BARCELONA, MOBILE WORLD CONGRESS 2012 — Snapily is an app that lets you snap 3-D photographs with your iPad or iPhone, and then view them with 3-D specs. You can even order 3-D lenticular postcards from the app and have them sent to your home. It would be amazing: if it worked.
To be fair, the demo that the Snapily folks showed me, after buttonholing me while in the middle of a Photoshop Touch demo, actually looked pretty good, and the sample postcards here on my desk are just fine. But trying to make my own 3-D scene with the $2 Universal app proved impossible.
It’s supposed to work like this: You hold the iPad/iPhone out at arms length, parallel to the floor. Hit record and slowly swing from side to side, as if shooting a panorama. When done, the app processes the whole lot into a 3-D scene. Supposedly.
The app guided me to take in almost 180˚ of the Mobile World Congress press room, when all I wanted was a picture of Cult of Mac deputy editor John Brownlee. Maybe it’s for context, or to help the algorithms or something, I thought. Then, the app crunches the numbers. Go get a coffee for this stage. waiting for an app to complete a task on your Mac is one thing: you can always check Twitter in the meantime. But at a minute plus, sitting waiting for your iPad is excruciating.
And when done, I got a barely 3-D, blurred and plain weird image of Mr. Brownlee (weirder even than he is in real life), with none of the surrounding room.
On the other hand, if you can generate a decent 3-D image, you can order one of those cool lenticular 3-D postcards for just $4. Given that I was once quoted a minimum price of around £10,000 for a batch of these, $4 is a steal. Just find a different way to make the 3-D photo.