If a picture is worth a thousand words, we think some places are worth a thousand views.
Whether it’s the approach of Mount Everest, the Elgin Marbles or the exquisite detail of the forest floor, we’ve all been to places that cry out to be explored. That’s why today we are pleased to release a preview of the new Photosynth, the next phase of our ground breaking experience that analyzes digital photographs to generate three-dimensional views of real world spaces. Last week, with the release of Bing Maps Preview for Windows 8 we introduced a step forward towards our goal of creating a digital replica of the planet with an immersive 3D way to traverse and explore the world. Building on that vision, the new Photosynth gives everyone access to powerful tools to capture their own favorite spots around the globe.
Spin around Haystack Rock by adam_mitchell55 on Photosynth
With Photosynth, you can capture the places you love in amazing resolution and full 3D. Check out some eye-popping examples by browsing the new featured synths.If you’re interested in making your own, you can sign up now and we’ll enable your account for these new synths on a first-come first-served basis.
This technical preview highlights the third generation of our 3D technology. It’s a dramatic step forward in smoothness and simplicity, and is what we now recommend for anyone with a D-SLR or a point-and-shoot camera. Once a synth is created you can easily share on Facebook, Twitter or via embed with a few simple clicks.
Please note, the first two generations of Photosynth technology, original synths and stitched panoramas, are still available on the main site.
The new Photosynth technology supports four basic experiences: spin, panorama, walk, and wall.
Spin around an object as small as a cup and saucer or as large as glacial peak.
Wrapped Rocks by David on Photosynth
Put yourself in the center off a space and look in every direction.
Ceiling of Palau de la Musica Catalania by David on Photosynth
Follow a path through the woods, your house or fly toward any direction.
Edinburgh Castle walk by David on Photosynth
Slide across a scene, checking out every last detail.
Decaying Maple Leaves… by David on Photosynth
Never Before Seen Photosynth of Mt. Everest
We are also pleased to partner with world renowned mountaineer, photographer, and founder of Glacierworks.org, David Brashears who captured the approach to Mt. Everest during one of the highest elevation helicopter flights ever attempted.
David had this to say about the new release: “This is the experience I was dreaming about when I decided to capture the environment of Mt Everest from a helicopter flying at extremely high altitudes. It brings a completely new perspective to the mountain. I’ve never seen anything as smooth and glorious as the new Photosynth of my Everest flight. It’s like a video, but you can stop on any frame and zoom in.”
Into the Western Cwm by mickra on Photosynth
How Does it Work?
When you upload a set of photos to our cloud service, our technology starts by looking for points (called “features”) in successive photos that appear to be the same object.
If it finds many features that reoccur in your set of photos, it passes this information on to the second step: bundle adjustment. Bundle adjustment, a standard technique in photogrammetry, determines where in 3D space each feature is, exactly where each photo was taken from, and how the camera was oriented for each photo.
Third, the technology uses the feature points in each photo to generate 3D shapes. It does so on a per-photo basis rather than trying to generate a global 3D model for the scene. The 3D model generated by Photosynth is coarse – you can see it if you type “c” (for camera) in the viewer and then use your mouse wheel to zoom out.
Next, the technology calculates a smooth path (think of it as a steadicam) through the locations of the camera for each photo. With this path, Photosynth presents the experience of moving through a synth as a gliding motion even if the actual photos were shot at different heights or slightly off-angle. You can see this path if you type “m” (for map) in the viewer. Finally, Photosynth slices and dices the images into multi-resolution pyramids for efficient access.
We’re excited to share this preview with you, so head to www.photosynth.net/preview to check out the new experience and sign up to start creating your own photos
– The Photosynth Team