Topic: Photosynth Rival

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PGRic (Over 1 year ago)
A Photosynth rival (copy might be more appropriate) has gone live in the last few days. There are some nice features on it, measurement, modelling (if you can get it to work) but I'm not sure some of the comparisons to Photosynth were wise. Is it ok with the LL team team if I post a link?
bitplane (Over 1 year ago)
Just post the link! It's quite on-topic and not spam, I can't see why anyone at Live Labs would have a problem with this.
Is it based on Bundler ( )? If so, does that mean it is open source?
bitplane (Over 1 year ago)
I think I found it-

Unless there's other competing products, I sincerely hope so!
tbenedict (Over 1 year ago)
Not quite ready for prime-time, methinks.  I downloaded and installed it, but it bombs when opening an image directory.  Trouble ticket opened, but I'm not entirely holding my breath.
PGRic (Over 1 year ago)
Fair enough, the team can delete it if they wish:

Some of their claims appear to be a bit wild judging from this release. It may match images better than photosynth, but the browsing & transition is painfully slow....then there's the res. i've not tried measuring and modeling yet.
bitplane (Over 1 year ago)
Looks pretty good, I found something else with great potential- is a structure from motion library, licensed under an MIT-style license, which I guess will one day allow companies to create their own commercial Photosynth alternatives. It will be a long time before this is ready for consumers, but the thought of a liberally licensed opensource photosynth alternative has me really excited!
swami_worldtraveler (Over 1 year ago)
Interestin developments. Tnx all.
Marvin (Over 1 year ago)
Fascinating stuff.  I'll forward this around, and see what people think.
bitplane (Over 1 year ago) looks pretty good, it doesn't automatically match the images though, nor does it hold real 3D camera positions
I made this one-
PGRic (Over 1 year ago)
looks a nice little app. Smooth image transition, but hasn't quite got the zoom.
EdLee (Over 1 year ago)
PGRic, it's very interesting that VisualSize has a sample of the same stone structure that I synthed--

Unfortunately I cannot see their 3D demo either in IE7 or FF3. Maybe someone else can try their 3D demo and compare to Photosynth, of the same source object:

(I wonder if VisualSize is based here in Santa Barbara. :)
PGRic (Over 1 year ago)
Ed, it’s probably a little unfair to compare the two directly due to the numbers of images involved - the VirtualSize (VS) model uses 23 images as opposed to your 300+. A general observation on VS models would be the individual point size is far too large and distracts from being able to view shape correctly. It also seems to produce significantly more stray points than Photosynth.
Douglas_Gann (Over 1 year ago)
Once upon a time, there was an amazing little program from Metacreations called Canoma.  Canoma was more of a modeling program than Photosynth, in that you had to create geometries within the software, and link these geometries between multiple photographs. There were some cool tools that used fuzzy logic to link images.  You could use a pin, which meant that the feature position was definite, or a ball, which meant that a feature position was approximate.  The end result was a fully textured VRML model that extracted texture images from averaging multiple sets of photographs.

See for a low res version of a Canoma model of downtown Tucson.

Sadly, Canoma was purchased by Adobe and killed.

I still cant help thinking that some of the object linking tools in Canoma would really help Photosynth functionality.

'keep on synthing!
Nathanael (Over 1 year ago)
It seems to me that Adobe, Apple, and Google are the players to watch in this arena. 

Specifically, Google has been funding further research between Noah Snavely, now at Cornell University, Steve Seitz and company at the University of Washington, and Rick Szeliski at Microsoft Research. 
( See the bottom of the page here: )

Moreover, last year just before Photosynth released publicly, Google's 'other' photo site, Panoramio, made headlines with their 'look around' feature they were working on: ( )

Earlier this year found Panoramio photos being embedded in Google Maps Street View ( ) and then again this summer found integration come to Picasa web albums ( ).
Nathanael (Over 1 year ago)
I think we all know that Photosynth has always wanted synths to live in Virtual Earth|Bing Maps. (It's no accident that Bing Maps, Photosynth, HD View, and Worldwide Telescope all began to be ported to Silverlight 2 toward the end of 2008 and each one got a preview release in early 2009.) 

