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Facebook’s 3D photos can now be made using single-camera phones

Facebook’s 3D photos can now be made using single-camera phones


You previously needed to use a dual-camera device

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Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

Facebook will now let you post 3D photos to your timeline from the Facebook app even if you have a phone with a single camera, the company announced today. In theory, this should make it possible for a lot more phones to take 3D photos — and Facebook says it also means you can use your front-facing camera to take take 3D selfies.

The feature, which was first made available in October 2018, was previously exclusive to phones that had two or more cameras that could take portrait mode shots. Previously, 3D photos relied on using each camera to take an image that Facebook could use to create the “depth” in a 3D picture.

This new single-camera technique uses machine learning to infer the three-dimensional structure of an image to create the 3D effect, according to Facebook. Here’s an animation the company provided of what that depth generation process looks like:

And here’s an example from Facebook of how the tech could look in an image on your timeline:

Facebook says anyone with an iPhone 7 or higher, or “a recent midrange or better Android device,” should be able to use the 3D photo tool in the main Facebook app. However, it doesn’t seem to have fully rolled out just yet — right now, I can only make 3D photos using images taken in portrait mode on my iPhone 11 Pro.