How to Create Little Planet Photos with Adobe Photoshop, Pano2VR and Little Planet Mobile Apps
Mobile Editing: Android and iOS
With the release of a couple little planet editing apps, creating little planets become not as exclusive as before, when it was limited to desktop software such as Photoshop. For mobile editing purposes, Circular by BrainFeverMedia and Tiny Planets by infoding.com are two of the best options on the current market.
This video tells you how to create and customize wonderful little planet photos using Circular, which offers many more customizable features than Tiny Planets:
For Effects, you can add lens flares, sky objects (moons and suns with various phases, for example), and centers, which adds shapes to the center of your sphere;
In Effect Edit, you can change the size, brightness, and color of your photos;
In Layers, you can add or remove effects.
Google released Photo Sphere to make the little planet workflow go full-on mobile. Here’s a video on how that works.
Desktop Editing: Adobe Photoshop & Pano2VR
Adobe Photoshop CC 2018 workflow for little planets
For this tutorial we’re using the Adobe Photoshop CC 2018.
1. Pick a panorama you want to use.
2. Load and resize your image in Photoshop
To make a little planet image, you need to resize it into a square image (1:1) first. Go to Image>Image Size to change your image size.
Unlock the image proportion by clicking on the chain icon midway through “Width” and “Height”. The image size is currently displayed in pixels, and you just need to make sure that the Width and Height have the same number of pixels. I chose to set both as 4000.
3. Create a gradient for the sky
Although this step can be skipped, it will make the final image look natural instead of stretched.
First, use the eyedropper tool to sample the sky color. This puts the color onto the color palette.
Choose the gradient tool from the tool bar, and select to create a new gradient.
Photoshop CC 2018 will automatically prompt a gradient from the sky color (which you’ve set as the current foreground) to transparency, which is just what we need. Click “OK”. Of course you can also manually set the color opacity to start from your original color down to 0.
4. Apply your gradient
Apply your new gradient by dragging down your mouse from the top of the image by a small amount. This should make the transition appear more smooth. Hold down Shift to make your mouse go straight down.
5. Rotate your image
Go to Image>Image Rotation>180 to turn your image upside down, so your image gets wrapped correctly in the following steps.
There you go.
6. Wrap your image into a little planet
Go to Filter>Distort>Polar Coordinates.
Check “Rectangular to Polar” and click “OK”.
Boom! Your image is out. (This image by 180 degrees counter-clockwise from the result generated.)
You can add some finishing touches with the clone stamp tool or the healing brush tool. To make the central object look bigger, just crop your image. You can rotate the image by a customized amount before resizing it too.
Great, now you can share it on Instagram or VeeR!
Pano2VR Workflow for creating little planet images
First, start a new project by going to the menu, ‘File’ > ‘New’ import your image into Pano2VR by dragging it into the tour browser or by the menu, ‘File’ > ‘Open’. Now you are ready to start working on the chosen image.
1. Open the “Output Panel” and add a “Transformation Output”;
2. Change the “Projection Type” to “Stereographic” in the “Transformation Panel”;
3. Detach the preview so that the image is easier to view. Do this by scrolling down to the preview image, right clicking it and selecting “Detach”;
Now expand the detached preview to enable full viewing of the little planet preview.
Finally, in the detached window right click and choose ‘Stay On Top’, which forces the preview pane to remain above other windows, so that you may change variables and options in the main ‘Pano2VR’ program whilst still being able to see the preview of your work.
4. Deselect the default view in the preview pane so that the adjustable variables become available.
5. Adjust the ‘FOV and then ‘Tilt’ sliders to the desired outcome. This may take some time and practice to get a good result and you may not see a recognizable image when you first start to manipulate these variables.
6. Use ‘Pan’ to rotate the image
7. Readjust ‘FOV’ to hone your image.
8. To print your popcorn planet set the resolution to something around 5000*5000 is possible with outputs from cameras of around 4k images.
9. Select the output image format in the output section and finally click the ‘Generate Output’ button at the top of the pane.
*Pro Tip: Adjusting the ‘Tilt’ slider allows for a ‘Rabbit Hole’ style image to be created, play about and find what works best for your image!
Dimona is a VR evangelist and spherical content creator based in London, UK. They have been experimenting within this arena since discovering VR as empathy machines whilst studying psychology at university. Dimona can be reached at Dimonauk@360camerasandfilm.co.uk or on social media by searching for dimonauk.