
With the pixel layer selected, go to the Layers Panel and change the Blend Mode to Multiply. Other Blend Modes you can use are Color Burn, Linear Burn, Darker Color, Soft Light, and Average. You’ll need to make adjustments to the Opacity of the other blend modes to get the desired look you want.
If you want to, you can also add color to this to create a fractal mirror effect.
Select the Bottom layer in the Layers Panel. Then, click the Adjustments icon in the Layers Panel. Select the Gradient Map adjustment. Click the Green color stop and click Delete beside Reverse. Then, press Reverse to change the color stop directions.
Now, click the Blue color stop. Go to Color and select the RGB Hex Sliders. You can set it to whatever color you want. I set it to the following hex code #2444E7. Then, select the Red color stop. Go to Color and set it to the following color #C3F681. Or you can set it to another color. Lower the Opacity of the layer to about 85%.
After that, press CTRL + J to duplicate the Gradient Map layer. Drag the duplicated layer above the Top layer.
To change the colors, double-click on the white square of the gradient map layer. Click the blue color stop and change the color to whatever you want. The hex code for the color I’m using is #DC779F.
Then, select the light greenish color stop and change its color. The hex code for the color I used is #41FD87. After that, lower the Opacity of this layer to about 60%.
Congratulations, you’ve completed this tutorial! You now know how to create a fractal mirror effect in Affinity Photo. For more Affinity Photo tutorials, check out this article on how to create a dot pixel effect.
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