Ever wonder what a talented person can do with some of the less common features in Photoshop? Egyptian artist Amr Elshamy spun a mountain range into a series of “Round Things” illustrations using the Polar Coordinates distortion filter. Here’s how he created the image Adobe selected to feature on the Photoshop 2017 splash screen.

Square the composition

Amr emphasizes the symmetry of the composition by making the image a square. He chooses Image > Image Size, deselects Constrain Aspect Ratio, and sets the Width and Height values to 4000 each.

Set the Width and Height values to 4000px in the Image Size dialog box

Spin it around

Amr then distorts the image to create the circular shape. To do so, he uses the tools in the Distort filter (Filter > Distort > Polar Coordinates) and selects Rectangular to Polar.

Select Rectangular to Polar in the Polar Coordinates dialog box

Make it seamless

To blend the seam at the center, Amr reaches for the Healing Brush. He defines the source area next to the seam (Alt+click in Windows; Option+click in macOS), then drags over it.

Tip: The Clone tool, Patch tool, and Smudge tool can also be helpful for cleanup.

Before and after comparison of the image after applying changes with the Healing Brush Before and after comparison of the image after applying changes with the Healing Brush

Bring in the main character

To add a story to the illustration, Amr uses the Pen tool to trace the silhouette of a figure in another image. He uses Transform > Scale to resize the figure, then places it into the illustration.

Place the traced silhouette of a figure after resizing it

Complete the scene

Lastly, Amr adjusts the contrast and color balance to add more drama to the scene. To see more of his work, including other “Round Things” compositions, view his projects on Behance.

Final artwork after adjusting the contrast and color balance values

About Amr Elshamy:

Amr Elshamy’s dreams are vivid and filled with stories of monsters, magical worlds, lions walking in the streets, evil robots, and flying whales. He takes notes about his dreams for inspiration, and keeps his camera and props close. Then, he uses Photoshop to bring his dreams to life.

When Amr bought a boxed version of Photoshop 12 years ago, he wasn’t exactly sure what the product did. A photographer friend showed him the basics and from then on, it was all trial and error. Amr struggled with pressure from others to put aside his art and pursue traditional work. But he never completely let go and now, as a self-taught photographer, visual artist, and filmmaker, Amr gets to fulfill his passion and immerse himself in the life of an artist.


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