A new immersive format has been introduced to Facebook in the form of 3D photographs, and before long we will be able to add these to our News Feed. This is another piece of awesome tech coming from the giant in a year that we’ve already seen other immersive technology such as augmented reality added to Messenger bots and augmented reality ads brought to our News Feed.
Whilst this is exciting news for everyone, it’s even more so for e-commerce stores. Here’s a couple of ways that we think 3D images can help your business:
- Bring your products to life – 3D pictures are instantly going to catch the attention of someone browsing their News Feed
- Make it easier to advertise your less photogenic products – some products just aren’t as photogenic as others, meaning that more time goes into planning creative and we can sometimes feel limited with our advertising options. With 3D images, products will immediately look better, making it easier to sell.
The technology works by capturing the distance between the subject in the foreground and background, so a dual-lens camera is necessary*.
You have to take a photo in portrait mode first, then you can share it in the Facebook app by selecting the “3D Photo” option.
Once you’ve selected the photo you want to use you can now share to stories too! After pressing the ‘share’ button simply select for that 3D photo to also appear on your Facebook story.
UPDATE: in April 2019 3D photos on Facebook was introduced to desktop, although this requires also uploading what is known as a depth map. For earlier iPhone devices, as well as Huawei and Samsung devices, it is possible to extract these online. This is because photos taken in the Aperture (iPhone and Huawei) and Live Focus (Samsung) modes already include this depth map information.
3D photos on Facebook for Android was launched in May, allowing Samsung Galaxy models Galaxy Note 8 and onwards to upload these directly into Facebook through the app by following the same instructions as for iPhone.
For savvy Photoshop users it is also possible to create Facebook 3D photos in photoshop, by creating a depth map from the image. The depth map is then combined with the original image at the point of upload and it will render as a 3D photo on Facebook.
All that needs to be done is for you to separate out your image into multiple layers by using either the lasso or pen tool to cut it up. Once the image has been separated out into different layers, a grey scale needs to be applied, going from a light grey to the most forefront layer, gradually getting darker until you get to the furthest layer. For an even more complex 3D photo on Facebook, add a gradient to some of the layers!
How to add a 3D picture to your News Feed
A few tips
- Create a few feet of distance between you and your subject and have another item in front or behind your subject (or both) to help your camera build the 3D perspective
- Don’t use blank backgrounds, it doesn’t look as effective
- Use a background that contrasts in colour to what you are photographing. This will make the 3D effect much more noticeable
- Be aware of texture. Shiny items won’t photograph as well, whereas things with hard edges will produce a higher-quality image.
How do Facebook 3D photos work?
If you’re wondering how to activate 3D photos on Facebook the answer is simple. As you’re scrolling through your feed you should be able to tell which photos are 3D, by looking out for the below symbols.
This compass-like navigator will also show you where on the 3D photo you are exploring. To interact with the 3D photo itself there are a couple of different ways you can do this:
- Simply tilt your phone when you’re scrolling through your news feed and the photo will react
- Click into the photo and it will open full-screen, allowing you to scroll with your thumb or rotate your phone in any direction to navigate the photo
- On desktop the angle of the 3D photo will follow your move as you move around the photo
The level of which you are able to explore the photo varies from image to image, with some having a fairly basic 3D ability but others allowing you to rotate the full 360°.
How will you be using 3D photos on Facebook?
*3D photos will only be available to those of you with a 7+ or newer model of iPhone.