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How to Create 3D Photos in Facebook

Posted by Arch on September 4, 2019
How to Create a 3D Photo for Facebook

Facebook has introduced the 3D photo posts feature back in November 2018. Unfortunately, this option was natively only available to select iPhone users upon launch. Over time, support for Android was also introduced. Moreover, numerous online and desktop solutions appeared, as well. Let’s take a look at how to create and post 3D photos to Facebook.

iOS

Unlike Android users, iOS users had access to Facebook’s 3D photo feature since it was launched. However, not all iPhone users could snap 3D photos. Supported models were limited to 7+, 8+, and X because the existence of the Portrait Mode is crucial for 3D photos.

Likewise, all subsequent iPhone models featuring the Portrait mode can create and upload 3D photos without the need for third-party apps or help from desktop-oriented image editing suites. Here’s how to create and upload a 3D photo to Facebook with an iPhone:

  1. Open your iPhone’s camera.
  2. Swipe to the left to switch from the Photo to the Portrait mode.
  3. If you’re too close to the central object of your future 3D photo, your iPhone will inform you. Step back until the distance is right.
  4. Snap the photo.
  5. Exit camera and launch the Facebook app on your iPhone.
  6. Tap on the “What’s on your mind?” field, like you would when creating any other post.
  7. Scroll down and tap on the 3D photo option.
  8. Facebook will open your Camera Roll, showing only eligible images taken in the Portrait mode. Tap the one you want to upload.
  9. Wait for a moment or two for Facebook to generate your 3D photo.
  10. When it’s done, move your phone around to inspect the photo.
  11. Tap on the Next button.
  12. Optionally, add a caption.
  13. Post your 3D photo.

Android

3D photos were introduced to Android in May 2019. However, only a select few models are eligible. This is limited to phones that can, in certain modes, create depth maps along with photos. Some Google Pixel and Samsung Galaxy models can do it, as well as upscale Huawei models.

However, you will need to upload both the image and its depth map to successfully create a 3D image. You will require the help of your computer and a third-party app that can extract the depth map data. For the purposes of this tutorial, we picked Omnivirt. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Launch camera on your Android phone.
  2. Select the Live Focus mode (Samsung), Portrait mode (Google Pixel), or Aperture mode (Huawei).
    Aperture Mode Huawei
  3. Snap a shot you’d like to convert to 3D.
  4. Next, send the photo to your computer. The best way to do it is via email. If you opt for Messenger, WhatsApp or another chat app, the depth map data might get lost.
  5. Once you’ve downloaded the photo to your computer, launch your favorite web browser.
  6. Go to Omnivirt’s site.
  7. Open the depth extractor tool.
  8. Browse for the image you want to turn to 3D.
  9. Wait for the tool to finish the extraction.
  10. Once the process is done, Omnivirt will automatically download a zip file containing both your image and its depth map to your computer.
  11. Next, launch Facebook on your computer.
  12. Click on the “What’s on your mind” field.
  13. Drag the zip file containing your image and its depth map into the box.
  14. Click on the Share button.

Online Solutions

Aside from Omnivirt, there are many other online platforms that allow you to create Facebook 3D posts. Vectary is one of the most popular. Have in mind that you should use this option if you want to work with real 3D objects, not photo renders. Here’s how to create a 3D photo for Facebook using Vectary:

  1. Launch your computer’s browser.
  2. Go to Vectary’s official site.
  3. If you haven’t already, register for a free account. You can also sign in with your Google or Facebook accounts.
  4. You can opt to create your own 3D model right on the site. You can watch tutorials if you’re not familiar with the 3D object creation process. Optionally, you can upload a 3D project from your computer. Vectary can work with .stl, .obj, gITF, and other popular 3D file formats.
  5. Once you’ve got everything right with the project you created on Vectary, or once you’ve uploaded the project from your computer, you should export the file in .glb format.
  6. Download the zip file.
  7. Extract the images.
  8. Launch Facebook.
  9. Click on the “What’s on your mind” field.
  10. Drag both images into the box.
  11. Add a caption if you want to.
  12. Click on the “Share” button.
    Vectary Site

Desktop Solutions

You can also create a depth map of any .jpg or .png file with SketchUp. You can do it in all versions of the program. Here’s how it’s done:

  1. Launch SketchUp on your computer.
  2. Import an image you want to turn into a 3D image.
  3. Click on Window.
  4. Select Default Tray.
  5. Select Fog.
  6. Uncheck the Use background color box and select black.
    Uncheck Background Color
  7. Go to the Styles Panel and it will display a drop-down menu.
  8. Pick the Default styles folder.
  9. Next, you should activate the Hidden Line Style option.
  10. After that, go to the Edit tab.
  11. Click on the Edges button.
  12. Remove all edges.
  13. Open the Fog panel again.
  14. Move the sliders until you’re satisfied with the range of gray shades between white and black.

Now, it’s time to export the depth map. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Select File.
  2. Select Export.
  3. Select 2D Graphic.
  4. Click on the Options button.
  5. Uncheck the Transparent Background box.
  6. Click OK.
  7. Select the location for your depth map.
  8. Make sure to add “_depth” to your depth map’s file name.
  9. Export the original image to the same folder.
  10. Drag and drop both images into the “What’s on your mind” box.
  11. Click on Share.

Once You Go 3D, You Can Never Go Back

If you don’t have an iPhone, posting 3D photos might take a bit longer. However, if you’re looking to up your game and attract more reactions and comments, 3D photos are the way to go.

Have you posted 3D photos to Facebook before? How easy or complicated was it? Do you know another method that we’ve missed? Let us know in the comments below.

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