How to make a Globe/Planet photo manipulation in GIMP

This photo manipulation is called a stereographic projection, which takes a standard photograph and stretches it around in a circle creating a Globe or Planet like image!

Planet Photo Manipulation in GIMPPlanet Photo Manipulation in GIMP


1. Starting – Cropping

  • Open up your image – preferably one with lots of depth of field and landscape!
  • Duplicate Layer, and hide (uncheck eye):
  • Crop your image – an even balance of sky and ground:
  • Crop Tool settings: Guides: Center Lines:

1.b Seamless Join (optional)

  • To make a more seamless join later you may consider making duplicate sides:
  • Increase your canvas size on one side – 500px (Image –> Canvas Size…):
  • Make a selection of at the opposite end and float it: Select –> Float – make it a new layer and duplicate it:
  • Move the selection in the space at the opposite end:
  • Add a Layer Mask (White) – ‘Right Click’ on Layer:
  • Use Blend Tool with FG Only: Black, Bi-Linear:
  • Blend the overlap:
  • Crop to size and cut off excess:
  • Apply Layer Mask and Merge Down (‘Right Click’ Layer) after you have finished:
Seamless Join - MaskingSeamless Join – Masking

2. Resizing – Square

  • We need a square image so, go Image –> Scale Image…
  • Set the width to your original height so they are the same – uncheck the proportions lock first (chain):
Resizing - Square Resizing – Square (Image –> Scale Image…)

3. Polar Coordinates

  • To make the Planet go, Filters –> Distorts –> Polar Coordinates…:
  • Settings: 100, 180, To Polar (as shown):
Polar Coordinates ( Filters --> Distorts --> Polar Coordinates)Polar Coordinates ( Filters –> Distorts –> Polar Coordinates)

4. Retouching – Masking (Skip if completed 1.b)

  • Since this is not a 360° image it is not continuous, so we need to retouch the join:
  • Duplicate Globe Layer:
  • Rotate top layer until clear of the join – about 90° (Layer –> Transform –> Rotate 90°):
  • Add Layer Mask (White) – ‘Right Click” on Layer or Layer –> Mask –> Add Layer Mask…:
Duplicate - Rotate - Add Layer MaskDuplicate – Rotate – Add Layer Mask

  • Use the Blend/Gradient Tool with Radial and FG Only: Black:
  • Mask away the line (small strokes).
  • Use the Brush Tool if you need to refine things: Circle Fuzzy:
  • Apply Layer Mask and Merge Down (‘Right Click’ Layer) after you have finished:
Layer MaskingLayer Masking

5. Centre Retouching (optional)

  • You might like to fix up the centre, it can look heavily stretched:
  • On your Original (Background) Layer make a selection of the foreground, use the Ellipse Tool:
  • Float the selection, go Select –> Float:
  • Add Layer Mask (White), use the Brush Tool and smooth out the edges:
  • Apply Layer Mask and Merge Down (‘Right Click’ Layer) after you have finished:
Centre RetouchCentre Retouch

6. Rotate – Crop

  • Simply rotate your image to your preferably orientation (Layer –> Transform –> Arbitrary Rotation):
  • And, crop off the edges:
Rotate - CropRotate – Crop

That’s It!

Here is another example, where water is ideal as foreground:

Sydney PlanetSydney Planet

For some more tips go here!

If you get stuck anywhere just comment below!


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