August 22, 2008

Photosynth is Live

Microsoft’s Photosynth is live at http://photosynth.net

If you aren’t familiar with Photosynth, check it out. It has great potential. Here’s what Microsoft says about
Photosynth…

“Photosynth is a potent mixture of two independent breakthroughs: the ability to reconstruct the scene or object from a bunch of flat photographs, and the technology to bring that experience to virtually anyone over the Internet.

Using techniques from the field of computer vision, Photosynth examines images for similarities to each other and uses that information to estimate the shape of the subject and the vantage point the photos were taken from. With this information, we recreate the space and use it as a canvas to display and navigate through the photos.

Providing that experience requires viewing a LOT of data though—much more than you generally get at any one time by surfing someone’s photo album on the web. That’s where our Seadragon™ technology comes in: delivering just the pixels you need, exactly when you need them. It allows you to browse through dozens of 5, 10, or 100(!) megapixel photos effortlessly, without fiddling with a bunch of thumbnails and waiting around for everything to load. “

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This post sponsored by the Digital SLR Store

Join the conversation! 50 Comments

  1. It’s bringing us that much closer to “3D” or “holographic” imaging. I challenge everyone to go out to a favorite location and fill thier memory cards with images all shot from the same location; then share what you creat with Photosynth.

    Reply
  2. To bad it doesn’t work on a Mac :-(

    Reply
  3. To bad it doesn’t work on a Mac :-(

    Reply
  4. Microsoft did his best to make this one a Windows only experience. As we might expect.

    Reply
  5. Microsoft did his best to make this one a Windows only experience. As we might expect.

    Reply
  6. You can’t challenge everyone Jason because those of us with Macs aren’t able to use Photosynth.

    Reply
  7. You can’t challenge everyone Jason because those of us with Macs aren’t able to use Photosynth.

    Reply
  8. I think the underlying technology is simply amazing. I cannot wait to get home to play with this. That said, the UI seems a bit funny. I can’t tell if it’s funny because some of synths don’t have tons of pictures.

    So cool. And it even seems as though Microsoft is playing it hip and cool.

    Reply
  9. I think the underlying technology is simply amazing. I cannot wait to get home to play with this. That said, the UI seems a bit funny. I can’t tell if it’s funny because some of synths don’t have tons of pictures.

    So cool. And it even seems as though Microsoft is playing it hip and cool.

    Reply
  10. If I can’t use it on a Mac then it’s DEAD TO ME!

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  11. If I can’t use it on a Mac then it’s DEAD TO ME!

    Reply
  12. Sorry, my bad. I guess that’s how it happens in a world of competive businesses, just like I can’t use Aperature on my PCs. For those of you that use bootcamp to run windows, is photosynth compatible?

    Reply
  13. So far, I have no idea how it runs. I don’t use Windows. They say they’ll release a mac version, but who knows? knowing microsoft, 2 years… maybe. :(

    Reply
  14. So far, I have no idea how it runs. I don’t use Windows. They say they’ll release a mac version, but who knows? knowing microsoft, 2 years… maybe. :(

    Reply
  15. Looks like they’re working on making a mac version… I would guess it relies heavily on active X hooks and DirectX, knowing MS.
    But its not like MS is out to get Macs. They just develop for their own platforms first, which isn’t unexpected or bad… Apple does it too… Everyone does.
    They own a significant share in Apple… So I’m sure they’ll start on OSX compatibility.
    It *JUST* Launched, so relax people :)

    Reply
  16. Looks like they’re working on making a mac version… I would guess it relies heavily on active X hooks and DirectX, knowing MS.
    But its not like MS is out to get Macs. They just develop for their own platforms first, which isn’t unexpected or bad… Apple does it too… Everyone does.
    They own a significant share in Apple… So I’m sure they’ll start on OSX compatibility.
    It *JUST* Launched, so relax people :)

    Reply
  17. Wow Evan you seem a little defensive on behalf of Microsoft. Who’s not relaxed? All I see is people pointing out it’s Windows only.

    Reply
  18. Wow Evan you seem a little defensive on behalf of Microsoft. Who’s not relaxed? All I see is people pointing out it’s Windows only.

    Reply
  19. @Scott – I beleive Evan’s comment was directed towards comments like this:
    “Matt Says:
    22 August 2008 at 8:54 am.

    If I can’t use it on a Mac then it’s DEAD TO ME!”

    I don’t think he was getting defensive, just trying to alleviate the frustration of those were upset over the lack of Mac support yet.

