Introducing PopPic: an app to create interactive 3D photos

Today, I’m excited to introduce PopPic, a new camera app that lets you capture and share 3D photos. Every picture taken with PopPic contains a 3D model of the scene that you can explore just by tilting your phone.

To see PopPic in action, check out the video below or try it yourself by installing PopPic from the App Store.

PopPic aims to make your photos more interactive without sacrificing the speed and simplicity of using a smartphone camera. We take our phones with us everywhere, and the quality of their cameras improves each year. It’s not surprising that smartphones have become the most popular way to take pictures by far. Meanwhile, augmented reality is starting to enable new experiences that extend beyond the screen and into the real world. Our goal with PopPic is to bring similar experiences to everyday photos.

How it works

PopPic uses the dual camera available on some phones to capture images from two viewpoints that are slightly offset from one another. It uses stereo vision techniques to reconstruct a 3D representation of the scene from these images.

When you view a photo, PopPic places you at a point in the scene based on the orientation of your phone. It renders the 3D model from that viewpoint, allowing you to see the scene from different perspectives as you rotate your phone.

Since our current pipeline requires a dual camera, PopPic only supports the iPhone X, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone 7 Plus for now. However, we’re exploring techniques that will work with a single camera and hope to bring PopPic to more devices in the future.

What’s next?

PopPic is a work in progress — there are many features we want to add and improvements we’d like to make. We want to add support for capturing video and a better sharing experience. We plan on improving the core technology to allow for a wider range of motion with fewer failure cases. And, of course, we’d like to bring the same experience to a broader range of phones, both iOS and Android.

What features would you like to see us work on? Try PopPic, and let us know at hi@poppic.camera or on Twitter.