‘Tiny planet’ or ‘polar panoramic’ photos are traditionally 360 degree photos which have been warped into a circle to give the impression of a little planet all of their own. We’ve covered how to create them in a guide, here. But wouldn’t it be great if there was an app which could do the work for you and automatically create these cool photos without any effort?
‘Tiny Planet – global photo’ app by vysionapps aims to do just this. I’m actually quite excited about the idea of this and really it’s fairly simple so I’m hoping that the app gets it right.
On launch you’re presented with a pretty simple home screen with options to take a photo or select one from your gallery. I already have some 360 degree panoramas so I dive into my gallery and select one I took some time ago. This is where notice the first issue. The app suggests I need to crop my photo because it’s too wide (well, it is a panorama). I mess around with the settings and then find a “no crop” button, I click that and I’m immediately taken to a very low quality tiny planet of my photo, with most of the picture cropped out and the middle distorted out of all recognition. In this screen I can spin the world, zoom in and out a bit and change the distortion slightly. I can’t jump ‘into’ the picture like I would hope, everything has to be done maintaining the flat circular world. Here is the picture (this is after I edited it as best as I could in the app):
On my second attempt I choose a standard 35mm photo of a bridge and accept the suggested crop ratio of the app. This time it actually produces a fairly nice picture. It’s not a 360 degree photo so of course it doesn’t really work like a tiny planet should, there’s a clear line where it has stitched the ends of the photo together because the photo was never 360 degree. You still can’t move the photo around and it’s no use at all with a VR headset, but it does at least produce something vaguely aesthetic! Below is the raw picture which the app produced:
So I do now understand this app, it stitches standard size photos together and warps them into a circle. It doesn’t really make tiny planet photos in the true sense because you basically cannot use a 360 degree panorama as your starting point. The output files are low quality and it’s clearly aimed at someone wanting a fun way to share their snaps that is a bit different. Well, fair play, it is fun and it brings tiny planet photos to anyone who wants one, to a point. But if I was you I’d stick to our guide and make some proper ones for now!