How to Create a Stereographic Projection: Step by Step

Written By Bianca Bouwmeeser Neumann On 21 Dec 2015

We were so impressed by this entry by Bebhinn Spoors in a recent photo competition that we asked her to share with us how she created it, she generously obliged so here’s how you too can create your own small world through Stereographic Projection.

STEP BY STEP by Bebhinn Spoors
The technique used to create my mini world globe is known as Stereographic Projection. If you know the process to follow the effect is in fact very simple to create. There are some awesome examples of Small World/Little Planet images on the internet. Catherine Nelson is an artist whose Little Planet images are incredible (I am not quite there yet).

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is catherine.jpg

Work by Catherine Nelson. Amazing stuff. Google Stereographic Projection for more examples some are really incredible.

1. Start with a Panoramic.

It is best to start with a simple panoramic landscape shot (I used a beach scene) for your Stereographic Projection. It is important that the left side of the image matches the right side ie. the horizon should be level with similar tones as these two edges come together in the final image. The edge will be noticible if they are not well matched.

beach landscape backdrop eg

2. Adjust the IMAGE SIZE to make it square.

beach landscape square

2. TRANSFORM / ROTATE the image 180 Degrees

3. Using the DISTORT filter apply POLAR CO ORDINATES – Rectangular to Polar.

4. Once done you may need to retouch the centre of the globe as well as the joining edge slightly using the CLONE tool to blend the two edges together seamlessly.

5. The effect can be applied to any image but does create a lot of distortion around the edges which I was not too keen on. I therefore chose to create the globe background first and added the people elements after. I deep etched / cut out each person from the original photographs and using LAYERS in Photoshop was able to reposition these accordingly to create the final image: Stereographic Projection.

 6. Your Small world is complete.

It’s a small world after all! Have fun creating your own little planets through Stereographic Projection and don’t forget to share your creations on our Facebook pageTwitter or Instagram.