360˚ Editing in Photoshop - Filters, Adjustments and Tripod Caps

Select the forward/back arrows to change between final and original panoramas

Announced on October 18 during Adobe Max, Photoshop 2018 includes 360 compatibility. 

While 360 photos were supported in earlier versions, the ability to scroll around the entire view was lost, rendering the file into a rectangle. Now, 360 files can be imported using the spherical panorama options from the 3D menu options and exported through the same menu to maintain that scrolling format when sharing. The compatibility brings Photoshop tools, such as cloning and healing brushes for removing objects, into 360 photography.

This tutorial shows how to apply Filters or Adjustments and a tripod cap to a existing equirectangular file.

Note: tap on any image in the tutorial for a larger view

Update 23/10/17:

New method for exporting that doesn't require levelling in the 3D environment.

Getting Started

Opening your image into 360˚ editing mode

1. Update to the latest version of Photoshop (2018) using the CC Desktop App
2. Open your equirectangular file into Photoshop

Image #2 - 360˚ Equirectangular loaded into Photoshop

Note: It's handy to set a couple of guides to help you to orientate the panorama to the horizon and nadir

3. Show the rulers, if they are not already visible, set the values to % (percentage)
4. Create a horizontal and vertical guide at 50%

Image #4 - Guides set

Image #4 - Guides set

5. Select: Menu/3D/Spherical Panorama/New Panorama Layer From Selected Layer(s) to create the 3D working environment

Image #5 - Creating the 3D working environment

6. You may see a message window about switching to a 3D layer, just select "Yes"


Image #6 - Select "Yes"


7. Your panorama opens in 3D editing mode and you can pan around it using the Move Tool (V)

Image #7 - 3D Editing Mode

Applying Filters or Adjustments

1. Double click on the 'SphericalMap' link in the layers menu to open the 2D SphericalMap image


Image #1 - SphericalMap link


2. Two tabs are now visible, the new tab, the SphericalMap, contains the 2D equirectangular image

Image #2 - New 2D tab showing equirectangular image

3. Select: Menu/Filter/Pixelate/Crystallize... (or another filter of your choice)

Note: Not all filters will wrap correctly around the 360 seam. If you want to work in a non-destructive environment, that lets you test before committing the changes, please read the Advanced Tutorial

Image #3 - Selecting the Filter

4. Define the settings and select 'OK'


Image #4 - Filter settings


5. The filter is applied to the 2D image

Note: As the filter is being applied to a flat image there will be some distortion of the image effect at the Zenith and Nadir locations when the equirectangular is viewed in 360

Image #5 - Crystalize filter applied to the 2D image

6. Click on the tab that has the 3D mode version and within a second or two it will update to show the updated filter effect.

Image #6 - 3D view updated to show Crystalize filter applied to the 2D map

7. At this time you can close and Save the SphericalMap tab 

Adding a Tripod Cap

In most 360˚ images there will be remnants of the tripod the camera used to take the image was attached to, in the nadir A simple way to hide the tripod is to use a logo as what is referred to as a "Tripod Cap"

In this example I'm using an Adobe Illustrator file of my Red360 logo. The file has been saved into my Library.

1. Move the 3D view of the image down to approximately -90˚ from the horizon to the point where the tripod is or the naider of the image.

#12 - Nadir view

2. Open the Library window if it's not already open and drag your Tripod Cap out onto the image. Alternatively you can use Menu/File/Place Embedded.
3. Resize the Tripod Cap to cover any remains of the tripod or to a size that you require

Note: At this point if you move the underlying image the Tripod Cap will remain where it is because it resides on another layer that isn't part of the 3D image.
Tip: If you want to make sure the underlying panorama doesn't move lock the layer.

#13 - Tripod Cap in place and scaled

4. In order to combine the two you need to use the 'Merge Down' option. 
5. With the Tripod Cap layer selected, select: Menu/Layer/Merge Down

Note: If you have locked the panorama layer the Merge Down option will be greyed out. Simply unlock the layer.

#14 - Merge Down menu

6. You can now pan around the image and the Tripod Cap will be fixed in place.


1. Select the 2D tab to open the SphericalMap or double click on SphericalMap to open it if it's closed

Image #1 - Open SphericalMap


2. Select: Menu/File/Save As...

Image #2 - Select Save As...

Image #2 - Select Save As...

3. In the Save As dialog box uncheck 'Layers' and Save

Image #3 - Uncheck Layers

4. Leave the Tiff Options at default or if they have been changed set the to the following image. Select OK to save the image


Image #4 - Tiff Options


After exporting the 360˚ image you can view it in a VR viewer of your choice. As with any new functionality there may be some Filters or Adjustments that may not work across the 360 seam and the next version of this tutorial will describe a non-destructive workflow that allows you to test different effects.