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Ok first things first, we need some photos. We’ll begin by constructing a regular equirectangular panorama, then we’ll turn it into a little planet. An equirectangular pano covers 360 x 180 degrees so we need to shoot all the way around, plus the the nadir (the ground you’re standing on), and perhaps the zenith (the sky above you) though this isn’t too important and I usually don’t bother.

Some tips on taking the photos:

  • Shoot portrait, not landscape.
  • Try and make sure each photo overlaps the previous one by about 15%.
  • Try and rotate around the nodal point (where the light enters the lens) rather than around where you’re standing. Basically try and keep the lens in the same position. Doing so minimises parallax error when you have objects in your near field.
  • Shoot with your camera set to manual if possible.
  • When shooting the nadir, try and get out of the shot!
  • For best results use a panoramic tripod head like the Nodal Ninja.

The number of shots you’ll need depends on the angle of view of your lens – the wider it is the fewer shots you need. With my Canon G7 + Raynox wide angle lens (so about 24mm)  I’d need 10 shots to make the full 360 degrees facing slightly down, another 10 facing slightly up, then one for the nadir, 21 in total. With my Nikon D90 and Tokina 10-17mm fisheye I need 6 for the full 360 degrees and one for the nadir, 7 in total.

For this tutorial you can download all the images I used from here. I actually bracketed the shots (at 0EV, -2EV and +2EV) giving us 3 lots of 7 so that we can make the planet in HDR. This is what they look like:

21 photos

So when you’ve got the photos, time to get Hugin up and running. Take the first 7 photos (dsc_0001-dsc0007) and load them into Hugin via the assistant panel ‘load images’ button:

assistant panel

The EXIF metadata should be read directly from the images – if not you’ll have to enter the focal length and focal length multiplier values for your camera set up. For the example, the images are at 10mm and the focal length multiplier is 1.5. I used a fisheye lens so select full frame fisheye from the drop down menu. Normally, you can set lens type to normal/rectilinear. When you’ve loaded your photos, hit ‘align’ and wait for the control points to be generated and the images to be aligned. In a minute or two the preview window will pop up:

preview equirectangular

So now we should have an equirectangular panorama. If the images haven’t aligned properly you’ll have to go over to the images and control points tabs and make some adjustments:

  • From the images panel, select all the pairs of image (use control-click) that you know do not overlap. Remove control points that connect these images using the ‘remove points’ button.
  • If you have a recent version of Hugin, press the ‘run celeste’ button to remove control points from clouds, as these tend to move between shots which causes misalignment problems. More details on Celeste here.
  • From the control points panel, select pairs of images and look at the control points that connect the two images. Remove any which are clearly in the wrong place. It’s also very easy to add some manually.
  • When you’re done, hit ‘align’ from the assistant panel and check the preview again.

For full Hugin documentation go here. If everything looks ok, it’s time to make our planet. At the bottom left of the preview window, select ‘stereographic’ projection. At the top hit ‘fit’, and then press ‘update’ (if you have a very recent version of Hugin with the OpenGL preview everything should change before your eyes). Next hit ‘numerical transformation’ at the top. Set the pitch to 90 and hit ‘ok’:

numerical transform

Press ‘update’ again and you should see a a tiny little planet right in the middle of the square. Slide the slider at the bottom to the left and hit ‘update’. Keep doing this until your little planet fills up the square:

preview stereographic

Now close the preview window and head over to the stitcher panel. Hit ‘stitch’, choose a file name, and you’re done! Easy eh. But hang on, let’s go HDR. Go to the file menu and save the .PTO file. Click on the ‘new project’ button, then go to file and select ‘apply template’. Open the .PTO file you just saved and you’ll be prompted to select the images. Now chose the next 7 photos in the -2EV brackets set (dsc_0008-dsc0014). Have a quick look in preview and the planet should look exactly the same, but darker. Stitch it, then repeat for the last 7 images (dsc_0015-dsc0021). You should end up with 3 planets that look something like this:

three planets

With these three aligned planets, HDR is a quick hop away using this tutorial. Once you’ve tone mapped it you’ll probably need to use Gimp or Photoshop to edit the middle of the planet to remove my tripod; it’s a good idea to shoot from a spot where this isn’t going to be too difficult, so grass/gravel/sand etc is a good choice. Then tweak the colours and levels a touch and you’re done!

dog bench planet

This one came out quite well. It’s a shame though; I’d tied the dog to the bench to stop him getting in a fight with a couple of swans. He took this quite well and actually jumped up on the bench and sat facing the pond. By the time I’d got my tripod in place he was off again though. Ah well at least he’s stayed still for his 3 exposures..


