Convert a Rectangle into a Circle

How to convert a rectangle into a circle (tutorial)

When creating surface designs, sometimes it’s useful to convert a rectangle into a circle.

Have you ever wanted to take an image like this one…And turn it into this?

Winter Walk photoI converted a rectangle into a circular to create this Winter Walk circular design

Or maybe convert this….into that?
White barn in the snowI converted a rectangle into a circular to create this White barn with sign circular design

 I wanted to use photographs of snow scenes that I’ve taken in the past to create amazing designs for Christmas tree skirts on Zazzle.

Just one problem: Christmas tree skirts are round, and my images are rectangular. I needed to convert a rectangular photo to a circular design.

In Photoshop Elements, there is a setting under Filters, under Distort, called Polar Coordinates:

Click image to enlarge

Step One:

In order to use the Polar Coordinates tool, first unlock the background layer:

Click image to enlarge

Step 2:

Resize canvas from rectangular to square using “Canvas Size:”

Click image to enlarge

I’ve used a small image here for the purposes of illustration, but for large items such as Christmas tree skirts, the original photo needs to be at least 24 inches in width and 300 ppi.

You should have blank space above and below your image after resizing the canvas

The blank space above and below the image on the canvas will allow the Polar Coordinates tool to function properly.

Step 3:

Now save your file as a psd, close it and exit the program.

This is necessary because when working with such large files, no matter how many times you clear the history, the working RAM for the program shrinks. The Polar Coordinates tool requires a lot of RAM to function. Resetting the amount of RAM available doesn’t appear to fix this…

Step 4:

Reopen your file and Photoshop Elements.

Open Filters => Distort => Polar Coordinates

Select the option Rectangular to Polar

Convert a rectangle to a circle

Click to see larger view

And…there you have it!

Winter Walk circular design

Click to see larger view

Your finished artwork should be somewhere around 21 inches in diameter.

Step 5:

Crop the empty space, resize to 20 inches, save as a PNG file, upload to Zazzle and add to a tree skirt:

Click through to purchase Drifts and Shadows Wraparound Christmas Snow Scene Brushed Polyester Tree Skirt

Click through to purchase

Smaller size files can also be used for round designs, like ornaments or cutting boards.

An Additional Tip:

The more height given to objects in the foreground, the better the final artwork becomes.

White barn with sign circular design

click to see a larger view

In order to have recognizable barns, I wound up squashing four views of the barn house into the space normally reserved for one: and flipping the second and fourth copies to create mirrored images:

Click to see larger view

Using the grid tool helps with sizing and placement.

  • Merge the layers,
  • edit the image to soften lines at edges of the previous layers and dark spots in the sky,
  • add cute little signs with (optional) text on them
  • then go through the steps using the Polar Coordinates tool to create your new artwork,
  • upload to Zazzle:
Click through to purchase White Barn Wraparound Snow Scene Monogrammed Brushed Polyester Tree Skirt

Click through to purchase

 

More tree skirts I’ve designed using Polar Coordinates:

Tree-lined Street Wraparound Snow Scene Monogram Brushed Polyester Tree Skirt

Click through to purchase

Country Snowscape Wraparound Blue White Christmas Brushed Polyester Tree Skirt

Click through to purchase

Snow Fence Houses Snowscape Monogrammed Wraparound Brushed Polyester Tree Skirt

Click through to purchase

Christmas Tree Skirts collection

Click on the image to shop my collection of Christmas tree skirts.

If you don’t have access to Photoshop Elements and would like some help converting a favorite photo into a tree skirt design, please feel free to contact me. I’d love to help!

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