Windows Live Photo & Video Blog

Official blog for the Windows Live Digital Memories Experience team

November, 2007

  • Windows Live Photo & Video Blog

    Resizing Photos in Windows Live Photo Gallery

    • 4 Comments

    One of the top pieces of feedback we received after the release of the Windows Photo Gallery was that there was no easy way to resize photos.  Well, you asked for it and now you’ve got it in the Windows Live Photo Gallery!  Resizing one or more photos is very simple and takes just a couple of steps.  First, select the photo or photos you want to resize.  Then, go to the File menu and select the “Resize…” option (you can also find the “Resize…” option in the right click context menu).  Once you’ve done this, a simple dialog shows up.

    Resize dialog

    In choosing a size, you can select a few presets from the drop-down menu or type in your own custom size.  We only ask for one number because we will set the longest side of the photo to that size.  For instance, if you have a landscape being resized down to 600, the horizontal dimension will be 600 pixels wide.  If you have a portrait being resized down to 600, the vertical dimension will be 600 pixels tall.  Basically, when you specify the maximum dimension, you are defining a bounding box.  In the example above, the bounding box is a 600x600 square, and all of your photos will be resized to fit within that square while maintaining their aspect ratio.  Photos will only be sized down, so if the specified dimension is larger than the longest side of the original photo, the photo will not be resized.

    Once you’ve picked the size, you can choose a destination folder to save the newly resized photos.  Then, it’s as simple as clicking “Resize and Save” to complete the operation.  All resizing is done using high quality bicubic interpolation and all files are saved as JPEGs.

    - Karthik Anbalagan (Program Manager)

  • Windows Live Photo & Video Blog

    Don't let your memories R.I.P.

    • 1 Comments

    With the holidays coming up I feel compelled to do my PSA spot on backing up your memories. If you’re like me, the most important files on your computer are your digital images and videos. The photos of my babies, that vacation I took with my dad last year, my wedding – all of these are many magnitudes more important to me than any email or spreadsheet on my PC.

    IMG_9190 (300x300)Given the importance of these file to each of us, you would think we would back them up daily. But most folks don’t. In fact many people just have them sitting on a den PC, on that hard drive that has an unknown expiration date – yes they all do expire. If you haven’t experienced a hard drive failure, then you are very lucky. It’s one of the darkest moments in computing.

    I’d like to try to make your holiday season a happy one so here are three ways Microsoft can help you preserve your precious content.

    First up, Windows Home Server. This product launched a few weeks back and it’s a great approach for multiple machines households. It’s a version of Server 2003 built for the house. It does lots of great stuff, including automated backup of up to 10 PC’s. I’d say this is a bit of a high end approach for most folks because you have to buy a dedicated machine to run it, but if you’re willing to do that, it works really well. You can even have your photos automatically uploaded to an online service like Flickr.

    If you’re not ready to shell out the $$ for a Home Server but you have multiple machines in your life another great solution is FolderShare. With FolderShare you can mirror a folder across multiple machines. I use this to keep all my photos and video synchronized across all the machines I interact with. FolderShare can take any folder and synchronize it across multiple machines. It’s a great way to make sure all your machines have copies of your memories. For instance, my wife often imports pictures of the kids while I am at work. With FolderShare the full fidelity images just show up on my work machine, in my gallery and in my screen saver. If I tag a photo from a machine, it’s now tagged on all machines. Best of all, if one machine’s hard drive goes down I won’t lose my photos because they are redundantly stored on my other machines.

    Another way to go is to use an online photo backup service like the new OneCare. This is a great approach if you only have one computer. OneCare will copy your photos to its server and keep them safe for you. In addition to the backup service OneCare gives you lots of other benefits like anti-virus and spyware protection.

    Whatever you do, do something. Unlike a spreadsheet, it’s hard to recreate a photo.

    - John Thornton (Program Manager)

  • Windows Live Photo & Video Blog

    Spaces Photo API (Alpha) available!

    • 1 Comments

    Angus Logan, Technical Product Manager on the Windows Live Platform team, announced the immediate availability of the Windows Live Spaces Photo API (alpha) yesterday.  As he puts it in his one liner: The Windows Live Spaces Photo API allows a user to delegate permissions for a third party web site to read or read/write on albums and photos stored within Windows Live Spaces via a server to server API.

