Facebook added a new feature that lets you post 3D versions of your portrait mode photos for all your family and friends to see on their smartphones, computers, and virtual reality goggles. These new 3D photos add a whole new dimension to your images with movement and more depth.
There have been other ways to post interactive photos on Facebook before, so the notion of moving images in your Facebook news feed isn't new.
First, there were 360-degree photos you could take with a special camera or by using a 360-degree mobile app or panoramic mode on your smartphone; then you would post them as regular photos on Facebook. Second, a dedicated "360 Photo" mode was added to the Facebook mobile app, which let you shoot and post a 3D-like image without ever leaving Facebook.
This new "3D Photos" method will likely be the most popular since you can upload all of the portrait mode photos that you already took on your smartphone.
As of right now, only iPhone models with "Portrait mode" are compatible with 3D Photos on Facebook. That means the iPhone 7 Plus, 8 Plus, X, XS, and XS Max are all game. That leaves out the newer iPhone XR since it doesn't have dual cameras on its rear.
Android compatibility will be coming in the future at some point and will also require smartphones with two lenses on the rear camera. It's not yet known if software that can produce similar results without two lenses will work, like on the Google Pixel 3 and 3 XL. Otherwise, when Android support finally comes in, you'll likely be able to use it with devices such as the Honor 7X; Moto X4; OnePlus 5T; Huawei Mate 10 Pro; Samsung Galaxy Note 8; Galaxy Note 9; Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+; and the list keeps going and going. If you have a smartphone made within the last couple of years, chances are it has a portrait or portrait-like mode on it.
Facebook uses depth maps that are stored inside portrait mode photos, so if your device doesn't store depth map information in portraits, it may not be compatible.
While Facebook announced this feature in May 2018 at its F8 developer conference, it just began rolling out to mobile users everywhere, starting on October 11. If you can't follow the instructions below, be patient, as the feature will hit your device soon — just make sure you keep your Facebook app updated.
To add one of your portrait mode photos on Facebook as a 3D photo, start to make a Facebook post like you normally would. There should be a new ellipsis (•••) in the top right of the empty post — tap that. From the list of options, tap "3D Photos," which should open your album with the portrait mode pictures in it.
Choose a portrait mode photo that you want to use, and it will automatically be processed as it uploads. Before posting, you'll be able to preview it, so move your smartphone around to see it in 3D mode. Once satisfied, tap "Next," then just add a caption and hit "Share."
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Whenever you or someone else posts a 3D photo, there won't be an indicator that the image you're looking at in your news feed is a 3D image. However, as you scroll up and down through your feed, you will notice the picture moving in conjunction, giving its 3D status away. Once you see one, tilt your device back and forth to see more depth around the portrait subject, whether it's a human, pet, or object.
You'll quickly notice that not all of your portraits will look good as 3D Photos on Facebook. To make sure yours look better, follow some of the below tips, which will also make better portrait photos in general.
- Put your main subject at least three or four feet away from your phone.
- Capture scenes with at least three layers of depth: foreground, your subject, and background.
- Don't let your subject blend in with the background — use contrasting colors to make them stand out, and therefore pop in 3D.
- Make sure the subject has some texture, as it won't pop as much without it.
- Shoot subjects with solid edges, so there is a clear line of separation between other depth layers.
- Avoid shiny objects, which could
- Avoid transparent objects, such as glass or plastic, which could fool depth sensors.
- Avoid added effects, like scene lighting. Portrait Lighting mode on iPhones may also work against you.
- Avoid mono-style lighting that drowns out all of the colors that makes 3D photos stand out.