A New Way to Take 3D Photos on Your Phone is Coming

A New Way to Take 3D Photos on Your Phone is Coming

Over the years, 3D has come and sort of gone, then come back again. We've seen it in the movies and in photography. After digital imaging got popular, I had a 3D Fuji camera, which was fun, but you either had to make expensive lenticular prints or watch on a 3D TV. Not a fulfilling experience. 

Now, we'll soon get a look at an app for iOS and Android called LucidPix, which depends on computational photography and AI to create realistic 3D images from your current phone. Even better, it claims to do the same with images you have already taken.

Lucid, a very high-end imaging company, showed off the technology at CES recently and got good reactions.The app uses AI to mimic how the brain processes depth. Lucid says it can all be done without the need to move your phone, looping the video, or limiting you to a set of devices. No special glasses, headsets, or a 3D screen are needed. I've seen some test shots, and some do look impressive. To view the rendered images, you can display them on your mobile phone, and as you physically move your device, the perspective of the image changes. Images can also be shared on Facebook, which has an active 3D community. The app will also let you create animated GIFs and MP4 videos. These options allow you quick and easy sharing on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok, Messenger, iMessage, WhatsApp, WeChat, or LINE.

Here are a couple of simple samples as animated GIFs; you can see more examples on the Lucid Instagram.

In the recent past, Lucid has previewed this technology in some dedicated phones, like the Red Hydrogen Phone, and it's been tried in some pro cinema cameras. Bringing this tech down to our smartphones is a good business move, and I expect it will be successful if photographers like the results.

One catch is the price. Lucid will offer the app for free so you can try this tech on your own, but the photos will have a prominent watermark. If you want the watermark removed, it will cost $1 for each photo, or $6 a month, or $52 a year. I'm not sure how a subscription plan will go over, but if the results are really good, it will likely make a splash.

Usually, new technology starts at the high end and works its way down. This sophisticated tech will make its debut with lower-end smartphones and may evolve upwards to more sophisticated gear. Lucid licenses technology, so we'll follow this and see what happens.

The smartphone software will come out later this year, but there's a sign-up to get an early version, which I've done and you can do too at this link.

I'll be interested to see how well this all works. Some examples show some real depth. Others look like simple 2D planes with the nearer plane moving faster than the more distant one. It seems to be using smarter tech than a lot of the phone apps out there that require moving your phone to get any effect at all. It may be just a silly diversion or something better. We'll be able to judge for ourselves soon, and I'll be interested to see if this software has any application beyond smartphones.

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"A New Way to Take 3D Photos on Your Phone is Coming"

Because it's important to keep one-upping the Joneses on Fackbook and Instagram...

It's not even 3D though. It looks like a joke.