If you’ve been following me for a while you know that I like computer graphics. I’ve worked in the industry for almost a decade, and enjoy new technologies that make computing a more visual experience. You’ve seen my 3D model of the Salt Lake Temple for Google Earth, and the Google Street Views of the temples along the Wasatch Front. Well, here is one more cool technology to add to the list.
Microsoft has built some free software called Photosynth with which you can take many photographs of an object or place, and the software will automatically overlay them together seamlessly and construct a 3D model from their similarities. You can then fly around the object or place in real-time and zoom in to see details in the photographs. It’s fascinating technology. See a fuller definition here. It’s been in beta for a while now, but has just been released for anyone to make their own “synths.” A designer from the Church has picked up on it.
Aaron Barker, one of the Church’s designers, has created a “photosynth” of the Salt Lake Temple, as reported on NorthTemple.com yesterday. It is only 58% “synthy,” which means that you cannot go all the way around the temple in 360°, which can make it difficult to navigate, but it does have about a 200° viewable space of the Salt Lake Temple (the east, north, and west sides). It was built using 117 photos of the temple, and there are many detailed ones too that you can zoom in on and see close-up.
Because Photosynth is so graphics intensive it does require a browser plugin and an application installed on your computer in order to see a synth. But I guarantee it is worth it. They are free. To install it go here.
I have embedded the synth of the Salt Lake Temple below. Or you can see it here on Photosynth’s website.
I echo Aaron’s excitement about the possibilities of this technology. Think if you could see a synth of any temple in the world, fly around it, and see the details, all while online. Think of the Church historical sites you could virtually visit like Carthage jail, the Sacred Grove, Nauvoo, and Palmyra. It’s going to be interesting to see where this technology goes, particularly if and when they build a social community around it and allow any person to add photos to synths.