Have you ever heard of little planet photography? It’s a fun way to create a surreal looking photo.
The idea is to take a horizontal panorama and transform it into a sphere.
In this article, I’ll show you how to create those pictures of planets yourself. It’s super easy!
How to Create Pictures of Planets in Photoshop
Before you start, you need to know which photos work best when you want to create a little planet. This effect is easy to do in Photoshop but the process will severely distort your photo. That’s why not all photos are suitable.
360-degree panoramas work best and the wider the image, the better the result will be. The sky and the ground will get distorted the most.
Photos with a clear blue sky and simple ground texture are easier to transform into a little planet. The more details there are in the sky or ground, the more work you’ll need to put in afterward to make it look perfect. For that reason, the horizon also has to be perfectly level.
The better your original photo is, the better the result will be.
I’ll use this panorama of snowy mountains. Now let’s turn this photo into a tiny planet in five easy steps.
Step 1: Open the Photo and Make It Square
It might seem weird but to create a picture of a planet, your panorama has to be first compressed into a square.
Open your photo and go to Image > Image Size.
Unlink the height and width and set the height to match the width.
It should look something like this.
Step 2: Add a Sky Gradient
Select the gradient tool from the toolbar.
Click on the gradient to open the Gradient Editor window.
Set the bottom left and right colour sliders to match the dominant sky colour.
Click on each of the sliders and select the desired colour from your photo with the pipet. Then, set the left-hand opacity slider to 100% and the right-hand one to 0%.
Drag a gradient from the top of your photo down just a little. This will create a smooth transition to the solid colour.
It will prevent edges and corners from looking stretched and distorted in the end result.
Step 3: Rotate the Photo 180°
Go to Image > Image Rotation and select 180° to turn the photo upside down. If you don’t turn your photo upside down, you’ll get an inverted little planet.
It’s fun to try both and see the difference.
Step 4: Apply the Polar Coordinates Filter
Go to Filter > Distort and select “Polar Coordinates…”. Make sure to select “Rectangular to Polar” and click OK.
Step 5: Finishing Touches
The seam is in the top part of the little planet photo. In my example, the ends match smoothly.
You can also rotate the little planet now if you prefer. You might want to have a certain building or subject on top of the planet, for example.
Here’s my tiny planet.
It’s very easy to create a little planet picture. Start with taking a good panorama and make sure the horizon is straight.
Simple landscapes are easier to start with. After that, you can move on to urban landscapes with lots of details.
In no time, you’ll be able to create your very own tiny planets.