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How to Create ‘Little World’ Photos

Author: Natalia Medd

I always liked those round creations which look like your own little worlds, and wanted to try to make one. I finally did.

Here is a step-by-step guide of how I make little world photography, using the Polar Coordinates filter in Photoshop.

First, we will need to choose the image to work with. Ideally, a little world is supposed to be a 360 panoramic shot, but it is not absolutely necessary.

The trick is to get the edges of your image to match perfectly when they are connected in the end. You can make two types of images using this technique: your own little planet, looking something like this:

Little World Photography Tutorial by iPhotography.com

7 Steps to Create Little World Photography

  1. 1. Let’s start with the first version of the little world. I had a panoramic shot which I made using the panorama setting on my cell phone.
  2.  
  3. 2. To get our little world we will have to flip the image upside down.
  4.  
  5. 3. To do so go: Image>Image Rotation>Flip Canvas Vertical. Now we have an upside-down image. Next, we will need to resize our little world image and make it square.
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  7. 4. Go to Image>Image size and set for width the same number as your height is. Just copy and paste it. Remember to uncheck “Constrain Proportions”.
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  9. 5. Next click ok, and now we have a square upside-down image. Our little world does not look too impressive, but we have one more step to do.
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  11. 6. Go to Filter > Distort >Polar Coordinates Choose Rectangular to Polar.
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  13. 7. Click OK. Now rotate and crop the image as you like. That’s it! We have our little world photograph!

Little World Photography Alternative Idea

With the second “inside out” version of our little world, we will not need to flip our picture upside down. All other steps are the same.

It is great to have a panorama to work with, but it is not necessary. You can turn pretty much anything into a round creation.

For the image of a “portal”, I had a picture of a boy sitting on the beach.

Little World Photography Tutorial by iPhotography.com

How to Make Your Photo Panoramic

It is not a panoramic shot but I thought it could look interesting for our little world twist.

To make a seamless connection and a wider image, I just mirrored the picture. When you do this your edges will match perfectly and you do not need to worry about it. I created a new file twice wider than the original.

Then I copied the original image (Ctrl+A, Ctrl+C) and passed it twice (Ctrl+V) to the new file. Now we have two identical layers. Then I moved Layer 1 to the left and Layer 2 to the right side of the canvas. Then select Edit>Transform>Flip Horizontal to flip Layer 2.

I did not want two boys in my picture, so I removed one using the Stamp tool in Photoshop. Now we can flatten our image. Go to Layer>Flatten Layers.

Getting Your Little World Ready for Distortion

We need to resize the image now and make it square. Go to Image>Image Size, uncheck “Constrain Proportions” and make the width of your picture the same as your height is.

Click OK, and now we have the square picture. Almost done.

We do not need to turn the image upside down in this case, just go to Filter>Distort>Polar Coordinates. Check Rectangular to Polar and click OK.

Look at that – We’ve got our portal! All we have to do now is rotate and crop.

Little World Finishing Touches

The last thing we do is some finishing touches. I played a little bit with levels, hue/saturation and colour balance to get the colour I wanted.

It created something that looks like a sun in the centre of the image. This version is what I have in the end, Centre of the Universe!

We hope you will all join us in saying a very special thank you to Natalia for sharing both her knowledge, time and imagery.

Don’t forget to share your little worlds in the iPhotography feedback gallery if you’re a course member.

Little World Photography Tutorial by iPhotography.com

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