The Art of Scanning  


Marty Klein's scandalas

December 17, 2015

Scandala is a word I created* for my kaleidoscopic scanographs...it combines the medium and the spiritual and ritual symbol in Hinduism and Buddhism, representing the Universe - the mandala.

I find them to be fun, beautiful, complex, intriguing and yes, a bit "gimmicky." They're fairly simple to make if you can find a Photoshop kaleidoscope action to add to your program. Somewhere online, there's instructions to build your own action. A search should find either of those.

First, I choose one of my scans to use. A few things to consider:

  • The action works from a square image but if yours isn't, it will do the cropping. I prefer to do my own cropping.

  • I can't predict the result when I click "Run" on the action, but more complex source images tend to make for more interesting scandalas. Using a single object on a black background might not be as interesting as say, a grouping or cluster would be. Not always though.

  • I save my scans as fairly large files, 3-400mb, so I can choose from many potential areas within a single image to make square crops (or use one of my square images) and still come out with a decent sized scandala file. When you run this action, the end file is about 4x larger than the original.

  • Because they're unpredictable, this is largely a "hit or miss" process. I've made some that are pretty compelling, many more that are throwaways. I won't analyze each step of the action (mine has 19), so I'll call it "slicing, dicing and blending", for lack of a better term.

  • After the action completes, you can change the look of the scandala by playing with adjustments like curves, brightness, contrast, hue/saturation, etc. Tweaking yields surprises.

My scan of magnolia fruits, "Birthing Room", yielded some interesting ones. Changing the area I chose to crop made a big difference. Here's the source and a couple of scandalas cropped from different areas in it.

Depending on where your eyes focus, you'll see different things in your scandala. Faces, angels, demons, monsters…



Here, I added the source image, a hibiscus bud, into the scandala, after I'd created it.

Sometimes, the centers are even more beautiful than the rest of the scandala. Here's four I cropped out.



Images on this page Copyright © Marty Klein




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