Challenge: Facial Reconstruction with Photosynth…



Hello Synthers.  I’m Darius and I recently joined the team here at Photosynth with a focus on growing and expanding the community features.  We’ll be working hard in the coming months to make it easier for everyone to discuss, share and collaborate with our synths.  If you have some specific questions, comments or suggestions for the community features of Photosynth feel free to shoot me an email with your thoughts. (


I made a trip back to Portland last weekend to visit friends and family, and while I was there I wanted to try a couple high-res synths.  My good friend Greg happens to own a pro photo shop and he let me borrow a Canon 5D… I also talked him into letting me try and synth his head.  I work with some pretty brilliant people at Photosynth that can probably compute the math involved to know if a human face would turn out well in a point cloud… but lucky for me I still get to enjoy the surprises around what is possible with the synther.


My Process:


Greg makes a great angry woodsman face, but we decided to go expressionless in our first attempt.  Holding the same expression for several minutes could get a little tiresome. (Although my next attempt at a head-synth is going to explore dramatic expressions… I hope my model is up for the challenge.) 


The dark Pacific NW light wasn’t ideal for shooting indoors, so we sat on his front porch and shot off several dozen photos.  Because of the limited space we had on the porch I wasn’t able to fully get all the way around him, but my goal was to try and capture as much of the details of his face as possible…


The Result:


-View the Synth Page




More than the lazy Sunday activity of lying on the grass and looking for faces in the rolling clouds above… this point cloud actually has a real face in it.  A pretty good one at that.  


Your Turn:


As a fun challenge, play around with synthing a human head.  Upload your synths and then post a comment here with a link to it.  I’ll be updating this post with your creations and the most interesting will be featured on the main page of later this month.


-View the Synth Page


-View the Synth Page



Happy Synthing,



Comments (8)

  1. Jamie Lottering says:

    When is this going to support Mac OSX?

  2. Travis says:

    Very cool, Darius.

    Reminds me of House of Cards by Radiohead =

    Also, I second the OSX question.  Can’t wait to see Photosynth on the Mac mothership 🙂

  3. Brian Reavis says:

    Kind of random, but, your post makes me want to take a trip to Happy Easter Island for just the purpose of synthing a scene with the huge stone heads. I’m guessing they’d be a bit easier to get to stand still than a person, like Greg 🙂

    Anyways, I love the post; keep it up!

  4. DariusMonsef says:

    @ Jamie & Travis

    Supporting OS X is being worked on very hard…  We know there are a lot of Mac users that are eager to check out Photosynth and we want this to be a universally used technology.  (P.S. You can run it in BootCamp and in VMWARE Fusion 2)

    @ Brian

    What would be cool about Easter Island is that you’d end up with multiple heads in one synth… You could try that with people, but getting them to all stand still for a long period of time wouldn’t be as easy as the stone heads.

  5. GameRate says:

    I have two synth on that theme – this is me:

    And there little more that just a face but it’s cool cloud too:

  6. random_factor says:

    Hey, just discovered this program – I’ve been looking for it for ages after I saw it (or something very similar) in a video of one of those ‘new technology’ seminars. One question I have: would it be possible for the program to use the point cloud to build some kind of model? Like a VRML or something? I know that would probably be rather complex, but still, it’d make this program immensely useful.

  7. Rob Levy says:

    I have a few suggestions: I’d like to suggest a way to tag objects as the same thing, to try and help photosynth along. I’d also like to be able to tell photosynth it has been bad and matched up non-matching things. Basically, these would tell photosynth to find more/less/different points on a particular picture. I’d also like to be able to add and rotate photos later.

    My first synth: an overambitious attempt at a set of gardens went surprisingly well with over 500 pictures 😀 took a while though and ate my laptop’s resources for a good few hours. When finally done it produced a good representation of the garden, unfortunately rotated by 90 degrees and occasionally rotating photos at random by 180 degrees to make them 90 degrees wrong in the other direction! Search for rml1997 to see my one and only synth.

    Please feel free to contact me with any comments at " rob at pwrs dot blevy dot co dot uk "

  8. Lisa Joul says:

    I saw photosynth on TED talks a while back and can’t believe its been made available so fast! Also would like it on mac asap. I work for an arts company in the uk called Strange Cargo, we’ve been collecting photographs of people in the streets of our town – taken in the streets for 3 years as part of an arts project – the photos we’ve collected are both contemporary (mobile phone) and historical – often taken in the same place. I would love to find a way of combining these images using photosynth but might need advice – any chance anyone could point me in the right direction? Its an amazing project – mapping a whole town through family photographs.