I talked about Microsoft’s first iPhone app Seadragon Mobile yesterday. I have been intrigued by the technology behind it. So I decided to test it out.

I don’t have an iPhone yet but the technology also available to users on a desktop computer. So I downloaded the program called Deep Zoom Composer and run one of my recent panorama picture through it. BTW, if you want to try it yourself, check out this Deep Zoom resource page or this Deep Zoom Primer.

The final composition, of which a thumbnail version is shown below, includes the final stitched panorama (8643×3606) and the 10 original photos (each 2592×3872).

Experience the Seadragon

Even though the 10 original photos appear to be much smaller than the stitched final image, they actually contain the same level of details you can zoom further in to see.

To accomplish the same thing, there are two options available: Seadragon Ajax and Silverlight Deep Zoom. Both can be created using the Deep Zoom Composer mentioned earlier. The former uses only Javascript on user end and is likely more compatible with various browsers. The latter requires the installation of Microsoft Silverlight. From my tests, Silverlight is compatible with all popular late version browsers on Windows but it may not work for users of older browsers or other operating systems. However the performance is way better with the Silverlight so I decided to use it.

I have to say I am quite amazed by the result. The zoom-and-pan operation is very smooth even over the Internet. Of course, your experience may be different due to various reasons.

Why wait, give it a spin (Microsoft Silverlight is required). You can click on the thumbnail above, or follow this link (new window will open).

I think this is great way to present large photos such as this panorama picture on the web. On the other hand, it does require some work. First, you need to compose it using the Deep Zoom Composer and export it to the Seadragon Ajax or Silverlight Deep Zoom format. In my example, the software exported over 3000 slices of images and other supporting files taking up over 60 megabytes . Uploading them to the web server took quite a while.

Posted in: Digital photography, Technology on December 17th, 2008. Trackback URI
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