I've been asked quite a few times how to make these Little Planet photos, and I figured I'd save myself some typing and get it all in one place, and now I can just send a link.

While not very difficult, it does take a bit of thought when taking the original photo. This is not the only way to make a Little Planet, but it's how I happen to make them.

First, start with a panoramic photo or a landscape photo that you can crop the top and bottom. Here's an example:

Untitled photo

This is a photo of the University of Washington Quad on a rainy day when the cherry trees were in bloom. It is nearly 360°, so the left and right side of the photo matches up. The photo doesn't need to be exactly the same, nor does it need to be a full 360° (most of my Little Planets are not), but it does make it easier.

Open the photo in Photoshop.

First we make the image a square. I choose to simply make the width equal to the height.

Next rotate the image 180°. Image->Image Rotation->180°.

And finally, apply the Polar Coordinates Filter.

Filter->Distort->Polar Coordinates...

Make sure to choose the "Rectangular to Polar" option if it's not already set.

You can stop here if you like, but there's usually a visible seam where the left and right edge have been wrapped around to meet. I prefer to use spot healing, cloning, smudging, and any other appropriate tools to make the seam less visible.

You can also rotate the planet to whatever direction you like, either just rotating the image by 90° increments, or choosing the elliptical selection tool, select the planet (go from the top left corner to the bottom right, and you'll get the entire planet) and rotate the selection.

There you have it. Below is a slideshow of my Little Planets. Enjoy these, and on Twitter (@chwoto) send me your results!

Little Planets

Little Cherry Blossom Planet

Little Cherry Blossom Planet

Little Planet verion of Cherry Blossoms in the UW Quad on a rainy day

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