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Topic: Blurred pictures in synth

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aridolan (Over 1 year ago)
I created a synth of an outdoor sculpture by Tazdok Ben-David. The synth is named Troubles in the Square 3, located at:
http://photosynth.net/view.aspx?cid=0fff48eb-6baf-447f-b4ab-e172a2dacad7

Many of the photos are extremely blurred and remain so indefinitely. The original photos are sharp. It seems that in many cases the low resolution images are never replaced by the high resolution ones. I wonder whether the subject matter, that contains highly three dimensional variations and low two dimensional features is not suitable for the synther. I also wonder if there is a way to pinpoint and remove the blurred images, or to know not to include them in the first place.
Nathanael (Over 1 year ago)
Hi, aridolan,

This is simply a failure of the higher resolutions of each image to load, whether that is because the server that they are on is having problems serving them up at the moment, because the synther had a bug and failed to upload those resolutions, or because the synther had a bug where not all of the resolutions for the images you mention here were ever generated.

I've run through your synth a couple of times now on different nights, though, so I don't believe its any temporary issue with the server that the images are hosted on. More probably something went wrong in the synther when creating|uploading the Seadragon formatted images this one time.

If you try a simple resynth, the synther will not bother re-uploading any of the files again, because it will ask the Photosynth servers whether the image already exists and will get the reply that it does, so your new synth would use the same low resolution versions that are already uploaded.
Nathanael (Over 1 year ago)
To circumvent this from happening, simply add as little as a single tag to each photo's metadata before putting the collection back in the synther and retrying. 

This way, when the synther creates the hash for each photo, it will differ from the nontagged version used in your previous synth, the server will report that it does not have those images on the server and the freshly (hopefully correctly) converted photos should be fully uploaded this time around.

As you have hopefully experienced with your other synths, this (failure of the full resolution to get on the server) is not a common error.

For more reading on earlier instances of this problem, please see: 
http://getsatisfaction.com/livelabs/topics/pictures_are_grainy
http://getsatisfaction.com/livelabs/topics/does_the_size_of_the_photo_megapixles_matter
Nathanael (Over 1 year ago)
Further diagnostic information specific to this synth available here:
http://cid-0ef7a30c1e7b926c.skydrive.live.com/self.aspx/Photosynth/Troubles.in.the.Square.3.txt
aridolan (Over 1 year ago)
Thank you Nathanael for your instructive answer. I always learn a lot from your messages in this forum, and more so when they concern my synths.

I added an Author tag to all my pictures, and being too lazy to filter only those that were not uploaded properly, I started a new synth with all the pictures I have from this site. However, the synther seemed to almost finish publishing (the progress bar is at about 90%) but it is stuck there. The last two lines in the log file say "Collection completed (99% synthy), but isn't available for viewing yet" and "SUCCESS", but the process has not completed for a long time. It happened to me before. Is there anything I can do, or should I re-start?

I was surprised by the link you gave me, where I could see which pictures were in error. Did you do this analysis especially for me? I appreciate it very much. Can I do this by myself?
aridolan (Over 1 year ago)
In any case, I expect the newly created synth will have the same problems, since it happened also in my Troubles in the Square 1 (my first version) which I deleted because there were so many blurred images. I suspect that the problem lies with the subject matter (too complex 3D structure, with too poor 2D features), that is not suitable for the synther.
TonyErnst (Over 1 year ago)
aridolan - we had a hiccup on one of our servers yesterday that may be the reason your synth is "stuck".  I would cancel and retry creating the synth.  Please let me know if this doesnt work.  Thanks, Tony
aridolan (Over 1 year ago)
I have just uploaded another version, with more pictures (version 5). The new synth shows the same problem: some of the pictures are blurred, although all the source images are sharp.

