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3DBin: Use your iPhone to make 3D animations of anything

Have you ever been so enthralled with an object -- a sleek new car, a beautiful piece of sculpture, a flower -- that you've walked around it taking photos so you can capture it from every angle? If so, you're a perfect candidate for 3DBin -- 360° Spin (Free, usually US$0.99). The app creates a 360° 3D animation of something -- or someone.

The premise is simple. You use your iPhone camera to take pictures of an object while rotating it, or if the object is stationary, you walk around it taking photos. Let 3DBin process the image, and it creates an animated image that you can spin around. Your images can be saved to an online gallery or shared through Twitter or Facebook.

While testing 3DBin for this review I used the "spin the object" method of taking the photos as it was easier for me to mount the iPhone on a small tripod and aim it at an object than keep the object a consistent distance away as I walked around it. Note that 3DBin also provides a way to do 360° selfies -- just use the front camera and take your images as you turn 360° in place, and you end up with a beautiful full panorama with yourself in the middle.

For my first animation I took 15 photos. I think if you wanted a much smoother animation, you'd shoot many more images. There was a slight amount of movement in my animation, possibly from bumping the tripod. I also accidentally triggered Wall•E's motion, so he moved his head and arms slightly before the final image. I signed into 3DBin through Facebook, and about two minutes later the images were uploaded.

To view the images, you simply swipe back and forth across them to rotate the object. This can be done both in the app or through sharing -- when sharing, the recipients get a still photo and a link to the 3DBin website where they can either click a play button to watch the animation unfold, or rotate the object with a click-and-drag or swipe.

Who could use this app? Anyone, but I could see it being put to productive use by people selling cars or sculpture. For fun, I think 360° selfies could be very popular. I would love to see the 3DBin app set up so that it could auto-generate GIF animations. For this post, I had to rely on an external website to convert a video of the output to GIF.

Be sure to get 3DBin while it's still free. The app is not universal and is optimized for iPhone 5, requiring iOS 7 or later.

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