Michael Cohen, Johannes Kopf, and I were at Siggraph 2007 in San Diego this week. Yesterday in the Big Images session we presented our paper "Capturing and Viewing Gigapixel Images". During the presentation we described the technical details of how we generated our Gigapixel images, the HD View rendering pipeline, and at the end of the talk I presented our Beta 2 release.
Yes, Beta2 is now available. The major new features in Beta 2 are:
We now support Firefox. Sweet. If you use Firefox to visit an HD View site, for example our Gigapixel page, you will now be prompted to install a Firefox plugin. The install page is also available directly here for Firefox and the new IE plugin here. I’ve worked with most of our partner’s to have them make the necessary changes to support Firefox.
Auto Tone Adjust:
I love this feature. You will now see one of these icons in the top right corner. I’ve described the feature a bit here: http://research.microsoft.com/ivm/HDView/HDhelp.htm and provided some screen shots of the effect. The basic idea is that HD View now acts a bit like the auto-gain of your camera. So as you zoom into dark regions you should see additional shadow details. It actually is more sophisticated than auto-gain and generally produces better looking images. For example in regions of the big images that are flat due to haze, the auto tone-adjust feature increases the contrast. The icons here represent none, medium and strong adjustment that you can cycle through. Below are the none (left) and strong (right) settings for the Mt. Rainier portion of our Kerry Park Gigapixel image. Notice some of the flatness due to the haze has been removed. Click on either image to be redirected to the HD View.
Another fun new site to visit that shows off this feature is the Bohonus survey of Seattle area artist studios: http://www.bohonus.com/artists/ The indoor environments shown here have a variety of shadows and highlights that really show the usefulness of auto tone adjustment.
I’m very interested to hear feedback on this feature and if possible give me permalinks to cases where you think it does not improve the experience of browsing HD View images.
The Beta 1 XP download was 1.5MB. Beta2 is now much smaller. There is now a single 500KB download for all supported versions of Windows. We’ve also fixed several bugs, like ‘perspective’ images being clipped when zoomed in, international permalinks, tool-tips not showing up and +/-/arrow short-cut keys not working sometimes.
As always I’m interested in your comments …