Creating 360 degrees little planet panoramas with Photoshop

Panoramas are a good way to get lots of stuff in one single picture, just think of those famous skyline photos of big cities. But with Photoshop, we can get on step further with 360 degrees little planet panoramas. If done the right way, you can get stunning effects with just a few easy to do steps.

Shooting the panorama

For this step I highly recommend you’re using a tripod, it does work without one, but the result may be flawed and you have to fix this manually.

Ok let’s start. Place your tripod and camera where you want to create your panoramic photo. Align your DSLR vertically on the tripod and make sure the tripod / horizon is even (it’s best to activate the grid in the DSLR menu, this will help a lot). Now start shooting everything 360 degrees around you, the more images you shoot the better. Just turn your DSLR a few degree every shot. You should end up with about 20 images after one full turn.

Stitching the photos together with Photoshop

For this step you can also use other panorama programs such as Hugin, but I’m using Photoshop here.

Start Photoshop and go to File > Automate > Photomerge, select your photos clicking the Browse button, leave Layout set to Auto and check the Blend Images Together box, then press OK. This process may take some minutes as Photoshop has to stitch lots of big images together. If your PC can’t handle this, try scaling down the photos and try again.

Importing your images in Photoshop

Importing your images in Photoshop

If Photoshop has finished this process, crop the images, so there are no transparent areas anymore, you should get a basic panorama such as this one:

360 degree panorama after stitching and croping
360 degree panorama after stitching and croping

Creating the little planet effect

Now comes where the magic happens. Change the size of your images, so it comes a perfect square. You can do this under Image > Image Size. Make sure you uncheck Constrain aspect ratio, this is important so Photoshop doesn’t automatically change one size if you change the other one.

Changing the size to get a perfect square
Change the size to get a square

Now flip the image 180 degree under Edit > Transform > Rotate 180° or using the shortcut STRG + T and enter 180° in the top menu. Your photo should now be standing on it’s head, this step is really important, otherwise you won’t get the little planet effect.

And here comes this final step: Go to Filter > Distort > Polar Coordinates, check rectangular to polar and hit OK. There you go with your own little planet. If it doesn’t fit hundred percent, you can fix it with the stamp tool for example, don’t worry, this happens to almost everyone.

Final result after editing
The final result after editing

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Author Description

Christian Möhrle

Photographing landscapes since 2009, trying to help out the lovely photography community with tutorials, workshops and more

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