One of the most basic concepts of any photographic medium is that the three-dimensional world in which we live is transformed into a two-dimensional construct in the final image (basically, photographs flatten everything!). Now, what if you could take your two-dimensional images and with the aid of some computer software create a three-dimensional space? Well....you can!
Using any type of digital camera you can take tens to hundreds of photos, each one slightly overlapping the other. Upload those photos to www.photosynth.net to create a 3-D environment from your 2-D images. The finished product is called a Photosynth and the idea was hatched at a little company called Microsoft (which is one of the most original ideas to come out of Microsoft in a long time!). If you have a couple of minutes, watch a short video by David Pogue showing you how the process works.
To view your completed Photosynth (or "synths" created by others) all you have to do is install a very minor plug-in for your web browser. If it is not installed Photosynth.net will guide you through the process. Unfortunately, at this time, the Photosynth viewer will only work on Windows and you have to view your finished work (which is also viewable by everyone) on the Photosynth website. This is just the beta version and the team at Microsoft Live Labs is continuing to work on "adding support for more browsers, more platforms, and more hardware, and just making the experience that much more amazing."
Take a look at some stills of a Photosynth that was created by senior advanced photography student Nick Scott:
How cool is that?? If you would like to see the completed Photosynth, go to www.photosynth.net, install the plug-in for your browser, and (using the search bar on the Photosynth website) search for C307...that's the photography class room at Topeka West. AND...if you would like to create your own Photosynth be sure to check out the Photosynth Photography Guide to make sure your creation is as "synthy" as possible!
Update: Mr. Berryman also created a photosynth of C307 and it is available on the Photosynth website as well. A search for "C307" should bring up both versions (Mr. B's and Nick Scott's).