Microsoft Photosynth

August 31, 2008

[Sorry if you’re reading this in an Apex RSS stream, as I occasionally talk about other tech stuff here]

Microsoft Labs opened up their Photosynth site to allow people to create their own super-panorama-on-steroids photo collage.  If you’re into digital photography, you should definitely check it out.

What it does

You feed it a whole bunch of photos about a location, from different perspectives, zooms, angles and their software stitches them together on their website.  You can view the synth using either Internet Explorer or Firefox.  (Hey, what do you know?  Browser independance from Microsoft!  Who woulda thunk it???  🙂

Viewing it is like a cool panorama where you can zoom in or out, up, down, side to side, depending on the images you fed it.  Not all the images will get stitched together, and that’s okay.  When you view it, just use the button that looks like 3 dots to move to the next group.  Oh, and make sure you click the full-screen button at the bottom-right of the window, for a truly panoramic effect!

How to make your own

You’ll need a Microsoft Passport account and also sign up with Photosynth.  Then you download a small application that lets you define the images for your synth and uploads them to their site.

They also give you suggestions on how to make your own Photosynth.  One tip I’d add to theirs is limit your images to a max of about 1024 pixels per side (but don’t crop).  Shoot at different zoom levels, up, down, in a sweeping motion and be sure to overlap your shots by about 50%.

My attempts

Here’s a Photosynth I created that came out pretty well.  It’s 69 images of Bryce Canyon National Park, in Utah, USA, mostly taken from Sunset Point.  Not all stitched together, but I’m pretty pleased with those that did.  I may try again from different perspectives.



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