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Facebook is working on a way to fix your janky 360-degree photos

Facebook wants you to post more 360-degree photos. Earlier this week, the company announced it would allow people to capture the spherical shots and set them as their cover photo right from the app.

Problem is, 360-degree photos are a lot trickier to capture than a regular photo. Because it can difficult to keep the camera straight while you capture the image, the photos often look crooked, which, well, doesn't look great on Facebook.

SEE ALSO: You can now set up a 360 photo as your Facebook cover

That's why the social network's researchers are working on a way to use Facebook's AI tech to automatically fix 360-degree photos. It's still in a research phase for now, but, judging by some of their early results the method looks pretty promising.

The original, crooked, image.
The original, crooked, image.

Image: facebook

Corrected using Facebook's new methods.
Corrected using Facebook's new methods.

Image: facebook

You can read more about the specifics of how this works over on Facebook's blog, but essentially the researchers trained a neural network by showing it a load of straight images and ones that were tilted. In doing so, the system was able to learn how to make the right adjustments automatically.

The researchers note that fixing problems of perspective is relatively easy with conventional photo-editing tools, but doing so with 360-degree images is a much different task.

original
original

Image: facebook

Corrected
Corrected

Image: facebook

"One of the most basic features of a 360 photo that breaks realism is when it is captured while the camera is not level and the resulting image rotation is not corrected," Facebook's Matt Uyttendaele writes

"Fixing this kind of rotation with editing software is straightforward for traditional photos, but the same types of tools are not widely available for 360 photos, and correcting rotation on a sphere is much less intuitive."

That makes the early results all the more impressive. Again, this is still just an early project, and there's likely still work to be done before a tool like this is ready for Facebook's masses. 

But considering Facebook's interest in 360-degree photos and videos, it seems like Facebook's tech is likely to improve well before our collective ability to shoot straight photos does.

WATCH: How 'Game of Thrones' created the epic wight scene in the season finale

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