Best Viewed Large

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=”” 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.


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5 Responses to Best Viewed Large

  1. rainlight says:

    Hi, Matt,

    I just wanted to give you a heads up that WordPress seems to have broken your iframe for the HD View embed code here. Hope you can get that fixed soon.


  2. rainlight says:

    Also, I just wanted to say that I would love to see support for panoramas which have been exported to JPEG in this fashion supported in Photosynth. Since you guys have done work with them already, it seems like a logical step to be able to feed 360 degree panos to the synther and have it recognize what it’s biting into – meaning it should use a larger than 2 megapixel version for feature extraction as well as know how to display it in the middle of a synth – as a true wraparound panorama. If that means recognizing pano stitches before converting to DZI and converting them to a cube map first, then that too.

    I’m very interested in the possibilities of a synth created from nothing but tightly packed 360 degree panoramas (such that a good point cloud is still able to be generated).

    • rainlight says:

      I’m sure you guys are well aware, but another thing that I meant to mention would need to be remedied would be the synther’s current 32 MB per input photo limit in order to place full resolution stitched panos into a synth.

  3. hdview says:

    Thanks for the feedback.

    Unfortunately wordpress has different embed restrictions than did. Which means that HD View as well as Photosynth embeds are not allowed.

    Stitched panos into the Synther is a great idea.

    • rainlight says:

      The HTML embed restrictions are true of WordPress-hosted, but you can easily change your ability to post HTML if you are using the free WordPress software from on your own domain.

      I know that your blog just underwent a domain swap, so I know it is far less than ideal to change again, but if you can’t even embed your own product on your own blog, something seems amiss. has failed to allow iframes for years now with no signs of coming to their senses, so I’m inclined to vote for another quick domain swap now, and avoid more HD View-less months of blogs.

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