I'm sure there's a proper name for this, but is there a technique for putting the picture that you're editing on a frame on the wall of the picture that you're editing? As if the photo was put on the wall before it was taken. Whether or not it has a name, would be good to know if there's a special way of doing it. Thanks

2 Answers 2


I searched for 'infinite recursion' and stumbled on the answer: the Droste effect, also referred to as mise en abyme.

A formal technique of placing a copy of an image within itself, often in a way that suggests an infinitely recurring sequence.

  • Not what OP is asking about. He's asking more about mock-ups where you have an environment (photograph of a billboard) and you can add your design on that billboard for presentation purposes.
    – Alin
    Apr 1, 2018 at 13:10
  • @Alin huh? Dre's answer is exactly what I thought the person was asking as well. "A picture on a frame on the wall of the picture you're editing."
    – Ryan
    Apr 1, 2018 at 13:55
  • Thanks @Alin, that's the one! Doesn't seem an easy way to do it Photoshop though
    – tmgstevens
    Apr 1, 2018 at 15:40
  • Just for reference, GIMP 2.10 comes with the recursive-transform plugin, which is an implementation of the Droste effect (see here). Apr 3, 2018 at 13:19

I have two different approaches for you. The first one is done manually in Photoshop, the second is more automatized using Illustrator also.

Method A: Using Photoshop only

  • Make sure the inside of the frame is transparent.

Now keep repeating this until the hole is filled:

  • Alt + drag a copy of the bottom layer beneath itself.
  • Press Ctrl/Cmd + T and scale the layer proportionally to fit the frame opening.

The result could look like this:

Method B: Using Photoshop and Illustrator

  • In Photoshop, make sure the inside of the frame is transparent and save the image, either as .psd or .tif with transparency.
  • In Illustrator, create a web document with the same pixel dimensions as the image.
  • Turn on View > Pixel Preview.
  • Place the image.
  • Use the Appearance panel while the image is selected to add a Transform Effect.
  • Experiment with the Scale and Move settings until the image fits the frame. Increase the amount of Copies until the hole is filled.

This is my settings for this particular image:

The image is created by Kjpargeter - Freepik.com.


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