Getting Started with DeepZoom
I've done a few events recently and showed off a new Microsoft technology called DeepZoom which is powered by Silverlight. DeepZoom allows you to publish incredibly hi-res images online (potentially we're talking terrabytes) allowing users to access them without first having to download the entire image. It does this by creating multiple versions of the image at different resolutions with the hi-res versions chunked up into small bits. When the user first accesses the image they are presented with a low res zoomed out version but as they zoom in and navigate the image only the relevant hi-res chunks are downloaded thus saving bandwidth.
That might all sound fairly complex but the experience it creates is incredibly intuitive, take a look at the Hardrock Memorabilia Site (if you want to be impressed press 'v' and then zoom out!).
The really neat thing about DeepZooms is that they are pretty easy to put together using the free DeepZoom Composer. I've been promising a video showing how to use the composer for a little while now so here it is:
NB: You need .NET 3.5 for the Composer to work
(For some reason its not clear in the video how I stitch the photos - Simply select the photos to stitch, right click and select 'Create panoramic photo...')
In the above example I use another cool feature in the Composer which will automatically stitch together multiple lo(wer)-res images to make a single hi-res image for your DeepZoom. If you want to try it for yourself with my images they can be downloaded here.