Photosynths are a 3D-like space from (tons) of your photos. They're free to create and here's how to do it.
The video above will walk you through the entire process, but let's go over the basics. First, what you need:
- A Windows Live Account
- Microsoft Photosynth (once you login via your Live account you'll be able to download it)
- Microsoft Silverlight 4
- A camera (preferably one with a fast shutter and processor)
Taking the Photos for the Photosynth
Most of the work involved in creating a Photosynth is taking the photos. You need to take tons of photos. This doesn't mean 40 or 50, but a minimum of 200. Technically you can create a synth from only three photos, but if you want to make a really great synth you're going to need a lot. If you confine yourself to a small space (let's call that a 100 square foot room) you'll get by less photos than you would if you were, say, at Disneyland. Of course you're not going to cover every inch of ground in a large space, but plan to take a ridiculous number of photos for every position.
Warning: You're going to look stupid doing this — but it's worth it!
Start by standing in one place. If you have a continuous shutter mode on your camera (you're in for some pain if you don't), make sure it's on. Then stand in your first position and hold it down while turning in a circle. If you don't have a lot of light in the room and the pictures are blurring, turn slower or just turn and stop to avoid any motion blur. After you've finished turning in a circle, tilt the camera up and go through the process again. Tilt the camera down and do this for a third time. After you've made three circles and taken several photos, you can move on to the next position.
Your next position shouldn't be too much farther from your current position. Moving about three feet is a good bet. Cover as much ground as you want, taking 360 degree photos in the three positions mentioned above. Once you're satisfied with what you've got, take your photos back to the computer.
Creating the Photosynth
This is the easy part, but it involves a bit of waiting. Using the photos you took, you can create a Photosynth pretty quickly with Microsoft's Photosynth software:
- Assuming you're logged in to your Photosynth/Windows Live account, click the "Upload" button up top and then the "Create Synth" button on the next page. If you haven't yet installed the Photosynth software, the button will read "Install Photosynth" instead. Clicking the "Create Synth" will launch the Photosynth application.
- Drag your photos into the Photosynth window, chose a thumbnail, and name your new Photosynth.
- Click "Synth" in the bottom right corner
- Wait. A lot.
Once the software has generated your Photosynth and uploaded, you're all set. You'll find the finish product in your account.