Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Photosynth Export Plugin for Photoshop

Some days ago, Microsoft Research announced a new Photoshop plugin to easily publish panoramas to the Photosynth web page.

Photosynth was originally created to process independent snapshots of a location and project them in a reconstructed 3D space - so you can 'walk' through the scenery and view the photos from their respective location (the original name was fittingly called 'Photo Tourism'). The panorama feature - which was added back in March - closed the gap between a single image and a 3D scenery, but only through ICE, a tool for automated panorama creation.
With the new plugin, you can use every tool you like to create your panoramas (even gigapixels and partial panoramas), load them in Photoshop and directly export them to Photosynth.

How to install:

  • Download the plugin here
  • Extract the file and copy the file(s) into Photoshop's "import/export" directory, e.g. "C:\Program Files\Adobe\Adobe Photoshop CS5 (64 Bit)\Plug-ins\Import-Export" for the 64bit plugin.

How to use:

  • Load your panorama in Photoshop
  • Go to 'File'-'Export'-'Photosynth'
  • If you are lucky and your favorite panorama editor has the necessary EXIF data included, you will be directly forwarded to the uploader. If not, you'll be faced with a dialog box asking for the extents of the panorama:

  • In case you have to specify the extents: The values are pretty straightforward. The tricky thing may be a horizon that is not in the center of the image. In that case, you have to define the position of the horizon between 0 and 1:
  • In a final step, you are presented with the Photosynth uploader dialog where you can specify the usual metadata for your image. After upload, don't forget to open the panorama on the Photosynth website where you can add geodata and define highlights in your panorama (a cool feature to annotate your gigapixel):

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Stereo 3D Panorama Samples for Zalman Trimon and other row interleaved 3D monitors

Here are 2 working prototypes of true, full color 3D panoramas for display on row interleaved 3D monitors.
Although Flash is a performance disaster (can't wait till it supports true HW acceleration) the outcome is nice enough to share it with the lucky ones that have the hardware prerequesites. Be sure to make it fullscreen for a correct depth experience:

Many thanks to Erik Leeman who adapted his original Flash preloader to output the required screen format!

How it works:
Row interleaved 3D monitors create the stereo effect by overlaying each row with a special polarized foliage. This method is passive, so you don't need a dedicated operating mode or monitor driver. All you have to do is to display the right image on every even and the left image on every odd line.
This is exactly what Erik Leeman's preloader does: The left and right panoramas are preloaded and overlayed with a mask to ensure that each line will display the matching image.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

High Resolution Panorama: Donaukanal - New "Twin City Liner" Station

The "Donaukanal" in Vienna is a former arm of the river Danube and has been regulated since the 16th century. Originally intended to act as a centrally located harbor and trans-shipment center for the fast-growing town, it has never served that function...(You can still find remainders of a dock some meters away from the "Schottenring" metro station - opposite to Otto Wagner's "Schuetzenhaus")
Until the 80's-90's of the last decade, the area was not very attractive. This changed during the last years, where lots of endeavors have been made to transform the channel to a recreational area. This included a new ship station for the "Twin City Liner", a catamaran connecting Vienna and Bratislava on the waterway. The station has been finished recently, so you can see a high resolution panorama of the building and its surroundings:

Click image to view panorama

Monday, October 4, 2010

Dachstein Gigapixel

I noticed that i haven't uploaded a high resolution panorama for a long time - so here is one. The panorama is one gigapixel and shows the south side of the Dachstein - one of the largest and highest massivs in Austria.

Click image to view panorama
No HDView version at the moment - i will make a link from the front page of as soon as i can remember how to make the viewer available from the same image source...

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Sziget and Ars Electronica Stereo 3D Impressions

Here are some impressions from the Sziget Festival and the Ars Electronica Festival.
No claim of completeness - just an idea how the festivals and the surroundings looked like.

Sziget Festival
Click image
Ars Electronica Festival
Click image

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Öffentliche Probefahrt mit der U2 und ein bisschen Video Editing

Gestern wurde ein Teil der neu gebauten U2-Strecke mit einer öffentlichen Probefahrt vorgestellt. Die Strecke ist in Hochlage errichtet und quert die Donau über eine Hängebrücke.

Wie auch viele andere Wiener habe ich die Gelegenheit genutzt und mir ein Bild von der Strecke gemacht. Rein zufällig ist mir auf der Fahrt aufgefallen daß ich durch das in Fahrtrichtung rückwärtige Fenster freien Blick auf die Strecke habe. Die Gelegenheit habe ich für ein kleines Stereo 3D Video genutzt.

Nun war nur noch das Problem, daß eine Rückwärtsfahrt in 3D nicht gerade magenschonend ist. Also auf zum fröhlichen Video-Editieren! Dummerweise bin ich kein Video-Profi und mir stehen auch keine professionellen Editing-Programme zur Verfügung. Aber mit ein bisschen Suche im Internet kann man sich dennoch helfen:

Schritt 1: Teilen des Stereo-Videos in 2 Einzel-Videos mit Stereo Movie Maker

Schritt 2: Extrahieren des Audio-Tracks aus einem Teilvideo mit Virtual Dub

Schritt 3: Umkehren der beiden Video-Tracks mit Video Time Reversal

Schritt 4: Den linken und rechten Video-Track zu einem Side-Side-Video mit Stereo Movie Maker zusammenfügen. Als Codec habe ich hier Xvid genommen.

