How to Create a Little Planet Panorama in Photoshop

You may have seen the “little planet” pictures that have been circulating the internet in recent years. If you’ve ever wondered exactly how they’re created, then it’s AdoramaTV to the rescue today. In this video, Gavin Hoey shows us in great detail how to take the pictures you need and mold them together in Photoshop to create the little globe shape you’re after:

The basic principle is to create a panorama image by photographing all 360 degrees of a given scene and stitching them together in Photoshop. After getting a perfect panorama (one which has outer edges that would connect, too), it’s just a matter of forcing the image into a square frame, flipping it, and applying the “Distort/Polar Coordinates” filter.

For this video, Hoey uses a Canon 60D with a Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6 lens set to an aperture of f/8 at 1/100 sec. This aperture is appropriate with his ultra-wide angle lens, because wide lenses have a very large depth of field. If you are using anything longer to create your panorama, consider using f/11 or f/16 to ensure your scene is sharp from foreground to background.

It’s important, once you get your focus, to turn your camera to manual focus mode. If it tries to re-focus for every shot in your panorama, the sharpness of the elements won’t match up as well and the panorama may not come together as you want it to.

panorama photography

With this cute and easy project, you can create little worlds out of any scene. Experiment with strange constructed landscapes to craft alien planets – you could even bring several together to create your very own personal solar system! There are lots of possibilities, so be creative and have fun with it.

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One response to “How to Create a Little Planet Panorama in Photoshop”

  1. Bob Hindley says:

    I do like this picture. I’ve really struggled with planet panoramas. My biggest difficulty is finding a suitable location. I live in a hilly area and flat ground is scarce. And two of my attempts have been spoiled by patterns in the ground. On one in a local park, the converging footpaths made a pattern like an enormous insect. In another, in the local market ground, parts of the ground were concrete and other parts were tarmac. Again, these dominated and spoiled the resulting image. I shall keep trying. Maybe try the local churchyard.

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