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Panoramas, photosynths and fun – webDotWiz Online column Mar 12 2009

Panoramas

Ok, it’s time to tear yourself away from tagging your photos in Windows Live Photo Gallery and do a couple of quick photo shoots for fun purposes.

So grab your camera, walk out to the front gate and snap several shots – five or six will do -, each one overlapping the other by about fifty percent or so. Now walk across the road, looking back at your house. Snap some more shots, each one overlapping the other, again by about fifty percent. Instead of snapping your photos from left to right, this time take the photos from right to left. All you need to do is hold your camera at the same height as best you can for each photo (unless you’ve got a tripod).

While you’re outside, is there a tall tree, building or tower nearby? Snap some more overlapping photos. It doesn’t matter whether you start at the bottom or at the top.

Now you can return inside and straightaway load your photos onto your computer using Live Photo Gallery.  Choose the first group, tag them with the descriptive tag Panorama, go to Make on Photo Gallery’s main menu, choose Create panoramic photo, wait a little while, give a name to your panorama when asked, and click Save. Done. You can marvel at your creation for just a minute or two before creating the other panoramas from the shots you took. If things haven’t worked out as you expected, run outside again and re-take your shots, this time making sure you overlap your photos.

To tidy up your panoramas by removing the areas of black at the top and bottom (unless you’ve used a tripod), in Live Photo Gallery choose Fix from the top menu, and then Crop from the menu on the right-hand pane. Adjust the crop area until it’s what you want, click Return to gallery at the top left to save your cropped panorama and you’re done. Double-click the panorama to open it full-screen and use the mouse wheel to zoom in and out to see the detail you’ve captured and pan around with the left-button down.

Now choose your panoramas (put a tick on the top left of each panorama) in Live Photo Gallery, click Publish on the top menu, give your new album at name such as Marvellous Panoramas and upload them. Later on you can make sure your friends download them by going to your Live Photos page (photos.live.com) and sending them a link to your online album.

One last job is to use a free program called Deep Zoom Composer to process your panorama and upload it to the free website at Photozoom so others can zoom in and out and pan around your photo. We’ll talk about Deep Zoom another time.

Photosynth – may the Synth be with you

Photosynth takes a group of photos (which have been shot so there’s overlap between one photo and the next) and creates a three-dimensional view of an object or scene, small or large. Perhaps the best example is the synth  of the inauguration of the U.S. President on January 20 2009 which was created from thousands of photos people took and submitted. You’ll find plenty of other synths at photosynth.net that will give you ideas of what’s possible.

You can synth large or small objects and scenarios and you can easily do your first synth. There are a couple of examples in this week’s list of sites (for example the synth of the Murchison meteorite).

If you want to choose a largish object, walk around your car and take plenty of overlapping shots. Some photos could be at a distance while others can be a closeup of a feature of your car. You should end with about thirty photos.

Another project is to create a synth of the interior of a room. Take overlapping photos from the centre of the room and then from each corner of the room. To finish off, take close-up photos of each wall (as you would when doing a panorama). Depending on the room size, you’ll end up with about sixty or more photos.

Alternatively you could create a synth of a small object such as a ceramic sculpture or a flower vase. In this case you need at least twenty-four photos each taken at fifteen degrees around the object. The simple way to get shots every fifteen degrees is to use a lazy susan on which you’ve placed a mark at fifteen degrees around the edge. A tripod also helps and you can then take another twenty-four photos from a slightly raised height to add more detail to your finished creation.

Once you’ve shot your photos, import them into Live Photo Gallery, tag them (at least one tag should be Synth or Photosynth), select the group of photos you want to synth, choose Extras from Photo Gallery’s top menu then click Create a Photosynth to begin the process. For your first synth, you may need to install the photosynth add-on.

You’ll be asked to sign with your Windows Live ID. For your first project, Photosynth will create your free online storage space and you’ll need to make a nickname for yourself.

Photosynth then brings up a pane into which you need to enter your synth’s title (if you don’t, the Synth button at the bottom will remain greyed out). As well enter some tags and a description so others who are exploring the Photosynth site can find your finished creation.

You’ll have to wait a reasonably time for Photosynth to upload your files and at the same time put them together into a 3D view. A progress bar will keep you up to date as to how things are going. Keep an eye on how synthy your project is – you should achieve 100% synthing a small object on a lazy susan using a tripod for your camera.

Finally you can geo-tag your synth by clicking on the world map icon on your synth’s web page. Let’s get plenty of synths from the local area showing up on the map.

Some quicklinks to help you with your panoramas and photosynths – and to have fun with your photos

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Posted using the latest 2009 version of Windows Live Writer.

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