August 1, 2010


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 GIMP

Planet 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 - Masking

Seamless 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

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 Mask

Duplicate - 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 Masking

Layer 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:
  • To allow a Layer Mask you’ll need to make it an actual layer, *Click* the New Layer Button:
  • 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 Retouch

Centre Retouch

6. Rotate – Crop

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

Rotate - Crop

That’s It!

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

by Michael Scott

For some more tips go here!

If you get stuck anywhere just comment below!

Planets | Inspiration

Planets | Inspiration

For some inspiration please checkout:
Planet (Stereographic Projection) Photography

If you’d like to use these photographs please Contact Me!

Please comment below if you have any questions and I’ll answer them ASAP!

All images on this site are copyrighted© – All Rights Reserved.

Written by Mike

Michael Scott is the publisher and photographer behind Scott Photographics! He is very passionate about his photography and enjoys sharing the best of his experiences for others to enjoy too! Contact Mike via email!
Read more from Featured, Gimp, Tutorials
33 Comments Post a comment
  1. May 22 2017

    Hi Jennifer,

    Thank you for your feedback and all, I am so very happy that you and your 5th graders got benefit from my post:)

    Please let me know if you need any further assistance or anything I am more than happy to help out!

    Kind Regards,

  2. jennifer
    Mar 2 2017

    Sasha. you need to seriously check yourself and your disrespect for someone who has put this together. If something is unclear to you, there is a better way of seeking out an answer. The person who created this was not placed here on earth to satisfy your needs. They simply wanted to share something “cool” that they have been doing with GIMP.

    I just did this with my 5th graders…..believe it or not, i had to do some work myself and adapt instructions to make it so that they understood it. But they did it and created some amazing work. I am so sickened by self entitled people who gripe because someone went out of there way to post something cool…and maybe they missed a step or didn’t describe it clearly……really??!?

    you need to seriously re-evaluate how you treat people and what they are trying to do for others.

    on a more positive note. Thank you Michael. I am teaching a graphics course and love to see things like this that may interest my students. Please keep it up.

  3. Sasha
    Dec 21 2015

    step 1b is incredibly unclear

    first of all i can’t figure out what you might possible mean by ‘bg only’, doesn’t seem to be an option in gimp at least not one i can find.

    And then you don’t even say which direction to use the blend in, but either way i use it, it doesn’t look right to me.. but then again I’m not using ‘bg only’ so…

    Then the next step ‘crop to size and cut of excess’ is ridiculously unclear, crop the image? the layer? what is excess?? how am I supposed to know what is excess? why didn’t you use only one picture for each “step” (each step is ACTUALLY several steps, maybe several pictures would be helpful)

    And then merge down, merge all the layers? just one?

    very disappointed with this very unclear tutorial 3/10

  4. lisa
    Apr 29 2014

    Loved your tutorial, had problem with step 5 but I improvised and used the smudged tool actually liked the way it turned out. Still new too Gimp, will be following

  5. May 6 2013

    Hi Kate,

    It may be a case of resizing / cropping your photograph to the right proportions. In this short tutorial I show how the distortion is most effective on the outer and inner edges:

    Let me know if that works!


  6. Kate
    May 6 2013

    Hey, i tried to do this with the London skyline, but all the buildings were badly distorted (the gherkin was just a stripy circle), how do i reshape the buildings?

  7. Oct 30 2011

    Hey John,

    Yeah this is a tricky step. Just double check your layers, make sure the mask is in the right place and the layers are position in the right order.

    If you are still having trouble you can email me.


  8. John
    Oct 30 2011

    Hey Mike
    It’s me again. I’m having problem with the center retouching step. Went through all the steps but the paintbrush does not work i.e there’s no smoothing of the edges.

  9. Jun 10 2011

    Hey Warwick,

    What part are you having a problem with?

    Make sure that your working layer is on top (in your layers tool bar), and your using a White Layer Mask and your gradient tool has black foreground colour.



  10. Warwick
    Jun 9 2011

    hey i cant get rid of the joins??

  11. Dec 22 2010

    Hi Cameron,

    Sorry for the late reply, you may need to make that Floated Layer a new layer, so *Click* the new layer button in the layers panel!

    If that doesn’t fix it just comment and I’ll see what else could be the problem!



  12. Cameron
    Dec 18 2010

    Hey, I am stuck at step five. I cannot creat a layer mask on the floated layer

  13. Oct 14 2010

    I really get amazed with what we can create with Gimp software. I think I should begin writing some Gimp tutorials.

  14. Aug 3 2010

    Yes, you can apply it to anything and the 360degree images are very cool!

  15. Aug 3 2010

    Great tut. I stop to use hugin in order to create planets ;)

  16. Caesar Tjalbo
    Aug 3 2010

    Add. To give you an idea, take the labels on the Pink Floyd record Animals:

  17. Caesar Tjalbo
    Aug 2 2010

    I’d say that if you’d use this technique on a 360 deg image, you’ll get something close to a fisheye lens.

  18. Aug 1 2010

    Thanks for the feedback :)

  19. Lilly
    Aug 1 2010

    great tut! .. thanks :)

  20. Alex
    Aug 1 2010

    Thanks for the tutorial. Looks easy to follow, so I hope to try it out soon.

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Best of GIMP: 40 Professional Tutorials to Level Up your Skills - noupe
  2. Best of Gimp: 40 professionelle Tutorials plus erlesene Profi-Tipps - Dr. Web
  3. Zion Canyon Planet | Jeremy Wilson
  4. Crea tu propio planeta con GIMP | La mirada del replicante
  5. 40+ Best GIMP Tutorials of 2010 | Scott Photographics | Free Photography, GIMP & Photoshop Tutorials
  6. How to make a Globe/Planet photo manipulation in GIMP |
  7. Phenomenal Planet Photography | Inspiration | Scott Photographics | Free Photographic Inspiration
  8. openSUSE News
  9. LXer: How to make a Globe/Planet photo manipulation in GIMP | Virtual Place Blog
  10. Tutorial crear planetas panorámicos en Gimp |
  11. Links 2/8/2010: Linux 2.6.35 Released, AppArmor in Linux 2.6.36 | Techrights
  12. Tweets that mention How to make a Globe/Planet photo manipulation in GIMP | Scott Photographics | Free Photography, GIMP & Photoshop Tutorials --
  13. Planet Tutorial | Scott Photographics | Free Photography, GIMP & Photoshop Tutorials

Share your thoughts, post a comment.


Note: HTML is allowed. Your email address will never be published.

Subscribe to comments

42 queries 0.631secs