    The alpha API comes complete with documentation and a brand new interactive SDK:

    Angus was nice enough to share out a Powerpoint presentation that covers the overview of the API and some code samples, too:

     

    What kind of coolness will you create with it? 

    - pixblog

  • Windows Live Photo & Video Blog

    The next generation of Windows Live

    • 10 Comments

    As you've probably heard, the next generation of Windows Live has arrived and its fresh out of the oven without a beta tag!  If you're the long reading type then take a look at the presspass Q&A available here which provides some great insight.  There is also a Windows Live fact sheet available here which provides lots of details about this week's release.  This afternoon our team along with the other Windows Live teams celebrated the release at our "ship party" (photo to the right). 

    You can now get the new Windows Live at windowslive.com -- free!

    Overall it's been an amazing year for our team and we're proud of the work we've accomplished.  First and foremost, we'd like to take this opportunity to thank the private beta testers.  Your help very early on proved to be invaluable to the quality of this release.  We'd also like to thank all of the early adopters of the public beta, readers of this blog that sent us emails and comments, and all of the other customers we heard from (Microsoft employees, too!) that helped us tremendously.  Everyone: THANK YOU!

    Here are only a few of the many great customer quotes we've seen recently that make all the sweat worth it:

    “It is both functional and beautiful to work with.
    Needless to say, Live Photo Gallery is icing on the cake - moist, delicious cake. And the cake is not a lie."
    - Long Zheng (www.startedsomething.com)

    “This is really a wonderful thing.  I am so glad that you guys finally filled this huge feature gap and enabled easy publishing.”
    - triplegreen (comment on our blog)

    “Great update, been using spaces for quite some time now and appreciate the work you all do on it, thanks.”
    - Mark (comment on Spaces Team blog)

    “Thank you for redesigning the photo module!”
    - Ivan Sammy (comment on Spaces Team blog)

    "Honestly, I have to admit that Microsoft really stepped up their game with the new Windows Live Photo Gallery by adding support for Flickr."
    - Ryan (www.cybernetnews.com)

    “Thank you for listening to users.”
    - someone (comment on our blog)

    "This (panorama feature) is the kind of technology you'd normally see reserved for higher end, paid for, photo editing programs but now it's available to everyone."
    - Steve Clayton (http://blogs.msdn.com/stevecla01)

    “Please keep up the great work - I'd love to be working on a product that's this good ;-)”
    - cjm55 (comment on our blog)

    "Thank you!  You just got yourself a Picasa convert."
    - kkuphal (comment on our blog)

    We'd like to leave you with a few new videos available online...

    • First, check out the really great "Share life as it happens" video on the brand new windowslive.com.  This video is a quick but well done overview of how simple Windows Live Photo Gallery + Windows Live Spaces makes it to share your memories with those you care about.
    • Second, the crew at Channel 10 recently came over to our building and interviewed a couple of our team members.  Watch the interview on Channel 10.

    Now, go download Windows Live and Share a smile and help us give to Operation Smile!

    - pixblog

  • Windows Live Photo & Video Blog

    Create your own twins

    • 2 Comments

    Jordan Schwartz, ex-microsoftie and original creator of this blog checked in with a fun technique to try out in the new Live Photo Gallery.

    I used the panoramic stitch feature of the gallery to make this picture, easier than monkeying with cloning in photoshop to get the same effect. The only trick is that you have to make sure the person you want to duplicate is sufficiently far from him/herself that you get overlap that doesn't include the person. I found you need about a 1/3 of a photo width, but the pano guys would know better...

    Thanks Jordan!

    - pixblog

  • Windows Live Photo & Video Blog

    Creating Panoramic Stitches with the Windows Live Photo Gallery

    • 4 Comments

    Creating panoramic stitches in the Windows Live Photo Gallery is quick and easy.  Using technology from Microsoft Research, we’ve been able to integrate panoramic stitching into the Live Photo Gallery in a way that’s fast and automatic.  Check out the following screencast for a walkthrough of how to stitch a number of photos together into one composite.


    Video: Live Photo Gallery Panoramic Stitching

    When taking photos to create a panorama, remember to have at least 30% overlap between shots to get the best results.  Look for unique features in whatever you are photographing that you can use as common elements between neighboring photos.  If you are stitching a large number of high resolution photos, the task may take a while since it’s quite computationally intense, but the results are worth the wait!

    - Karthik Anbalagan (Program Manager)

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