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Microsoft Releases Photosynth 247

Posted by kdawson
from the look-at-me-i'm-flying dept.
Spy Hunter writes "Photosynth has graduated from a 'tech preview' to a complete service. Now you can upload your own photos and have them automatically transformed into a 'synth': a 3D fly-through reconstruction of your home, your vacation, or anything else you can take pictures of. Learn more about Photosynth at the official blog, see what Walt Mossberg has to say about it, or just go try it out right now." According to Mossberg, Photosynth works on PCs using IE or Firefox, but not yet on Macs. We've been discussing Photosynth since its introduction.
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Microsoft Releases Photosynth

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  • By pc... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by PunkOfLinux (870955) <mewshi@mewshi.com> on Friday August 22, 2008 @11:45AM (#24706621) Homepage

    Does he mean it will also run on linux? I doubt it...

    Sounds ... cheesy...

  • Ego (Score:5, Interesting)

    by xaositects (786749) * <xaos@xaositects. c o m> on Friday August 22, 2008 @11:46AM (#24706637) Homepage
    "Unfortunately, we're not cool enough to run on your OS yet."

    Those zippy cool mac ads seemed to have hurt Microsoft's ego a little. maybe... maybe it's a ruse... a false modesty sort of thing...
    • Re:Ego (Score:4, Interesting)

      by sconeu (64226) on Friday August 22, 2008 @11:49AM (#24706689) Homepage Journal

      Those zippy cool mac ads seemed to have hurt Microsoft's ego a little. maybe

      A fact that has not gone unnoticed at Ubersoft [ubersoft.net].

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by lozarythmic (472226)

        "Trust us, as soon as we have a Mac version ready, it will be up and available on our site."

        They couldn't even be bothered to work out that i was running Linux....

        **sigh**

        Well, I s'pose Ubuntu will have a ways to go before it's as cool as Apple!

        • by Foofoobar (318279)
          Please... I use Windows for games, Apple for media and Linux for hacking. Good luck playing your games and viewing your media. What can be cooler than that. ;)
        • Re:Ego (Score:5, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 22, 2008 @12:12PM (#24707093)
          Maybe if Ubuntu grows it's hair out and combs it over it's eyes, gets some tight clothes, stupid sleeve tattoos, starts worshiping Coheed and Cambria and embraces all things Emo they will be at least on the same playing field as Apple.
        • by Ilgaz (86384)

          MS Hotmail still suggests us, OS X users to "upgrade to IE 6" to have full functionality my friend.

      • by Blakey Rat (99501)

        Wow, that's a bad comic.

        Copy and paste three out of four, strange inexplicable layout (ok, a lot of comic characters are too close when they have a conversation, but people don't talk to each other from 20 feet away! In a background-less void, no less!), bad art.

        Thanks for sharing.

      • by Goaway (82658)

        My god, my eyes are bleeding now.

        To think that there are comics out there which are worse than User Friendly is every way, when User Friendly was already pretty bottom-of-the-barrel in all departments!

    • by wytcld (179112)

      Unfortunately, we're not cool enough to run on your OS yet. We really wish we had a version of Photosynth that worked cross platform, but for now it only runs on Windows.

      Trust us, as soon as we have a Mac version ready, it will be up and available on our site.

      Christ, they can't even do the standard browser ID string parsing ans see I'm running Linux? Fscking idiots.

      • Re:Ego (Score:5, Informative)

        by Hal_Porter (817932) on Friday August 22, 2008 @12:18PM (#24707173)

        Unfortunately, we're not cool enough to run on your OS yet. We really wish we had a version of Photosynth that worked cross platform, but for now it only runs on Windows.

        Trust us, as soon as we have a Mac version ready, it will be up and available on our site.

        Christ, they can't even do the standard browser ID string parsing ans see I'm running Linux? Fscking idiots.

        You have been trolled by Microsoft. You have lost. Have a nice day.

      • Re:Ego (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Ilgaz (86384) on Friday August 22, 2008 @12:33PM (#24707409) Homepage

        For me, using Mac just since 2003 thought me something...

