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Viewing big pictures – Seadragon and Deep Zoom – webDotWiz Column August 13 2009

image Even the cheapest of today’s digital cameras boast they can snap megapixel images for high quality and detail. Add in the creation of panoramic photos – easily accomplished with Windows Live Photo Gallery – and we end up with photos that are more than 10 000 pixels wide. What does this mean when we want to view photos of this size?

A little bit of arithmetic is our starting point. If your computer has a flat screen – these days a 19 inch flat screen is common. In terms of pixels (short-hand for picture element) a 19 inch screen is usually measured as being 1440 pixels wide and 900 pixels high. A pixel is the smallest element containing information (usually colour in terms of a mixture of red, green and blue) and a whole bunch of pixels make up the photo you view on your computer screen. For our 19 inch screen, the total number of visible pixels is 1440 times 900 which gives 1 296 000 pixels. Let’s call it 1.3 megapixels (mega = million).

But hang on a minute, your bright new camera takes photos at, say, 5 megapixels, or even 10 megapixels or more if you spent a bit more money. You can easily see the width and height of any of your photos in Live Photo Gallery by clicking the Info button on the top menu and looking at the details in the information pane on the right-hand side of the screen. For example, webDotWiz just called up a photo in Live Photo Gallery and it’s 3264 pixels wide by 2448 pixels high – that gives a total number of 7 990 272 pixels (in other words, his camera is classified as an 8 megapixel unit).

Another way of looking at things is to say that webDotWiz would need three 19 inch screens (to give 4 320 pixels width) stacked three high (to give 2 700 pixels in height) to view his photo in its full glory. You can do a bit of quick arithmetic to work out how many 19 inch screens webDotWiz would need If he wanted to view, say, the panorama he made at Southbank (roughly 13 000 pixels by 3000 pixels).

Well, webDotWiz, nor you he suspects, is going out to buy a multitude of 19 inch screens to view his photos in the full glory. You can use Live Photo Gallery to zoom in and out of your photos to view all the detail you want (you’ll know you’ve zoomed too far when your photo begins to break into jagged pieces) and you can pan around the photo to see different sections. That’s all ok on your own computer but how do you share your works of art in all their detail over the web? Seadragon comes to the rescue.

 To use Seadragon you must have an image that’s already loaded onto the web. For example you can use photos you’ve uploaded to your online Live Photos gallery (remember, you’ve got 25 000 megabytes of free storage – that’s a lot of photos including your large panoramas). Or you could use a photo from a Live Photos gallery of a family or friend who’s on your Live network. To make the most of Seadragon it’s best to look for a photo that’s been stored in its original size on Live Photos (a photo’s information is over on the right-hand side of the screen).

image If you want to create an album that your family and friends can zoom and pan, try DeepZoomPix. Here you upload as many photos as you want to create an online album. Some webDotWizards have uploaded their panoramas to DeepZoomPix – take a look at Murchison’s main street.

Another means of showing off very large photo albums is Deep Zoom Composer but unless you’ve got your own web site (not Live Spaces) it’s best to invite everybody over to view them on your computer. There are a couple of examples in this week’s sites to give you some creative ideas of what’s possible with Deep Zoom Composer.

With it being so easy to create large photos – either directly from your camera or making panoramas – it’s good to know that there are tools available to share them in all their glory.


All the sites for this week’s column are at www.webdotwiz.com/sites-130809.htm


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Posted using the 2009 version of Windows Live Writer.

webDotWiz Online at www.webdotwiz.com

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One response to “Viewing big pictures – Seadragon and Deep Zoom – webDotWiz Column August 13 2009

  1. Kevin December 21, 2009 at 6:19 pm

    Great primer! Thanks for spreading the word-Kevin

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