Facebook's 3D posts haven't gained huge traction as yet, but they do offer an interesting, engaging visual option, which is likely to see more take-up as more people revert to newer smartphones.
As you can see here, 3D photos enable the viewer to tilt to see an alternate angle, giving each image a different perspective. The process is generated through a complex system of image layering and data-mapping (you can read all about it here), but essentially, Facebook uses the dual camera set-up of more recent model smartphones to create the 3D effect, without any extra effort on the part of the creator.
And now, Facebook's adding some new ways to use the option. Over on the Oculus blog, Facebook has announced three new 3D image options.
First off, now users will be able to post these images to their Facebook Stories, adding another option for your Stories process.
"Starting today, you can share 3D photos through Facebook Stories, a place where people share real, everyday moments. Just like with 3D photos you share to News Feed, you’ll be able to see who has viewed, reacted to, and responded to your story. The difference is that Stories are only visible for 24 hours, so they always feel current and help people catch up on what happened that day."
To post 3D photo to your Story, you'll upload your image via the News Feed, as normal, then choose the option to share it to Your Story. When shared, your Story viewers will now also be able to view the 3D effect within the full-screen Stories presentation.
Facebook's also adding the ability to share 3D images from your desktop PC, in addition to iPhone dual-camera devices - though it is a fairly technical process, which requires an accompanying 'depth map' file to create the effect.
But for those who are able to utilize it, the results can certainly be worth the effort, and facilitate a whole new type of visual communication - here's an example of a 3D post created via desktop.
And lastly, Facebook's also adding 3D image creation support for Android.
"We’re happy to announce that, next month, we’ll begin rolling out the ability to create and share 3D photos on Android, starting with Samsung Galaxy devices with dual cameras or Portrait mode."
The capacity will further expand the potential of 3D posts, and will see even more posted. As noted, the function does remain limited due to the need for more advanced phone camera set-ups, but as more people switch to new models, you'll no doubt also see more 3D posts in your feed.
Supported Android models will include the Galaxy Note version 8 and above, Galaxy S10e, Galaxy S10, Galaxy S10+, and Galaxy Fold.
3D posts are another step towards the next generation of social sharing - which is exemplified by the fact that Facebook has made this announcement on the Oculus blog, its VR arm. As users shift towards that next stage, Facebook knows that it'll need to provide more tools to facilitate advancing technology. 3D posts are far from VR, but they are another move in that direction.