Sunday, February 1, 2009

HD View from Microsoft Research

I've recently developed a liking for panorama photography, and already created quite a few panoramas for my other blog on our house restoration project. But the real problem with these panoramic views is that while they were created in Photoshop using several high-res source images, viewing them on a website isn't that exciting, because I needed to significantly reduce the image and add a simple scroll bar to make it even fit within the confines of a blog.

So I started experimenting with the HD View technology from Microsoft Research this weekend. Their new Beta 3 adds exciting features for HDR (which I described in a previous blog post) and fisheye lens effects. And being an XML Aficionado I am, of course, very excited that HD View images are described using an XML manifest document.

To create an HD View image you have several tools available, including a Photoshop plug-in. I used this approach to create a new panorama from 20 individual source photos shot in 10.1 megapixel using a Sony DSC T-700. Click on the following image to open a new window with the HD View browser plug-in (you may need to install the plug-in first - and it is available for IE and FireFox):

Click to open HD View

This is a view of the Atlantic ocean from Beach Bluff Park at Preston Beach - right at the border between Marblehead and Swampscott. The house on the left is our restoration project. The seawall on the right collapsed in a Northeaster in April 2007 and the Clifton Improvement Association is presently raising funds to rebuild it this spring.

The above panorama only had 55 mega-pixel of data, since it was created from just 20 images. But the HD View technology is scalable up to giga-pixel images created from thousands of individual shots. Take a look at these examples created by Bernhard Vogl in Austria...

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