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The best 360 photo editing software is now up to 10 times faster (it’s NOT Photoshop)

The best 360 photo editing software is now up to 10x faster
The best 360 photo editing software is now up to 10x faster

The best 360 photo editing software — Affinity Photo — got an update that made some operations “up to 10 times faster than before,” claims its developer.

I love Adobe Lightroom Classic for managing my photos, and I like Photoshop’s Adobe Camera Raw for developing Raw images.  But for editing 360 photos such as correcting stitching errors and patching nadirs, my favorite app is Affinity Photo.  With Affinity Photo, switching between equirectangular and 360 view makes much more sense than Photoshop’s awkward interface designed for 3D images.  Affinity also lets you use almost any filter or effect in 360 view.  Affinity can also edit 16-bit 360 photos, unlike Photoshop which is virtually unusable for 16-bit 360 photos (the colors and contrast become wildly different).

Although Affinity Photo has more powerful features for 360 photo editing, it is surprisingly much more affordable than Photoshop.  Instead of an expensive monthly subscription, it is a one-time $49 purchase, which makes it an absolute no-brainer if you edit 360 photos, even if you never use it for anything else.

Now, with this free update to 1.10, Affinity Photo is also faster than before.  Or is it?

I tried editing a 200+ megapixel 360 photo in TIFF from a recent virtual tour I shot, and not only was Affinity noticeably more responsive, but it also seemed less prone to crashing.  To be fair, I haven’t had the chance to test the update extensively, but so far, I am very happy with it.  You can download the update here.

If you are new to Affinity Photo but you already know Photoshop, then in my opinion, it’s pretty easy to learn.  I frequently switch between Affinity Photo and Photoshop easily because most of the processes are similar or analogous.  If you want to learn either one for 360 photo editing, check out Virtual Tour Edge 2.0 or HQ Method.  Here is a sample shot with Theta Z1, edited in Affinity Photo using techniques from VTE.

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Mic Ty


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  • Thank you for the useful information.
    Can you recommend a good tutorial or workflow for editing 360° images in Affinity?
    Thank you.

  • Actually I have tested it and it is absolutely powerfull. You have to “re-learn” some of the options because most of us are very familiar with photoshop… but Affinity Photo is really powerfull and faster than PS

    • Hi Felipe. When I use Clarity in the develop module, or the Clarity filter, I get a seam. I haven’t seen a seam in other circumstances. Are you seeing a seam without the clarity effect applied?

      • Hey Mic,

        thanks for getting back to me. So I haven’t used AP in a while and had to double check. I actually don’t get a seam when only adjusting exposure, brightness or blackpoint. Yes, clarity definitely creates one as well as shadows and highlights (which I use like a lot). Any advice (from anyone) would be greatly appreciated.

  • Hi Mic, I opened an equirectangular XPhase DNG file with AP, I applied a profile, but i get a vertical seam on the panorama. Do you know if there is a way to tell to AP the opened image is a 360 panorama to avoid the seam? thank you

    • Hi Giorgio. There should be no seam unless you use clarity or some local adjustment (meaning an adjustment that affects only a part of the image). Do you know if the preset you used applied clarity or some kind of local adjustment?
      Best regards,

  • Awesome! I’ve been using Photoshop for my 360 photo editing needs, but the speed improvement alone has me interested in checking out these other options. Did you have any standout favorites from the list that you would recommend for beginners?

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