A member of the Microsoft Research team, who explains how the panoramic stitching feature in Windows Live Photo Gallery is similar to PhotoSynth, and more importantly, the difference between the two processes.
"The main difference is in the second half of the processing pipeline. Image stitching software assumes that all images were taken from the same point, so that they can be seamlessly stitched into a single image. Photosynth assumes that the pictures are taken from different points of view, and can therefore be used to create a 3D model of the scene. On the flip side, it isn’t possible to stitch all the photos into a single image, so we use “morphing” 3D transitions to move between individual images"
"It's derived from the same technology that previously shipped in Digital Image Suite, both of which were developed in conjunction with MSR’s Interactive Visual Media group. The same team that created the PhotoTourism technology that powers PhotoSynth.
We started developing the stitching technology in 1996, and have shipped it inside a number of Digital Image Suite versions. The version shipping now inside the Window Live Photo Gallery is the latest (and best) version of our software yet.
Photosynth is a project that started out as a collaboration between Rick Szeliski, Noah Snavely and Steve Seitz at the University of Washington called “Photo Tourism”. It was later combined with the Seadragon multi-resolution image streaming technology to create the Photosynth system that people may be familiar with. Both sets of technologies use similar early-stage processing pipelines, which extract features from images in order to match up overlapping images (see Rick's Tutorial on Image Stitching for a detailed technical review of feature extraction and matching).Microsoft, Live, Windows Live, Live Photo Gallery, Live PhotoSynth, Photo Gallery, PhotoSynth, Panorama, Panoramic image