Author Topic: How to create a "Little Planet" panorama - Tutorial  (Read 7074 times)

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Offline Massis

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How to create a "Little Planet" panorama - Tutorial
« on: December 09, 2013, 03:15:50 PM »
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  • Introduction

    In this topic, I'll explain how I have created "little planet" panoramas such as this one posted on the forum

    There are actually 2 methods : the real one, and a quick-and-dirty workaround.

    Genuine little planet panorama

    So for the real thing, it's quite easy. What you'll need is a 360x180 panorama. So you may want to refer to this generic panorama tutorial http://themobilephotographyblog.com/mobile-photography-techniques/how-to-create-a-great-panorama-tutorial/ to understand how to create a panorama.

    You'll need to cover 360 (all around yourself/your tripod) AND 180 (from zenith to the ground).

    Once stitched, you'll get a standard panorama. For instance (not hosted on the forum because too big) :

    It's not an issue if you don't have a perfect 360x180. You should have 360, but between 170 and 180 of vertical angle is good enough.

    Now it will depend on the software you're using to stitch the panorama.

    A) If it's NOT Hugin nor Autopanogiga, you won't have a "little planet" projection. Too bad. Use a "stereographic" or "equirectangular" projection and stitch it. Then import it in Hugin (hugin.sf.net), yes, a single image, you'll be asked for the lens specs, set equirectangular lens and HFOV to 360 and click ok. Then skip to C)
    B) If you're using autopanogiga, you have a little planet projection, go for it, it's straightforward
    C) In Hugin, you have to change your projection to stereographicn then rotate (pitch) 90. Then zoom in or out and you'll see the little planet!

    Once rendered, you'll have to fine-tune the little planet. Like using the clone tool (in the GIMP, sorry, I'm a Linux guy) to remove inconsistencies in the sky (where it is stitched), or because you'll have a hole in the your planet. Why? Remember, I said 170+ was enough for vertical angle. Good enough, but this comes with a drawback: the missing part will make a "hole" at the centre of the planet. No need to worry, again some clone tool grooming and that's it.

    So applied to the mountain panorama (skydrive link above to the original), this gives:

    Now look at it more carefully. You can guess where I was standing turning around myself (no tripod). I've used the clone tool to erase the hole and fill it with "snow"  ;D

    The poor man's little planet

    I don't like this second method, because it's not as beautiful than the previous one. But it's less demanding. You'll have to have a good panorama, where left and right sides can connect properly. You can crop your panorama to do so. Now in the GIMP or Photoshop, you have to modify the size of the image. Let's say you have a 1234x567 image. You have to change the image size (untick "keep proportions" or equivalent") to have a square of 1234x1234. The image will look ugly and stretched, it's normal.

    Now rotate that image of 180 (upside down).

    Finally, find the "polar coordinates" filter. In Photoshop, it's in Filter/Distort/Polar Coordinates ; in the GIMP, it's the same :)

    Now you have your little planet. But I don't like this method, because everything is radially stretched. Clouds won't be as beautiful as with the stereographic projection, for instance. If you have buildings on the panorama, they'll look more natural with the first method than with the second one.

    Conclusion : prefer method one and "invest" in a 360x180 panorama  ^-^

    Offline Jonas

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  • Re: How to create a "Little Planet" panorama - Tutorial
    « Reply #1 on: December 11, 2013, 04:07:28 PM »
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  • Thanks for the tutorial. I used recently the second method that you describe as "The poor man's little planet" :P using GIMP 2, so I posted after this some screenshots to help people out. Maybe you can develop your post with some screenshots too to make it easier for others to follow the steps to achieve their little planets too.  :)

    Massis and other people Little Planets inspired me to try to create my own. Problem was, I did had 360 panorama but not with 180, so I went with the simpler solution, ie, using GIMP to modify my panorama to achieve a Little Planet panorama.

    Here are all the steps that you need to know:

    1. You need a 360 Panorama (learn how to create one here):

    2. Upload it to GIMP2

    3. Go to Image > Canvas Size

    4. On Canvas size, choose the same Height that you have on Width (be sure to unlock the ratio scale)

    You will have something like this:

    5. Go to Layer > Scale Layer

    6. Once again scale Height to same as Width

    This is what you will get:

    7. Now, go to Filters > Distorts > Polar Coordinates

    8. You should get a preview like this:

    9. If you want to invert, just untick the "Map from top"

    You have now your little planet but it will look like this:

    To have the usual look of Little Planets, you just have to crop the area that you want and this will be the final result:

    The final result, not being a 180 panorama on vertical, have this kind of vortex look in the center. Still, it is kind of cool the way it looks. Of course, the perfect and most beautiful Little Planets are the ones where you have a 360 for 180 just like the ones made by Massis. Still, here's the tutorial for those who already have some panoramas and want to try to make a Little Planet out of it.  :)


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