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Facebook’s new 3D Photos use iPhone camera data to simulate depth


Leveraging the extra depth data found in certain recent iPhone photographs, Facebook today announced the rollout of 3D Photos: images that look flat at first, but can be examined from different angles either through Facebook itself, or using Oculus VR headsets. The basic premise of a 3D Photo is that the dual cameras on the iPhone 7 Plus, 8 Plus, X, and XS model can capture depth data in addition to the flat image — data that has generally been used solely to create blurred backgrounds in portrait mode. However, software can use that data to understand some of the scenes three-dimensional characteristics, then simulate them in an image you can move around with your finger or a cursor. Simulation is the key word here. iPhone apps have offered similar functionality since before Apple started to include depth-sensing cameras on its devices, and the results ranged from somewhat interesting to ghoulish; imagine a person appearing to bulge out of a flat surface as if their skin were attached to the wall. But with newer cameras and better depth data, Facebooks results can look pretty believable. The company suggests composing images with multiple layers, colors, and textures to achieve the best results. Youll need one of these listed iPhones to create a 3D Photo; doing so is just a matter of creating a Facebook post; tapping on the three dots (a new addition) to bring up a list of post options; selecting 3D Photo; and picking an image from your Portraits album. Once posted, the image will be viewable by any Facebook user, as well as in VR through the Oculus Browser on Oculus Go or Firefox on the Oculus Rift. The viewing feature is rolling out to users today, and the creation feature will start with some users today, becoming available to everyone in the coming weeks, so it may or may not be available when you go to use the app. A tutorial video is available here.

Facebook's 3D photos are here


It turns portrait mode photos into 3D images. In May during its F8 conference, Facebook announced that it was working on a feature that would take a typical 2D picture and make it appear three-dimensional when posted in the News Feed. Now, it's beginning to roll out 3D photos to everyone, allowing users to "bring scenes to life with depth and movement. " All you have to do is take a photo in portrait mode and then start creating a new post on Facebook. Tap the menu icon in the top right of the post screen and select "3D Photo," and that will bring you to the portrait photo folder in your phone. Once you select the photo you want, just post it as you usually would, adding a caption and sharing it to your feed. You can see what 3D photos look like in the video above and you'll be able to view them in the News Feed as well as in VR with Oculus Go or Oculus Rift. Facebook suggests using photos with multiple layers of depth, subjects that have contrasting colors to their backgrounds and subjects that have solid edges and texture. That way, your subject will stand out more distinctly from its background, allowing for a more 3D look. The ability to create 3D photos is rolling out now and it should reach everyone in the coming weeks. But everyone will be able to view 3D photos starting today.