Schritt 5: Die unveränderte Audiodatei mit Avidemux zum erstellten Stereo-Movie hinzufügen.

Im Gesamten habe ich auf diese Weise das Video nur einmal decodieren (beim Teilen) und einmal codieren müssen. Die Qualität ist somit weit besser als bei meinen bisherigen bescheidenen Versuchen.

Das einzig störende beim Ergebnis ist ein leichtes Ruckeln beim Video. Ich nehme an, das kommt vom codieren Youtube. Da muß ich wohl nächstes Mal noch ein bisschen an den Parametern herumdrehen...

Hier ist jedenfalls das Ergebnis. 3D-Videos funktionieren im eingebetteten Modus nicht, deshalb als Link:

Bitte rechts unten den "3D"-Menüpunkt beachten. Dort kann man den bevorzugten Betrachtungsmodus einstellen (auch reines 2D).

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Index page of Stereo 3D Images

I have set up an entry page to some Stereo Images. Very plain layout, i hope you don't care:

More coming soon...

Here are also 2 links to videos taken with the Fuji W1. For some reason the quality is awful in Youtube. Hints would be greatly appreciated...

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Otto Wagner church "St. Leopold" and hospital area Steinhof of the most significant Art Deco "Gesamtkunstwerke" by Otto Wagner is the Vienna Steinhof hospital area with the church "St. Leopold". Its formal vocabulary continues to have effect until today and influences the artwork ort film makers, architecs, artists and game designers.

I thought it is a good opportunity to experiment with the Stereo Flash Viewer, so here are some shots of architectural details:

Of course there are also some panoramas:

Otto Wagner Kirche "St. Leopold" Steinhof in Vienna

Otto Wagner Kirche "St. Leopold" Steinhof in Vienna

Otto Wagner Kirche "St. Leopold" Steinhof in Vienna

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Ars Electronica Festival 2010 announced

The Ars Electronica Festival 2010 is announced to take place from 2.-7. Sept. 2010.
The main location of the 2010 Festival will be within the factory premises of the former "Tabakwerke Linz" - a world-renowned icon of modern industry-architecture.

Please visit the Ars Electronica Festival Homepage for more information and further announcements.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Microsoft ICE, gigapixel robots and Photosynth united

The new version 1.3.3 of Microsoft ICE has been released last month and there are a lot of interesting features. For panorama photographers most notable are the possibility to...
  • ...create a "structured" panorama: This is very helpful if you have captured a panorama with the help of a panorama robot. ICE will pre-align the images, so junctions that are hard to detect will already fit sufficently (e.g. sky images)
  • ...upload the panorama to Photosynth: The stitched panorama will be viewable without any size contraints on the Photosynth web page.
How the "structured panorama importer" works:
The new importer stays within the design philosophy of ICE. This means, most of the panorama creation steps are automatic.
The downside: if the detection fails for any reason, there is no way to set control points or adjust the position of single images. However, this isn't such a big problem as ICE's detection engine is working pretty well.

To give you a quick glance, here is the screen of the importer dialog: First, ICE will ask for the images belonging to the panorama. Then, the software will try to auto-guess the shooting order. If you are not content with the arrangment you can optimize the image arrangement yourself.

The importer seems to be optimized for Gigapans but any other robot will also work (i have used a Papywizard/Merlin combination).
After the import dialog, the rest of the panorama detection is done automagically and we will end up with a stitched image like this:
Please note that ICE flattened out all exposure inconsistencies.

This is the sample panorama published to photosynth:

For further reference and download, please visit the Microsoft Research page at
For a peek on further planned features, see
FAQs, Discussions and Known bugs and issues are available at

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Photoshynth 3D Fun!

The most interesting thing about Photosynth is the possibility to have your images mapped in 3d space. A "classic" panorama is shot from the NPP (no parallax point) so there is no depth information available.
This changes if you're capturing stereo panoramas. They contain the needed depth information, just like the human stereoscopic view with 2 eyes.

I uploaded 2 stereo panoramas from the flak tower in Vienna to Photosynth to see if it really works ... and it did:
The scene looks best in fullscreen using the DirectX viewer !

Here is a link to the default Silverlight viewer, along with the second panorama. The most impressive views are the overhead view and the point clound zoomed out:

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Panorama stitcher - the next generation

A new generation of the well known and (in many variations) ubiquitous Panorama Tools Stitcher is available, fittingly called "PTStitcherNG" - created by the author of the original software, Prof. Helmut Dersch.
The new application uses SIMD Maths and can delegate the calculations to a CUDA-capable GPU. My personal tests with a Nvidia GTX 260 (GT200b) revealed a speed increase of up to 24 times compared to the (also very fast) PTGui 8.3.6 stitcher!

The stitcher is still in an early beta state, so don't expect it to be feature-rich. However - integration in PTGui is already working.
PTStitcherNG is available for Windows, MacOS and Linux (x86). The most current version can be downloaded here.

Please note for version 0.4b and Windows Vista/7: At the moment there is a compile problem, so the stitcher will only run in Win95/98 compabitility mode.