        "Trust us, as soon as we have a Mac version ready, it will be up and available on our site."

        That thing is a lie. They are the same company who abandoned working Silverlight for PPC just about a month ago. So, if you think they will ship Mac version soon and ignoring Linux, think again. They are at least openly telling you in a way that "don't even hope", they are plain lying to Mac users.

        A true multiplatform thing like that product they offer can be coded in Trolltech Qt or Java (both with OpenGL) . Can you picture MS using Trolltech Qt or offering a "Java Webstart" tool? Use OpenGL?

        • Re:Ego (Score:5, Insightful)

          by drsmithy (35869) <drsmithy.gmail@com> on Friday August 22, 2008 @12:36PM (#24707455)

          They are the same company who abandoned working Silverlight for PPC just about a month ago.

          So because they're not developing for obselete hardware that even _Apple_ probably won't release their next OS for, they'll never release a Mac version *at all* ?

          Your logic is broken.

          • Re:Ego (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Firehed (942385) on Friday August 22, 2008 @12:53PM (#24707715) Homepage

            That's a fair point, but half the purpose of having something that can load up in a browser window is for cross-platform compatibility since the server (in this case, IIS) is doing the heavy lifting. Considering that the number photographers using Macs is incredibly disproportionate to normal Mac/PC ratios (probably 50%+ among serious photographers, vs under 10% for normal users), they almost certainly doomed the project to failure before it started by not having a standard, cross-platform implementation.

            If you need platform-specific stuff, make it a standalone desktop app that talks to the site's webservices layer. At least with that, there's a reasonable enough explanation of why it's not (yet) cross-platform. I'd understand if it's not too useful in Curl, but any other browser should be able to handle it fine.

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              So, a binary plugin should never be able to use unique features of the underlying OS? Please...

              Anyway, Mac zealots would still be whining even if Microsoft had made Photosynth a standalone app, just as they did with World Wide Telescope.

              According to these Mac zealots, it's wrong for Microsoft to make *any* Windows-specific software (standalone or browser plugins), but it's just fine and dandy for Apple to make Mac-only software, and such Mac-only software (like iLife) is even used as ammo for "Mac Rules, W

          • by Ilgaz (86384)

            How many processors you have? I got 4 PPC G5s running on 4,5 GB of RAM. Thanks to Adobe, Flash 10 now uses all 4 of them in SMP fashion to cope with complex effects etc.

            Adobe must be behind the times to spare such development time to "obsolete" hardware.

            Apple WON'T release Snow Leopard for PowerPC because of a basic reason: There is no speed advantage of pure 64bit code/kernel on PPC64bit hardware because PPC was designed with 64bit in mind from the start. There are no "extra registers" and so on. Even funn

        • by e2d2 (115622)

          How is that a lie? They said when they have it ready. If that never comes it's still true. :P

          • by Ilgaz (86384)

            They are promising "Video support for MSN" messenger for 3 years or so now ;)

            Their "soon" could be Pluton time or something.

            A third party, open source application has video support for MSN (aMSN I think) and people joke to them about it, they aren't even effected.

        • by CatOne (655161)

          Your logic doesn't follow. Just because they stopped Silverlight for PPC Macs doesn't mean they won't have a Photosynth version for OS X.

          Of course, I'd bet it will be Intel-only.

          • by Ilgaz (86384)

            If it ships Intel only, it is a Windows application packaged in OS X app so it is still not a OS X program.

            Just like Silverlight. I am counting months to hear about first buffer overflow bug on that junk, fortunately Intel mac owners aren't impressed with their flash wannabe too so it is not so popular.

            • by CatOne (655161)

              I don't understand how Intel-only predicates that it's a Windows application packaged in an OS X appliation? How does that follow?

              The development environments of the two are nothing similar, and even though they compile down to the same instruction set I don't think that's what Silverlight is doing (*). There are fewer resources necessary to develop and support Intel-only applications than there are to support Universal binaries... especially for complicated CPU intensive tasks like video decoding. The f

              • by Ilgaz (86384)

                I am in Video business and the biggest issue would be the codecs as they are generally optimised ASM code.

