I found very interesting photoblog with tutorials and comments and spent too much time trying to read through all the stories at once. I found blog rather useful, but it is in Estonian, so not for all of You to read, but some may find it useful as well: digistoop.trsm.eu.
Idea for image above is inherited from his tutorial ‘panoplaneedid‘, where he teaches how to turn panoramic photos to fascinating abstract mini planets.
I knew I did not have any real panorama photos, but immediately thought of the photo of a sunset I had published a year ago (go to ‘Tony in Estonia‘).
I will not translate the whole tutorial, but will explain shortly. 1) You have to take panorama photo with longer side as least twice as long shorter side. If possible, see that left and right side of the photo can transition as smoothly as possible. Maybe You can’t notice it first, but on my original photo there is dark area on the right side and lighter area on the left. With left and righ side of the photo put together the transition line was rather rough so to make the final image better, I worked a bit on the sides of the photo. I also edited one of the longer sides, the one that is out of circle – with image stretched out to that extent, there may be some ugly noise on the background of the desired circle. To have it nice clean, I added black gradient covering the longer side of the photo, and it was rendered as clean black background. 2) As a next step, stretch the image to square shape. If You skip this step, then in the next step the proportions of the sides will remain same and instead of a circular shape You will get ellipse. 3) Find Polar coordinates distort filter on Your photo editing software, and that does the trick. As I used two identical photos side by side, my rendered image first looked too much as mirroring hemispheres. To give it some movement, I used Twirl distorting filter.
I find it rather appealing new trick to use at times. Does need some extra time, but can give very interesting, mostly abstract results.