TECHNIQUE: How to remove people or make clones of them in 360 photos

I’ve posted about an app that can automatically remove people from the background of 360 photos.  The app — Vanish360 — works only for the Ricoh Theta.  However, you can also do the same thing with other 360 cameras.  In fact, you can do the reverse effect and make clones of people as well. Here’s how.

You’ll need a tripod and an app that has a compositing or photo blending capability.  The one I use is called Enlight for iOS.  There are many apps like that for iOS and Android (search “photo blend”).

STEP 1:  With the camera on a tripod, take a photo with the people in one position.  In this example, I took a photo with me on one side of the lens.  However, the person can be positioned anywhere.

STEP 2:  Take another photo with the people in another position.

STEP 3:  Open the first photo in Enlight.

STEP 4:  On the right side of the screen, under Tools (hammer and screwdriver icon), click on Mixer.

STEP 5:  Select the second photo.  It will be overlaid on top of your first photo (it might take a couple of seconds).  Use pinch-zoom to expand the second photo to match the size of the first photo.  You’ll notice that the photo will automatically snap to the grid.

STEP 6: On the right side of the screen (in landscape mode) or bottom of the screen (in portrait mode), you’ll see “Camera Roll” and “Tools”.

Click on Tools to bring up the blending tools.  If you’re familiar with a Layer Mask in Photoshop, this is the same thing.

STEP 7: Use Erase to erase the person in the second photo by tapping on Erase then wiping over the person.  Alternatively, to make a clone, you can erase the area of the second photo where the photo from the first person should appear.

Here is the result (with me removed from the photo):

And here is an alternative result (where I cloned myself):

That’s all there is to it!  You can take as many photos as needed to get a clean background, or a background full of clones.

UPDATE: check out this related video tutorial by Pepe Vazquez!