I couldn’t help but put together a nice “synth” of Oriel College’s First Quad in Photosynth. My main camera is down at the moment, so it was the trusty iPhone to the challenge. Since they’re mostly viewed onscreen, it turns out that the iPhone does make pretty decent fodder for the “synther.” However, I did want some nicer pics, so I hopped in Flickr and dug out some Creative Commons licensed photos.
Don’t be shy about photos for this task, I took well over 100 for what amounts to little more than a big box. In contrast, I took over 150 of our experimental apparatus, which is considerably more complex, and ‘synth only managed to stitch together a quarter or so. I’ll post a link to that synth when I’m happy with it; but it will probably require considerably more photos, more planning, or both.
Once the photos are on your hard-drive, it’s actually stupidly easy to turn them into a synth like the one you see before you. You just fire up Photosynth (a free, but Windows-only, downloadable program), select your photos, give your synth a name, and click go. You don’t have to do any work with lining up the photos or setting up the space you’re trying to create. Synth just munches on them for a while (a long while: 10 minutes or so at nearly full CPU utilization and 100’s of MB of memory on a Core 2 Duo system), and then uploads the results to their site to view.
It’s rare that a piece of web tech lets you put together something so impressive so quickly and easily. Just wow. My biggest complaint about the service so far is just the lack of support for operating systems other than WIndows.