Every so often, I come across an effect that makes me stop and wonder. I call it “My Little World effect” — a photo taken with an extreme fish-eye lens that could not be possible without a unique specialty lens. Well, I found the right Photoshop plugin and recreated the effect below.
1. Start with two stock images.
I started with these two stock images from iStockPhoto. After experimenting with just the image of the houses, I realized the final image was too shallow and need more green grass.
2. Combine the images into one
I dragged the grass photo into the house photo as a layer below the houses. I positioned the grass so that the sky did not show, but noticed that the grass did not match. I created a masked selection to isolate the grass on the house layer and cloned the greener grass into the house layer.
3. Stretch the grass further
The green grass does not have the correct perspective to match the house photo. I transformed the green grass with a little pull downward to match the perspective.
4. Crop the image and rotate canvas
Next, I cropped the image to trim away the used area and a little of the sky. In using the plugin, I also found that you need to rotate the image to create the world effect.
5. Using Flaming Pear Flexify 2
Now for the magic! I previously tried to recreate this effect using Photoshop’s Warp and Liquify Tools, but the overall effect was very unnatural. After digging around on Google, I found the Flaming Pear site and Flexify 2. This cool plugin creates very smooth image warp effects. The plugin does work in Photoshop CS4, but is not available in 64-bit. Using its presets, I selected an Input of equirectangular and an Output of half-polar. A rectangular image works best in this warp.
6. Completing the World
To complete the effect, I duplicated the transformed layer and rotated it to complete the world. I tried the image on a solid white background, but thought the black looked better. I created the stars by adding some noise into the solid black. The final image has the natural look of an extreme fish-eye lens.