Creating a “tiny world” effect: The Practicing Photographer

Published by | Thursday, August 15th, 2013

tiny world example

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Sometimes the world seems so small. With some clever shooting and Adobe Photoshop techniques, you can make it seem even smaller. I’m referring to what’s often called the “tiny world” or “tiny planet” effect, and Ben Long explores it in this week’s two-part installment of The Practicing Photographer.

The end result of a tiny world project is an image containing a planet-like sphere with elements that appear to stretch off into space.

As Ben explains in the first part of this week’s installment, a tiny world project begins with a series of photos stitched into a panorama—not a complete 360-degree panorama, but one that’s about twice as wide as it is tall. Shoot a few frames, including plenty of overlap between each one (something you should always do when shooting images for panoramas). Compose the shots so that the upper 25 percent or so of the frame is uniform—containing just sky, for example.

three images

Then dive into Photoshop, as Ben demonstrates in the second part of this installment. Use the Photoshop Photomerge feature to stitch together the source images and fine-tune the resulting panorama, cropping and straightening as necessary. Finally, create your world using the Polar Coordinates filter, which is probably not a Photoshop filter you’ll use often.
The tiny world effect is well suited to just about any scene containing flat terrain with tall objects on it—a city skyline, an ocean scene, or in our case, a flat stretch of Oklahoma. So check out this week’s installment, then grab your camera (and your mouse) and go create some tiny worlds of your own.

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