So you just finished shooting some awesome 360º images. Now what? The next step is to touch them up in with some image editing software.
If you’re really serous about quality and speed, then Photoshop (CS2/3/4/5/5.5/6/etc.) is your only serious choice. Ortery, and a few other companies ship their 360º automated turntables with some (extremely) lightweight photo editing software that’s akin to riding a tricycle. By comparison, Photoshop is a bicycle, and my (future) video tutorials will act as training wheels to prevent you from falling on your ass and getting frustrated.
So, do you want to be stuck on a tricycle that will aways be a tricycle? Or do you want to be on a real bike that has detachable training wheels?
So how about we learn how to ride a real bike! Okay, let’s get on with it.
Photo editing software is necessary for adjusting the basics of your 360º product photos. Photoshop CS2/CS3/CS4/CS5/CS6 are the versions I’m up-to-date with and will talk about, but Photoshop Elements will work too. Why? Because we are only using the most basic Photoshop commands that are also available in Photoshop Elements. For example, here are the main things we will need to do: crop, adjusting the brightness/colors, and adding a clean white background with the use of a "layer mask", and sharpen. That’s about it.
Photoshop has been around for a long time, but they don’t offer a dedicated 360º product image editing plug-in. It’s kind of a specialty thing. I assume it’s because the masses of Photoshop users don’t edit 360º Images. We should make one, huh? Nah, no need to . . . I’m going to teach you how to make your own program using Photoshop “Actions” and it’s going to be a lot easier and faster than you think. Trust me! You’re going to be amazed by what you can do with it, and it’s going to take about 2 minutes to build your very first Photoshop Action.
So what’s an Action?
An action is a recorded list of commands. Here’s the basic process for making one. Just hit the record button, do a few things in Photoshop, and Photoshop records the things you did to an ‘action’. Stop recording and hit the "play" button. Now, like an obedient robot, Photoshop will repeat all of things you, but much faster (up to 100X faster). It’s easiest to think of actions as a light-speed superhero that looks up to you and tries really hard to copy and repeat everything you do at light-speed. If you train this little ‘copycat’ well, then you can make it professionally edit all of your 360º images in a matter of seconds. Total automation using heavyweight Photoshop tools!
Any version of Photoshop CS (2/3/4/etc.) will work great. They all share the exact same features that are required to automate your photo editing. Photoshop Elements is a wildcard because I haven’t played with it (or needed to buy it other than for writing this tutorial). Once you get Photoshop, you’re all set, and I’m going to teach you everything I know from the ground up so you won’t get lost along the way. If you don’t understand, then it’s not your fault, it’s mine. So I’m going to do my best to make sure I explain every question you have.
Photoshop: Lesson 1 – How to make an "Action"
Photoshop: Lesson 2 – Basic Batch Editing
Have experience working with Photoshop or anything image editing software? Share your stories below! I love hearing new techniques and tricks of the trade for post-production.