SAN FRANCISCO — Real estate agents and brokers hoping to take photo slideshows to another dimension may want to give Photosynth a try.
Photosynth is free Web software that allows users to stitch photos together to create 3-D, immersive renderings that consumers can click, drag and zoom in and out of.
Photosynth is a brainchild of Microsoft’s Live Labs, a collaboration between MSN and Microsoft Research. Live Labs founder and director, Dr. Gary Flake, spoke to attendees at Real Estate Connect last week.
"Photosynth is not passive. It’s like a video game where users can choose the way they go," Flake said.
A "synth" of a house for sale, for example, can function as a virtual home tour with consumers able to use an arrow key to "walk" around a house, or they can simply click and drag their way around rooms. Consumers can see a 360-degree image of the outside of a house as well as recognize how rooms inside the home fit together.
The software recognizes similar elements in photos and stitches them together so that consumers can see how images relate to one another.
"You can jump into the backyard through the window. The program recognizes the details through the living room window and connects them to backyard photos," Flake said. In an example of a synth for a for-sale home, for instance, consumers can click on the front door to "open" it and jump inside the house.
The software shows the photos in high-resolution by incorporating technology from another Live Labs project, Seadragon. Seadragon allows consumers to zoom in and out of photos without losing resolution and with a near immediate load time, no matter the size of the image.
Real estate professionals can embed their synths in their websites or link to synths on the Photosynth site. Each synth also includes a "share to Facebook" button that adds a thumbnail, title, link and part of the synth description to the user’s Facebook wall. The link takes the user over to the Photosynth website.
For more information on how to create a synth, see the site’s Help page.
Flake said he recommends the tutorials "because it will change the way you take photos."