                As VC1 and whatever codec they use can be played back on OS X/PPC and even encoded fine, they don't have any excuse rather than being either a evil company or pathetic.

                The most CPU intensive codec, H264 works fine even on Mac Mini 1.42 Ghz unless you try mad things like 1080p.

                Decoding Video , if you know how to use CPU enhancements such as Altivec (e.g. Apple h264decoder.altivec) is not a big deal espec

      • they can't even do the standard browser ID string parsing ans see I'm running Linux? Fscking idiots.

        And acknowledge to the general masses that Linux exists? They realize that nerds know about Linux. They realize that friends of nerds have heard of it (but probably don't want to try it themselves). The last thing they want to do is to show that it's a 3-way race between Win/Mac/Lin. They want it to be Win vs. Mac on the desktop, so they can focus on one opponent. At least to the general masses.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by e2d2 (115622)

          Better question is why bother? Why would they try and entice Linux users? Linux users are notoriously cheap (I guess I can't speak for all but _I_ am a cheap Linux user) so they can't ever make a dime from them and in turn they don't represent a market. It would be irresponsible to use resources to devote to such a user base with no potential return beyond publicity. But even if they did it would just be labeled a devious plan to subvert Linux.

          • by Ilgaz (86384)

            Asus EEE which has Linux pre-installed is more expensive than generic laptop running Windows.

            The return of official Silverlight for Linux (and 64bit) could be: "See, we are really out to race with Adobe, we aren't just trying to kill Flash because it has multiplatform support which bugs us".

            Of course, you would expect it from a sane company, not a failing monopoly which really doesn't know what to do with their money.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by seanadams.com (463190) *

      Or perhaps it's a salient point because of the disproportionate usage of Macs among photographers - i.e. the target audience for this tool.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by El Cabri (13930)

        Maybe there is proportionally more PROFESSIONAL photographers that use Macs for image processing, but Photosynth is clearly a crowdsourcing application and its target audience is everybody, since now everybody has a digital camera and everybody processes their amateur images on their home computer. So we're back at the general PC/Mac split in home computers.

  • I haven't tried it, only skimmed the review, but I'm guessing this is like those panoramic bubble photos -- that is, if you have a bunch of pictures that fit together, it'll let you turn your head around.

    What I kind of doubt is that it'll turn it into actual 3D, as in, polygons and such.

    If it could, well, it would greatly simplify modeling in some places. Find a cool, old building that looks like you want your game to look, snap a few photos, and hey, presto, instant level design!

    • Re:Not actually 3D? (Score:4, Informative)

      by somersault (912633) on Friday August 22, 2008 @11:56AM (#24706799) Homepage Journal

      It does make them 3D (I remember seeing the video of the first demo last year I think it was). But it's not quite precise enough to be used for level design, or at least it wasn't back then. Still very cool though :)

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Locutus (9039)

        I could only see the one Flash demo which runs on their homepage but no other views work without Windows. Having seen that, it looks like they took existing techniques for stitching together pictures and added a dynamic capability to that. Cool but not really a brand new concept. Photo stitching software has been around for 10 or more years.

        So they get 5 points for taking existing tech, making it look like a new web technology, and create another Windows-only technology in todays mix of browsers and computi

    • Re:Not actually 3D? (Score:5, Informative)

      by slim (1652) <<ten.puntrah> <ta> <nhoj>> on Friday August 22, 2008 @12:14PM (#24707131) Homepage

      Here's what it does:

      Just like a typical panorama stitcher, it identifies similar points, then runs an optimisation algorithm in order to line those points up.

      Whereas a panorama stitcher warps the images to match a particular projection, and optimises the points in 2D, PhotoSynth optimises the points in 3D.

      The viewer application then lets you view the collection of photographs, as if they were hanging in 3D space -- in the right part of space -- and fade in and out of view as you stand in the right place to see them.

