Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Kaleidoscope Pattern Maker

I recently got a new hobby: making kaleidoscopes. In my last kaleidoscope project, I used small bits of mirror in as "fill", creating ice crystals.

The patterns you can create with it are just fantastic. I therefore got the idea of being able to save those patterns; a kaleidoscope with an SD card or USB port, so I can print patterns.

Here you can see my first attempt:

Step 1: make a picture of a pattern

I used a standard webcam to take the pictures (fits neatly with the opening at the back of the kaleidoscope). The lamp increases the contrast in the picture.

Step 2: Crop the pattern and increase contrasts

I used Photoshop to crop the image so I have a single piece of the pattern. I increase the contrast by a simple automated action.
Step 3: Vectorize the bitmap image
I used Illustrator's standard "Live Trace" function, creating a vector version of the image. The vectorized image is tiled automatically
Step 4: Print

Ready to create an endless amount of unique patterns... Obviously, there is software that can create patterns without a problem, but generating patterns with a real kaleidoscope is just better ;-)

1 comment:

Ben J Hamilton said...

Hi, great work here – I found your blog while browsing other sites. I’ve done a similar exploration with kaleidoscopes – though you look a little more comfortable actually building a working object. I tried using type with mine – great results: http://benjhamilton.blogspot.com/2010/01/kaleidotype.html