Now you can edit 360 photos in Photoshop … here's how

how to edit 360 photos in Photoshop
Lightpoet / 123RF
Adobe Photoshop has finally caught on to the 360 trend. Beginning with Adobe Photoshop CC 2018, the popular photo editor can now open and edit 360 photos — and not muck your images all up. Earlier versions could open the files, sure, but the process rendered an image into a regular aspect ratio, removing features like the ability to scroll around when viewing the image on Facebook or the ability to turn around to see different perspectives of the image with a VR headset.

Editing a 360 photo in Photoshop is a bit different than editing a typical photograph, however. In order to maintain that scroll around 360-ness, there are a few extra steps. Learn how to edit 360 photos in Photoshop with this quick tutorial.

Important: While working, don’t save over the original file. Instead, save your progress as a PSD file until you reach the final export step.

1. Open the image and apply universal edits

how to edit 360 photos in Photoshop

Universal edits, or the changes applied to the entire photo, aren’t accessible once the image is rendered into a 360 file that you can scroll around inside, so those changes must be made at the beginning. First, open the image in Photoshop. Don’t worry that it looks distorted, you’re not in the 360 workspace yet — that comes later.

Next, make any changes that apply to the entire image. These adjustments include options found inside the Image > Adjustments menu such as exposure, saturation, and black and white conversion, as well as options accessible from the Filters menu, such as the unsharp mask or turning the photo into an oil painting.

You won’t be able to use layers once the image is converted in the next step, so if you want to make any adjustments that require them, such as adding text or shapes or using adjustment layers, make those edits before converting as well. If you do make any changes using layers, flatten the image before you move on to the next step or you’ll lose everything not in that background layer.

Finish all the adjustments that apply to the entire image first before entering the 360 workspace.

2. Render the image as a 360 layer

how to edit 360 photos in photoshop 360layer

Next, you need to tell Photoshop that the image you are working on is in the 360 format, in order to get that scroll-around view. Switching to this view makes it easier to apply local adjustments and will also maintain the 360 format after exporting.

To turn the photo into a 360 layer, make sure the original photo is selected in the layers panel, then go to 3D > Spherical Panorama > New Panorama From Selected Layers.

After clicking, you’ll get a pop-up dialog where you can change the size of the window in which you scroll around the image, along with other options. If you want to crop the 360 photo to a traditional aspect ratio, you’ll want to make sure you use a size large enough to see the entire desired view at once — but in most cases, sticking with the defaults is fine.

Don’t need to make universal adjustments first? You can also head to 3D > Spherical Panorama > Import to start inside the 360 workspace.

3. Choose your workspace

A pop-up window will ask if you want to switch to the 3D workspace, which includes a few tools specifically for 3D. The 3D workspace highlights tools that work best with 360, but it also eliminates a few tools, including the healing brush and the dodge and burn. Workspace is largely a matter of personal preference and available tools, so there’s no wrong choice. You can always switch back and forth between workspaces by going to Window > Workspace.

4. Navigate through the 360 photo

how to edit 360 photos in photoshop 360viewtoolsPhotoshop’s new 360 compatibility means you can move around the image as you would on Facebook. Just outside of the left corner of the current view of the image, use the orbit, pan, and dolly controls to look around the image to find the perspective you want to edit. You can also click the hand tool and click and drag to change the perspective as well.

Can’t navigate? Make sure the 360 photo is selected from the layers panel.

4. Use the toolbox to make local adjustments

how to edit 360 photos in photoshop photoshop360healingbrush

Once you’ve imported the image as a 3D panorama and navigated to the problem area, just use Photoshop’s tools to make local corrections. For example, we used Photoshop’s clone and healing brush tools to remove pieces of the tripod on which our 360 camera sat. The options are nearly endless, but some of the available tools you might want to try out for 360 shot include:

  • Clone tool: Use this to copy a section of the image and paint over another object to remove it from the photo. Control click to select the area that you would like to copy.
  • Healing brush: This is a smarter version of the clone tool that blends the adjustment in with the surrounding area. This tool is slower than the clone tool in 360, so you can also eliminate as much as possible with the clone tool fist, then switch to the healing brush to smooth out the edges.
  • Dodge: Lighten an area of the image.
  • Burn: Darken an area of the image.

