Microsoft Research’s Interactive Visual Media Group has released an update to its highly regarded Image Composite Editor (ICE) application, which uses the company’s stitching technology to create seamless panoramas.
New features in ICE 2 include image autocomplete, a more flexible user interface, a video-to-panorama feature and additional image projections.
ICE isn’t designed as a classic consumer photo app, but rather as a platform from which Microsoft develops other products. For example ICE is used in the company’s Photosynth photo-stitching software and for Bing Maps.
The app’s image completion functionality uses pattern recognition technology to fill gaps in a panorama that are a result of poorly framed shots. The app is also more forgiving: now, you do not have to start all over if you make a mistake in creating your pano. Instead, the Back button reverts the last action.
The video-to-panorama feature stitches together an image derived from individual video frames and an innovative feature allows a person or object in a video to appear multiple times in the image at various points across the wide static frame.
Microsoft has also added new lenses and projections that you can apply, including 360-degree panos, which you can use to create fish-eye, spherical, orthographic and stereographic effects.
ICE has proved to be a big hit since its introduction in 2008, and routinely gets some 1,200 downloads a day, Microsoft says. The new version of the software, for Windows only, is available free for both 32- and 64-bit systems from Microsoft’s Website.
Microsoft’s Photosynth panorama capture and sharing app, derived from similar computational photographic technology, is also available for iOS.