There are so many fun filters and tools to play with when editing photos. I just found out about a filter called polar coordinates. Basically it turns a panoramic photo into a circle that makes a new little world.
If you haven’t yet played with photo-stitching (combining multiple photos into one panorama), you should do that first. There are many free software programs that will help you make a panorama. I’ll discuss that in a future article.
If you already have a panoramic picture, then you’ve already done the hard part. There are many examples of these interesting “miniature world” type pictures on the Internet. Most of them are city skylines or landscapes. I decided I wanted a “Food World”, so I started lining up a food skyline on our coffee table. I lined up bottles and cans and a few items of food, like broccoli to represent a little park in the food world.
I took four verticle pictures with my 50mm lens and combine them myself without any stitching software. I decided not to use any software, because the stitching program was having trouble matching up my pictures. It was easy enough to combine the four images into one. If you don’t have expensive software like Photoshop, you can use Gimp. Gimp is a free software similar to Photoshop.
Once you have your desired panoramic photo, open it in Photoshop or Gimp. Resize your image into a square. That means you will have to uncheck the box in Photoshop that constrains the image to original proportions. In Gimp you just click the “link” image so it is no longer constrained by proportions. Simply resize so that the width is the same number of pixels as the height.
You should now have a square image that looks squished horizontally. Next, rotate the image 180 degrees so that it is upside-down. Then click on the filters menu and choose “polar coordinates” under “distort”. Click next or ok and your image will be rendered.
It’s as easy as that; your new little world should have been created. Try playing with the cropping to see how the image might turn out differently. If you are having problems lining up the sides make sure the horizon is square.
For my food world, I wanted to have a cloudy sky, so I simply cut out the background and placed another picture with a nice cloudy sky in the background. I made sure to have a blank background behind my scene while taking the pictures so that it would be easier cut out.