    Reply
  20. In spite of what Microsoft says, Photosynth does work in VMware Fusion 2: http://blogs.vmware.com/teamfusion/2008/08/microsoft-photo.html

    Reply
  21. In spite of what Microsoft says, Photosynth does work in VMware Fusion 2: http://blogs.vmware.com/teamfusion/2008/08/microsoft-photo.html

    Reply
  22. I posted this on my macbook pro, and at home I run a Mac pro… I’m choked I can’t mass with it too… but, such is life :)

    Yes, I was responding to the people who seem to think MS is being unfair but they’re doing what every developer does, including Apple :)

    Reply
  23. I posted this on my macbook pro, and at home I run a Mac pro… I’m choked I can’t mass with it too… but, such is life :)

    Yes, I was responding to the people who seem to think MS is being unfair but they’re doing what every developer does, including Apple :)

    Reply
  24. I am still at a loss Evan – who said MS was being unfair? Please share that with me since I’ve moderated every comment here and do not see anyone saying MS was being unfair.

    Reply
  25. I am still at a loss Evan – who said MS was being unfair? Please share that with me since I’ve moderated every comment here and do not see anyone saying MS was being unfair.

    Reply
  26. @Scott

    Thats fair, it was more a vibe I was getting… like that it’d take 2 years for MS to get it working on macs, or that “Microsoft did his[sic] best to make this one a Windows only experience.” Maybe I was expecting it, so I read it that way.

    I’ve been more impressed with MS over the last few years. This is an example of some of the cooler stuff they’re doing. I hope someone sees the cool factor of this at MS…

    I apologize, I’ll make an effort to sound less defensive… after all, I don’t think MS needs *me* to defend them.. that’s Jerry Seinfeld’s job. ;)

    Man, I wish I could play with Photosynth tho :(

    Reply
  27. @Scott

    Thats fair, it was more a vibe I was getting… like that it’d take 2 years for MS to get it working on macs, or that “Microsoft did his[sic] best to make this one a Windows only experience.” Maybe I was expecting it, so I read it that way.

    I’ve been more impressed with MS over the last few years. This is an example of some of the cooler stuff they’re doing. I hope someone sees the cool factor of this at MS…

    I apologize, I’ll make an effort to sound less defensive… after all, I don’t think MS needs *me* to defend them.. that’s Jerry Seinfeld’s job. ;)

    Man, I wish I could play with Photosynth tho :(

    Reply
  28. Evan thanks for the clarification.

    Reply
  29. @Scott – Actually I am strictly a Mac user, but I was getting the same impression that Evan was responding to. The posts leading up to his response were very much “MS is unfair and stupid and if it isn’t on a Mac, then it must be no good.”

    I am no MicroSloth apologist by any means, and trash them as much as most Mac users. In this case though, I think Evan was right to point out the rational and possible future of this technology.

    Reply
  30. @Scott – Actually I am strictly a Mac user, but I was getting the same impression that Evan was responding to. The posts leading up to his response were very much “MS is unfair and stupid and if it isn’t on a Mac, then it must be no good.”

    I am no MicroSloth apologist by any means, and trash them as much as most Mac users. In this case though, I think Evan was right to point out the rational and possible future of this technology.

    Reply
  31. Well, I left my Mac desktop and fired up my wife’s little ol’ Windows XP laptop, just to check this out.

    It WAS interesting. But it looked to me like a series of pictures clipped together. I did NOT get smooth transition from image to image. Maybe the laptop is just not up to the task …

    But then the Wright brothers airplane did not fly very far, either.

    DICK
    ps You Mac-only folks are not missing anything. Maybe they will have the edges smoothed out by the time they release the Mac version.

    Reply
  32. Burt you must be a mind reader – I got no such impression. I think that there’s just more than likely a little fanboydom in play when I see these sorts of comments. Nobody said anything remotely like “MS is unfair and stupid and if it isn’t on a Mac, then it must be no good.”

    Sorry – I’ve passed this stuff through but I don’t see how it’s helpful or even accurate but whatever. I think we all get the point. Mac users can’t access it. Windows fans say be patient – it’s coming. Let’s move on to discussion about what it does if people are still interested.

    Reply
  33. Burt you must be a mind reader – I got no such impression. I think that there’s just more than likely a little fanboydom in play when I see these sorts of comments. Nobody said anything remotely like “MS is unfair and stupid and if it isn’t on a Mac, then it must be no good.”

    Sorry – I’ve passed this stuff through but I don’t see how it’s helpful or even accurate but whatever. I think we all get the point. Mac users can’t access it. Windows fans say be patient – it’s coming. Let’s move on to discussion about what it does if people are still interested.

    Reply
  34. Cool Beans Man!

    Wish I would have known about this when I was at Dodger Staduim last week. This look like a fun tool for real estate or architecture (me!)

    Off topic: Scott, I was 5 rows behind the photo pit. I noticed there was a net protecting the photographers from foul balls. How does shooting through the net affect image quality?

    Reply
  35. Cool Beans Man!

    Wish I would have known about this when I was at Dodger Staduim last week. This look like a fun tool for real estate or architecture (me!)

    Off topic: Scott, I was 5 rows behind the photo pit. I noticed there was a net protecting the photographers from foul balls. How does shooting through the net affect image quality?

    Reply
  36. Photosynth is amazing. I was looking at some of the samples like Taj Mahal and its almost like being there. I am sure its magnificent in person but I doubt I will ever experience it firsthand. This is closest I will ever get to exploring every angle. It would be a cool project for people to take photos of their hometown treasures. For me, I live in SA, TX so I could photograph the The Alamo and the The Riverwalk.

    Reply
  37. Photosynth is amazing. I was looking at some of the samples like Taj Mahal and its almost like being there. I am sure its magnificent in person but I doubt I will ever experience it firsthand. This is closest I will ever get to exploring every angle. It would be a cool project for people to take photos of their hometown treasures. For me, I live in SA, TX so I could photograph the The Alamo and the The Riverwalk.

    Reply
  38. @Drew S the net is so close that it’s outside the lens’ close-focus so it doesn’t register at all.

    Reply
  39. @Drew S the net is so close that it’s outside the lens’ close-focus so it doesn’t register at all.

    Reply
  40. It seems like Microsoft keeps trying more and more to break into the photography market, sadly it won’t work very well with a 1994 business model.
    Mike,
    http://www.tooleart.com

    Reply
  41. It seems like Microsoft keeps trying more and more to break into the photography market, sadly it won’t work very well with a 1994 business model.
    Mike,
    http://www.tooleart.com

    Reply
  42. DTM, I’m afraid. It’s looks like Quicktime VR on steroids, but I don’t have an
    Intel box of any stripe (still on PPC I’m afraid – doubt M$ will ever bring it
    down to my level of obsolescence):

    Reply
  43. DTM, I’m afraid. It’s looks like Quicktime VR on steroids, but I don’t have an
    Intel box of any stripe (still on PPC I’m afraid – doubt M$ will ever bring it
    down to my level of obsolescence):

    Reply
  44. Photosynth is pretty amazing, and-as MacZilla says-is a bit Quicktime VR like. However, the nice thing with this is that it can handle photos from a multitude of sources, you do not need a collection of photos from the same source to create a compelling ‘synth.’ The photos just have to have common points in them. It is very much like the panorama function in Windows Live Photo Gallery (something akin to iPhoto) or Photoshop. I have yet to ‘master’ it fully, but I also do not have sufficient photos of any one subject-yet. I attempted a ‘synth’ that captured some rides at an amusement park, but it could not find enough commonality to properly stitch them. What did do was create several smaller ‘synths’ and post the photos it could not do anything with. This thing has great potential and I hope Microsoft follows through.

    Scott-have you played with it yet? I know your Microsoft stance and am just curious.

    Reply
  45. Photosynth is pretty amazing, and-as MacZilla says-is a bit Quicktime VR like. However, the nice thing with this is that it can handle photos from a multitude of sources, you do not need a collection of photos from the same source to create a compelling ‘synth.’ The photos just have to have common points in them. It is very much like the panorama function in Windows Live Photo Gallery (something akin to iPhoto) or Photoshop. I have yet to ‘master’ it fully, but I also do not have sufficient photos of any one subject-yet. I attempted a ‘synth’ that captured some rides at an amusement park, but it could not find enough commonality to properly stitch them. What did do was create several smaller ‘synths’ and post the photos it could not do anything with. This thing has great potential and I hope Microsoft follows through.

    Scott-have you played with it yet? I know your Microsoft stance and am just curious.

    Reply
  46. Cool idea, crappy implementation.
    1. Try on Mac, unsupported
    2. Try on Windows XP, need to install Flash
    3. Installed flash, still fails to work

    Reply
  47. Cool idea, crappy implementation.
    1. Try on Mac, unsupported
    2. Try on Windows XP, need to install Flash
    3. Installed flash, still fails to work

    Reply
  48. @George I can’t try it since I don’t own any Windows machines. Like most professional photographers, I am a Mac guy. I don’t do Windows. If they make a Mac version I’ll be all over it.

    Reply
  49. @TranceMist…works fine on XP. Had to use FIREFOX on both the XP machine and my primary Vista Ultimate machine. XP machine still had IE 6 and my Vista Ultimate machine is running an old IE 8 beta. At least Photosynth is browser agnostic.

    @Scott…thanks for the reply, I pretty much figured that would be your answer.
    Have a great day.

    Reply
  50. @TranceMist…works fine on XP. Had to use FIREFOX on both the XP machine and my primary Vista Ultimate machine. XP machine still had IE 6 and my Vista Ultimate machine is running an old IE 8 beta. At least Photosynth is browser agnostic.

    @Scott…thanks for the reply, I pretty much figured that would be your answer.
    Have a great day.

    Reply

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