Abstract Mosaic

For this tutorial we will be creating an abstract mosaic effect that will distort your image but at the same time give it a little intrigue.

I did this in Photoshop but I am pretty sure with Elements and Photoplus you will be able to create a similar effect.


First you need to choose your image and open it in your editor, here I have used a stock image. Once open create a new document using the image as the document size.

In your new document you need to create a 6 sided polygon. Use the Polygon tool (U) and draw your shape with a point at the top. Make sure the colour for this shape is 50% shade.


Duplicate the shape layer and change its colour to a darker shade. Align the duplicated shape so that its top covers the bottom of the original layer.


Using the pen tool (p) delete the anchor points on the left side of the shape. Hold shift and using the pen tool you can drag the top anchor point down to the original layers bottom anchor point. Once this has been done using the move tool drag the layer up and you have the left side of a cube.



Repeat this process for the right side.


Now you have a cube group the layers and duplicate and create a pattern that fills the whole layer. At this point think about how big your cubes are to how much detail there is in your image.


Once you have created a huge pattern select an area of the pattern using the selection tool. You need to think carefully as this pattern will be tiled.


When you have made your selection go Edit-define pattern, give your pattern a name and go to your image.


Create a new layer and fill with the pattern Layer-New layer fill-pattern. Right click on your new layer and choose the option rasterize.

Duplicate your original image and place it above the pattern layer. Reduce the opacity of the layer so you can see the pattern and then transform the layer skewing to the same angle as one of the sides of a cube. To do this you can go, Ctrl + T right click skew, once completed press enter.


Raise the opacity of the layer back to 100% and give the image a slight Gaussian blur around 10px but whatever suits your image.

Click on the pattern layer. Using the magic wand selection tool (w) select one side of one of the cubes, then go Select – Similar. With your selection highlighted click on your duplicated image and go Layer-Layer mask – reveal all. The selection will then show though with the unselected being hidden.


Repeat this process for the three other sides.


Once you have your three new layers merge layers and duplicate. With the new merged layer add a Gaussian blur of around 20px and change the blending to screen and lower the opacity to 80%.

Now we add a new adjustment layer Gradient Map Layer-adjustment layer- gradient map. And keep it as a black and white gradient and change the blending of the layer to soft light

Next we adjust the saturation to taste. I would recommend lowering the saturation but if it is not too strong you can raise it.

Group all these adjustments together as well as the merged layers.


Using the magic wand tool again on the pattern layer (which should not be grouped) select sides of the cubes that you want to show though on the image. By this I mean select the areas that are the main parts of your image.

(If you have a problem because it selects more than one side at a time this is because the cube design at the beginning had a slight gap. To work around this select the sides you can and go to the next step and then come back select the other sides and using the paint brush mask in this selection)

Now with your areas selected click on your grouped layers and add a layer mask as before.

The image looks good (I hope). Now we need to add some texture. I am using a texture of some paper I have. If you don’t have any textures saved on your computer I would highly recommend creating a texture library.

To create a paper texture, scan some paper and import it into your document or take a picture if you don’t have a scanner. There are loads of free textures on the web but when you are out photographing and you see a cool texture snap it.

Place the texture at the top of your layers and change the blending to multiply.

Duplicate the texture layer and place it above your pattern layer and change the blending to colour burn.


Next add a new layer at the top of your image and fill it with solid black using the paint bucket (G). Add a layer mask as before and select the brush tool (B) using a large solid brush with a low opacity with the colour black selected mask out the centre, creating a vignette. I set the blending to overlay and then duplicate the layer and set the blending of this layer to multiply.


The image is now complete.


Once you are ok with creating 3D cubes try creating other shapes. The image below I created using triangles.


What do you think of the images? Is it something you will try? Let me know using the comments box below.

5 thoughts on “Abstract Mosaic

  1. Would love to try this – time permitting! It’s interesting how we still pickup the original image in the altered one – I wonder if that would be so if we hadn’t seen it in the first place, an interesting experiment! Love the added texture…

    • I am not sure. Someone spoke to me today about the image and asked what it was. I think in is an image you need to take time to look at before you can see what the image is. As for time it takes about an hour to do, maybe a little longer if you keep going back to the instructions. The hardest part is making the original shape for the pattern.

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