Creating Microworlds In Photoshop
It started with some beautiful pictures by Russian artist Alexandre Duret-Lutz and moved on to a discussion: how was this done? Well, the following technique might not be exactly the same one, but at least it's really quick and rather hilarious.
Find a good landscape. Preferrably a large image without too much going on in the sky as the sky will become a bit distorted.
In this case, I had the tree in separate layer, so I cut that out. The sky is going to be stretched quite a bit, so let's be clean.
If you want a round globe-like end-result picture, your canvas has to be a perfect square. I expanded the canvas (
Image - Canvas Size...) so the width and height were the same. I filled the new room with sky blue. It doesn't matter so much, as the topmost part of the sky will end up so distorted that we'll crop it away.
The filter we're about to use is pretty old, so you'll have to do most of the work outside of the filter. So flip it vertically.
Now it's filter time: run the
Filters - Distort - Polar Coordinates... filter.
It'll look like this.
Zoom all the way in, and using the Clone Stamp tool, diligently paint over the vertical seam that goes from the middle, all the way up to the top of our sphere. The Clone Stamp (keyboard shortcut
S) is used by holding
ALT, then clicking a spot nearby where you want to smooth over things. Once you've selected a "clone source" you can paint normally and it'll clone the spot you selected.
I added back the tree I removed early on, for maximum fun.
Voilá. Surreal Mario Galaxy.
Here are a few more pictures: