Microsoft launches Photosynth, free 3D image rendering technology

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Microsoft’s long-promised 3D, 360-degree image rendering technology became reality yesterday with the official launch of its Photosynth technology.

Photosynth

A free service, Photosynth allows users to combine multiple still images of a single subject or location taken from different perspectives into a single visual medium known as a “synth.” Once the synth is assembled, viewers can manipulate perspective in three dimensions, looking up or down, left to right, or zooming in and out as desired.

Photosynth, which uses computer-side software that works in conjunction with a web-based service, develops synths automatically from collections of 20 to 300 overlapping images. A press release about the launch from Microsoft Live Labs yesterday outlined the entire procedure in greater detail:

  • To begin, just take a few dozen digital photos—20 to 300 photos are required, depending on the size of the place or object—with overlap between each shot, from a number of locations and angles.
  • Next, download a small, free software application to your computer from http://photosynth.com. This software works in concert with the Photosynth Web site, which is also a free service.
  • Build your synth in just two easy steps: First, from the Photosynth Web site, click on Create and select the pictures you want to use. Then, give your creation a name and click on Synth, and Photosynth automatically creates and uploads your synth. In about the same amount of time it would take to upload the pictures to a photo-sharing site, you can enjoy your pictures in dramatic and detailed 3-D.
  • The finished synth can be accessed from any Windows XP- or Windows Vista-powered computer with a broadband connection. If you want to comment on other people’s synths or create your own, you’ll also need a free Windows Live ID.
  • Once created, synths can also be embedded on Web sites, blogs and social networking sites or virtually any Web site where HTML can be edited.

To take a look at synths that others have developed (including compositions of some of the world’s most famous landmarks created in conjunction with National Geographic) or download the software and create your own, visit www.photosynth.com.

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