Turn Photo Collections Into 3D Tours

Microsoft Research and the University of Washington have developed a tool that lets users convert their two-dimensional photos into a 3D tour. Called Photo Tourism, the software basically stitches together a large collection of photos taken using different angles via like points on the image. This is somewhat like the panorama-stitching software that comes with digital cameras, but this time in 3D.

Photo tourism is a system for browsing large collections of photographs in 3D. Our approach takes as input large collections of images from either personal photo collections or Internet photo sharing sites, and automatically computes each photo’s viewpoint and a sparse 3D model of the scene. Our photo explorer interface enables the viewer to interactively move about the 3D space by seamlessly transitioning between photographs, based on user control.

It’s not clear whether Microsoft intends to release this as a standalone commercial product offering. It is likely that the software will be offered via Web applications, as Microsoft already has a preview of Photosynth, Microsoft Live’s prototype client-server application.

A video demonstration of the software can be downloaded at the Photo Toursim website.

[via Ars Technica]

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