LIVE PICTURE INC. WANTS TO bring the "you are there" feel to photos with its PhotoVista program. The software stitches together eight to 16 snapshots--either photos that have been scanned into a PC or images from a digital camera--to recreate virtual panoramic views. Special processing algorithms eliminate overlap between the snapshots and provide the subtle warp necessary to make the pictures appear panoramic. The software can even atone for some variances in brightness or angle caused by shaky hands while taking the photos.
The resulting digital image file can be added to any Web site. Cybernauts can download for free from Live Picture's Web site (www.livepicture.com) the RealSpace Viewer, software that allows surfers to look up, down, and around the virtual vista by using horizontal and vertical scroll bars.
PhotoVista isn't the first virtual space software by any means. In fact, Live Picture Vice-President Eric Chen developed a similar program, QuickTime VR, while he was at Apple Computer Inc. in the early 1990s. But whereas QuickTime VR could handle only a horizontal strip of pictures, PhotoVista can be used to recapture the sky overhead and the dirt below.
The program, expected to be released next month, will be sold for around $99 through direct-mail catalogs. PhotoVista also may be bundled with some digital cameras.