Facebook has a new feature, called 3D photo, which adds a layer of depth to photos in your news feed.

The company described it as a "new way to share your memories and moments in time with a fun, lifelike dimension in both news feed and VR". It can capture the distance between the subject in the foreground and the background of a photo to "bring scenes to life with depth and movement".

Here's how it works, including how to create, share and view 3D photos. 

What is a Facebook 3D photo?

3D photo is new feature on Facebook designed to make photos appear more immersive in your news feed (and from your VR headset.)

First announced in May 2018, 3D photo essentially draws from the depth map in an image captured by a dual-camera phone, and then it adds some custom software enhancements. The end result should be a perspective-shifting, pseudo-3D image.

How to view Facebook 3D photos

Starting in October 2018, everyone will be able to view 3D photos via the Facebook mobile app, or from the Oculus Go VR headset’s web browser. You can also use Firefox on the Oculus Rift.

While viewing a 3D photo from a phone, scroll or tilt your device to slightly change the perspective. 

How to create and share Facebook 3D photos

Requirements

You’ll need an iPhone with dual cameras (iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone X, iPhone XS or XS Max). Other flagship phones also have dual cameras, including Android devices like the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 and LG V35 ThinQ. But Facebook said support is not yet available for those devices.

It will be “adding support for more devices in the future".

Create and share a 3D photo

Start by creating a new Facebook post via the Facebook mobile app, and then tap the icon with three dots to see your post options. From there, tap 3D photo to access your iPhone's Portraits folder, then pick a photo and preview it.

Finally, add a caption and hit share.

Tips and tricks

Here are a few things to consider when creating and sharing a 3D photo:

  • You'll get the best results if your main subject is three or four feet away.
  • Capture scenes with multiple layers of depth (like your family in a field of flowers).
  • Capture subjects with contrasting colours (avoid a blue truck in front of a blue wall).
  • Capture subjects that have some texture to them, solid edges, and aren’t too shiny.
  • Avoid transparent objects like clear plastic or glass, as the depth sensors can miss those.

When will Facebook 3D photos be available?

Everyone on Facebook can already see 3D photos in their news feeds and in VR. Soon, Facebook said everyone will also be given the option to create and share 3D photos. That functionality should be widely available by end of 2018.