Create a 3-D Experience from Digital Photos

By on Dec 3, 2009

Microsoft’s site, Photosynth, creates an amazing new 3D experience from digital photos. With nothing more than a digital camera and some inspiration, you can use Photosynth to transform regular digital photos into a 3D, 360-degree experience.

Photosynth is a mixture of two independent breakthroughs: the ability to reconstruct the scene or object from 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 each photo was taken from. Photosynth was inspired by the breakthrough research on Photo Tourism from the University of Washington and Microsoft Research.

It’s easy to use. Using any digital camera, take a series of pictures of a scene or object (such as a client’s factory). Make sure you overlap each photo. Take as many pictures as you want, and take them from as many different angles as you can. Fifty to 100 pictures should be sufficient. Upload the photos to Photosynth and the service will “stitch” the pictures together, creating a panoramic view you can navigate using a browser.

Click on this link to see an example of a Synth I created. These pictures were taken from the top of Mt. Constitution on Orcas Island, Washington.

Photosynth provides an interesting new way to deliver visual information to a client or underwriter — and it’s currently free.

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