Pixel Stretch Swirl

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Using the pixel stretch technique and polar coordinates, you can create an interesting swirl. This is a neat little effect that can be used with any picture and in any project and it only takes a few quick steps!


Using any size document, grab an image you want to experiment with and size it accordingly.


Using the Single Column Marquee Tool, select an area of the image you wish to use for the pixel stretch. Keep in mind that when using the single column marquee tool, you are selecting an area that is 1 pixel in width.


Right click on your selection and choose “Layer via copy”. You won’t really see anything different but what this does is create a new layer with just the 1 pixel wide area that you selected.

We want to stretch the 1 pixel wide area so go to Edit > Transform > Scale. You should see the following:

Grab the middle handles and stretch all the way to the left and right then hit enter. You should get the following:


The final step is to apply the swirl effect. To do this, go to Filter > Distort > Polar Coordinates and make sure “Rectagular to Polar” is selected. You should get the following result:

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