December 10, 2006

3.8 Gigapixels of Half Dome; Great Flash panoramas

The folks at sell a utility for displaying spherical panoramas via the Flash Player.  They’ve now updated their technology to take advantage of the new full-screen mode enabled in the latest rev of Player 9.  Check out some very cool examples, or get the tool for €39.95 from their site. [Via]

Elsewhere, Greg Downing & co. at are working on Extreme Resolution panoramic image creation.  Check out this 3.8 gigapixel* spherical panorama of Half Dome, displayed via the Google Maps API. 
Although the subject is nearly a mile from the camera position, you can zoom in and see a climber on the face of Half Dome, as well as someone standing on the visor & and hikers along the Merced river in the valley below.
Wicked!  "By the way," Greg writes, "Photoshop large document format [PSB] was a lifesaver on this project!"

The xRez site shows off more examples and goes into plenty of technical geekery for those so inclined.  Greg’s own site offers other interesting bits on HDR panoramas, and this QuickTime slideshow nicely demonstrates how various elements of a scene can be displayed at different exposures.   (Aside: Is that thing a naval mine or an interrogation droid or…?)  A test render of 3D objects lit with an HDR lighting map shows the power of sampling this data from a scene, then feeding it into a 3D rendering package.

*According to Wikipedia, a single gigapixel contains 250 times the data captured by a 4MP sensor. (Of course, at any given moment Wikipedia might claim that I personally have invented over 350 uses for the peanut–but I think it can be trusted in this case.)

9:59 PM | Permalink | Comments [2]

More animals in the womb, plus a space shot

  • A number of folks have commented on the amazing images of animals in the womb, so I’m following up with some more info I’ve found.  In support of the special program airing tonight on its namesake channel (9PM PST), National Geographic has posted some great online resources, including a video preview, an interactive timeline, and more photos. The show is scheduled to air tomorrow night as well.
  • This NYT story about last night’s launch of the shuttle Discovery includes a couple of really dramatic photos. has another, as well as an image of the shuttle’s rotating service structure at night. (Seeing that shot, I can almost smell the airplane glue & feel the Xacto cuts as I struggled to build a model version years ago. That effort did not end well…) And here’s a video of the launch.
6:09 PM | Permalink | No Comments
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