Facebook Rolling Out 3D Photos That Simulate Depth Using AI
In the Harry Potter movies, we saw newspapers that had animated GIFs in place of still images. We may have to wait a while before that happens in real life. For now, we have to be content with Facebook’s 3D photos, which the company announced at F8 in May and is now rolling out. 3D photos add make-believe depth to your iPhone portrait mode shots.
To get started, click a photo, tap the new 3D photos option in the status update composer, select a portrait mode photo and users on the desktop or mobile News Feed as well as in VR through Oculus Go’s browser or Firefox on Oculus Rift can tap/click and drag or move their head to see the photo’s depth. Everyone can now view 3D photos and the ability to create them will open to everyone in the coming weeks.
Facebook uses AI to stitch together real layers of the photo with what it infers should be there if you tilted your perspective. Since portrait mode fires off both of a phone’s cameras simultaneously, parallax differences can be used to recreate what’s behind the subject. It’ll be interesting to see how the implementation will work on devices that don’t come with a depth sensor.
The concept was pitched to ease the creation of VR-ready content, but VR is still in nascent stages with not too many people owning a headset. The ability to display depth in the News Feed that will have a much-needed impact on Facebook. Although the ability to see depth in photos won’t do a lot in the way of getting users back to Facebook, it might help to retain existing users who are considering ditching the platform.
Facebook is always on the lookout for new ways to keep the News Feed interesting. After simple text and photos, we got videos, live broadcasts, 360 photos and now 3D photos. Facebook hopes if it’s the exclusive social media home for these new kinds of content, you’ll come back. After all, every user is a source of ad revenue.