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So now I can’t edit 360 images in Photoshop?

Photoshop 360 editing
(Image credit: Rod Lawton)

You might have thought that the world’s most powerful image-editing software would be able to do something as simple as editing a 360-degree spherical panorama, but apparently not.

It used to, as part of Photoshop’s once-extensive 3D workspace. But now Adobe has explained that as of Photoshop 22.5 the process of removing the 3D features began. Actually, 22.5 is not a new update, as it came out in August 2021 – but it’s news to me that I can’t edit 360 images any more.

Bye bye Photoshop 3D

You used to be able to edit 360 'equirectangular' images in Photoshop with the Spherical Panorama menu. (Image credit: Rod Lawton)
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Now it's telling me it can't, and it may not work if I try. (Image credit: Rod Lawton)
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Uhh... nope. Doesn't work. (Image credit: Rod Lawton)
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Adobe explains that its 3D tools relied on generic Open GL CPU hardware acceleration, and over time this has been superseded by newer, platform specific ‘native’ GPU APIs for Windows (Direct X) and Macintosh (Metal), and that these offer better, more stable performance.

Adobe explains its thinking in its Photoshop 3D Common Questions (opens in new tab) post. It doesn’t say why it can’t just update Photoshop for newer graphics hardware. However, I think the move over to Adobe’s Substance 3D suite and its four component applications might have something to do with it.

Whatever the logic (commercial, not technical, I imagine), I can no longer edit 360 images in Photoshop.

360 editing alternatives

In Affinity Photo, however, I can simply create an Equirectangular Projection and navigate around my 360 VR space by dragging. (Image credit: Rod Lawton)
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Here's me looking worried at something on my phone while strangling a plant. (Image credit: Rod Lawton)
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A number of regular photo editing tools now support 360 spherical panorama editing, and the first that comes to mind is Affinity Photo (currently half price in Affinity's Spring Sale (opens in new tab)).

In Affinity Photo I can open and edit an ‘equirectangular projection’ (a standard format for 360 spherical panoramas), navigate it in 3D and make any edits I need to.

What I would like to know is why it would seem perfectly straightforward for Affinity Photo to do this, but far too difficult for Photoshop.

Read more:

Best 360 cameras
Best photo editing software
Affinity Photo review

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Rod is the Group Reviews editor for Digital Camera World and across Future's entire photography portfolio, with decades of experience with cameras of all kinds. Previously he has been technique editor on N-Photo, Head of Testing for the photography division and Camera Channel editor on TechRadar. He has been writing about photography technique, photo editing and digital cameras since they first appeared, and before that began his career writing about film photography. He has used and reviewed practically every interchangeable lens camera launched in the past 20 years, from entry-level DSLRs to medium format cameras, together with lenses, tripods, gimbals, light meters, camera bags and more.