Join Deke McClelland for an in-depth discussion in this video Turning a cityscape into a tiny planet, part of Photoshop CC 2015 One-on-One: Mastery.
- In this movie, we'll wrap New York City around itself using a combination of two distortion filters known as polar coordinates and spherize. But before we do, I'll go ahead and switch over to the final version of the image. So you can see, if I turn off these top two layers, that we've got a ton of water in the center of our planet, which means that we need to exaggerate the amount of water in our current image. And so I'll go ahead and switch over to said image here, and I will go up to the Image menu and choose the Canvas Size command, which allows me to either crop or expand the canvas.
Now you can see currently, the Relative checkbox is turned off. That's exactly what I want. At which point, I'll make sure that my height value is set to Pixels, and I'll increase that value rather arbitrarily to 2700 pixels which should work out just fine. And then, I'll set the Anchor to the top of the grid, and I'll click okay, and that will ensure that we extend the canvas downward to expose these transparent pixels which appear as this checkerboard pattern. All right, now I'll zoom out slightly, and I'll switch to my Rectangular Marquee Tool, which you can get by pressing the M key.
And then we want to select below this little boat over here on the far right side of the image. And so I'll bring that marquee up just ever so slightly, and then I'll select all the way over to the left hand side of the image, like so. Now I want to constrain that selection, so that it fits inside the existing image, and I'll do that by moving my cursor over the thumbnail for the offset layer, and then I'll press all three modifier keys. That's going to be Control + Shift and Alt here on the PC. That's Command + Shift and Option on the Mac.
At which point, you should see a pointing finger with a little X next to it, and that tells you that you're going to find the inner section of the existing selection and that layer by clicking. So again, that's a Control + Shift + Alt click here on the PC, or a Command + Shift + Option click on the Mac. Now you want to go up to the Edit menu, and choose the Copy Merge command, which may exist in a submenu on the Mac. Or you can just press Control + Shift + C here on the PC, or Command + Shift + C on the Mac. Then, return to the Edit menu and just choose the Paste command, or press Control + V or Command + V on the Mac, and that's going to paste a new layer that's registered to the selection.
So in other words, it pops right back into place. All right, now you want to select the entire contents of that layer by pressing the Control key, or the Command key on the Mac, and clicking on that new layers thumbnail like so. And that will select the layer, as we're seeing here inside the image window. Then, we want to duplicate and flip the layer. And the best way to do that is using a keyboard shortcut of Control + Alt + T or Command + Option + T on the Mac, where the T stands for the Free Transform Mode, and the Alt or Option key allows you to duplicate as you transform.
Now you want to go up here to this tiny reference point matrix on the far left side of the options bar, and select a bottom point like so. Then, go ahead and right click inside the image window, and choose Flip Vertical, and that will flip the selection across that bottom point, as we're seeing right here. Then press the Enter key, or the Return key on the Mac, to accept that change. At this point, we've managed to double the height of the layer. To select that entire height, once again, press the Control key, or the Command key on the Mac, and click the thumbnail for Layer 1 up here at the top of the stack.
And now, go through those same motions, press Control + Alt + T, or Command + Option + T on the Mac, to enter the Free Transform Mode, as well as duplicate the selection. Then, click on any one of the bottom points in this tiny reference point matrix on the far left side of the options bar. Right click anywhere inside the image window, and choose Flip Vertical and then press the Enter key or the Return key on a Mac to accept that change. Now we've got some problems here. I don't want this boat to be repeated over and over again, and so I'll just click to deselect the image.
And then, I'll switch back to my Spot Healing Brush, and I'll just go ahead and drag over some of these details that I do not like at all, such as these guys right here. I'm doing a pretty sloppy job but that's okay. It's going to work out just fine. And then, at some point, I should see just about all this stuff disappear, bearing in mind, of course, that it doesn't need to look great, because we are going to lose a lot of this definition when we apply the Polar Coordinates filter. All right, now we'll go ahead and zoom out by pressing Control + 0 or Command + 0 on a Mac.