      For quite a small number of photos, you get a BIG cloud of control points, and the application lets you view that cloud and hides the photos. Often the result is quite a good 3D model - it's clear that if you were to draw vertices between them you'd get a decent wireframe of the subject.

      However, the application does not attempt to turn your photos into a convincing fully rendered 3D model. Rather it provides a spacial model for navigating between photos. It's always explicit that you are looking at one photo, with some other photos, dimmer, around it.

      I think that's quite nice - that it doesn't pretend to be more than it is.

      The slideshow option is rather neat. It simply steps through all the photos, but the transition between them shows you how they are spacially related.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by iplayfast (166447)

        From the sounds of it, this might be the next MS killer app.

    • Re:Not actually 3D? (Score:5, Informative)

      by neokushan (932374) on Friday August 22, 2008 @12:17PM (#24707157)

      Actually it doesn't do this at all. Time to at least give Microsoft some credit here, it does a pretty decent job of figuring out the 3D layout of everything and allows you to move around as much as you like.
      It's obviously not EXACTLY right (Although I'd bet that with more pictures, it's more accurate) but it's close enough that you could make a pretty good "virtual tour" of just about anywhere with nothing more than a bog-standard digital camera.
      It's definitely impressive.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by halcyon1234 (834388)
        I just uploaded a picture of Escher's Relativity [ucsd.edu], and broke Microsoft.
    • The short version: it's pretty fucking cool [ted.com].

      The long version: The first time I saw the demo of Photosynth I was blown away. The second viewing wasn't as exciting which tells me that it's the concept of connecting 2D photos to a 3D model that's really amazing, a spatial way to navigate disconnected 2D data.

  • haha (Score:2, Funny)

    by extirpater (132500)

    i'm going to try it on my own shadow. result is a black ninja?

  • by windsurfer619 (958212) on Friday August 22, 2008 @11:56AM (#24706819)

    From the site: Only Windows XP (SP2 or SP3) and Windows Vista are supported at this time.

    No Linux support? In this day and age? Bah.

    • by ArsonSmith (13997)

      Unfortunately, we're not cool enough to run on your OS yet. We really wish we had a version of Photosynth that worked cross platform, but for now it only runs on Windows.

      Trust us, as soon as we have a Mac version ready, it will be up and available on our site.

      Almost feels like they care.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by ArsonSmith (13997)

        Wow I skimmed past the Mac part. I'm browsing to it with Ubuntu. They're not even cool enough to stroke me off right.

    • by warrior_s (881715)
      companies usually release products for the platform that is in use by majority of users.. Even google released picasa, google-earth, etc for windows only in the beginning..
      Given MS a break guys.. wait for some time before you start bashing them
      • by Ilgaz (86384)

        Google Earth, Picasa could be ported to OS X and Linux easily thanks to Trolltech Qt Framework and wisely using OpenGL.

        If a lib/framework they use doesn't exist on OS X or Linux? It won't ship. Who bashes them? We just laugh at them and naive people who believes in their claims.
         

    • by Ilgaz (86384)

      No worries, thanks to Mono and Moonlight and the excellent vendor named Novell, you will be enjoying this great technology in 2020! Make sure to check archive.org that time ;)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 22, 2008 @11:58AM (#24706845)

    Doesn't work on my PC. Not even in FireFox.

    Oh, wait, you misspelt 'Windows' as 'PC', an easy mistake to make.

    • by smitty97 (995791)
      I cant get it to do anything either, FF3 & IE7. I just get a black box with nav arrow controls
      • I cant get it to do anything either, FF3 & IE7. I just get a black box with nav arrow controls

        Yes, that's it. This is Microsoft with a first release. What did you expect??

    • by fsmunoz (267297)
      That is needed in order to continue to use the "Mac" vs. "PC" thing that they've got going, now that Macs *are* PCs. Since this sort of removes part of the glamour even slashdot editorials adopt a "PC == Wintel" vocabulary, even though a "PC" with Linux or BSD has exactly the same difference than a "PC" with OSX.

