Windows Live Photo Gallery offers a wide range of tools to manage, enhance, and share photos. There is one combination of apps that is particularly dazzling. That is the teaming up of Live Photo Gallery, Microsoft Image Composite Editor, Microsoft Photosynth and Bing Maps.
This parade performance is probably best explained with a demonstration. With a group of overlapping photos Live Gallery can build a panoramic view of the scene, and it does a good job of it. With Image Composite Editor and Photosynth installed on your computer more options are available.
In Live Gallery on the Create tab in the Tools group there is a More Tools … command. With Microsoft Photosynth and Microsoft Image Composite Editor installed, these show in the menu. (You can find download links on the Resources page.)
Select pictures to combine into a panorama and then click Create a Photosynth in Create – More Tools … . The Photosynth app is launched and will create the classic Photosynth of overlapping images. Click Create Image Composite … instead, and the Image Composite Editor, “ICE”, is launched. Here you have a much wider range of tools for setting up the panorama.
ICE has a Publish to Web … button which exports the assembled image to Photosynth. There are a couple of requirements for this to work: Select Rotating Motion only and do not crop the resulting image.
The two illustrations here link to a classic Photosynth (left) and a panorama first generated with ICE (right).
A ICE panorama in Photosynth looks more real as you pan around in it than just a plain, flat image that you get from the panorama tool in Live Photo Gallery. That is especially noticeable in this vertical pan (click on image to view):
There is even more! Below the “fold” on the Photosynth site – you need to scroll down to see it – there is more information and links to other images and for some images there is a little map with a “push pin” in it. When you click this pin Bing Maps comes up, it may take a bit of time for all the information to load.
The map will be covered with pins showing little camera symbols indicating available Photosynth images. In the center will be a small icon image representing the picture being viewed. When that image is clicked a larger one comes up with an interesting option. Actually two options, “dive in” and “(quick)”. It is the dive in option that is really nice. Click it and Bing Maps “flies in” from space, angles in as it gets close and orients the view just the way it is in the panorama. Finally it winds up showing the panorama image.
Now, of course, to get that to work, you have to load some information on your Photosynth site. But it works amazingly well. As you finish adding information you can select Location and show where the pan was taken and even specify the angle. Photosynth and Bing Maps take car of the rest. Very slick! You have to see it – the illustrations here give you the idea, and then you have to try it yourself.
Signing up for a Photosynth account is free and you get 20 GB of free online storage. That is good for a lot of ‘synths even though each takes up quite a bit of space. You’ll enjoy creating your site, and your friends will be amazed!
© 2011 Ludwig Keck