Editing 360 photos is a data-intense task, so if your computer slows down during the edits, try closing out of all other programs before editing.

5. Export the image

how to edit 360 photos in photoshop photoshop360export

You can’t open a 360 image normally and still maintain that 360-ness, and you can’t use the “usual save as” command either. Once you’re finished with the edits, don’t save — go back up to 3D > Spherical Panorama > Export Panorama. If you use the export option, the image will still have that scroll-around ability inside Facebook as well as compatibility with VR headsets. If you need to come back and finish edits later, save the image as a PSD file, then use the export option when you are finished.

The option to edit 360 photos in Photoshop means you can now take out that pesky portion of tripod that’s showing, eliminate those distracting power lines, or fix a minor exposure error — you just have to take a few extra steps for importing, exporting, and navigating around.


Not just for Lightroom anymore, Loupedeck+ now works with Photoshop

Loupedeck+ can now help photographers edit in Photoshop too, thanks to physical controls for swapping tools, running actions, and more. The photo-editing console expanded to include Photoshop in the list of compatible editing programs.

Need gift ideas? Here’s what to get the skiers and snowboarders in your life

You can't purchase snow, but you can grab your favorite skier or snowboarder some sweet gear this holiday season. We've hand-picked some of the best available that'll wow even the most well-equipped terrain park junkie we know.

LG G7 owners experiencing dreaded bootloop will have to wait a few days for fix

If you’ve picked up LG’s flagship and it’s not behaving itself, then you might find a solution here. We’ve rounded up the most common LG G7 ThinQ problems and tracked down workarounds and possible fixes.

Photographers can now customize the layout of Lightroom Classic controls

Tired of scrolling past Lightroom tools that you don't use? Adobe Lightroom Classic now allows users to reorganize the Develop panel. The update comes along with new sharing options in Lightroom CC, and updates to the mobile Lightroom app.
Social Media

Instagram could be making a special type of account for influencers

Instagram influencers fall somewhere between a business profile and a typical Instagram, so the company is working on developing a type of account just for creators. The new account type would give creators more access to analytical data.

Best Products of 2018

Our reception desk has so many brown boxes stacked up, it looks like a loading dock. We’re on a first-name basis with the UPS guy. We get new dishwashers more frequently than most people get new shoes. What we’re trying to say is: We…

Leave the laptop at home, the iPad Pro is the travel buddy to take on vacay

The iPad Pro is a powerful tablet that's perfect for creatives and professionals. How does it fare when traveling with it as a laptop replacement? We took it on a two week trek in Japan to find out.

These are the best action cameras money can buy

Action cameras are great tools for capturing videos of your everyday activities, whether it's a birthday party or the steepest slope you've ever descended on your snowboard. These are the best money can buy.

Canon holiday sale features the Rebel T6 2-lens kit for just $449

If you have a budding photographer in your life in need of a real camera, the Canon EOS Rebel T6 could make the perfect gift. Canon is currently offering the camera in a two-lens bundle for just $449 through December 29.
Emerging Tech

Light, speed: Lighting kit for DJI Mavic 2 lets you fly and film in the dark

Lume Cube, maker of small battery-powered LED lights for mobile photography, has announced a new lighting kit built specifically for the DJI Mavic 2 -- the first of its kind. Already our favorite drone, this makes the Mavic 2 even better.
Social Media

Instagram’s 2018 year in review shines a light on where our hearts are

What did Instagram users share the most in 2018? A lot of heart emojis, heart face filters, and heart GIFs. The platform recently shared the year's top trends, including hashtags like #fortnite and #metoo along with a few surprises.

Want a fun, affordable instant camera? The Fujifilm Instax Mini 7S is just $49

Instant cameras have had a surprising resurgence of late, and no brand is better recognized in the instant photo space today than Fujifilm Instax. Walmart is currently offering the Instax Mini 7S for just $49.
Emerging Tech

The best drone photos from around the world

Most of today's drones come equipped with high-end cameras, which are quickly revolutionizing the world of aerial photography as we know it. Here are some of the best drone photos from around the world.

Need a monitor for professional photo-editing? These are the very best

Looking for the best monitor for photo editing? You'll need to factor in brightness, color accuracy, color gamut support and more. Fortunately, we've rounded up the best ones for you, to help you make an educated purchase.