By Dr. Robert Berdan
June 24, 2012
Above a panorama planet image created from the panoramic image below
Panorama of Southern Institute of Technology (SAIT) Campus in Calgary
To tell you the truth I don't know if there is an official name for this type of photography though there are several YouTube videos demonstrating how to create this unusual effect. If you are looking for something different this type of imagery certainly can grab attention. The process starts with making a series of photographs then stitching them together into a panorama with Adobe photoshop or other program. Then the panorama is flipped upside down and resized into a square image e.g. 8000 x 8000 pixels in photoshop. You will need to unselect the constrain proportions check box to do this. Then convert the image to 8 bit mode and select the Filter menu> Filter>Distort>Polar Coordinates and select Rectangular to Polar option and you will have a planet like image. The steps are summarized below. If you are not familiar with making panorama photos see my article on this site.
1. Open a panorama image. If you have a border like the one below crop it off the picture.
2. Select image rotation and flip the image upside down.
3. Select image size and make the image into a perfect square be sure to unselect constrain proportions.
4. Select Filter Distort >Polar Coordinates and check the selection Rectangular to Polar and you will have a planet type panorama. If you don't flip the image 180 degrees first the image looks very different.
Oldman river near Lethbridge Alberta - I took the panorama standing in the middle of the river.
Boreal Bog Planetary Panorama
Panorama of the Red Deer River
Planetary panorama of the Red Deer River. Note my shadow in the center of the picture.
Panorama of the Bow River from Stoney Plain Park
Planetary Panoramic image of the Bow River
If you don't flip the panoramas over before converting your images into sphere they look quite different as shown below.
I converted the SAIT panorama at the top of the picture but without flipping the pan upside down first. The image has more of a super fish-eye appearance.
Downtown Calgary Planetary panorama.
Writing-on-Stone provincial park planetary panoramic image.
Lake Louise Planetary panorama
Moraine Lake - note the corners sometimes have rays which you can clone out using Photoshop's clone tool.
Panoramic planet photography, or whatever you might like to call it, isn't for everyone, but it might be useful for creating a brochure or cover image. I enjoy playing and experiment with different digital imaging techniques and this one is relatively quick and easy to create, all you need a panorama photo and Adobe Photoshop. It's another technique photographers can pull out of their hat if they need to or just want to have some fun with your panoramic images. RB.