Abstract Pictures: Some random pictures I made when messing around...

posted 1999-Dec-22
— updated 2017-May-7

Every now and then I make myself screw around in Photoshop and come up with something, just to keep creative juices flowing. The better fruits of this labor are below. Use them as you see fit (desktop pictures, anyone?), though don't sell or mass-distribute them without my permission. All pictures are © copyright Gavin Kistner. Enjoy!

Cold Cold Volcano Sunset Swan Fear the Elusive Fishguana The Passing of the Evening Anodized Aquarium Uh...What is in the Ceiling? An Angel Threw Up Fractal Blur Lichen Age SkySet a SkySet b Topical Blues Vortextual Vortextual 2 Oblate Is In My Blood Growing Back to Nature Wild Montana Sky Wild Montana Sky Older Siblings The Hope Life Brings Take My Hand, I've Got You GivingIt All Up for Our Son 32 Shades of Red Tequila Banana Turbulent Toroid Nebular Rusted Water Woolen Mondrian Embryotic Porpoise Impressioned Flame Sunset in the Milk Into the Pixels of Oblivion Genesis Peach Cellular Praise 2 Obscene Penetration Rainbow Cloud Klein Bottle for the Masses Surreal Grass Clouded Thinking Swirls Hive Whirl Whind Birth of a Planet Pooled Orbits Lightning Strikes Thrice Infarcted Egoism Stellar Depression HoriBall Roseflections Approximation of Joy, Degree 3 Swimmingly

Vanco Ognanov
09:44PM ET
I like abstarct art very much and yours pictures are very good,how can I get some of them,I am form macedonia,but in the moment I study in Bulgaria
04:49AM ET
cool pics!!!!
i'd like also to do some pictures like you do...
can you please tell me how...
what software u ussually work with?
please email me at buddycute@37.com
Gavin Kistner
10:19AM ET
I used Photoshop alone for all pictures except "Impressioned Flame" and "Rainbow Cloud", which were done in Fractal Design's Painter, and "Approximation of Joy, Degree 3", which was done in Adobe Illustrator.

As for how—well, several of the pictures ("HoriBall", "Roseflections", "Turbulent Toroid", "Klein Bottle for the Masses") are all based off of performing the Polar Coordinates filter many times to get that fractally wave patern. For the round ones, I then edited one channel at a time and rotated or flipped that channel differently from the others, and then would change color modes (from RGB to CMYK, say) and perform the same effect one channel at a time.

A lot of the other pictures are based on slapping down some colors and then repeatedly changing color modes (RGB->CMYK->Lab->RGB->etc.) and at each stop rotating the hue a little bit (e.g. 37°) so as to slowly introduce rounding errors in the math which produces interesting effects. "Sunset in the Milk" is a good example of this.
Gavin Kistner
10:24AM ET
Oh, and I forgot: "Lightning Strikes Thrice" was an old project I did in Bryce, also some of the selective focus was applied in Photoshop afterwards.
05:56AM ET
I thought the website lacked pictures. Pretty crud
No Name
10:53AM ET
i think your pics are fab, hae printed some up and are hanging in my lounge.
Gavin Kistner
11:11AM ET
Just thought I'd brag and point out that SkySet-a was created entirely in Photoshop (while sitting on a plane looking out the window)—no photographs were used in its creation. :) (Well, I thought it turned out nicely. :p)
06:05AM ET
These pictures are good, I use some of them for my desktop wallpaper. It is a good idea to print them and hang them on the wall. Great site :)
04:48PM ET
your stuff is real cool
08:57PM ET
it is very abstract,i'll use this as my wallpaper now-8:57pm
03:19PM ET
cool this people are very creative!!!!!!
10:31PM ET
Um.. on one of the last pictures, I think the name is Turbulent Toroid, when you click the link it goes to a freak nasty picture. My friend had that as a background for her website. She signed in and saw THAT picture and.. what the.. please fix it!
04:00AM ET
alright, i would like to apologize if i messed up your website.. im not sure if you recieved the other message i wrote because i dont see it. i really didnt know it was screwing up anything, im not real good with computers, and i didnt know that it was harming anything of yours. i thought it was pretty rude that you changed the picture to something nasty instead of just telling me. it seems as if you assumed that i was doing that on purpose. i think you should have been flattered instead of pissed off and just shouldve told me right away and did it politely instead of doing what you did.
09:04PM ET
your pictures are awesome..im just a beginner student of art and i love it. if you could e-mail me and tell me how to do some pictures like this it would be great. thanks!
Gavin Kistner
10:44AM ET
Well, of course each picture is unique, but a lot of them use the same exploratory technique.
Very roughly:

1) Make a big blank canvas.
2) Make the paintbrush really big and slap down a base set of colors
3) Rotate the hue by an 'akward' amount (say, 37°)
4) Convert to Lab color mode, and rotate the hue another akward amount (e.g. 13°).
5) Keep repeating steps 3 and 4, swapping back and forth between RGB and Lab color modes. The purpose is to try to take advantage of mathematic rounding errors to create odd compressions of color where they blend.
6) Also try repeatedly applying various filters. Ones I commonly use: Dust & Scratches (smoothes and rounds things out without blurring), Unsharp Mask (used repeatedly and strongly can bring out odd edges), Gaussian Blur (to soften things up when they get too harsh).

The above is a simplification of much of the process, and only covers the manner in which perhaps a third or so were created...in the end, it mostly comes down to playing with Photoshop a lot, and keeping working with a picture until it's ready to go or ready to be thrown away :)

Although I love they way they turned out, few pictures were created with a goal in mind...I simply played with the picture until something started to emerge that I liked.
06:53AM ET
I liked your pictures, but prefer to get my hands dirty with some acrylics or oils. The best pictures come from a place that you yourself can not explain. That my friend is real art. It can take a life time to create or 10min sitting in a restaurant drawing on a table. It happens when you least expect it to.***
11:51PM ET
This is awesome stuff. I always try to create stuff like this with my paints, and its awesome I can use this for my backrounds now. Thank you, you are wonderful. :D
12:41AM ET
I love your pics, they are just what i was looking for. Congrats for something fun to look at.
11:18PM ET
I thought the pics were great. I'm using the Swirls one for a background on a flyer I have to do for school. Thanx!!!
04:42PM ET
Think you could zip all them up?
11:30AM ET
i love the pictures its perfect for my home work!
11:30AM ET
i love the pictures its perfect for my home work!
06:39PM ET
Very inspirational work. I prefer to use pastels and oils myself, it gives more of a real feeling of involvement in the creation of a peice. I find computers a little too distant in that sense.
I'd like to see more of your work, the ones above you say are "the better fruits of this labour". You might be quite surprised though, the ones you don't necessarly like could be ones that are most enjoyable for others.
Once again, nice work.
05:29PM ET
cool... :)
11:50AM ET
crazy thats trippy man. I LOVE IT!
06:28PM ET
These are really awesome pictures! I was looking for a cool picture for the wallpaper on my computer and I definitely found some. I look forward to seeing more!
07:23PM ET
we learned about this in art class one year . seeing it on the web makes me see how interesting it is.GREAT JOB GUYS!
09:30AM ET
I love Abstract Pictures they express such a feeling. Everyone sees somthing different in them.
Haloiu Adrian
07:48AM ET
i like your pictures! make more!
04:40PM ET
What a great site ! The pictures are really awsome I must say. Great screen savers
11:44AM ET
hey nice pics but wt r u called the person who made them
11:16AM ET
i really luv ur pics! dey r really fascinating to see! make some more! i want 2 see more!
11:17AM ET
i hate ur pictures thay are so ugly do not make some more or else!!!!
11:19AM ET
hiya nina, maz and ferrari (if u r on dis web!) see u 2moro at skool! from anonymous
12:14PM ET
Great Pictures Gavin,

The FractalBlur-m and TequilaBanana are my favorites.
I love abstract art... -Very interesting how different people see different things it them. :)

02:09PM ET
i love your pictures their so nice they make a statment
Jack Deckard
12:12PM ET
Thanks for putting the abstracts on the net. SkySet b is now my background, but I change this weekly. Your art is appreciated.
11:58AM ET
:) Hello to every1 out there! Hope you read my comment! I know it is boring but next time I'll write somethin' better! See Ya! Answer bak on dis web and I'll check next time! Hopefully you'll have a message 4 me! :)
08:56AM ET
thats nice good job keep the hard work up
06:24AM ET
Nice pictures, but a few more could be added. This is pretty poor.
11:28PM ET
nice, how do you make those?
10:30PM ET
these pictures are sooooo cool
07:29AM ET

Very Cool!

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