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Deep zooming photo collections (Updated with screenshots)

Today’s digital cameras easily make it possible to snap good quality photos. We can enjoy them on our computer in all their glory but it’s more difficult when it comes to sharing these photos online so others can partake of our photography wizardry.

Even uploading your photos from Windows Live Photo Gallery to your Live Space in a resolution that enables your family and friends to download and print them can cause some grief at the other end especially for those not on a broadband connection. Those panoramic photos you’ve made in Live Photo Gallery are another story altogether.

To provide a means to show off your photos in all their glory is the purpose of a free software tool called Deep Zoom Composer. DZC enables you to layout your photos in the composer window, it processes them and uploadS them to the PhotoZoom site for others to view.

After you’ve added the photo or photos to the composition pane and it’s time to export, Deep Zoom Composer breaks your collection into small tiles (256 x 256 pixels). After everything is uploaded onto your album at PhotoZoom and you’ve passed around the website address, the collection downloads the tiles required to build the first scene in the visitor’s browser. As the visitor zooms in or pans around your photo album, more tiles are downloaded to build up the view. This technique by the way is how Live Maps build up its views on-screen rather than downloading one huge map image to your browser.

To get started with Deep Zoom Composer you’ll need to download the Microsoft Silverlight runtime (it’s a bit over 4Mb in size). Silverlight is cross-browser and cross-platform add-on that brings rich media experiences to your browser and desktop. For example, Silverlight is being used by NBCOlympics.com to provide about 2000 hours of online coverage of the Beijing Olympics (sadly not for Australia). The download site for Deep Zoom Composer is here.

Download Silverlight add-on for Windows

Once Deep Zoom Composer is started, create a new project and use Add Images in the right-hand pane to build a list of (possible) images you want to use in your composition. Alternatively, if you have a large panorama, you might prefer to use just one image.

Create a new project and give it a name

Deep Zoom Composer - add images

In composition mode, you can move your images around the compose canvas, re-size them, or remove them from the composition. In the latest version of Deep Zoom Composer you’re able to build a panorama while you’re in compose mode so that saves you having to go to Live Photo Gallery to create a new panorama.

Drag each image from your list onto the compose pane

Drag onto compose pane and move around - a grid pops up to help you align your images

Drag images to arrange them as you want

Once your happy with your composition, then go to Export to have DZC process your photos and upload to your own album on PhotoZoom.

Create a PhotoZoom account if you need to otherwise sign in

Create a new PhotoZoom account if you don’t have one otherwise sign in.

Name your album

Name your album

Select an album cover from the popup when you click this button

After you select a photo for your album cover, you’ll be able to Upload

Album cover photo shows up and the Upload button is now "live"

The Upload button becomes “live” after you’ve selected an album cover – now just wait a few minutes

When the upload finishes, you can view your new album

Your upload has finished so now you can view your work of art online at PhotoZoom

Look at a couple of sample sites that have been created using DZC to get your creative juices flowing. The Yosemite project and Visual Story Telling sample mentioned in this week’s list of sites will give you plenty of ideas.

Here are some samples to get your creative neurons running:

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Posted using the Tech Preview of Windows Live Writer.

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