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Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Exploring Photosynth

Finally got a chance to look at Microsoft's Photosynth. Its an alpha piece of 3D stitching software that allows you to take multiple pictures and combine them into a navigable 3D space. I have played with other packages that allowed you to stitch multiple pictures together to create 2D landscapes. For example, one project had me taking many pictures of supermarket shelves and then creating one long panoramic picture of the shelf to analyze where out-of-stock conditions might exist.

Photosynth takes it a bit further, creating at least the illusion of three dimensions that you can then navigate within. There are lots of good examples in the Photosynth site. A good example are a number of synths done of houses along the canals in Venice. Its sort of an obvious example, similar to taking pictures of a shelf in a store.

Recent examples highlighted in their blog include using Photosyth to create wedding pictures. In its current form it seems more like a way to create art rather than precision images, since you are not controlling the stitching.

It only works directly with XP and Vista, though it says there are ways you can get it on a Mac. The synth can be shared and embedded. It is recommended that you overlap adjacent images by at least 50% and not take adjacent images at very different angles. Photosynth works best with still things, not with people. The synths you create appear to be searchable publicly on the Photosynth site and cannot be made private. The viewer is a bit odd, you can zoom into a picture, but you cannot then navigate in the zoomed mode.

Overall a good experience. Still experimenting. I had previously experimented with Autostitch from the U of BC, which also worked well for my purposes.


Nate Lawrence said...

Just a note to say that I'm not sure of what you mean by not being able to navigate once you've zoomed in. I know that I haven't had such problems.

Franz Dill said...

Thanks Nate, perhaps I misunderstood how to do that, will take another look.