All posts tagged ‘photography’

File Under: Multimedia, Web Services

Instagram Finally Embraces the Web

Instagram on the web. Image: Instagram.

Instagram is leaving the confines of the smartphone that birthed the wildly popular photo-sharing service to stake a spot on the web. Instagram began life as an iPhone-only photo-sharing app and eventually expanded to Android, but, until today, Instagram lacked a web presence.

The new Instagram web profiles are not the full Instagram experience on the web — there’s still no way to actually upload photos — but they do at least give you a URL to share with curious friends and family.

Your new Instagram URL gives your recently shared photographs a home on the web, along with your profile photo and any bio info you’ve added through the Instagram app. The web interface also handles most of Instagram’s basic social features, like following users, leaving comments and liking photos.

Instagram’s new web-based profiles are rolling out slowly over the next week. To see your profile, provided it’s available, just head to instagram.com/[username]. Assuming your photos are set to public, anyone will be able to see your profile by visiting that address; you do not need to be an Instagram user to view a public user’s profile on the web. If your photos are set to private they’ll only be visible to people that already follow you and are logged in to the site.

While the new profile pages mark Instagram’s first foray onto the web, the company has long offered an API and there are already numerous third-party websites that offer web-based access to Instagram profiles. Sites like web.stagram.com or statigr.am offer not only access to your photostream and comments, but additional features not found in the current incarnation of the “official” site — like embeddable gallery widgets and a variety of ways to view images.

Mining Flickr to Build 3D Models of the World

Microsoft’s PhotoSynth tool is jaw-droppingly awesome. But, because it’s a Microsoft project, the technology is unlikely to appear on some of your favorite non-Microsoft online apps, like Google Maps or Flickr.

However, our friends at ReadWriteWeb stumbled across a very similar tool — at least in terms of the end result — developed by the University of North Carolina in conjunction with Swiss university, ETH-Zurich.

The team has developed a method for creating 3D models by pulling in millions of photographs from Flickr and using some fancy algorithms to generate 3D models of local landmarks. Perhaps even more impressive the results can be generated using a single computer in under a day.

Project lead Jan-Michael Frahm touts the project’s efficiency saying, “our technique would be the equivalent of processing a stack of photos as high as the 828-meter Dubai Towers, using a single PC, versus the next best technique, which is the equivalent of processing a stack of photos 42 meters tall — as high as the ceiling of Notre Dame — using 62 PCs. This efficiency is essential if one is to fully utilize the billions of user-provided images continuously being uploaded to the internet.”

While the results are cool and would make an impressive addition to any number of geo-based services, more serious use cases include helping disaster workers get a better idea of where they’re headed and the extent of damage.

So far the researchers have released a movies demonstrating the technique on landmarks in both Rome (get it? built in a day…) and Berlin, and the results are impressive. For more information on how the process works, check out the UNC website.

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File Under: Glossary

Duotone

Duotones are images that only display in two colors.

Like most visual techniques on the Web, duotones come from the world of print. In print, the more colors you use, the slower the production time and the higher the cost, so duotones were often an economical alternative. Duotones can also improve efficiency on the web by enabling the creation of cool-looking images with small file sizes. Duotones are made by first creating a grayscale image and then overlaying it with a different specified color.