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Take 3D photos on your iPhone or Android phone with this app

© Patrick Holland/CNET

By Patrick Holland, CNET

Whether you have a new phone like the iPhone 11 or an older one like a Motorola Moto G6 or iPhone 6S, you can now take 3D photos with your camera. It's all thanks to a new app called LucidPix. Instead of requiring a special accessory or two rear phone cameras, the app uses artificial intelligence (AI) to render 3D photos that will move as you tilt and pan your phone.

LucidPix captures 3D photos with your phone's regular camera and can also convert your existing 2D photos into 3D. The finished images can be shared inside the app's community or on other platforms like Facebook which has built-in support for displaying 3D images. Adding this social aspect to the app enables users to share and view 3D images just like people do with 2D images on Instagram or Snapchat. In fact, there are several large groups on Facebook dedicated to 3D photos. And at this time LucidPix seems like the easiest way to create and customize your own 3D snaps. If you're looking for more customizations to your photos, LucidPix also lets you add a variety of 3D frames.

Lucid, the company behind the app, showed off its imaging magic at CES over Jan. 6 - 10. Instead of using specialized hardware like the $1,300 ill-fated Red Hydrogen phone of 2019, LucidPix takes 3D photos with software that mimics how the human brain processes depth. The software started out on the company's LucidCam VR180 camera and was used by Red in the Hydrogen phone and in the unreleased Red 8K 3D Lithium cinema camera.

Usually when the term "3D" is brought up, failed products like 3D televisions and 3D phones come to mind. Part of the problem for 3D is that it's often hyped as the beginning of a new product category, instead of being approached as a new tool for expression. Lucid smartly embraces 3D's role as a creative tool.

"The way consumers express themselves digitally and visually has evolved more and more to what we naturally see with our own eyes with depth," said Han Jin, Lucid's founder and CEO. "Thus, over the past few years, the visual medium has become more multidimensional, leading to more portrait photos, 3D content, and AR and VR being created."

LucidPix will be available on both iOS and Android later this year, though you can sign up now on the LucidPix website to get early access. The app will be free with a watermark embedded on your photo, but for $1 per photo it can be removed. The free version is aimed at casual users and lets people try the app out before paying for the "Pro" version. The Pro version includes unlimited use of the app for $6 per month or $52 a year.

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Tech Magazine: Take 3D photos on your iPhone or Android phone with this app
Take 3D photos on your iPhone or Android phone with this app
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