Artists can now post interactive 3D models straight to Facebook

It's now possible to post a 3D model straight to your Facebook feed or a Page, opening up new potential for 3D artists, character artists, game developers and anyone who wants to experiment with 3D rendering, to showcase work in its full form on social media. With Facebook 3D posts, anyone can swivel a 3D object around to see it from all sides by moving a mouse or tapping the screen, all within your newsfeed.

Facebook announced in a blog post that it's rolling out support for the industry-standard file format for 3D posts ('the JPEG of 3D'), so artists can share higher quality 3D content on their own channels in a range of different ways, which we explain further below. See how it works in this video.

Facebook 3D posts aim to be instantly responsive to scroll and touch, creating a new sharing experience where people can pull across objects from augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), mobile and web sources.

Have a look at this Facebook 3D post get an idea of how it feels to move the object around.

Although Facebook’s ability to create 3D posts was officially announced in an Oculus VR blog post back in October last year, the social media platform is just announcing its adoption industry-standard glTF 2.0 file format, supported in both Google and Microsoft, and introducing new tools so developers can implement 3D sharing to Facebook from any app, website, or 3D software.

What does this mean for you?

Artists can now share 3D content directly to Facebook with support for textures, lighting and realistic rendering techniques, according to Facebook. So if you’re artwork is shiny, metallic, or soft, for example, it should all be visible within the post. You’ll also be able to choose a background colour.

This opens up a new way to share your 3D content, which could attract potential clients, collaborations, or simply more exposure. Here's another few examples.

Facebook 3D posts are the beginning of the tech giant’s aim to make it easier for people to share VR and AR experiences, with the hope of providing interactive animations and 3D content to the anyone with a smart phone – rather than the select few with a headset or the right software – using AR.

But until that happens, it’s a great chance for you to post 3D content and see how people respond.

How to create a 3D post in Facebook

To post a 3D object to Facebook, you can either use an app that supports Facebook’s new API, or by sharing a link from a website that supports 3D sharing to Facebook – or, probably the easier way right now, by directly uploading a 3D file from your desktop.

With Facebook’s new Graph API with 3D post support, developers can now build 3D sharing into any app, so you could create a 3D post with just one click. Using it’s Open Graph tag, developers can enable 3D content from their website to automatically appear in 3D when shared on Facebook, and artists using software can directly drag and drop their 3D files to Facebook.

Few key 3D modelling and animation applications offer direct gITF 2.0 export currently. A new update for The Foundry Modo has added the ability to create ‘Facebook-ready’ files, while there are free exporter plug-ins for 3ds Max and Blender. These, and converter apps for formats like FBX and Collada can be found here. And of course Facebook partners, such as Sony’s 3D Creator app (seen below). But Facebook says more 3D programs will offer gITF output soon, so watch this space.

If you have a 3D model that’s not a gITF 2.0, Facebook is open sourcing converters on GitHub so you can convert them to Facebook’s preferred file type.

For those of you creating 3D models in VR, Facebook says you can share a 3D model to Facebook directly from the Oculus Medium web gallery and soon from Google’s Poly.

Facebook’s 3D posts are currently a massive victory over other social media platforms, and it will be interesting to see if the feature comes to Instagram, which is owned by Facebook.

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