Late yesterday, the Microsoft Live Labs Photosynth team released an update to Photosynth as well as offering, for the first time, the ability to create your own "synths". Read all about it over at the Photosynth blog.

If you've never heard of Photosynth nor seen it you may be wondering what it is. Well, imagine you visit somewhere and take a bunch of photos of "it" from lots of different angles. Then you let the Photosynth synther synth them. What this does is it breaks all the photos down into little fragments. These fragments are used to figure out where the pictures were taken from in relation to the subject and one another. These bits are all then stitched together into a single, semi-3-dimensional panorama that retains this spatial knowledge. You can then navigate around this panorama exploring the subject from different angles and also still view individual, original photos from the set too! And the great thing is this is done by using the power of your PC to generate the synth bits combined with the Photosynth web server farm to deliver the right images to your friends, family and the world! The other cool thing is that only the data needed to render the parts of the image you are currently looking at with the resolution and zoom level you currently have are downloaded (using a technology known as 'Seadragon') so your download experience is optimised.

For everything you need to make your own synths and to explore some of the amazing synths already created by individuals and organisations like the BBC and National Geographic (who have done a great synth of Stonehenge in England) just visit the Photosynth.net web site. If you previously had a version of the Photosynth viewer installed it is recommended that you uninstall that first.

 

Tips for viewing synths:

  • The better the graphics performance of your system the better your experience.
  • Don't forget to use the scroll wheel on your mouse - it gives you a Silverlight-deep-zoom-like experience.
  • My synths embedded on this page should work automatically but if not, try going to the the Photosynth.net web site first and viewing some synths, then come back to this page. You can find my synths using the Photosynth web site search feature.

 

My first attempts

To test it out, I took a bunch of photos of my home village of Sonning during the last week. They haven't scored too high on the Synthiness scale but I am quite pleased with the results nonetheless.

To view and interact with each synth, click on the below thumbnail images to take you to the synth on the Photosynth site.

Sonning Bridge

image

Sonning Lock

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St Andrew's Church, Sonning

image

 

Tips for creating your own synths:

  • Read the "How to synth" guide
  • Make sure your photos overlap a reasonable amount (say 20% to 40%)
  • Take between 20 and 100 photos of the subject (or more if you are feeling snap happy)
  • Read the "Photography guide"
  • Remember that all synths are publc, so everyone will see them

Read more about it:

Hope you enjoy my synths for Sonning and happy synthing yourself!

Doug

PS If you like Photosynth, you might also like the demos of AutoCollage