San Francisco Palace of Fine Arts


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The Palace of Fine Artsi is a building originally constructed for the 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition. It was designed by Bernard Maybeck, who took his inspiration from Roman and Greek architecture. The lagoon was intended to echo those found in classical settings in Europe, where the expanse of water provides a mirror surface to reflect the grand buildings and an undisturbed vista to appreciate them from a distance.

The Palace of Fine Arts was one of only two buildings from the exposition not to be demolished. The exhibition hall, which originally housed Impressionist paintings during the exposition, is now home to the Exploratorium, a state of the art interactive science museum.

A single dome remains from the eight identical structures that were originally constructed. Towering colonnaded walkways linked the buildings on the site, but only a few remain intact.

The dome and the adjacent lagoon have often been used as backdrops for movies, such as Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo. One of the more recent sequences takes place in The Rock, where FBI agent Stanley Goodspeed (Nicolas Cage) finally catches up with John Mason (Sean Connery).
Synthy 99%
Views 2087
Favorites 12
Photos 256
Date Created 2/19/2009

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Shail Over 1 year ago
Great point cloud.. just missed by 1 to get 100% synthy.. Over 1 year ago
Thanks. I tried to go for 100% and resynch with the same set minus the 3 extraneous photos and it only got to 96% so the synching seems to be non-deterministic with variable outcomes which seems odd. The same happened on another synch I did a few months back where I removed the outliers and got an even lower synch percentage. Go figure.

I wish we could use the huge set of photos for the point cloud but set any number of them to be invisible for easier viewing around the space but that is not currently a feature. Hopefully it is something the team will add along with allowing us to resynch the same set of photos but cull out one or more of the outlier sets of photos.

BTW I had to go back to the Palace of Fine Arts a second time to take a better set of photos with more coverage and better lighting. It is currently undergoing restoration so I was not able to access the back side which would have made it even cooler.
Bert Over 1 year ago
Great synth, and good suggestions too...we've got plans do support the feature you're requesting here too (about suppressing photos from view, but keeping them for point cloud generation).
Marvin Over 1 year ago
...And I love the close up shots. Over 1 year ago

Thanks for the compliments and for pointing out that birds eye view. I had not seen if from the high perspective. Very cool!

I was surprised that the point cloud did not pick up much of the dome even though there is clear contrast with the sky. I guess the fact that the dome and sky are both light confuses PhotoSynth into thinking they are both part of the background. Over 1 year ago
The lighting at the site is quite harsh this time of year at any time after 11AM so it took quite a bit of exposure experimentation to get the right lighting. I ended up shooting about 650 photos on two separate days to get this, taking the best 256 from those and then touching them up a bit for optimal contrast, light and shadows.
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