nezbitten's blog

Never ending staircase

posted by nezbitten, May 12, 2009 3:06 PM — 43 comments

Never ending staircase

Every wondered how those illusions of never ending staircases were made? Here's how!

Photo restorations are my speciality but today I thought I would create a tutorial on making a never ending staircase from Photoshop. Textured with wood, stone grass or whatever you choose.

Create a document in photo shop around 4000 x 2000 pixels. File / new / and fill in the pixels width and height.

We need to show the rulers and change to centimetres.

View / rulers Then right click on the now visible ruler and select centimetres.

We need to show the gird now. View / show grid

Now go to View / Snap to / Grid, to make sure the lines we draw are all consistent.

To check that your screen settings are the same as mine go to edit / preferences / unit and rulers

copy these setting.

Back to the image.

On a new layer draw with the polygon lasso tool from the tools palette, a diamond. Use 5x3 squares per quarter to draw your diamond shape. This gives us an angle of just about 30 degrees which is very important for this to work.

On new layers, draw the other two shapes as per the image above. Now merge the layers. Select the freshly drawn layers in the layers palette and merge them using Layer / merge layers.

Copy the layer and paste and repeat this and arrange the steps as the image below.

Select all these layers in the layers pallet and duplicate them all. Right click in the layers palette and select, duplicate layers. With the layers still selected flip them. Edit / transform / flip hirozontal. Use this process by ordering your layers and copying and pasting to get the result below.

Now letís use something to make to the steps look more real.

Find a picture of a stone slab or a piece of wood, plastic, metal or even grass and cut it out into the shape we first drew, (the diamond and its edges). You can do this on a separate layer and change the opacity of the layer in your layers palette so you can see the original diamond step underneath. Using wood this can be achieved fairly easily. You may need to use the warp or scale tools, or liquefy (sorry I wonít be explaining how to use these tools here - but search the net I am sure you find what you are looking for)

Now repeat the steps we used to create the stair case and position your steps above the others and you will have your staircase. Now use it creatively! You can experiment with amount of steps just by shortening the sides of the stair case using the grid we first set up.

Here is one in stone! I created this myself with some stone slabs and some cleaver cloning and shading.

Hope you enjoyed this tutorial brought to you by A quality photo restoration service restorations of old and damaged photos.
and wedding retouching.

Comments | RSS

1. posted by Woodstock4, Jan 16, 2010 11:22 AM

Amazing! Thanks for shedding light on this subject!

2. posted by laijumodiy, Oct 20, 2009 7:28 AM

really nice!

3. posted by Penguu, Jan 31, 2010 12:44 PM

I could have sworn it was the original photograph!

4. posted by nezbitten, Sep 7, 2009 8:33 AM

Thanks dbrodie, the shadow was simply added as another layer. I started with the stair case and turned it black and white, using the hue/sat/lightness slider. Then I warped it using warp. The rest was done simply be deleting or adding to the shape thinking hard how the light would fall over the rocks. I have a good perception of the world and this was done purely on knowledge of how shadows fall around different shaped objects and of course what looks natural.

I then lowered the opacity of the layer and played with the layer blending modes to fins out which gave the best result.

I hope this helps.


5. posted by shoppe, Oct 20, 2009 9:56 PM

Excellent tut

6. posted by orliata, Jan 14, 2010 2:46 AM

cool tutorial.

7. posted by ventdest, Oct 10, 2011 9:16 AM

Penrose stairs

8. posted by dbrodie, Aug 20, 2009 6:50 PM

Cool tutorial, I really like the cast shadow you added beneath the staircase on the beach, maybe you can do a tutorial on how you did that as well? It almost looks like you used a displacement map? The shadows follow the rock's contour really nicely.

9. posted by aszxc, Jan 27, 2010 4:10 AM


10. posted by rlrouse, Nov 10, 2009 6:57 AM

My mother has made a number of quilts using the "never-ending staircase" theme, and they were always big hits when she
"showed them off". Nice picture!

11. posted by plrang, May 13, 2009 12:33 AM

:) I like these a lot especially when people argue is it for real or not

12. posted by nezbitten, May 13, 2009 8:46 AM

I created the stone one myself!

13. posted by maharjanb, May 14, 2009 4:50 AM

nice one bro!

14. posted by nezbitten, Nov 21, 2011 9:49 AM

Thanks stecol!

15. posted by xiahou, Apr 14, 2010 9:38 PM

i like that

16. posted by wowinform, Dec 9, 2011 3:29 AM

n1 really good

17. posted by Krafil, Jul 13, 2009 11:24 PM

man, nice but unreal...

18. posted by annastasia, Jul 21, 2009 10:28 AM

Just imagine if Escher had Photoshop.

19. posted by msagansk, Mar 11, 2010 11:14 AM

Wow this is pretty neat!

20. posted by nezbitten, Jan 17, 2011 5:01 AM

Thanks joeyman11 great tip for everyone who is trying this out. If they feel they need more blurred stones they can use blur. There are larger version of these images on the net which should show in better detail the workmanship

21. posted by Joker1337, Sep 15, 2010 10:32 AM

Awesome ^.^

22. posted by maaroufi, Oct 29, 2010 4:49 PM

simply genius, well done mate!

23. posted by nezbitten, Dec 4, 2010 2:12 PM

Any one tried this yet, show us what you have done!

24. posted by joeygman11, Jan 8, 2011 10:05 AM

nice idea but it dosen't look real at all. the stones look very unnatural when mixed with the actual image. try blending a little more or giving the stones some blur

25. posted by stecol, Nov 10, 2011 6:55 AM


26. posted by DaiBielich, Jul 11, 2011 2:14 PM

Amazing work!

- Dai Bielich

27. posted by nerijus9, Jul 12, 2011 6:19 AM


28. posted by rhodiun, Jul 13, 2011 7:07 AM

i would say amazing!

29. posted by dianazuru, Aug 6, 2012 1:52 PM


30. posted by audrius76, Jul 11, 2011 4:30 AM


31. posted by normaal, May 11, 2011 5:17 AM

I could have sworn it was the original photograph!

32. posted by sadooghi, Jan 30, 2012 6:32 AM


33. posted by Dareczek1, Nov 9, 2012 2:43 AM


34. posted by Dareczek1, Nov 9, 2012 2:43 AM


35. posted by Dareczek1, Nov 9, 2012 2:43 AM


36. posted by organy, Jan 7, 2013 11:34 AM

Very interesting tutorial :)

37. posted by disenoweb9, Feb 22, 2013 7:42 AM

That's awesome! Thanks for sharing!

38. posted by nezbitten, Mar 11, 2013 5:24 AM

A pleasure just search and you can find more crazy stuff be me!

39. posted by cathylaws, Apr 16, 2013 1:56 AM

That was a good tutorial for even rookie

40. posted by softener, May 31, 2013 7:08 AM

Thanks for the info, best wishes!

41. posted by piabpn953, Jun 21, 2013 2:24 AM


42. posted by renderiska, Jun 21, 2013 5:23 AM

Good Job!

43. posted by carlislekm, Jul 29, 2013 4:33 AM

Very interesting

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