Photoshop Project: Droste Effect

What is the Droste Effect?

In the Netherlands Droste is a brand of cocoa powder. Look at this picture of the package and see if you notice anything odd:

Did you see it? The woman in the picture is holding a tin just like the one she’s pictured on. And if you look carefully, the tin in the picture has the same picture, with ANOTHER picture of her. That’s the Droste Effect: A picture contains a copy of itself.  The official art term for this is mise en abyme.

The effect is often seen in comic books, especially when the characters are reading the comic:

To create your own Droste Effect image:

  • Take a picture that has an enclosed area where the image can repeat.
  • Mask out the area where the smaller version will appear.
  • Duplicate the layer.
  • Transform the duplicate to fit into the enclosed area.
  • continue duplicating and transforming until the transformed image is too small to see.

You can also create a modified Droste Effect, where only a portion of the repeated image is visible, like this:

The only difference in creating it is the shape of the mask.

Another variation:


Can you figure out how to animate your Droste Effect image?