      I still remember when /. actually had people who used free unices.
  • by Tiger Smile (78220) <james&dornan,com> on Friday August 22, 2008 @11:58AM (#24706847) Homepage

    Just in case you hadn't guess it was Windows only. It's from Microsoft and they care about making money, which they do a great job at. Linux and bug fixes do not make allot of cash for them, so don't expect to much support for either and don't whine about it. Thanks, so much. :)

    • by the_humeister (922869) on Friday August 22, 2008 @12:06PM (#24706995)
      Truly. But this applies to practically any company. You could say the same about most of Apple's iprograms.
    • How do they make money from this anyway, well, I'm sure they will try somehow but I see nothing on the site that makes it sound like they're selling the service or plan to sell it. I do see this though:

      What you see on this site is the first of many versions of Photosynth. Call it beta, call it 1.0, call it whatever you want⦠just know we are hard at work adding support for more browsers, more platforms, and more hardware, and just making the experience that much more amazing.

      So maybe they'll actually try to make it more readily available.

    • by Ilgaz (86384)

      "Photosynth works on PCs using IE or Firefox, but not yet on Macs. "

      The "yet" part bugs me. They should stop lying and people should stop trying to pro actively shut up people about their amazing insist on being old Microsoft.

      So it doesn't run on Mac? I don't give a shit and look elsewhere for my apps. They probably can't code for OS X anyway. Yes, I think that way.

      • The "yet" part bugs me. They should stop lying and people should stop trying to pro actively shut up people about their amazing insist on being old Microsoft.

        The "yet" part implies that their actually working on a Mac version, but that they got the Windows version out first. Doesn't it make sense to support your own platform first before supporting others?

        So it doesn't run on Mac? I don't give a shit and look elsewhere for my apps. They probably can't code for OS X anyway. Yes, I think that way.

        Then I s

        • Damn, meant to put "they're" instead of "their"...
        • by Ilgaz (86384)

          Trust my word, they must be monkeying with Cider technology to pack it to a OS X .app and it will be Intel OS X only.

          Want to bet?

          MS Office for OS X of course exists, it sells damn well and they make great money out of it.

        • by Firehed (942385)

          The "yet" part implies that their actually working on a Mac version, but that they got the Windows version out first. Doesn't it make sense to support your own platform first before supporting others?

          Yes, they mean to imply as much; that doesn't make it the case though. And in this case, given the target demographic of a photography-oriented application, you would have to be (pardon my French) Fucking Retarded not to support the Mac platform.

          Then I suppose that Microsoft Office for Mac retail box at the

    • Yeah thanks for that protip there buddy.

      bug fixes do not make allot of cash for them, so don't expect to much support

      Exactly, which is similar to why they don't focus on IE unless there is competition. Lesson: don't support or use MS software and they will work hard to make it better. Do use it and depend on it and they will let it stagnate. Either way it doesn't help you to focus on MS. So exactly why would I be whining about what MS does in the first place?
    • by barzok (26681)

      Just in case you hadn't guess it was Windows only. It's from Microsoft and they care about making money, which they do a great job at.

      MS has an entire business unit named "MacBU" (and it's probably profitable). I'll give you 3 guesses what OS they write software for, and the first 2 don't count.

  • Req's (Score:4, Informative)

    by stretchpuppy (1304751) <`stretchpuppy' `at' `gmail.com'> on Friday August 22, 2008 @11:58AM (#24706855)

    While navigating a couple galleries... It feels like I'm drunk and forgot how to use a mouse.

    Remember kids, set Graphic Acceleration to Full!

    Minimum System Requirements

    Important: Photosynth makes heavy use of your graphics hardware. If you have an older graphics system, Photosynth may not run. Also, Photosynth requires that your graphics acceleration be set to full.

    Operating System: Only Windows XP (SP2 or SP3) and Windows Vista are supported at this time. Running Windows on a Mac? Photosynth runs under Boot Camp only. Parallels and other VM software cannot run the viewer.

    Web Browser: Internet Explorer 7, Firefox 2, and Firefox 3

    Memory: 256 MB of memory is a bare minimum; 1GB is recommended.

    Graphics: Minimum 32MB of graphics memory required, 64MB or more is recommended. Photosynth runs on some DirectX6 capable cards and all DirectX7 cards.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by smooth wombat (796938)

      Wait a second. I have 1G of memory in my 2K system with a 128MB Nvidia card and Fx2, but I can't run this because I don't have XP or Vista? This is a definite WTF?

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Shados (741919)

        I know its hard to beleive, but Microsoft -does- add APIs from versions to versions, and XP (and even more so Vista) have a lot of these. They're not going to spend months recoding a feature from scratch for 2k thats built in XP.

      • by hemp (36945)

        1999 just called and said it wants your 10 year old operating system back.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by mccalli (323026)
      Operating System: Only Windows XP (SP2 or SP3) and Windows Vista are supported at this time. Running Windows on a Mac? Photosynth runs under Boot Camp only. Parallels and other VM software cannot run the viewer.

      A posting, with video, on the VMware Fusion blog [vmware.com] begs to differ. You do need to be running VMware Fusion 2 latest beta though.

      Cheers,
      Ian
  • Porn (Score:4, Funny)

    by Red4man (1347635) on Friday August 22, 2008 @12:04PM (#24706953) Journal
    A bunch of nerds submitting their pictures of Tera Patrick in 5.. 4.. 3..

    Actually. I'm going to go and try that.
  • Where am I ?
    Is this some kind of looney bin, what's with the padded walls with tears all over them ?
  • I dunno about you guys, but I'm pretty stoked that this technology has come to see the light of day for people to input their own photos. It's like Google Street View, but with anywhere and any camera.

    My main concern is that MSFT has stated that they'd love to basically stitch every photo together into a virtual world nearly (not quite, but close). I don't normally have privacy concerns and issues, but this 'could' potentially get a little funny. Do I really want to photosynth my apartment or desk at work and then have that linked locationally to the rest of the world? I'm not so sure.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Sockatume (732728)
      I do remember Microsoft discussing the possibility of linking Photosynth up to the databases of community photo sites like Flickr. I imagine this would be necessary to really make the most of it. You probably can't take enough pictures of the Eiffel Tower yourself to provide a meaningful Photosynth construct, after all nobody's really taking detail shots of the entire structure. However I dare say there's enough casually- or accidentally-taken images of crossbeams and information signs and panoramas on Fli
  • I'm a hardcore mac user, but yet I realize that sometimes not all technologies that are barely out of beta (and have no monetization method) to run cross platform out of the gate. Just us VMWare Fusion and call it a day. Or bootcamp at worst..
  • by Is0m0rph (819726) on Friday August 22, 2008 @12:30PM (#24707361)
    Just messed around with it. Crashes Firefox regularly for me. Works for a bit and then crashes. I know I'm going to make some synths though pretty cool technology.
  • So, this seems to have a really high "neato!" factor, but not a lot of practical use. Except for maybe 3D modelers in Hollywood?

    Maybe this can be rolled into Photoshop or Hugin [sourceforge.net].

  • Here's what it does, so you can at least see what it does, rather than guessing:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p16frKJLVi0 [youtube.com]

    That said, I'm on a Mac, so according to them I'm too cool to run it.

  • Flash huh? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by twistah (194990)

    So, anyone find it interesting that this is written in Flash and not Silverlight?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by dave420 (699308)
      It isn't - that movie at the top is a demonstration, as you need the Photosynth plugin to actually use photosynth, and that most certainly isn't Flash. In fact, their labs page (the original location of photosynth) was in Silverlight.
  • Since all photos used to create a synth are public, does that also mean that Microsoft usurps a right to further use them however it sees fit? Use of the service also requires an account, which just happens to require a Windows Live ID.

    It's all an evil conspiracy to bring back MS Passport, steal your photos, and serve you ads.

  • Redirecting to a host in the ".aspx" domain. :)

  • ... You Suck at Photosynth.

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