  1. thanks for sharing. ^^

  2. Thank for post but sorry, I’M fool but HDR stitch is not unambiguous for me.
    I took my pictures done all steps an I have a little world or simple panorama picture.

    I saved the pto and strated a new project, applied template. Loaded the new shots, and exported the panorama picture.
    And there is a question.
    I have to save this a second pto file, and start a new project, apply the second pto as base for third panorama?
    Or delete the images from the second (template based proj) and load the third series of shots? And then stitch them?

    It is not clear where will I see the 3 photos? Did you do HDR stitch blend in Hugin?

    • Ok you have your first planet. Load the second set of images into the template and stitch another planet. Then repeat with the third set. I didn’t stitch to HDR in Hugin, I just stitched 3 separate planets then created the HDR image in Dynamic Photo HDR.

  3. Thanks for the post, but I can’t seem to get your tutorial to work. Getting the images to align seem to be impossible, any suggestions?

  4. Thank you for the great presentation! I finally understood the point!
    Thank you! 🙂
    Regards: Zsolt, Hungary

  5. Hi there,

    thanks for your great tutorial. Didn’t get planets to work until I read about the “Pitch”-parameter here. Great work 🙂

    Aligning your example-images indeed is not easy but I do have my own ones.

  6. Hi Harry,

    I’m trying to do this but my starting image already is an equirectangular one… does that makes any changes to the descrived workflow? I’m getting stuck at setting the pitch to 90. I hit apply and nothing happens!?
    I’m using the latest 2010.4.0.854952d82c8f built on w7 machine.

    Thanks, Jorge

    • When you add your image to Hugin, set it to equirectangular and set the field of view to 360 degrees. You should then be able to switch to stereographic and pitch by 90 degrees. I just tried and it seems to work fine.

      • I am having the same problem as Jorge. Tim’s fix does not work for me. I have Hugin 2010.0.0 on a Mac OS

        Don 10.6.6

    • I have the same problem as Jorge. Hugin 2010.0.0 on Mac OS 10.5.8 and also on Mac OS 10.6.

      Your work around does not work for me.

      • I just tried again. Add the image, set it to equirectangular and set the fov to 360. In fast preview, switch to stereographic projection, hit ‘fit’, then pitch to 90 degrees. Then slide the bottom slider until it comes into view. Send me your image if you still have problems and I’ll try

  7. Bingo! Thanks. I did not think to use fast preview. I was using preview.

  8. hey

  9. I’m getting it mostly, but I have a hole in the middle. I’m not using a wide angle lens, might this be why?

  10. I have not tried your tutorial yet, but it looks like you did a great job, thank you for sharing

  11. great tutorial. I used Hugin to stitch a time lapse test clip together.. please have a look

  12. thank you!!

  13. Thank you for great tutorial! What size of images do you use and what size is your output?
    I’m having this problem, that after switching to stereographic projection Hugin will set my canvas size to enormous values. For example blending to 64K pixels wide by 23K pixels high. That is 64 thousand pixels wide. At these dimensions blending often fails (only 8Gb RAM here). I think this canvas size is an error, since my images are only 1400 by 2000 pixels.
    I’m running Hugin 2011.4.0 on Mac OS 10.7.4

    • Hi there, yes it sounds like Hugin has set the canvas size way too big – perhaps it’s a bug. I generally stitch planets at 6000×6000 pixels – if you were to print one that size it would be 12inches square at 300dpi. So chose a sensible figure depending on what you want to do with it. Cheer, T

  14. very good tutorial …but i have a small problem 😦
    please help me
    how i align the “nadir” photo????

  15. This unique article, “How to create a little planet
    using Hugin Ultrawide” shows the fact that u truly fully understand just what u r talking about!
    I personally absolutely am in agreement. With thanks -Guillermo

  16. “How to create a little planet using Hugin | Ultrawide” ouka.
    mobi was in fact a superb read and therefore I was really glad to
    read the blog. Thanks for the post-Ola

  17. Great tutorial! As a Hugin newbie it took me a while to get a result with version 2013. I started off with an equirectangular image taken with a Ricoh Theta, and so no stitching was necessary. Steps:

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