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How to Take Animated 3D Pictures With Your Cell Phone - A Simple Step by Step Guide

Updated on May 30, 2018
Jonathan Sabin profile image

Jonathan has been a 3D enthusiast, hobbyist, videographer and photographer since 2009 and keeps abreast of all things related to stereo 3D.

Step 1

Download the free Google Camera app from the Google Play Store. Launch the app, and select the camera mode called "lens blur".

(Update: As of 2018, the Google Camera app has become incompatible will all but a few phones. However, versions from the previous year can still be downloaded from various sites that archive APK programs.)

Step 2

Since flash is disabled, make sure your subject has sufficient lighting and isn't moving much, or better yet stationary. Press the shutter button, and you will immediately be prompted to move the camera either up or sideways. Do not move your phone too fast, or you may have to start over. After a photo is successfully taken it will briefly post process, after which the bokeh, or lens blur effect can be edited.

Step 3

This tutorial isn't using it for lens blur, though. When you move the camera, what it's actually doing is calculating the depth of the scene and then showing that depth in the form of a grayscale, inverted depth map, with black being nearest and white being farthest. This depth map is used by Google Camera to selectively focus on portions of the image while blurring others, but it can also be used to convert the image to 3D, just as Hollywood films are converted to 3D using depth maps. To do this, third party software is needed. On your phone, you can use the website depthy.me in your browser. Press "Open Photo" to select the picture you just took. After it loads, if your phone has an accelerometer you will be able to tilt your device and see the picture move in 3D.

Step 4

Press the share icon at the bottom to see formatting options. You can share it in 3D either as a stereoscopic anaglyph (for use with red/blue 3D glasses) or as an animation. Animations, which can move vertically, horizontally or circularly and can have variable speed, can be saved in either GIF or video format. While video can be higher resolution, it can have issues displaying the aspect ratio correctly when sharing, resulting in distortion. GIF, while lower resolution, is more conducive to sharing on social media, as animations will play on loop when viewed, rather than just once for a couple of seconds. If the resulting animation has depth errors, try rendering at a different width of movement in the settings to make it less noticable. The highest is called "dramatic", while the lowest is called "calm".

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