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How do you create a 3D Facebook photo?

Create a 3D Facebook photo
Three-dimensional dogs... or whatever you choose to photograph

Facebook has started rolling out a new feature on its mobile app that allows you to create a 3D photo, using AI to create depth from a flat picture. It makes use of the portrait mode in iOS, so is limited to iPhone users (iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone X and later) using the depth maps that are stored when this type of photo is created.

How to create a 3D Facebook photo

  • Within the app, tap to write a status update
  • Scroll down the list of different content that you can add and, if you’re lucky, you’ll have one named “3D Photo”. Select this:
  • You’ll now be shown a list of photos that you’ve taken with portrait mode
  • Select one and Facebook will then create a 3D version of the picture
  • Share to your timeline as usual and anybody can view the result. You can also view 3D photos in VR using the Oculus Browser on Oculus Go, or Firefox on Oculus Rift. 

Facebook has also provided the following videos to walk you through this process:

Here’s an example of how it looks on your timeline:

The 3D effect, while impressive, is anything other than perfect and you’ll see issues. In this example, as you move the picture from side-to-side you’ll see the dress of the lady in the background is distorted.

How to create a better 3D Facebook photo

Facebook has its own recommendations for creating great 3D photos, which we’ve quoted below:

Create Layers. You’ll get the best results if your main subject is three or four feet away, and to really make it pop, try to capture scenes with multiple layers of depth, including something in the foreground and something in the background—like a shot of your family standing in a field of flowers.

Keep contrast in mind. You’ll get more of the 3D effect when your photo’s subject has contrasting colors—for example, someone wearing a blue shirt standing in front of a blue wall won’t pop as much as someone wearing a different color.

Use texture. Some materials and subjects make better 3D photos than others. You’ll get the best results from subjects that have some texture to them, have solid edges, and aren’t too shiny. Try to avoid transparent objects like clear plastic or glass, as they aren’t always accurately captured by depth sensors.

Now read this: Can Facebook friends see if I’ve searched their photos?

About the author

David Artiss

Works for Automattic Inc., the company behind WordPress.com and Tumblr. Tech geek, international speaker and occasional PC Pro podcaster. Lover of Lego and video games.

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