Create your own “Mini Planet” using a series of photographs, and a little Photoshop trickery. More examples and step by step instructions after the jump.
Step 1 – The first thing you will need is a series of photos that form a panoramic. If you already have a 360 degree panoramic photograph, then you are ready for step 2. If not, follow these instructions:
Find a good spot to photograph a panoramic. For best results, make sure that the spot where you are standing will be easy to clone later (ex: grass, sand, and concrete are good. Patterns such as brick work are more difficult to fix later) We recommend shooting vertically.
Take one photograph, then pivot slightly in one direction to take the next photo. Make sure that the scenery overlaps from photo to photo. Using the horizon as your half way point will make it easier to keep a straight panorama. Be sure that you rotate the full 360 degrees, and that your final picture overlaps with your first picture. (see series of images below)
Step 2 – In Photoshop, go to File->Automate->Photomerge. In the pop up window that opens up, click on the Browse… button and find your photographs. The Layout selection should be “Auto“. Also, make sure you have “Blend Images Together” selected. Now, click “OK” and Photoshop will automatically turn your photographs into a single panoramic.
Step 3 – You should now have a series of layers that form a panoramic. We are going to merge the layers so that we can begin to edit the file. Go to Layer->Merge Visible.
Step 4 – At this point we want to make sure our horizon line is straight. Drag a guide from the ruler and place it on the horizon to verify it is straight. (Control R toggles the rulers on and off) If it is not straight, go to Edit->Transform->Rotate and adjust the angle as necessary.
Step 5 – Use the crop tool to get a clean rectangular image. Important: Make sure your the ends of the panorama line up properly, otherwise you will have difficulties later on.
Step 6 – Next, we need to change the image size so that it is a perfect square. For our example, the panorama is 7609 pixels wide, therefore, we will be changing the height to 7609 pixels. Go to Image->Image Size and make sure “Constrain Proportions” is unchecked. Change the Height value to match your Width value. Your image should now look something like the one below.
Step 7 – Rotate the image 180 degrees by going to Image->Image Roation->180 degrees
Step 8 – Finally, go to Filters->Distort->Polar Coordinates. Make sure you have “Rectangular to Polar” selected. Click “OK“.
Step 9 – You will probably need to use the clone tool to clean up the center of the planet as the image tends to pinch. Also, clean up the panoramic seam if necessary.
Step 10 – Feel free to rotate your planet to a desired position. If you do rotate, you will need to crop your image so that the canvas doesn’t show.
Congratulations! Your Mini Planet is complete!
I’ve only recently started taking photos for the purpose of creating a mini planets, but I am already addicted.