Making a 3D Photosynth and Microsoft ICE panorama

Image representing Photosynth as depicted in C...Image via CrunchBase

I’ve been meaning to play with Photosynth for a while… over a year actually;  Steve Clayton ran through the idea at TEDx Liverpool in 2009 but I stowed it away in the ‘things to investigate’ file and only got round to remembering it after it was mentioned again at the recent news:rewired conference.

But I have finally got round to it and, given the short amount of time it took to create one, I’m a bit peeved I didn’t try it before. (Colleagues David Higgerson and Jo Kelly have been experimenting and inspired me to have a go – you can find his reservoir synth here and Jo’s Post&Echo newsroom synth here.)

There are a couple of must-haves – an ability to run Windows on your machine and  Windows Live ID – before you can download the software but other than that you just need a collection of linked images; these were taken with my N86 at Formby beach. Photosynth software lets you select the images you want to upload, then stitches the whole thing together. There are options to add geotagging and more, plus embed and sharing abilities.

I also downloaded Microsoft ICE (Image Composite Editor) to have a go at making a stitched panorama on my desktop: 

The N86 has the ability to stitch together panoramic shots as you go – you simply set it to ‘panoramic’ and line up your shots in accordance to the screen guides – which is actually easier than doing it on the laptop. But I do think the ICE editing options are a good extra, and I’ll definitely use it in future. I can imagine several upcoming events in Liverpool, like the Mathew Street festival – which would work well as synths and panoramas, and the extra work it takes is so small as to be negligible. For busy photographers on-the-hoof, it’s a real gift.

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