And I'm going to go ahead and rename this layer planet, and that's because I want my smart object to be named planet. And by virtue of the fact it is the top layer in the stack, that will happen as soon as I Shift + click on the offset layer in order to select all three of them, and then, I'll press the M key to switch back to the Rectangular Marquee Tool. I'll right click inside the image window, at which point, I would hope to see Convert to Smart Object, but it's not here, and that's because one of the layers is already a smart object, which means that you have to go to the layers panel flyout menu and choose Convert to Smart Object.
Or, if you loaded D keys, you have that keyboard shortcut that always works of Control + comma here on the PC, or Command + comma on the Mac. And we end up with a new smart object called planet. Now at this point, you can double click on this thumbnail in order to bring back those layers, and you could rename that top layer water, because after all, it's not the planet. And then you could close this image. Click on the Yes button here on the PC, or the Save button on the Mac. And just like that, you've updated your smart object. All right, I don't like this guy being called planet2, so I'll just rename the layer planet once again and then I'll zoom out.
And now what I need to do is convert my image to a square by going up to the Image menu, and choosing the Image Size command. Make sure the Resample checkbox is turned on, and change the interpolation method to Automatic, which is going to work best in this case, because we'll be upsampling the image. Then, turn off this link between the Width and Height values and change the Height value to match the Width value, which is in our case, 5000 pixels and click OK in order to accept that change.
And now we have this big, huge square image. All right, now we want to revolve it around itself, and you do that by going up to the Filter menu, choosing Distort and choosing Polar Coordinates, which is going to convert from rectangular coordinates to polar, or polar to rectangular. Now if I were to zoom out, you can get a sense for what's going on here. And in fact, you can see that things are a little bit messed up. But notice, if I go from rectangular to polar I wrap the city around the center, which is up here at the top.
Not what I want, I'll change that in a second. Your other option is to switch from polar to rectangular, which is going to create the opposite effect. Now I happen to want Rectangular to Polar, but my image is oriented incorrectly, so I'll cancel out here. And then, I'll go up to the Image menu, choose Image Rotation and choose 180 degrees, which will spin the world upside down. Now I'll return to the Filter menu. Once again choose Distort and then choose Polar Coordinates. And if I zoom out a couple of clicks here, you can see this time, I've got it right.
So again, make sure that Rectangular to Polar is turned on, then click OK in order to create this effect here. All right, now at this point, the planet is a little bit too tiny. And so one way to expand it is to make it swell by going up to the Filter menu, choosing Distort and then choosing Spherize. Which, if I zoom out of this preview right here is going to expand the center of the image. Now I don't want it to come out quite this far, so I'll change the amount value to 50% and then click OK in order to create this effect here.
All right, I don't need this filter mask, so I'll get rid of it either by right clicking on it and choosing Delete Filter Mask, or if you loaded my D Keys, just press Control + Alt + Q or Command + Option + Q on the Mac. And finally, let's crop the image by grabbing the Crop Tool, which of course, you can get by pressing the C key. And now, I want to drag down on the top of this crop boundary, taking care not to crop away any of the towers or antennas on the top of these buildings. And then, I'll go ahead and take the bottom of the image up as well to maybe right about there.
And in fact, I might zoom in a little bit, so that I have a little more control. And I'm looking for that guy right there. A height value of 2,842 pixels. And now, I want you to notice how we have this kind of roundness showing up on the far right and the far left side of the image, after which there's some kind of rays coming off of it. I want to get rid of that stuff on both sides. And you can do that by pressing the Alt key or the Option key on the Mac, and dragging one side or the other inward. And because you have the Alt or Option key down, that's going to move both sides as we're seeing right here.
And I am looking for a width value of 3,944 pixels, after which point, I'll go ahead and release. And now, presumably, you want to make sure that Delete Crop Pixels is turned off. In our case, it doesn't matter, because we're working with an indestructible smart object. So, just go ahead and press the Enter key or the Return key on the Mac to apply that change, and then zoom on in. And that, friends, is how you turn an actual city skyline into a tiny planet using a combination of two distortion filters, Polar Coordinates and Spherize here inside PhotoShop.
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