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Advanced Kaleidoscope


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Distort > Advanced Kaleidoscope


This plugin is like other kaleidoscope plugins, but adds a lot more options and features. It's a real screen hog -- I'm not sure what I even could cut if I needed to, but hopefully it's condensed enough that you won't have issues using it.


One of the main things that sets this plugin apart from other kaleidoscope plugins is that pieces are reflected on a bunch of different axises. This means that there are a lot of different ways to adjust the piece you want to show. Pieces are also polygons rather than just triangles -- they can reflect back onto themselves. A lot of this isn't really obvious until you play around with the plugin or use the polygon preview feature.


In any case, let's take a look at the plugin:




  • Preview Polygon v0 -- This allows you to see the piece that you're kaleidoscoping in the context of the original image. Kaleidoscope plugins badly need a feature like this. This effect obviously still needs some work, but it should help a lot. I have some usage instructions down near the bottom of this post.
  • Pieces -- Changes the number of pieces in the kaleidoscope. Goes down to 1, goes up to 20. If you need more pieces, let me know and I'll make a second version of the plugin with as many as you want. Personally though, I think it makes more sense to make the more frequently used piece numbers be less sensitive to the mouse.
  • Source Rotate -- Picks a different triangle along the circle to kaleidoscope.
  • Source Zoom -- Slides the triangle along its angle while adjusting its size. It's hard to put this into words, so just mess around with it in the polygon preview effect to see what I mean. It's pretty distinct from Dest Zoom, but I have a feeling that some combination of other effects should be able to replicate it.
  • Kaleidoscope Piece -- picks a different triangle in the image while keeping the angle and size intact. Equivalent to DPL Kaleidoscope's "Source Center".
  • X Reflect / Y Reflect -- In addition to reflecting itself around the circle, these kaleidoscopes will reflect themselves radially outwards. These sliders adjust how much they do so -- X Reflect is basically a radial reflection while Y reflect is a "spoke" reflection, though the shapes vary a lot depending on the number of pieces. These effect names will probably get renamed in a later version after I've used the plugin more.
  • Reflecting Piece -- Adjusts the piece that is actually reflected outwards. If your reflect X and Reflect Y are set to the default 1, this looks almost exactly like the Kaleidoscope Piece effect, but as you pull those values down, this effect becomes increasingly important.
  • Dest Zoom -- Zooms out from whatever the final image is.
  • Wrap Settings -- Being dangerously low on screen real estate, I decided to condense these options into a select box. Essentially though, instead of reflecting things (pieces, radial reflect, spoke reflect) you can wrap them around. This wrapping can lead to some really cool-looking constructions, which I'll cover in my feature previews below.
  • Quality v0 -- Lastly, a quality slider. Like my other batch of distortion plugins, this is basically fake (it just adds a mild blur). I'll be improving them all in batch somewhere after I finish the ones I've been working on. It's better than nothing at least.


All right, let's take a look at what these features actually do:




Here's a base image. Some kind of dented rainbow thing (I use things like this a lot in my art as base images).




Default settings. The default number of pieces is 6, like MadJik's kaleidoscope plugin. Everything else is set to normal.




Here I've increased the number of pieces to 13. Straightforward effect.




This rotates the source -- so basically the triangle is the same distance from the center but is being rotated around it.




This is a source zoom. Notice that there are some commonalities with the original default-settings kaleidoscope, but other parts are different, and the whole thing is also zoomed out. What you're essentially doing is keeping *some* of the original triangle, and you're also keeping the proportions and angle intact.




Here's what it looks like when you pick a different kaleidoscope piece entirely.




Here's an adjustment of the X Reflect setting. Note how as you scroll out from the center along one of the 6 axes you'll see the same features over and over.




This image, meanwhile, showcases the Y Reflect feature. Now things are getting reflected each piece itself.




Here's one with the same Reflect Y as the image above but it's now using a different Reflect Piece.




This one does both Reflect X *and* Reflect Y. Features are basically being reflected in all directions now.




Dest Zooms should be straightforward. In this one I've also altered some other effects so you can compare it to the next set of preview images, which all have to do with Wrap Settings:




Piece Wrapping. Here you're just wrapping things around the circle.




Reflect X Wrapping. Wrapping is happening radially outwards.




Reflect Y Wrapping. Wrapping is happening internally inside each piece.




This one has all three warp settings on (known as  Wrap All), leading to a pretty neat galaxy-looking thing.


You can also do two wrap settings at a time, for example "Pieces + X Reflection".


Preview Polygon


Lastly, let's take a look at what this option does, and all the various caveats attached to it:




Parts of the image that aren't used are turned somewhat transparent so the parts that *are* used are highlighted better. Now when you adjust the various settings the triangle will move around and "bounce" off walls to form polygons. This feature thus allows you to get a better sense of what is being kaleidoscoped, though it's far from perfect.


If you're going to use this, I suggest keeping your Source Zoom and Dest Zoom low so you can actually see what you're doing -- when you scale a polygon up the number of used pixels goes down pretty drastically and those shapes are harder and harder to see. There may be missing pixels even outside of that, though these are at least mild.


Another problem is that the final image can transform and rotate the polygon pretty considerably, so it's hard to get a sense of what a highlighted polygon will actually look like.


Despite these issues, this feature should be a pretty helpful tool in its current form, and it will get better over time. In addition to its other uses, it's a good way to understand what different effects are actually doing.


Still to do

  • Improve the Quality slider. This will happen to all of my distortion plugins at once since they all run on a similar framework.
  • Improve the Polygon Preview feature.
  • Maybe rename different effects as I use the plugin more.
  • Release the source code. Again, this will be a global update.


Download Link


Edited by Xhin
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WOW, those are amazing @Seerose!  The colors just draw me in and in... <3


@Xhin, you are also on a roll!  I'll try this when I get home. Thank you!   :)  :star:


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@Xhin, your plugins are great!  Getting some very good results.  Thank you!  :star: :)






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  • 1 year later...
Just now, Esaie Prickett said:

paint.net said it didn't support the dll file


Make sure you're properly installing the plugin.


(September 25th, 2023)  Sorry about any broken images in my posts. I am aware of the issue.

My Gallery  |  My Plugin Pack

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