Time to be with your loved ones

Time to be with loved ones

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Here are some examples of what I mean on Flickr -- though I would be open to a better source of examples.

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3 Answers

up vote 15 down vote accepted

The basics is that you start with a 360-degree panorama and apply a polar to rectangular transformation.

I happen to have written introductory tutorials for both:

One easy short-cut is that some recent Fuji cameras actually can produce a seamless 360° panorama right in the camera. Make sure you choose the Cylindrical 360° option under the Motion Panorama function. Otherwise, or if your camera does not have it, then a seem will appear in the results.

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Guest author at DPS, very cool man! –  dpollitt May 25 '12 at 18:02
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As a starting point to finding a good answer, just found these tutorials:

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There are actually two types of "little planet" images out in the world. You begin with a 360-degree panorama, you rotate it so it's upside down, resize it to a square, and then apply Cartesian->Polar remapping. If you don't have a 360-pano to start with, you can combine any image with its flipped mirror, so that it forms a seamless strip, and use that as a starting point. This type of panorama will have a very circular world, without a lot of details outside that circle. If done with a 360x180 full-sphere panorama, it'll look like this:

Sleeping Beauty Castle - Polar little planet

Another type of "little planet", which doesn't look so squashed to the center, absolutely requires that you begin with a 360x180 pano. This is the stereographic little planet. If you have an equirectangular 360x180, you can make a stereographic little planet in Hugin or with the Photoshop Flexify plugin. This is a conformal mapping, where angles are preserved, so proportions are more recognizable and things aren't so squashed-to-the-circle.

Planet Sleeping Beauty

"Little planets" are done by starting the stereographic mapping at the "south pole" of the sphere. And you can make little skies by starting the mapping at the "north pole":

Tunnel Sleeping Beauty Castle

Creating the 360x180, however, is a very involved process. Most typically, they're made by using a fisheye lens for maximum scene coverage in the fewest shots. The camera is rotated in yaw to cover the horizontal field of view, and in pitch to cover the zenith (straight up) and nadir (straight down) shots. To avoid parallax error in small spaces, tripods with special panoheads are often used to rotate the camera/lens combination in portrait orientation around the lens's no-parallax point.

The member images are then stitched together in an application that can handle both the fisheye distortion and full spherical coverage. While Microsoft ICE can be used for this, it doesn't offer as much control over the stitch as the PanoramaTools GUIs, like Hugin and PTGui do.

To learn more about shooting and stitching 360x180 panos, the panoguide.com forums , Eric Rougier's From Paris website's technical articles, and John Houghton's tutorials on PTGui are all fantastic resources.

And little planets are just the beginning of how you can remap 360x180s.

Sleeping Beauty Castle Droste

Peirce Quincuncial mapping with Drostify option; done in the Gimp with the Mathmap quincuncial script.

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