Do you have an idea for an awesome feature we should add… or hate the way we’re currently doing something? Share your ideas and suggestions here.
Since finding this site, I've been out shooting specifically for synthing. As well as setting up overlapping panoramas, I also do a fair few orbit sequences, hoping that once the rotate control appears I will get a very clean rotation around the object. However, Photosynth often sees other background images as more prominant over this orbit sequence, thereby slotting in a highly distorted image in the middle of a smooth rotation.
Obviously it needs to insert these images as they do depict the same object from a slightly different angle, but I'd like the specifically shot sequence to have priority while I'm spinning the view.
Could it compare shot similarity (framing, filnames, time taken) in order to help it prioritise draw order?
Maybe there would need to be a switch when generating the synth for "Sequenced Shooting", that would switch these biases on. (It may not work for mass collaboration pieces.)
Maybe we could manually link groups of photos?
Jontlaw - this is a good suggestion, and indeed we've been doing some thinking in this very area recently. Out of curiosity how would you prefer we do this? Automatically? Or would you like to be able to control which images go into a particualr orbit? Any feedback you have would be great.
If it could be done automatically it would benefit everyone with no extra work on their part - just the poor coders :)
If you wanted to use shot time (or filename) to make the association, I think the user could hit a switch that looked for these, knowing that they are there. If people haven't shot with orbiting in mind, it may hinder normal processing.
Another thought - maybe use metadata - tag all the statue images with "statue" or "orbit_statue". That would give ultimate grouping control.
If you guys can recognise an orbit - similar framing, scale, object centered and obviously the subject matter, it would be sweet! Heck you can match everything else! :)
Actually, centering and scale may be the key. When shooting an orbit, I try to keep it as circular as possible. Any unintended orbits wouldn't suffer from this rule either - it should just order the playback rotation in a more pleasing way... maybe...
I would encourage allowing manual grouping. My reasoning is that it's very easy for my human eye to judge which 25 or 50 or 100 pictures I shot that circled an object in exactly the same way as to angle and distance from subject. The computer, however, I sense does its best under the circumstances to match similarities, but in situations where the subject itself varies it seems that the difficulty in identifying the correct group through typical matching techniques will be limited at best. This difference is apparent in the current version of Photosynth, where spins work best in situautions of isolation. A subject with *only* a spin shot of it will eliminate the synther's helpful (but generally unappealing to the human eye) attempts to include other pictures from other vantage points.
Because spins are typically very easy for human eyes to identify and group together, and look awful when there are "mistakes" (a common problem in the current synther) go manual!
Oh, and perhaps in the same stroke: How about allowing creators or viewers the option to record paths through synths? One could imagine (by guessing wildly) that a manual grouper for rotational purposes and a pathing tool would be somewhat similar to implement. Both would involve grouping a bunch of images to be moved through in order..
Maybe that's the ticket. If one could assign a limited path through certain images in a certain order after clicking an arrow or button or slider or whatever, then you'd easily achieve the rotational goal of only getting the good manually selected shots, and you'd add this other highly interesting and valuable functionality to boot.
I suggest here what everyone probably knows: Unstructured may the original vision of Point Cloud-based Photography be, having structure is incredibly important. The highlights, for example, have opened a huge creative door. Paths are a logical step forward too. Good luck!
If you make it TOO manual, you may as well build a slideshow :)
My dream synth would incorporate panoramas and orbits. Shooting as panoramas gives me very cool movement though an environment, orbiting give amazing 3d to an object in that environment. My early test that concentrated on orbiting alone was very clean. All I'm after is that same cleanness in playback when other images are added around the orbit. I still want the other viewpoints to be there, just under the orbit when viewing. I still want to be able to select an added view to move to a new location or focal point.
Using metadata may be an issue for other users - if they already have some associated to their images. Got me thinking...
How about when setting up a synth, you have a directory of images that you point to - within that you have subfolders of each orbit sequence. As the synth is calculated it prioritises the contents of each subfolder - in effect making sub-synths.
Once one of these images is selected in playback and the rotation control is chosen, the orbit content is always played on top. Other images are still there, just receded into the background. As soon as I click on an underlying image, it will frame up on that one, moving me out of range of the rotate.
Sub directories would be a very simple (and visual) way of grouping images. If you don't use them, Photosynth will do what it does now, so to a casual user, there is no change.
With respect to the ideas here (it's good to see the ideas of viewer-composable and author-composable tours surface again), it seems to me like it would be better to not hard code orbits into the collection/pointcloud/coordinate data from the synther side until the user interacts with the synth in a future version of the site's editor.
Am I right in thinking that orbits today are defined by the viewer, rather than notation in the synth data itself?
Having viewed many synths in iSynth's Orbit Mode on the iPhone, it's obvious to me the utility of an authoring tool have visibility on the positions of the cameras in the scene. It seems like such a simple solution to be able to turn on the frusta in overhead view in the site's synth editor and be able to notate "These cameras belong to the orbit; these do not." and save it back to the server.
Surely this could simply be added to the synth in the same way that highlights and geo-alignment currently are.
Arranging images at the point of upload is going to be far easier than tracing through the synth data post process. If I'm synthing an area and want to add a new orbit detail to the whole, I would just add a new folder that included those component. These would then be added the next time I calculate the synth. These images should not be restricted to being used in the orbit playback, they should just be prioritised to play while you're spinning that specific view. Other images that fit in the orbit should still be there, but the displayed beneath the orbit specific set. Folders are an easy, visual way of organising data...
I suppose, it's only that I already make synths from photos located in different folders on my hard drive and I don't particularly fancy their location on my machine having any bearing on how the synther interprets them. Perhaps I am wrong about this, but that is simply my primary reaction.
I've read through all the above posts again and realise that you may very well simply be talking about Photosynth's default slideshow order (the same order experienced by clicking the 'Next' arror or using the spacebar). I was previously under the impression that you were talking about more distant shots being displayed when dragging the halo|circling-arrows control onscreen manually when an orbit is detected.
If we're all speaking about improving Photosynth's default order when it begins playing the photos in an orbit, then it seems like proximity and angle are a simple way of determining playback order.
Your audience may not be this advanced, but if you are simply wanting a solution for yourself, it seems a simple enough step to simply use the fullstop [.] and comma [,] keys to step forwards or backwards through the orbit by filename until you are through with it and thereafter return to using spacebar, if you so choose.
Also useful [as long as (a) your order of shooting is the one in which you prefer your audience to experience the synth in and (b) the synth is a high percent synthy] is the option in the synth editor to simply make the default playback order be sorted by filename. As long as your synth doesn't have many subsynths or orphaned photos, this should take us through your journey through the space, allowing us to explore it exactly as you did - perhaps the most humanly intuitive manner possible.