Photosynth is a new free service from Microsoft (oh, how generous, thank you!). It offers to transform your regular digital photos into a three-dimensional, 360-degree experience. With Photosynth, you can look up, look down, pan left, pan right, zoom in, or zoom out to reveal the full sense of where you were. Anybody who sees your â€œsynthâ€ is put right in your shoes, sharing in the same sense of exhilaration and wonder that you did at the time, with detail, clarity and scope impossible to achieve in conventional photos or videos, according to Microsoft.
How is this done? Photosynth analyzes each photo for similarities to the others, and uses that data to estimate where a photo was taken. It then re-creates the environment and uses that as a canvas on which to display the photos. The potential uses of Photosynth can range from sharing experiences to storytelling and documentation.
Howâ€™s that again? You take a few dozen photos â€“ 20 to 300 pictures will do â€“ with overlaps between shots, from a number of locations and angles.
Then you use the Photosynth software to build your synth. The finished synth can be accessed from any Windows XP- or Windows Vista-powered computer with a broadband connection. Thatâ€™s all there is to it, basically.
The Photosynth service has been launched and it can be accessed at their site. (I tried looking at the Taj Mahal with it and I say wow, just wow. Big wow or small wow? Big wow for Shah Jahan, small wow for Photosynth.)