I want to make a pattern to etch on a table with a laser. What I want to do is start by generating a repeating pattern and then bend it in a way that makes it look like it's going in and out of the page. Something like the background of this pic but 100% original. If you can tell me what software to use and give me the steps I'd appreciate it.
If you have a repeating pattern, then you could use the Liquify filter in Photoshop and use its Pucker tool, or you could use the Warp Transform Tool in GIMP, and in the Tool Options set it to "Shrink Area".
Here's an example made using GIMP's Warp Transform tool. The same is possible in Photoshop using the Liquify filter.