We’ve been trying to find a way to display our shop on our website. 3D seemed the only way to go, but as always with tech, each solution had its own problems. The 3rd party apps tried out were Google’s Photosphere, and Microsoft’s Photosynth. We just finished redoing our shop (ShOptimization 2014), and felt it deserved a bit of showing off. This isn’t a tech blog; this is just an introductory post, because our new website (the one you’re on) just launched, and I just wanted to give a short overview of these two online wares.

Photosynth (Microsoft)

Photosphere (Google)

Photosynths hadn’t changed for about 7 years. I remember being an early adopter, and the coolest thing they released was the ability to view a point cloud of the 3d space you captured. Cool, but not amazing.

But their newest innovation has imploded my brain. Not because it’s that innovative. But because it works so well right out of the box. I mean…this is Microsoft right?

Their photo capture system also appeals to my engineering brain, in that there’s only one simple rule to work with the algorithm. All sections of a Photosynth must appear in 3 different pictures. That’s it. What a beautiful rule. Check out how simple their tutorial feels.


Photoshpheres, comparatively, proved amazingly difficult to capture. Sure, they’re easy enough when out in nature, but in a complex building environment, with a pipe-infested ceiling like ours, there was inevitably at least one stitching error. Usually about 7 to be honest, but I’m trying to be nice. My photospheres were taken on a phone that probably has a below par accelerometer, causing some of that distancing error. Here’s a tutorial to show you how finicky you have to be while taking these images.

But honestly, Photospeheres have got me hooked. They aren’t captured in any amazingly high resolution. Even if your camera is brilliant, the big Goog usually compresses. But they look brilliant on a phone, and use the gyro feature really is exciting. Go ahead and try it, you’ll know what I mean.

However, I’d like to see where Microsoft’s Photosynth can take me. It’s much easier to capture and embed, and implemented correctly, can give just the user experience we’re looking for with the shop. If they pull out a good Android app to view with, I’d pay to use it.

Photosynth wins.

Look forward to some pretty walkthroughs in the near future.

Check out Google Views for more photospheres. 

Check out Photosynths for… you guessed it.

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