This is the advice I see many people give in their comments when they post ICE panoramas on flickr, for example (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, etc). I agree, these images are best viewed large, but web browsers do a poor job letting you explore large images. This, after all, is why we created HD View. But creating an HD View web page is cumbersome compared to the simplicity of uploading a jpeg to your favorite photo-sharing Web site. ICE, Windows Live Photo Gallery (WLPG), and HDView have a cool feature that can help. When you create a panorama in ICE or WLPG, those programs store metadata in the jpeg that describes the result. For example, if the output is a 360-degree image, this is noted in the metadata. On the viewing end, HDView interprets this metadata and can then provide a surround-video experience.
Here’s an example from Aleks Clark, one of my favorite ICE-using flickr photogs:
Notice that HDView reads the metadata out of this image and understands that it is actually a 360 full wraparound. And to view it large you can just hit the full screen button on the top right. All I had to do to embed this in the blog was to insert the following small embed code:
<iframe src=”http://research.microsoft.com/en-us/um/redmond/groups/ivm/HDViewSL/HDIFrame.htm?FileName=http%3A%2F%2Ffarm4.static.flickr.com%2F3394%2F3497207244_74d632775a_o_d.jpg&Viewer=0” style=”width: 400px; height: 300px; margin: 0;” frameborder=”0″ scrolling=”no”></iframe>
To use this, simply replace the URL of the jpg (underlined and in blue above) with your own. This works with any Web photo service that preserves the original, like SkyDrive, SmugMug, or pro accounts on flickr. A few caveats. The first is that, in this case, unlike regular HDView pages, which show something almost immediately (thanks to the multiple resolutions stored on the server), the full jpg has to download before anything is shown. On my home connection, Aleks’s image took about 17 seconds of buffering. The second caveat is that unfortunately this feature doesn’t work in Silverlight yet, so it is HDView only for now. Finally, the image can’t have been edited by another tool after ICE or WLPG, because these are likely to strip the relevant metadata.
So, next time you want to share your uploaded image LARGE, take a few extra minutes and provide an HDView embed on your blog! If you try this out I’d love to see links in the comments.