Microsoft Labs Introduces Photosynth
Imagine yourself beneath the Eiffel Tower or in the heart of Times Square. Now imagine being able to see that exact scene in an amazing new way. With Photosynth, you can look up or down, pan from left to right, zoom in, or pull back to reveal the full sense of where you were. Photosynth provides incredibly realistic close-up detail of a place as seen in the collaboration with National Geographic. Exclusive synths of some of the world’s most renowned locations, such as Machu Picchu and the Parthenon, were created using photographs taken by National Geographic.
From the Photosynth takes a collection of regular photographs and reconstructs the scene or object in a 3-D environment. Photosynth is a potent mixture of two independent breakthroughs: the ability to reconstruct the scene or object from a bunch of flat photographs, and the technology to bring that experience to virtually anyone over the Internet.
Using techniques from the field of computer vision, Photosynth examines images for similarities to each other and uses that information to estimate the shape of the subject and the vantage point the photos were taken from. With this information, we recreate the space and use it as a canvas to display and navigate through the photos.
Providing that experience requires viewing a LOT of data though—much more than you generally get at any one time by surfing someone’s photo album on the web. That’s where our Seadragon™ technology comes in: delivering just the pixels you need, exactly when you need them. It allows you to browse through dozens of 5, 10, or 100(!) megapixel photos effortlessly, without fiddling with a bunch of thumbnails and waiting around for everything to load.
Photosynth is a radically new way to use your photography. To help you get the best results we’ve prepared the The Photosynth Photography Guide (1Mbyte pdf)
Getting started with Photosynth is easy:
- To begin, just take a few dozen digital photos — 20 to 300 photos are required, depending on the size of the place or object — with overlap between each shot, from a number of locations and angles.
- Next, download a small, free software application to your computer from http://photosynth.com. This software works in concert with the Photosynth Web site, which is also a free service.
- Build your synth in just two easy steps: First, from the Photosynth Web site, click on Create and select the pictures you want to use. Then, give your creation a name and click on Synth, and Photosynth automatically creates and uploads your synth. In about the same amount of time it would take to upload the pictures to a photo-sharing site, you can enjoy your pictures in dramatic and detailed 3-D.
- The finished synth can be accessed from any Windows XP- or Windows Vista-powered computer with a broadband connection. If you want to comment on other people’s synths or create your own, you’ll also need a free Windows Live ID.
- Once created, synths can also be embedded on Web sites, blogs and social networking sites or virtually anywhere HTML can be edited.
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