Most photo enthusiasts are already familiar with the idea of a panorama. You stand in one spot while trying to keep the nodal point of the camera in one location, and you capture shots that get stitched together into a seamless, wide-angle experience. Indeed, Photosynth has supported these stitched panoramas since 2010.
The new Photosynth engine is not a stitcher however. So while you can upload frames suitable for stitching in the new Photosynth Technology Preview, you will get a photo-by-photo viewing experience, not a wide-angle stitch. Here’s an example below.
What is truly compelling about panoramas in the new technology is that you can use parallax if you’re in the right location and you shoot correctly. Check out this amazing forest panorama.
Note how it has real 3D—the foreground really does move in front of the background!
To take a panorama for the new Photosynth Preview, stand in one spot and rotate the camera around you, making sure to get lots of overlap between your photos. Shoot in landscape mode, and at a wide focal length.
How can you make sure that the panorama synth you are capturing takes advantage of parallax?
- First, you need to choose a location to photograph where there are foreground and background objects throughout the area, as was the case with the forest scene above.
- Next, you have to break the most important rule about shooting a stitched panorama: you need to introduce parallax between the shots. The easiest way to do this is to shoot with your camera at arm’s length as you swing around. That way there are at least a few inches of horizontal parallax between shots.
- Finally, you have to remember the three-view overlap rule. So, instead of overlapping successive photos by approximately 20% of a frame as you would do for stitched panoramas, you need to overlap them by ~70%. You’ll shoot way more photos, but the results will be very cool.
One final word about these two kinds of panoramas: At present, you can’t control which type of panorama the Photosynth cloud processor creates. If it detects parallax in all of the frames, it will attempt to create a parallax panorama. If it doesn’t, you’ll get a flat panorama. Here’s an example that ended up as a flat panorama even though there was parallax in almost all of the frames.
We intend to make this more controllable in the future.