Some rather brilliant imaging tech from Microsoft

The company’s Photosynth technology has been public since 2006, and while it’s been cool (placing photos into 3D space), I haven’t seen it gain traction in its original form or as a free panorama maker. That could now change.

The new version stitches photos into smooth fly-throughs. Per TechCrunch:

[U]sers upload a set of photos to Microsoft’s cloud service then the technology begins to looking for points (“features”) in the successive photos that appear to the be same object. It then determines where each photo was taken from, where in 3D space each of these objects were, and how the camera was oriented. Next, it generates the 3D shapes on a per-photo basis. And finally, the technology calculates a smooth path – like a Steadicam – through the locations for each photo, and then slices the images into multi-resolution pyramids for efficiency.

Check this out:

Once you’ve clicked it, try hitting “C” to reveal & interact with the 3D camera path. Here’s an example from photographer David Brashears, who captured Mt. Everest during one of the highest-elevation helicopter flights ever attempted:

So, will we see this become more common? It’s the first presentation I’ve seen that makes me want to don a wearable, lifelogging camera on vacation.

2 thoughts on “Some rather brilliant imaging tech from Microsoft

  1. Thanks for this post John. I took a look at the Microsoft info – it’s necessary to be an approved subscriber for the preview phase, before anything can be created. And, at present, there’s a waiting list for users. However, there’s stuff to figure-out and practice first – some helpful resources are at the three following links:
    There is currently a limit of 200 photos maximum per synth (so, somewhere between 20 and 40 seconds of continuous shooting with a new model camera in burst mode). However, it seems that a conventional pan and zoom sequence is not supported. Dang! Please note: that this is all being treated by Microsoft as separate from their earlier not-so-easy-to-shoot-for first- and second-generation processing schemes. (Could synth selfies now become the next new best thing? .. however, none of the notes and guides give any advice on what to do if you ultimately view your new synth full screen and suddenly feel vertiginous ..)

  2. Hey John, Thanks for the tip about pressing “c” on the keyboard. I had stumbled across this thing, but I didn’t know about that option.. I wonder how this kind of technology could integrate with Adobes products.. hmmm.. cheers! Paul

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