While Facebook owns the photo- and video-sharing social network platform Instagram, Facebook proper still sees plenty of similar content shared every single day. And now the platform supports “3D photos” to spice things up a bit.
Facebook recently confirmed it is now rolling out a new feature called “3D photos”, which uses artificial intelligence to simulate depth within a picture. These new photos can be shared to your News Feed, and also some virtual reality headsets. Facebook says you’ll need an iPhone with dual cameras on the back to actually use the feature, which has been available on specific iPhone models sine the iPhone 7 Plus launched. And while Android handsets support dual rear camera setups (and even up to four rear cameras now!), Facebook says 3D photos are iPhone-only for the time being, but that it will support more devices “in the future”.
“Whether it’s a shot of your pet, your friends, or a beautiful spot from your latest vacation, you just take a photo in Portrait mode using your compatible dual-lens smartphone, then share as a 3D photo on Facebook where you can scroll, pan and tilt to see the photo in realistic 3D—like you’re looking through a window. You can also view 3D photos in VR using the Oculus Browser on Oculus Go or Firefox on Oculus Rift. Everyone will be able to see 3D photos in News Feed and VR today, while the ability to create and share 3D photos begins to roll out today and will be available to everyone in the coming weeks.”
This is a feature that was actually announced earlier this year, and is now only seeing the light of day for the public. The technology behind the feature is pretty interesting, though, relying mostly on the depth map that the dual rear cameras capture by default, and then uses AI and other software elements to create an improved image that can actually be panned and rotated as viewers shift their phones.
Facebook says the ability to see 3D photos is now available for everyone, including using the web browser built into the Oculus Go VR headsets. However, the ability to actually create 3D photos is rolling out a bit slower, so you may not be able to create the new image just yet, even if you can view them.
This is a pretty neat feature, especially considering it’s viewable on any device with access to the standard News Feed, including VR headsets with a web browser. It would probably be pretty cool to look at these photos on Facebook’s new Portal smart display offerings.