Did you know that you can unlock additional features of Photoshop’s Paint Symmetry technology preview to quickly create illustrations with variable radial symmetry (and mirrored radial symmetry) simply by renaming any Symmetry Path in the Path panel? Here’s how:
- Choose Preferences > Technology and check Enable Paint Symmetry. You don’t have to do this in the current version!
- Select the Paint Brush, Pencil, or Eraser tool. Note: Paint Symmetry doesn’t support Live Brush Tips (airbrush, bristle tips, erodible).
- Click the butterfly icon in the Options bar and select any type of symmetry from the menu. I find that selecting New Dual Axis enables me to use the horizontal and vertical lines as guides however it doesn’t really matter which option you choose because the next step actually determines the type of symmetry (radial or mandala (mirrored)) as well as the number of axis.
- Tap Enter (Mac) | Return (win) to accept the default Path Symmetry transformation.
- In the Paths panel, rename the path one of the following:
Radial Symmetry x (where x is the number of segments desired with 12 segments being the maximum).
Mandala Symmetry x (where x is the number of segments desired with 10 segments being the maximum).
The examples below show Radial Symmetry set to 10 (resulting in a single paint stroke being repeated 10 times around a 360° axis).
The examples below show Mandala Symmetry set to 10 (resulting in a single paint stroke first being mirrored, then repeated 10 times around a 360° axis).
For a closer look at the difference between the Radial and Mandala Symmetry options, the illustration below shows the results of a single brush stroke with Radial Symmetry set to 8.The next illustration is the result of adding a second brush stroke.
The next illustration shows Mandala Symmetry set to 8 with a single brush stroke. The Mandala symmetry first mirrors the brush stroke, then repeats it around the radial axis.
Next is the result of adding a second brush stroke.
Here are some additional examples of Radial Symmetry (10, 8, and 10). In the first example, I clicked once with a pressure sensitive brush, then shift-clicked to draw straight lines between the points. In the second drawing, I started in the center, drew a “swoosh” (crossing over the axis creates the center swirl) and ended the stroke in the center. In the third example, I held the shift key to draw straight lines along the horizontal and vertical axis.
Here are some additional examples of Mandala Symmetry (set to 6, 10, and 8).
Of course this is just the tip of the iceberg – you can always change colors, brush attributes, reposition or rotate the symmetry path, use blend modes to combine multiple drawings, add color overlays – the list goes on and on! Enjoy.
Mike Shaw created this time-lapse video to show you his unique technique for sketching and then creating a mandala. Below are two beautiful examples of Paint Symmetry in Photoshop from Mike. In the first example Mike created custom symmetry path(s), the second uses the paint symmetry feature set to mandala mentioned above.