A ‘Polar’ Panorama is a panoramic photo that has been ‘rolled’ 360 degrees to make a small planet type effect. It is quite a simple process (once you have the right photo!)
Creating Polar Panorama’s is quite a simple process once you have the photo (its the photo that can be the tricky bit!). I have taken a look at numerous tutorials around the web and this process proves to give the best results.
Your photo should meet (or come close to) the following requirements to get the best effect;
- The two ends of the photo should be a close match as these will be stitched together in the post processing.
- Your photo width should be at least two times the height, the wider the photo the better.
- The top 1/4 or so of the photo should contain little detail as this will be the surround of the finished ‘planet’. Sky works well.
- In order to get the ‘planet’ centre effect the bottom 1/4 of the photo should be of a similar texture and not contain too much (if any) detail.
- I find that a mixture of buildings and trees gives a nice effect (urban and rural areas for your planet) however this is down to you and not required.
- The photo must be completely level (check the horizon against your ‘rule of thirds’ grid on your camera). If the photo is not level then there will be a gap in the planet!
Once you have a photo that complies (or comes close to complying) with the above you can ‘create your mini world’!
As you can see, my panorama is not perfect as I tried to be clever and do it in HDR (tip: dont run before you can walk! ;o))
- In Photoshop open your image and then set the height to the same value as the width (remember to untick the ‘constrain proportions’ option!)
- Turn the image upside down by rotating it 108 degrees.
- Now slect ‘Filter/Distort/Polar Coordinates’ – this should give you your first impression of the ‘planet’.
- Once this is complete its down to you to play about with the levels, colours etc to your taste.
- Job done! Obviously the more of these you do the better you will get. This is my first attempt which although needs work, came out quite well with no prior experience in this process!
Some great examples of polar panorama’s are below;
Preview image by Mario Groleau photo