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Editing 360 Degree Photos in Photoshop & After Effects


Editing 360 Degree Photos in Photoshop & After Effects


Class Description


  • Get a brief introduction to After Effects (from a Photoshop perspective)
  • Work non-destructively with linked layered Photoshop files
  • Seamlessly remove elements from a 360º photo
  • Create adjustments without causing a ‘seam’ in the final composite
  • Introduce 2D artwork (including logos) without distortion
  • Add special effects including a sunrise and sky replacement


As 360º photos continue to grow in popularity, especially in social media and hospitality industries, the next logical step is to begin editing and enhancing these images just as you do with traditional photography. The challenge is, however, that these are not flat images. As images are “unwrapped” in photo editing tools, we need to use alternate workflows for editing and compositing these types of photos.

This course will show you a step-by-step, non-destructive process, for masking out your tripod, applying 2-dimensional artwork, retouching, and color adjustments, as well as adding special effects to your image.


  • Photographers
  • Graphic Designers
  • Web Designers
  • Interaction Designers
  • VR Designers


Adobe Photoshop CC 2021
Adobe After Effects CC 2021
Ricoh Theta App (optional): 

FREE Basic App for Mac or Windows


Chris has over 25 years of experience in graphic design, interactive and animated media, with a unique focus on both design and development. Chris possesses development skills across such languages as PHP, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and MySQL, making his design execution optimal across various media, screen sizes, and device capabilities. In addition to design and development, Chris has been a featured speaker in over 225 industry-related events and conferences, including the NAB, Adobe MAX, How Design Live, AIGA, CreativePro Week, and Adobe Video World.


  1. Class Introduction

    I’ve put this course together to teach you one of my workflows for, non-destructively, editing, and branding, a spherical panoramic photo, or sometimes called a 360 photo—and we’ll do this using Photoshop and After Effects. And don’t worry if you’ve never used Photoshop or After Effects before, I’ll be going through my process step-by-step.

  2. Software You'll Need

    If you want to follow along with this course, there are exercise files you can download and you’ll need to have the Creative Cloud versions of both Photoshop and After Effects installed on your computer. And for After Effects, this needs to be at least the 2018 release... which became available from Adobe in October of 2017. This version introduces the new VR Comp Editor... which is what makes it possible to add content to our spherical panorama with a unique, and non-destructive, workflow.

  3. A Brief Intro To After Effects

    If you’ve never worked in After Effects before, then you’re in for a treat. I think this is one of the most fun applications to design in, and if you are familiar with Photoshop then you already know the basics. After Effects works the same way as other Creative Cloud design apps, including Illustrator and InDesign.

  4. Class Materials

    The exercise files contain a series of folders that I think will make it easier to separate out the stages of the workflow. There are folders A, B, C, and D. Folder D contains a copy of the final 360º (spherical panorama) photo, so you will have the final file to dissect and review.

  5. Isolating The Tripod Area

    To begin, we’ll launch After Effects. First, we’ll set up our workspace interface to best suit our needs for editing this panoramic image. We’ll be using a small screen and rearrange our panels. Now let’s drag our original JPEG into our Project panel. Once the image is there, drag it into the Composition panel. Then open VR Cop Editor and let’s select the options we’ll need for our composition. Then we’ll create our files and save them.

  6. Seamless Tripod Removal

    Let’s go to Folder B and open the lakemore_retreat_tripod_export.psd we just saved in Photoshop. Let’s remove the group layers and create a new layer. Now we’ll use the Spot Healing brush and remove the table and tripod. Create a new layer called ‘retouched’ so we can update it at any time. Be careful not to touch any pixels on the edge. We will come back to that later.

  7. Replacing Tripod From Bottom Of Sphere

    Now let’s go back to After Effects. We have not moved our camera position, so we can import the Photoshop file we just saved. We’ll import it as footage. We’ll drag the file into the Composition. Since we didn’t touch the pixels on the edge, After Effects will morph that file to the sphere shape and we now have removed the tripod from our image.

  8. Retouch And Reset The Panorama Center Point

    We now have a new file called lakemore_retreat_modified.psd. We now want to retouch the other sections. Pan around the image find imperfections and miscellaneous things to remove with the healing brush or clone tool. Once you are done, convert your layers to a Smart Object. Then go to Filter > Other > Offset. This will wrap the pixels and reset your center. Save your file.

  9. Replacing The Sky

    In the file lakemore_retreat_modified.psd, the sky is overcast. We will replace this dreary sky with another panoramic image taken on a different day. In Photoshop, let’s place the new image as a linked file. Then we’ll adjust the Hue/Saturation, use Blend Modes to composite the images and add a mask to finish the edges.

  10. Adding Some Sunshine

    So now we’re ready to create a new After Effects file based on our newly modified spherical panorama. Save your changes from the previous file and create a new project. Import the modified file, create a new composition and save the file. Now we can add our sun. We’ll be using the plugin CC Light Rays.

  11. Making Color Adjustments

    Now that we’ve added the sun to the image, we need to modify the rest of the image to make it believable. Go to the Effects & Presets panel to search for the Hue/Saturation and Color Balance effects. Drag each onto the image and adjust. While we’ll adjust the effects to modify the image, the enhancements are subjective and you can adjust to your liking.

  12. Adding A Logo

    We’ll be adding a 2D logo to our spherical image. You have a sample logo to place or use your own logo to see how it would look in a spherical panoramic. The Lakemore logo is not included. Saving this file is a bit different since we applied an effect to an adjustment layer and it won’t translate back to Photoshop layers. So go to Save Frame As > File > Main Options > JPEG Sequence.

  13. Preparing Final Jpeg File (with metadata)

    Editing and modifying the file through different applications, it has lost its metadata. Some social media platforms and online viewers need the camera information, otherwise, it will not recognize the image as a spherical panorama. We can re-save the image from Photoshop to capture the data or there are online tools such as, where you can update the data.

  14. Upload Spherical Panoramic To Facebook

    In order to preview our newly created image, you’ll need a viewer. Many camera manufacturers have their own viewers and you don’t need to own the camera to view an image. At the time of this recording, many social networks are supporting 360 photos with their own viewers which will allow anyone to explore the image. Now you can edit and modify your own images to enhance your user experience.


Rex Maximilian

In Lesson 8 I would highly recommend grouping the layers into a folder named "Components," then duplicate it and turn the duplicate into a smart layer. Then rename the smart layer "Composite," or something like that. Then turn off the group of layers leaving only the composite layer displayed. This way the files remains editable for future lawn/image cleaning. The way the instructor did it would delete all of the layers for potential future editing.