Even with Photosynth's running head start, though, Google has managed to beat Microsoft to the punch as far as automatically arranging user provided photos 'in space' (as it were) on their maps in the browser.

Google's method has these strengths:
1: They do the computation on their servers and only display the ones that successfully matched. This means that your computer doesn't have to be super powerful.
2: This also allows people to all contribute photos of a specific location and see all the photos together, not in separate synths.
3: Street View's viewer uses Flash which works on PowerPC (read: the majority of) Macs.
Nathanael (Over 1 year ago)
Google's weaknesses are as follows:
1: No 3D pointcloud or model from these photo collections yet publicly available (although that must be a simple fix)
2: Not yet released in Google Earth (as far as I know)
3: You don't ever know when Google will recompute a synth to include your photos of a place
4: I haven't seen any photos that weren't next to a road yet, so only roadside synths so far.

In reply to Google's strengths:
1: We know that Photosynth wants to link synths that are of the same place and neighboring places. They just haven't finished and|or released it yet.
2: If you read comments by various Photosynth team members, clearly some of them agree with Photosynth users who want a feature for Photosynth where photos can continuously be contributed to a specific location for an ongoing synth.
3: Silverlight 2 and 3 just don't support PowerPC Macs. It really is a pain point. Tell your friends and family to buy a new Intel Mac or new PC with Windows 7. =]
Nathanael (Over 1 year ago)
... or a new Intel Mac *and* a copy of Windows 7 to install on it. =D
bitplane (Over 1 year ago)
Nathanael, I just did a little research and it looks like only about fifteen percent of online Macs are PPC ones, I doubt they care much about 3D applications because I never see any PPC Mac users online myself! 
Big endian Siverlight would be nice, but if not then there's always Moonlight for mobile platforms.
Nathanael (Over 1 year ago)
Alright. Thanks for the numbers, bitplane. 

I was just being an advocate, but if your results are not the result of limited polling, then I feel fairly relieved. If anyone would care about the underdog it seems like you would, so I'll assume that you are in this case as well.
Nathanael (Over 1 year ago)
I know that it's been around for ages, but on the modelling side (it moreorless does away with the images, so it's not a direct Photosynth competitor) there is the ARC 3D webservice. Their reconstruction algorithms aren't as forgiving as the synther's though, so if you get too creative with your camera positions, it may give you worse results than Photosynth.

You can visit their page here:
or if you'd like a URL that is easier to remember:

The other quirk that I've experienced with them is that their photo uploader seems to only work on Windows xp. I've tried it on Vista and Windows 7 and it dies as soon as you try to begin the upload. Running the uploader in Windows xp Compatibility Mode doesn't seem to work and none of my computers' processors have the necessary emulation support from Intel to run Windows xp Mode in Windows 7, so I can only use it with my old Sony Vaio that still has xp.
Nathanael (Over 1 year ago)
More on the modelling side again, I was looking for news around Noah Snavely today and found a link on his page from Cornell to an interesting game that is being played with Bundler (his structure from motion bundle-adjuster that the Photosynth synther is based on) called PhotoCity.

What is most exciting to me is that the game is centred around actually linking together all different people's photos of an area and awards people for contributing photos to parts of the buildings that don't have much|any coverage yet. Very clever and very fun! 

This sort of co-operative synthing was talked about quite a bit when Photosynth was first being made, but it has turned out to be more difficult to implement than originally anticipated, I suppose. I would truly love to see Photosynth respond to this and Google's continued strides with User Photos in Street View by truly linking synths together by the end of 2010.

To check out PhotoCity, visit:
GaryMortimer (Over 1 year ago)
Oooh that looks cool thanks for the link Nathanael
Nathanael (Over 1 year ago)
Two more for the stack: 

Photofly from Autodesk is a hybrid of automatic and manual, like I wish Photosynth was. 

Here's an introductory video:
And here's the link to their site:


insight3D is similar to the research project modeling program that was done at Microsoft Research that allows you to build out a polygonal model from your synth's point cloud, which is then automatically textured from your photos.
(Details: )
Nathanael (Over 1 year ago)
Hmm. I just saw a point cloud in Google's Flash Street View viewer last night, so strike out Google weakness # 1, above.

Here's where I spotted it: Click on the "Photos" icon in the upper right hand corner of the embedded map of Palacio de Bellas Artes, Mexico City, Mexico and click through the first four photos in the photo strip and you should see what I saw.

That particular point cloud is not terribly large and they are rendering it at an incredibly low resolution to keep things relatively fast, but if I've learned anything about Google, it's that they will be implementing improvements as soon as they are finished. Being that they hired Yasutaka Furukawa recently, I'd say they have big plans for beefing up the reconstruction quality of those point clouds and they've already ported Google Earth to all major desktop platforms which puts considerably more power at their disposal than Silverlight currently affords. Looks like trouble to me.
Nathanael (Over 1 year ago)
A few other interesting recent finds are: 

>> (It's very similar to ARC3D, but doesn't require anything besides a web browser and Adobe Flash.)

>> Online Interactive's CloudCaster Lite viewer:
(Displaying output from Bundler and PMVS2)

And one old structure from motion analyzer for video that I had found ages ago is: 


Also, mzaloon found a video of PhotoModeler 2010's SmartMatch feature:
PGRic (Over 1 year ago)
Another one similar to Arc3D:
cpsir (Over 1 year ago)
In a similar space, one of SIGGRAPH's next application is VIDEOTRACE. Use a video to isolate an object or geometry. Havent tried it yet, though the videos look pretty cool. Besides, taking video is always easier than getting pics.

An interview:
aridolan (Over 1 year ago)
I have no idea which software was used here, but it is amazing:

Have a look at his other panoramas as well
GigaView (Over 1 year ago)
@aridolan - looks like Pano2VR, but not sure why the zoom is so limiting.  Seems there is more resolution there.  Paris 26 GigaPixels intrigued me more.
Iamalchemist (Over 1 year ago)
@ aridolan, They used pano2VR
Here is the link to download it. its prety easy to use.
Nathanael (Over 1 year ago)
Photosynth team, 

You may want to keep an eye on

I don't see any sign of actual spatial registration yet, but they're taking mobile panos from Android users (at least that is my first impression). I also see Panoramio photos available on the map, but again, no sign of spatial registration.

Not a direct competitor, yet, but as a geotagged photography site, spatial registration may not be that far away in their future as density increases.
Paul1917 (Over 1 year ago)

Just to add to your collection: 

I've contacted them and they say they have modified Bundler using different SIFT and had modified PMVS. They are not sure if it have made any good to their engine:) but I kind of liked this simple free service. No ambitions, and it works. These guys cannt figure out a viewer yet and using MeshLab or CloudCompare which is a bit retarted compared to Adobe Flash viewers used by some companies you have mentioned above.
Nathanael (Over 1 year ago)
Paul, thanks for the heads up.

You might also want to check out for other photogrammetry software, whether it's something like toolkits, more professional local software programs, or web services.
Paul1917 (Over 1 year ago)
Thanks, I have checked Actually they have added to their listing. 
I am interested in on-line services. I have made some checks. Of what is listed there as WEN Services, Areoscan needs calibration and is not free (actually it is expensive), Hypr3D is not working and is pure Bundler by description, CMP SFM is scientific and not user-friendly. ARC 3D is good but sleeping, my3dscanner is Ok but beta-testing.
Sorry I am too skeptic...
NateLawrence (Over 1 year ago)
I just wanted to give a shout out to Cesar Lopez and Olafur Haraldsson from the Photogrammetry Forum who have just released a public Beta of a new webservice of their own:

Here's Olafur's public announcement:

Follow them on Twitter here: