May 25, 2011
Not long ago, I stumbled across a website called 3Fram.es, an interesting web site that lets you use your web cam or iPhone to make animated GIFs. As you can see by the gallery, people have been using it to come up will all sorts of crazy scenes. As I look at these images, I can’t help but want to get in on the fun, but how can I without an iPhone? The most suitable alternative I’ve been able to find on Android is an app called Camera 3D.
The idea behind Camera 3D is to take a series of pictures of a scene from slightly shifted angles and turn them into an animated GIF. It’s called vibrating stereoscopy, or “wiggle 3D,” and it looks a lot like what you can see on this page.
With enough practice, you can easily recreate some of the scenes on that page. After taking 2 shots, a “vibrating stereo” button pops up that will allow you to see what the final result will look like, including size options and the frame rate in milliseconds. If you like what you see, simply export the GIF to your SD card.
Another use for this app is to create an animated panorama by combining as many as 99 shots, depending on your device. By taking your last shot and overlaying the image on top of the live input, lining up multiple shots is a breeze.
Now, to me, the idea of making 3D images was pretty neat, but my original intent was to recreate that whole “3Fram.es” thing I mentioned earlier. So, does it work?
Yes, more or less. (For the curious, these are scenes from an event I attended in New York called Blip Festival, plus a few experimental shots I did with a Game Boy Advance.)
While Camera 3D makes the animated GIFs just fine, where it fails is by not giving you an easy way to share them. There’s no option for Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook or even email. It doesn’t even bother to include geo-tagging info. It simply stores the exported GIFs in a folder on your SD card, requiring you to attach them to email or other apps manually, or get them off the card via USB.
Lastly, there’s no “burst mode” that would allow you to snap multiple shots automatically with a timer. Although, that is going slightly beyond the scope of this app, it would have made it easier to stand still while slightly shifting angles for better 3D perspectives.
Camera 3D is currently in beta. It works well enough, considering I’m using it in ways it was never intended, and I’m having a lot of fun with it. However, the addition of social features and a few more options would easily take it from “good enough” to fantastic.
Camera 3D is free in the Android Market. Give it a try and see what cool things you can do with it!