Facebook’s looking to expand the News Feed into another dimension, with the addition of 3D posts, which enable users to scroll around virtual objects on screen.
Facebook actually added 3D posts, via Oculus, last October, but now, The Social Network’s providing a range of new support options for them, with a view to making them easier to both create and share – and to better connect the current and future versions of the News Feed
This latest update adds industry-standard glTF 2.0 file format support for 3D posts, which will enable the use of additional textures, lighting, and realistic rendering techniques.
“So from rough to shiny, metallic to soft, beautifully detailed 3D art can now come alive on Facebook. 3D posts also support unlit workflows for photogrammetry and stylized art.”
It’s an interesting, engaging post format, which, if Facebook can simplify the workflow enough, could provide a range of uses and benefits.
The most obvious use-case that springs to mind is the creation of 3D images of products for marketing – Sony Mobile actually provides an example of this (with the new update supporting 3D content created on their Xperia XZ1 phone via Sony's 3D Creator app)
Such capacity opens up a whole new range of opportunities for businesses looking to best showcase their products – it can never replace the ability to touch and feel an object, as you can in-store, but it may be the next best thing, adding an interactive, engaging touch to the transaction process.
But the additional advantage for Facebook is that by enabling users to upload 3D objects, they can then use those images to populate their virtual worlds, via Oculus and other devices. Facebook sees VR as the future of their platform, and have been working to provide new options on this front for some time. For that next level of The Social Network to become a reality, Facebook needs virtual objects and content to fill out their Spaces. This new process could provide them with exactly that.
The distant vision of a fully VR-enabled shopping experience seems a little closer, with Facebook essentially crowd-sourcing their content – provided they can simplify it enough for more companies to take part.
At this stage, you still need a fair amount of technical know-how to be able to create 3D objects in the first place, but definitely, Facebook’s simplified upload process seems to be coming along.
If they can continue to streamline the technical elements, and make them a more fun, interactive content option within their own right, Facebook could well be touching at the edge of the next digital marketing evolution.