by Jeff Greene /
Microsoft Photosynth, a new service from Microsoft Live Labs, transcends and redefines the way photographers can view, experience and share photos. Photosynth transforms large collections of regular digital images into a single three-dimensional, 360-degree viewing experience. An image collection consisting of photos from a specific locale, or “Synth”, offers viewers a virtual experience with extra detail, clarity and scope impossible to achieve when viewing conventional photos or videos independently.
A New Medium
Synths are a new visual medium. Photosynth analyzes every photo in the collection for similarities based on form and contrast to estimate where a photo was taken and create a virtual environment. Photosynth’s potential applications can range from a simple slide show, to immersive storytelling and precise site documentation:
• Share experiences. Photosynth puts viewers in the center of the moment and in control of how they experience it.
• Tell a story. Synths capture the totality of important moments in time, such as the anticipation and joy of an entire wedding party and guests at the moment vows are exchanged, or the elation of a child scoring a winning soccer goal as the fans cheer.
• Form a community. Synths can merge a photographers personal collection with similar digital images from a collaborator or from online sources. In addition, that experience can be shared with others by embedding the synth in a blog post or on a social networking site.
• Educate or archive. The ability of Photosynth to provide intricate detail allows documentation impossible to achieve with conventional photos.
Getting started with Photosynth:
• Take few dozen digital photos — 20 to 300 photos are required. allow 25%-50% overlap between each shot. Shoot from a number of locations and angles. The new “Rule of Three” is that every element of the scene should appear in at least three different frames.
• Go to: http://www.photosynth.net, download the small, free Photosynth software application. This software works in concert with the Photosynth Web site, which is also a free service. (A Windows Live ID is required)
• Build the synth in two easy steps: First, from the Photosynth Web site, click on Create and select the images to be used in the collection. Create a title and click on Synth and Photosynth automatically creates and uploads the synth.
• The finished synth can be accessed from any Windows XP or Vista PC with a broadband internet connection.
• Once created, synths can also be embedded on Web sites, blogs and social networking sites such as MySpace, Windows Live Spaces or any web site where HTML can be edited.
For more information about Photosynth, please visit these sites: