Topic: Don't gray out side images

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dllexport (Over 1 year ago)
In Photosynth, the center image is displayed fine, and then the area around it is constructed using other images. Except, those images are grayed out (it looks like gray with some alpha was put over it). This makes synths look really ugly. 

For example, check out this synth: The gray just ruins it completely.

Please, add an option to not gray out the images around the center one.
Jonathan (Over 1 year ago)
Thanks for the suggestion. We've tried doing this and as you note, on some synths it works great and on others it's worse. We're actually working on something very different that will resolve this entirely.
Nathanael (Over 1 year ago)
They're only translucent, not greyed.

 I think you're probably interpreting being able to see the black background through the secondary photos as having grey applied to them, but they aren't falsely coloured at all.

Because Photosynth arranges photos from a camera or cameras who have moved around in 3D, it is impossible to seamlessly stitch a panorama style (real panoramas can only be made from photos taken with a camera which rotates around its stationary lens). Many people make the mistake of thinking that Photosynth is just a panorama stitcher, but Photosynth really doesn't do any stitching at all in the sense of making a single seamless image.

Highlighting only the center photo makes clear to the user that Photosynth isn't *trying* to create a seamless single image. When things are captured from such different angles it is impossible to line up all details without warping the photos. Photosynth is all about organizing individual photos in 3D - not panos.
dllexport (Over 1 year ago)

It's not the black background. Images around the center one deliberately have a semi-transparent layer of gray color applied to them.

I understand that some people upload random pictures to Photosynth, but for those of us who actually follow the instructions on taking photos for Photosynth, it's certainly possible to create a panorama. You can see that Photosynth IS trying to create a panorama, as it applies transformations to the side images to try to get them to fit seamlessly with the center image. If the pictures are taken properly, it looks fine, except for that gray overlay on the pictures surrounding the center one. These transformations are very visible in this one:

If Photosynth is only about organizing photos in 3D, why tell people to take a 360 degree shot of a room + shots from each corner?
dllexport (Over 1 year ago)
Looking forward to this.
Nathanael (Over 1 year ago)
=) Well I'm not here to pick a fight with you and I'm not saying that Photosynth won't *ever* do more with the photos than it's currently doing. The assumption has always been that Photosynth will continue to improve what it's doing visually, over time. The Photosynth team has talked before about integrating Microsoft Research's ICE panorama stitcher, so perhaps this is what Jonathan is referring to above.

I only meant that no public version currently attempts to create a real panorama out of photos shot in a circle. The example that you linked to is, by far, the exception, rather than the norm in terms of cleanly neighbouring shots. What's more, shots for perfect panoramas don't contain the parallax that Photosynth needs for 3D reconstruction.

Nathanael (Over 1 year ago)
As to, "...why tell people to take a 360 degree shot of a room + shots from each corner?", simply because with sufficient overlap, these provide a map of image features in the scene relative to each other at wide angles for the computer vision (which means that things at the far end of the scene seen from neighbouring corners have a chance of linking between those corners because the perspective will have changed relatively little) as well as a way for human users to get their bearings when browsing the synths. 

Panorama-like situations certainly have a specific navigation method built into the Photosynth viewer, mainly because most people new to Photosynth continue to think of Photosynth as just another panorama stitcher and will shoot panoramas, whether the Photography Guide or 'How to Synth' video told them to or not. If people are going to persist in shooting this way, the only thing to do is to tell them to get enough overlap and adapt Photosynth to them.

Nathanael (Over 1 year ago)
I suppose that I come to the table knowing that, as of this writing, panoramas simply aren't what Photosynth does best and it irritates me somewhat that people continue to try and use it in this limited and crippled way.

If anyone wants real/the best results from Photosynth, they need to move the camera around objects in the scene more than they have the scene move around the camera. 

Hopefully Jonathan is talking about bringing genuine panorama stitching to Photosynth, thus negating the current need to dim neighboring photos in order to make clear that people shouldn't expect seamless edges between the photos.
Nathanael (Over 1 year ago)
dllExport, I'm wondering, in the mean time, if you would want secondary photos to be fully opaque, assuming that you are correct about them being darkened as well, or whether you would tolerate them continuing to be approximately 50% translucent. I suppose that I just feel that you are setting yourself up for disappointment if you're expecting seamless panos with today's Photosynth viewer.

Microsoft Research's HD View is currently a much better way of displaying real panoramas online using Seadragon image streaming. As I've said by now, perhaps the Photosynth team is in the midst of integrating the HD View viewer into the Photosynth viewer. I've been hoping that they would for over a year now. 

To me, Photosynth's real strength is that it can match photos anywhere in a scene, instead of being trapped on one pinpoint of ground and simply swiveling in place, as panos do. How previous panorama technologies have dared to market themselves as 3D or VR is beyond me.
dllexport (Over 1 year ago)
I'm fine with the stitching being less than perfect. Google Streetview doesn't even attempt to stitch images together.. the edges between adjacent pictures are pretty obvious sometimes. Photosynth does a fine job with panoramas right now and that's not the issue.

My only problem is with images adjacent to the center one being darkened, covered in gray, 50% translucent, or whatever that darkening is. I just want all of the images to be displayed fully opaque.
SuperAssGas (Over 1 year ago)
I second this -- I admit, the 50% transparency around the edges is hard on the eyes. The controls are a little sloppy too especially with the zooming in and out depending on the placement of the picture.

Nathanael is right about Photosynth's real strength is best placed in the improvement of panoramic technology. The best part about Photosynth is the ability to explore an area as if you are there. Panoramic tech can play real well into this sort of usage.
Nathanael (Over 1 year ago)

We're taking this convo off topic here, but as far as the zooming control goes, using the scrollwheel on the mouse to zoom will take you to or away from the point where your mouse cursor is currently pointed, so your target is always totally under your control and, to be honest, this is simply a more sophisticated way of zooming than always being forced to zoom to center and then pan to where you want.

If you simply must reliably and predictably zoom to the center of the current photo, then you can use the [+] or [-] keys on the keyboard and then use your mouse to drag the photo around, once you're close.
Nathanael (Over 1 year ago)
Another possible solution that Jonathan may have been talking about is seen in a presentation that Blaise gave at the end of 2007 in Berlin where photos are actually deformed by the pointcloud underneath.

If you'd like to see what I mean, tune your browser to this address (specifically from 15:01 - 18:25):
Nathanael (Over 1 year ago)
I just watched a video yesterday that seems like a likely candidate for what Jonathan is talking about.

Check it out here, if you're interested: