Solar Flares - The Age of the Smoke Ring (Smoke Art #26) Early in my explorations with smoke art, I learned that some people were creating a form of smoke art called a smoke wheel or smoke ring. These are essentially a circular, mandala-style arrangement of a smoke photo in a circular pattern. This process can produce some interesting results. I had created one of these by accident (and a great deal of difficulty) uploaded here as "Night Spinner," but I learned from others (thanks to Jane In Colour and skyeboatsong) a more effective way of doing them and they became a staple of my smoke art work. Here are the steps for making one of early and most popular smoke wheels - "Solar Flares."

Here is the initial smoke photo - good focus and a bit of curve, but not too exciting.

And now I've added a color gradient (see my previous article on coloring smoke) - looking much better now.

Now to begin to create the wheel. I've doubled the canvas space with a crop. Then I duplicate the top layer, change the blend mode to lighten, and flip the duplicate layer 180 degrees. You then must place the layers opposite from one another. You can place them however you like them...for example, with a bit of overlap, or with more space between them. I've chosen to have them just touching on one corner (below). The important thing is to crop it so that the central point will be exactly in the middle of your now square crop. If you don't get it exact, you can usually fix it in the next step.

The rest is quite easy. Make a duplicate of the above layer, change the blend mode to lighten, and rotate the layer 90 degrees. It will look like this now:

Repeat - duplicate layer, change blend mode to lighten and rotate 45 degrees (each time you will cut the previous degree rotation in half). It should now look like this:

And one more duplication and rotation (now 22.5 degrees) and you have your final. In this case, I created a vignette of the corners to make it more circular.
Hope you enjoyed this tutorial. And if you decide to make some smoke art, please share it in my group called Smoke & Mirrors (