Microsoft announces Photosynth software

Microsoft has announced its new Photosynth program, which the company says will help you go "far beyond how you now view, experience and share photos".

By using Photosynth and a bit of imagination, you can turn normal digital photos into 3D, 360-degree experiences. Anyone who looks at your "synth" is given the opportunity to look at the scene as if they were there.

This means they can look up and down, left and right and zoom in and out, depending on what they want to look at. National Geographic teamed up with Microsoft to test out the new program and created some outstanding synths of places such as Machu Picchu and the Parthenon, which you can see on the website.

So how does it all work? Well, Photosynth analyses each photo you upload for similarities to the others, and uses that data to estimate where a photo was taken. It then recreates the environment and uses that as a canvas on which to display the photos. Clever eh? You can even create a synth with loads of photos from different friend's cameras.

You'll need some forward planning in order to make a synth - around 20 to 300 photos are required depending on the place or object, with overlap on each shot.

The Photosynth software application is available free from the Photosynth website and is available for Windows Vista and XP OSs. A nice touch is once you've created a synth, you get an embed code so you can put it on your blog or social networking site for all to admire. Lovely.


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