I do not think the issue is related to the server problem of yesterday. There were blurred images in the first version of this synth, uploaded about a week ago (I have deleted this version).
Nathanael (Over 1 year ago)
aridolan, I just made the list to keep track of exactly what percentage of the photos were having the problem and to be able to test specific images a few hours later to make sure that they really didn't have their higher res tiles and that the first time wasn't a problem with my connection. Once constructed, though, I thought you might find it useful.

I shortened the URLs to only specify which image in the synth was having the problem, rather than leaving all the Photosynth viewer's camera parameters on the end, such as zoom level, which part of the photo the viewport is centred on, etc. All that those links are, however, is shortened versions of the Share Links obtainable with the envelope icon to the side of your synth, which can be used to get an exact link to any camera position that you have navigated to (except overhead view and specific zoom levels in 2D mode - 2D because the layout of the grid will be different based on users' monitors' aspect ratio).
aridolan (Over 1 year ago)
Nathanael, I really appreciate your expertise, and now I see what can be done with share icon, besides sharing.

You suggested to use the HD Viewer at 
http://research.microsoft.com/en-us/um/redmond/groups/ivm/hdview/preview/default.html 
but I did not understand how to use it. I tried to give it the dzc_output.xml url, but apparently this is not what should be done. Can you help?
Nathanael (Over 1 year ago)
My apologies for not being more clear, Ariel,

Unfortunately, that viewer only accepts individual Deep Zoom Images (.dzi), rather than Deep Zoom Collections (.dzc). When viewing the DZC's xml in your browser, you should be able to see the URLs of each DZI inside and copy any one of them to paste into the viewer.

Viewing the images, one at a time, in another viewer is, I suppose, not all that practical, except to confirm that there really is part of the image missing or out of interest for seeing that the image is viewable other places other than within the Photosynth viewer.

Another interesting experiment would be to collect the URLs of the DZIs from both version 3 and version 5 of your synth, paste them both into Excel in different colours, and then sort both lists as one alphabetically to see whether the latter version is reusing any of the same DZIs that previous versions stored on the server. I expect them to all be different, since you tagged them in between.
aridolan (Over 1 year ago)
The curious thing is, that although I tagged all my pictures, only a few of the pictures were uploaded. Actually, out of the 498 pictures only 68 were uploaded at first. I cancelled this synth since I wanted to delete a few pictures. When I re-synthed, only 16 pictures were uploaded. Is it possible that tagging does not make a sufficient difference for the synther to consider the pictures as new?

I downloaded the HD utilities which include a Photoshop plugin. It is quite interesting to arrange the sub-pictures created by the plugin in a grid. They make an interesting puzzle. I do not understand the function of the HD viewer, though. The download includes two dlls, but I do not know where they are supposed to be used.

As for the Excel experiment, since so few of the pictures were re-uploaded, I assume that the old dzi's were used.
Nathanael (Over 1 year ago)
It's worth mentioning that any photos which succeed in uploading before a synth is manually canceled or automatically fails are probably saved on the server whether the synth completes or not, to save upload time in case the synth is retried.

That might explain why you saw fewer photos in the resynth (16 photos uploaded) vs. the previous 68.

As to only 68 of the 498 being uploaded, it's a bit difficult for me to keep track of the different versions of the synth. I'm nearly positive that adding a tag should change the file enough to mandate a re-upload. 

Are you sure that the program you used to tag the photos had finished saving the tags inside the photos themselves, instead of just adding those tags to the program's own 'to do' list before you started the synther again?
Nathanael (Over 1 year ago)
The reason that I ask is that when I loaded your synth's 5th version, I still see many of the photos not displaying your name next to the license in the lower left hand corner. When a photo has been successfully tagged in the 'Author' field of its metadata before being placed in the synther, that text always displays when that photo is being displayed onscreen in a synth. 

(Tangentially, this is very useful when making a collaborative synth with other people and you want each photo to be attributed to the correct person.)
aridolan (Over 1 year ago)
Nathanael, of course you are correct. I tagged my pictures in Windows Live and I probably closed the program before it completed its job. I retagged all my pictures in Bridge, and verified that all were tagged and saved. When resynthing, all the pictures were uploaded. The new version is number 6, at:
http://photosynth.net/view.aspx?cid=172ff368-7b02-430e-a272-fba5b953102f
and now there are no longer blurred pictures. Problem solved.

Still, although I verified the tagging of all the pictures, and this was proven by the fact that all of them were uploaded, many pictures do not display the author name (my tag) when running the synth. Is it a bug?
Nathanael (Over 1 year ago)
Hmm. I'm glad that you got your photos uploaded cleanly.

As far as the photos with the missing name, I suspect that Bridge may be writing to a different metadata format than WLPG or Microsoft Pro Photo Tools is. I would think that Bridge is certainly capable of reading and tagging the appropriate field; I simply don't know exactly which menu to tell you to look for within Bridge to ensure that the synther will see the tag. It seems to me the easiest way to tell would be to take a clean photo, tag it in Windows Explorer, Windows Live Photo Gallery, or the 'Photographer' field in Microsoft Pro Photo Tools 2 and then after they have saved the tag to the file, open it in Bridge and see which field in which metadata format the Microsoft tools expect the tag to be.
Nathanael (Over 1 year ago)
One thing that has proven irritating to me is that the synther pays no attention to the text in the 'Copyright' field for photos and instead relies on a combination of the Author|Photographer field on a per photo basis (well at least that part is per-photo - a good thing) and the synther's own license dropdown which then applies universally across every photo within a synth.

Even if the synther always forces us to apply a uniform license to all photos in a synth, it seems like it could at least pull the name(s) of the individuals or organizations present in photos' Copyright field to apply to those specific photos if the Author|Photographer field hasn't been filled in. Presumably if someone went to the trouble of embedding a copyright notice in the metadata, it is safe to assume that that data should be displayed next to the license symbol in the lower left corner of the synth.
Nathanael (Over 1 year ago)
This, of course leads to the possibility of the word 'Copyright' having been filled into the 'Copyright' tag in Bridge or another metadata editor then being displayed next to a Creative Commons symbol or other ill-fitting combinations. That, in turn, leads many of us to wish that we could change the license on a synth after it has been uploaded, but that is another discussion and I am starting to wander off the point of this one.

The tangent can be followed up here: 
http://photosynth.net/discussion.aspx?cat=ceca0f30-0f7c-4468-811a-32b623ea8563&dis=0d7cd878-735e-4be9-bcf5-59ef927bc705
aridolan (Over 1 year ago)
I checked what Bridge does as you suggested. Bridge has an Author tag in a section named IPTC (IIM,legacy), whatever this means, and it corresponds to the Author tag in Windows Live Gallery (I checked it both ways).

Maybe the synther should, in case no Author tag has been defined, to take as default the user name in the Photosynth community. This will insure that every photo is related to its original loader. It may not be relevant to copyright issues, but may be useful in future combining of synths when the possibility becomes available.
aridolan (Over 1 year ago)
Regarding the Author tag again: I loaded all the Troubles in the Square pictures, tagged in Bridge, into Windows Live Gallery. All have their Author tags set.
Nathanael (Over 1 year ago)
Agreed as to using the Photosynth username in lieu of a real Author tag especially after synth linking takes hold. Good insight on your part.

I'm not sure what to tell you as far as all of the photos having been tagged but not displaying the name after being uploaded. It does sound like a bug... just one that I haven't personally experienced. Hopefully Tony or one of the other Photosynth team members can help you take a look at it.

One other way I would confirm that they've all been tagged is to view the folder that they're in in Windows Explorer, view the folder in 'Details' view, and turn on the 'Authors' column (right click the header bar where it lists Name, Size, Type, etc. and choose 'More' if 'Authors' isn't listed right off the bat). Then just scroll up and down the entire list and make sure that Windows sees the tag on all the files.

That's about all the more I have to give on this subject, I think.

Thanks for the research on the Bridge metadata labels.
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