Normally, we write a long spiel about the freeware pick of the week, because most developers don’t have much to say about their own program, or its written in sorta English by some guy in Gabeeziland, and English is his 4th language. But today, we’re happy to tell you, Microsoft doesn’t suffer from the laconic tendencies of most software developers – in fact, by the time you get done reading their screed you’re going to think we wrote it, but we didn’t.
So rather than give you our wordy description, we’re going to bring in Microsoft’s own Photosynth developers to tell you, in detail, what Photosynth is and what it does. Grab a cup of coffee and sit back and relax, folks. Microsoft’s people are going are challenging us for top prize in February’s yammering contest.
Photosynth creates an amazing new experience with nothing more than a bunch of photos. Creating a synth allows you to share the places and things you love using the cinematic quality of a movie, the control of a video game, and the mind-blowing detail of the real world.
Whether it’s a quiet creek in the woods of Pennsylvania, or the grandeur of the interior of St Paul’s cathedral, Photosynth puts you there like nothing else can. It can capture the sweeping scale of a mile of the Grand Canal in Venice, and focus in on the exquisite rot at the waterline of a beautifully decaying palazzo doorway.
And it’s not just for spaces and places. Photosynth is an amazing way to share the full juicy details of the stuff in your life….
How Does it Work?
In simple terms, Photosynth allows you to take a bunch of photos of the same scene or object and automagically stitch them all together into one big interactive 3D viewing experience that you can share with anyone on the web.
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 each photo was 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.
We deliver this immersive viewing experience to users on multiple operating systems by tapping into the power of Silverlight, Microsoft’s rich web application technology.
Photosynth is really two remarkable technical achievements in one product: a viewer for downloading and navigating these complex visual spaces and a “synther” for creating them in the first place. Together they make something that seems impossible quite possible: reconstructing the 3D world from flat photographs.
We grew out of a passionate little startup of two dozen people in Microsoft Live Labs. Although, we moved into the larger Virtual Earth group, we’re still a small team of scientists, engineers, and designers working hard to deliver on Photosynth’s amazing potential.
Photosynth was inspired by the breakthrough research on Photo Tourism from the University of Washington and Microsoft Research. This work pioneered the use of photogrammetry to power a cinematic and immersive experience.
Sign up, start synthing, share your passions, explore your ideas… Where we go from here will be shaped by your feedback & support.”
Wow! That was quite a thorough description, wasn’t it? Be sure you read the descriptions of the different kinds of accounts. The free account should be more than enough for most of you – just be sure you read and understand the differences in account types. OK? Now, if you’re ready for your creative juices to start flowing or if you just want to mess around and have some fun, sign up for a free Photosynth account right now.
For Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7 (32/64bit)
Online image editing with with twist
Not a download