New features, updated old ones and general news from the Photosynth team.
Is there anything new coming out this year from the Photosynth team? I've heard rumours of Skydrive integration and of course the Facebook integration rumours which have been around for years. Any truth to this?
Any new ways to share our content with our family and friends?
Anything coming to enable us to revisit Synths of our own to add to them?
I remember a few years ago there was a Synth of a space shuttle or station, or something, and we could go for a tour through it with forward and backwards buttons, as well as the usual stuff that is offered now. This was something I hadn't seen before. Anything like this coming?
A very short but amazing teaser of "Photosynth 2" was shown at the BUILD conference in a WebGL-related session (http://channel9.msdn.com/Events/Build/2013/4-072). Skip to 01:50.
Good eye, Christoph!
Here's the link with the timecode appended: http://channel9.msdn.com/Events/Build/2013/4-072#time=00h01m41s
It's also good to see a 3D map control coming back to Bing Maps.
I'm very much looking forward to seamlessly viewing synths and panoramas in context in Bing Maps in WebGL.
I've been waiting for this since Photosynth launched in 2008 and Virtual Earth 3D was still integrated into Bing Maps (or Live Maps, as it was called at the time).
I can only hope that Internet Explorer 11 will come to Windows Phone 8 soon and both XBOX 360 and XBOX ONE - hopefully without too much delay.
Also there are signs that the app we have for iPhone and WP8 is being integrated into the camera app on Windows 8.1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MLQ1nP-SBFM
One other thing to watch for is David Gedye's hint that in the future, the Photosynth mobile app will capture full resolution input shots, do a low resolution stitch on the phone for preview, but allow the option to upload the full resolution shots to be stitched on Photosynth's servers in Windows Azure for the highest quality final panorama.
Here's that discussion: http://bit.ly/psfhrp
I will say that I haven't seen any evidence that this is in the works yet, except for in the BUILD session where Photosynth 2 is shown, Frank Olivier says,
"This is a preview of Photosynth 2 where you can take your own photos, upload them to a web service, and Photosynth 2 just stitches them all together for you and interpolates the 3D in between the scenes that you photographed."
He might simply not be familiar with Photosynth currently using local compute prior to upload or it may mean that he is being precise and Photosynth will switch to using cloud compute wherever needed.
On Blaise's personal news page ( http://styleisviolence.com/news/ ) where he lists talks that he's given or is scheduled to make he mentions:
2013 06 11: a demo at TED Global
2013 06 23: a keynote at the Mobile Vision workshop at Computer Vision + Pattern Recognition 2013 in Portland
The TED Talk is not yet online and I cannot find video of his CVPR 2013 keynote yet either, but if anyone finds them, please post the links here on the forum, as I'd like to hear what was said and see any new demos.
2013 07 24: He posted that they're hiring for Photosynth again: https://twitter.com/blaiseaguera/status/360123675304923136
Here's the link for Photosynth job listings at Microsoft Careers:
https://careers.microsoft.com/search.aspx?ss=Photosynth | or if you want something easier to remember: http://bit.ly/photosynthjobs
Here are a few excerpts from various job descriptions:
"We are developing ground-breaking hardware, software, and experiences across computer vision, machine learning, human-computer interaction, image and video processing, networking, and graphics."
"Our team, who also developed the original Photosynth panorama mobile app, is working on innovative technologies related to image processing, video processing, camera, computational photography, etc."
"building amazing 3D experiences,
working on cutting-edge hardware,
defining the future of photography
reinvent and shape the future of geospatial, user understanding, visualization, information graphics and search, powered by the cloud"
"the next generation of immersive experiences,
photorealistic 3D maps,
design, implementation, and optimization of image/video processing components for a new product
creating new 3D rendering applications that will run on a diverse number of form-factors and platforms including mobile, tablet, and desktops
available across multiple screens"
Desired Team Member Attributes:
knowledgeable about the latest computer graphics technologies,
passionate about computer graphics and image-based rendering,
motivated to change how the world thinks about photography.
A designer who is able to also prototype the design innovations
looking for someone attracted to vision work and creating magical solutions in new areas of ambiguity.
"The Bing Information Platform design team is looking for a Senior UX Designer to be part of the Geospatial team to drive incubation through to shipping products. This team is responsible for such areas and products as Photosynth, Augmented Reality work, and mapping solutions."
"We are a close-knit design team who values strong visual and graphic design skills that are derivative of traditional print and timeless core design principles like typographic excellence, composition, sophisticated motion design, and clear communication. We pride ourselves in craftsmanship, innovation, and usefulness. Design history, mentorship, and education are also part of our team culture."
TED still hasn't posted the video of Blaise' TED Global 2013 talk about Photosynth 2, but they did put up this blog post that summarizes it which I missed until yesterday.
The TED Flickr account has a couple of photos of the talk not used in the blog post:
Also, in the first image used in the blog post ( http://tedconfblog.files.wordpress.com/2013/06/tg2013_026566_lnsr5613.jpg ) we see Blaise showing a synth of Noah Snavely's in the Photosynth 2 viewer on the projector.
He has taken the virtual camera to a point where you can see that Noah has been automatically cut out of the rest of the photo and is being projected nearer to the observer than the background, based on the recovered geometry.
You can see the same synth in the current Photosynth viewers here:
In Direct3D: http://photosynth.net/d3d/photosynth.aspx?cid=95aa17c7-82c2-4b45-8c76-9459322b542d
In Silverlight: http://photosynth.net/view.aspx?cid=95aa17c7-82c2-4b45-8c76-9459322b542d
I remain concerned that I have not seen a single point cloud in any Photosynth 2 viewer demo, but am hopeful that the option will return.
Description of a talk Blaise gave on Thursday, November 7
"Abstract: In 2007, we introduced Photosynth, the first broad consumer application for computer vision. Our idea at the time was to enable people to create immersive three-dimensional experiences from ordinary photos, but there were many obstacles to the realization of this vision at the time. Beyond the technical challenges of efficiently computing structure from motion and global geometry from unstructured input, we faced a major interaction design challenge. Given that photos are sparsely and often arbitrarily sampled points from a seven-dimensional pose space (position, angle, and time), how could we make these immersive environments feel truly natural and navigable? In our work since, we've wrestled with this problem, and believe with the soon to be released Photosynth2 we've understood how to solve it."
Sounds promising. This, together with a WebGL-based viewer, phone apps, and a revamped website could make Photosynth interesting again for more than a few enthusiasts.
Surely looking forward to it. Gives me another reason to replace my 2 year old wp7 with a wp8 device. Considering Nokia Lumia 920.
I hope there is a Windows 8 app around the corner too.
2013 11 26: New 'Technical Preview' forum here on the Photosynth Forums: