Forum : Advice & Critiques

Can’t seem to get something to synth right? Curious about what lens is best? Ask your fellow Photosynthers here.

Topic: Techniques for taking photos

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linha08 (Over 1 year ago)
Hi everybody,

I'm new here and I'd like to know the techniques you like to use for shooting the best photos in order to make a realistic 3d representation in photosynth.
Give me some tips.

Nathanael (Over 1 year ago)
Hi there, linha08!

It depends on what you're shooting. The Photosynth site hosts two different photographic collections. The first is a photosynth (or synth for short) and the other is a panorama (or pano for short).

If you're shooting a panorama, you want your camera's lens to stay as close as possible to the same place in the air while you point it in all directions. (Keeping it in one spot helps everything line up better.) Think of this as the camera being in the middle of a sphere shooting out in all directions. 

You can upload panoramas to Photosynth in several ways: 
1: Microsoft Research's Image Composite Editor (or ICE for short)
2: Microsoft Research's Photoshop plugin:
3: Photosynth's Mobile Apps, like the one released for iPhone 3GS and 4, iPod Touch 4, and iPad 2 today:

Here's a link for a little more help:
Nathanael (Over 1 year ago)
If you're shooting a photosynth to get the most out of it, it's almost the opposite of shooting a pano. 

Photosynth does very well when you pick a subject and then walk all the way around it taking photos of it from all sides. If you can walk all the way around something in a complete circle, then 30 or 40 photos is a good number to take. When you do this, Photosynth is able to keep track of little details and watch how they move in relation to each other to figure out how far they are from each other in 3D. By using the [P] key on your keyboard, you can toggle between photos only, photos with point cloud behind them, and point cloud only. If you shoot enough coverage of an object, the point cloud begins to look a bit like a 3D model of the subject.

Photosynth doesn't need you to move in a circle, but it's a good way to learn. Remember, Photosynth can only make a point cloud out of the parts of the photos that overlap each other.
Nathanael (Over 1 year ago)
For more tips on what is good shooting for Photosynths, here are the official Photosynth tutorial and guide: 

You may even find that tutorials for competing services will help you understand how to shoot great synths. (Not everything that applies to other services applies to Photosynth, but most of it should be relevant.)

Hypr3D shooting tutorial:
3DTubeMe shooting tutorial:
ARC3D shooting tutorial:
My3DScanner tips:

I hope that helps get you started. If you need anything else, please ask and I'll do my best to explain.

Your fellow photosynther,
Nathanael (Over 1 year ago)
Some examples of my work: 
(Study the navigation controls in the end of the Photosynth Photography Guide to get the most out of these viewers. The Direct3D viewer is older and requires Firefox 3 for Windows (Firefox 4 doesn't do so well) or Internet Explorer.)

Orbital Propulsion (Gravity Assist)

The Beaver Grove Sign

Oregon Veterans Medal of Honor Memorial
Nathanael (Over 1 year ago)
Here are some conversations I've had with others here on the forums before. You may find that they help you think about what Photosynth needs for good 3D reconstruction a little more than you had before. 
(The last one includes interviews with the Photosynth team and links to a list of famous and personal favorite synths at the end. Another video that drives home the improvements that really moving around objects gives you for reconstruction over just taking photos from one location is this: .)
michaeldenis (Over 1 year ago)
Great posts, Nate!

Have you thought about writing the book on this stuff?  Perhaps that's something we could do together..

Nathanael (Over 1 year ago)
Thanks for the kind words, Michael. I have had a few family members and friends suggest that I write a book after several hours of me talking their ears off, going back as far as 2008. ツ It's a bit hard for me to know how much of the material that I have found on the web (others' words) would be fair game for quoting in a book that would be sold for profit. Mainly for that reason, I've stayed away from the idea, but I have given it a good bit of thought. Another approach would be to start up a Photosynth podcast, though some of the same concerns still apply, even to a free podcast.

Getting back to the topic above, I have two more videos to add to the list - one for panoramas and one for 3D reconstruction.

Mastering the Photosynth App - Episode 1: Great Indoor Panoramas

3D Reconstruction:
Autodesk Labs Project Photofly 2.0 Shooting Guidelines
Nathanael (Over 1 year ago)
Since AutoDesk has moved their PhotoFly tech into their 123D Catch product, here is an updated video tutorial.
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