Project #03 - Tiny Planet Photography

What do you think about this photo below? Not too bad?

Victoria Habour, Hong Kong

I think it is not a bad photo, but I want to make it looks even more interesting and with all those sky scrapers standing up like that, I think turning this into a planet will be very interesting. So, that's exactly what i did. 

If Hong Kong is a planet?

This is a great way to turn your old landscape or panorama photos into something new and cool and this is how I did it. I am sure there will be other ways to do this, but I hope this can get you started.


1. Choosing the picture

First you will need a wide angle shot preferably one with foreground mid ground and background as they are going to turn into the sphere, the subject on the planet and the background respectively. In this case, I have chosen the sea as the foreground and the buildings as the mid ground and the sky as the background. The wider the picture the better because there will be less distortion when you wrap the picture around. After choosing the right picture, open it in Photoshop.

Import into Photoshop

2. Wrapping it around

Before you wrap the picture around, you need to check for a few things. The results will look the best if your picture has similar elements on the left and right which makes the transitions look smoother from one edge to another. You will need a level horizon so it becomes a perfect circle after you wrap it around. Once you have got those sorted out. It is just a few simple steps to turn it into a globe. 

First flip the image upside down (Image > Image Rotation > 180 degree). This step allow you to have your foreground be in the middle and the subject in the right orientation after. I have also attached an image at the end to show you the result if you didn't flip the picture upside down and I guess its is just another way to create something different. 


Then you need to go to Filter > Distort > Polar Coordinates > Rectangular to Polar.

Flip it around

Wrap it around

The resulting image should look like this as follow.

3. Final touches

In order to fix up the aspect ratio, go to Image > Image Size and change the height to the size of the width and your image should look like a perfect circle below. 

Now we are getting to hardest part. First crop the image to your desired aspect ratio eg. 1x1 or 2x3 depends on your own liking and your resulting image. Then you will need to use your clone tool, burn & dodge tool to smooth out the transition and this is really up to your own liking and your skills. As you can see, mine is still far from perfect but as long as there isn't a distinct transition, the image still looks pretty good. All you need to do now is just save as whatever format you prefer and its done. 

4. Final remarks

I think this is something fun you can do with photos you have lying around and if you have photoshop, why not give it a try. Also breaking the rules is important to bring something different and this is what the picture would look like if the starting image wasn't flipped and I think it is very interesting as well. 

I hope this post will give you a starting point to create some cool images and share it with your friends and family. 

If you have a minute or two, check out my portfolio or other part of my site. I would love to hear your thoughts about it. 

Until next time. Keep Shooting!


An alternate approach