Retouching VR Photography with Photoshop and After Effects
- Life Time Access
- Certificate on Completion
- Access on Android and iOS App
As spherical panoramas become more common, especially on social media platforms, the next logical step is to begin editing and enhancing these images — just as you do with traditional photography. The challenge is, however, these are not “flat” images. As images are “unwrapped” in photo editing tools, we need to use an alternate workflow for editing these types of panoramas.
This course will show you a step-by-step, non-destructive process, for seamlessly masking out your tripod, applying 2-dimensional artwork into the VR space, retouching, adjusting color, and adding special effects to your photo.
The software we’ll be using includes the Adobe Creative Cloud versions of both Photoshop and After Effects.
Running time: 43 minutes
Who is the target audience?
- Graphic Designers
- Web Designers
- Interaction Designers
- VR Designers
- Familiarity with Photoshop
- Add a logo to a spherical panorama (360º photo)
- Seamlessly remove the tripod
- Reset the center of the panorama
- Add a realistic sun
- Make color adjustments
- Retouch and enhance your photo
- Add in a new sky (even behind trees!)
- Updating metadata for social media platforms
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 going through my process step-by-step
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.
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.
The exercise files are available to all members, and 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 spherical panorama, so you will have the final file to dissect and review.Files are available in the next lecture.
To begin, we’ll launch After Effects. First, we’ll setup our workspace interface to best suite our needs for editing this panoramic image. We’ll be using 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 SkyBox Composer and let’s select the options we’ll need for our composition. Then we’ll create our files and save them.
Isolating the tripod area - Resource File
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 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 anytime. Be careful not to touch any pixels on the edge. We will come back to that later
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 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
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
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 an add a mask to finish the edges
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
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
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
After 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 theXifer.net, where you can update the data
In order to preview our newly created image, you’ll need a viewer. Many camera manufacturers have their own viewer 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
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