Sunday, August 9, 2009

Silly name, great tool

I recently had the privilege to learn about a great new tool from Microsoft that could be of great benefit to artists. Microsoft Live Lab's Seadragon offers the ability to quickly open and show full resolution photos and offer a near limitless ability to zoom in to see more detail. It's a feature rich application but I'm only going to discuss one feature in this post.

As someone that processes most of the submissions that come into CoCA, its fairly common for artists to supply detailed close up photos of their work in addition to an overall photo. Seadragon allows you to do offer both in a single photo. Let's say your camera takes 6 mega pixel photos, instead of reducing the file resolution down to 72 dpi, you upload the full resolution photo, it opens as quickly as that 72dpi version but you can zoom in to see detail that normally required a macro photography photo.

If you're not totally confused at this point, take a look at the examples below. They are from CoCA's Heaven and Earth exhibition at Carkeek Park. I selected wide angle shots so that you can zoom in and see the detail that is captured but not normally visible because web based photos are low resolution.

Seadragon has great potential and I'm hopeful that Microsoft addresses some of its short comings, but for a first rev, it's impressive. Its fairly simple and straight forward to implement on both your web site or blog. I love its potential, let me know what you think.

Give it a test drive, use the scroll wheel on your mouse to zoom in and out.

Photos, copyright William Brody

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