Just as I posted that Photosynth was going public, the site went live. After playing around with it for about an hour, I’ve found it both intriguing and a bit puzzling. Of course, I just dove in and did not read Microsoft’s tips on creating the ‘synths. I created three: two based on photos taken at Kings Dominion (a Virginia theme park) and one of a skyline in Cherry Grove, South Carolina (just north of Myrtle Beach.)
I am currently using the Internet Explorer 8 beta in IE 7 mode. Interestingly enough, Photosynth does not work with this browser. I had to use Firefox 3. The site says it will have a Mac OS version soon.
After downloading and installing a small 8 mb file, I was up and running. It is super easy to create a synth and upload it. You have to create a profile on the site and it uses Microsoft’s Live ID, but it is free and you get 20mb of storage.
The results of my synths were a mixed bag. The photos in your collection must all be related, that is, they have to have enough in common so they can be stitched together. My first collection, of the Dominator rollercoaster, was composed of photos taken at many angles and locations around the ride. Photosynth created several 3d renderings, but most of the photos were displayed singly. The applet will tell you how ‘synthy’ your collection is, the higher the number, the cooler the results. It seems that you have to take photos with this application in mind for the best results.
This technology has a lot of promise. I’d love to see a desktop only version that allows you to create and view your synths as well as being able to upload them to share.
Last week at the SIGGRAPH conference, Microsoft discussed a successor to Photosynth that handles night and day photos and more.
You can check out my synths by going to http://photosynth.net and searching for geogray.