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Wee (Little) Planets: Another Take on Panoramas

Panoramas – especially ones that span 360 degrees all the way around – are great photographs to make and look at. The only problem with panoramas is that their sizes are often unwieldy by the virtue that they are often much wider than they are tall. The solution is to turn them into “wee planets” or “little planets” that fit conveniently in a more balanced ratio. They are also unique and creative art projects.

Creating the “wee planets” requires the use of an image-editing program such as Adobe Photoshop. The basic steps are somewhat simple. A panorama is resized to a square, flipped 180 degrees vertically, then mapped to polar coordinates. The resulting picture shows the ground closer to the center, surrounded by the sky, forming a neat little sphere. If the flipping step is omitted, the result is a tunnel image.

Any seamless image on the left and right edges can utilize this technique, so it is not just limited to panoramic photographs. Specialized programs that can perform this technique quickly also have more options for those who would like to play around.

In all, the results are amazing, spectacular, and neatly printable. Granted, it is more abstract than the panorama itself, but the appearance is quite wonderful. It serves a reminder of what a 360-degree panorama encapsulates in a single, wide picture.

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