How to Create a Panoramic Image with Microsoft Photosynth

Microsoft Photosynth is a bit hard to explain and even harder to imagine, but it takes your photos and stitches them together to create an interactive, 3-dimensional view of a room, building, or location. You take a series of photos from as many angles as possible, feed them into the software, and end up with an image that you can pan, rotate and even zoom into.

There are two main options with Photosynth. The first is to create a synth, which allows you to navigate from image to image, as if you’re looking around a 3-dimensional space. The second is to create a panoramic image, which allows you to pan 360 degrees around a central location. Both are incredibly easy to do. In this post I’m going to show you how to create a panoramic image on your PC. You can also get an iPhone app to make panoramic images right on your phone.

To get started, you’ll need to:

1. Start taking pictures. For a panorama, you’ll want to stand in one spot and take pictures 360 degrees around you. Do the same thing with pictures above and below. If you want it in the panorama, get a picture of it! Make sure the picture overlap a bit, so the software can figure out how to stitch them together.

2. Create a Photosynth account. If you have a Windows Live ID, you’ll use that to log-in with.

3. Download and install the Image Composite Editor

and the Photosynth application, both from Microsoft.

3. Open the Image Composite Editor (ICE). Select all of the photos in your panorama and drag them onto the large gray area in the middle of the ICE. The pictures will start loading.


4. Once the images are loaded, it will create a composite shot. For our purposes, we’ll leave all the settings alone.


5. This is cool, but it doesn’t look like much. Click the button that says “Publish to Web” on the lower right hand side. You’ll have to wait for Photosynth to load and process your images and then – voila!

As you can see, I had a photo that didn’t line up properly with the rest. Some of it is probably due to that guy walking around in my shot. I also missed some sky shots. Live and learn!

6. Add a title, geographic info and a description as you see fit. You can make the panorama public or private, depending on whether you want to share it with the world.

These are fast and easy to make. You can capture a panorama of the baby’s room to send to far-flung relatives or, as I did, of a favorite vacation spot to bring home with you. If you make a synth, please feel free to link to it below.

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