GEEK ALERT – Zoomify Test

Posted in Photography Tricks on March 31st, 2010 by MadDog
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Theoretically, it should be easy to put a zoomable image in a WordPress site. At least that’s what everybody claims. You can go to all kinds of  I IS GEEK blogs and see wonderful zooms. The instructions are invariably “easy to follow”. There are so many misspelled words and grammatical errors that you’d think that they were grammar school projects. Well, the instructions are not  easy to follow, because the writers make stupid assumptions about what the readers know.

Supposing the instructions were perfect, there is always the problem of distracted, feeble minds and unruly fingers. One errant thought, one misplaced fingertip; that’s all it takes to end up with a blank hole in your otherwise lovely page. That’s what I was getting. I thought that I was precisely following the most lucid set of instructions that I could find. Nevertheless, I’ve been playing with this, alternatively grappling and then yelling, “Uncle!”, since December with no noticeable luck.

Somhow I got the attention of a Facebook friend Bobbi Bennett (three sets of double letters in your name are impressive enough) who offered to hold my hand through the process. What a difference a friend makes. Within an hour I had it working.

This was my first tentative foray into the world of Zoomify, which is, by the way, free for this simple use version:

As you can plainly see, it is a Scarlet Soldierfish (Myripistis pralinia).  The controls are more or less idiot proof. Clicking on the image zooms in. Moving the mouse around pans back and forth and up and down. The rest, you can figure out. There’s not much detail in this one, so you reach the zoom limit pretty quickly.

This one has a little more depth. It’s a Spotted Porcelain Crab (Neopetrolisthes maculata):

You can get quite a lot of detail by zooming in on this one.

Here’s the one with the most detail. I went up on the roof of our office to shoot five frames and stitched them together in a panorama:

Uploaded by FTP to my server in the USA it was 639 files totalling about 10MB. That’s how you get so much detail. Each little section of the image is loaded only when you need it. I suppose that Google Earth and similar programs work the same, only on a much more massive scale involving petabytes of data available immediately from giant server farms spread all over the world. Funny, until a few years ago I thought something called Petabytes would be good to feed to my dog, Sheba.

According to the speed of your connection, you may or may not see grey blocks and fuzzy sections that take a while to fill. If you’re patient enough, you’ll be rewarded by detail in these areas. Try moving around and looking at other areas while you’re waiting for the blanks to fill. If you’re really patient, you can make out the picture of the man on the billboard at the far side of the softball field on the left side of the image.

I’m looking forward to using Zoomify more often, though I’ll probably limit its use to one per post. It does make the page take longer to load and those with slow connections may tire of waiting for the full-sized images. At least it loads only what  is needed, as  it is needed.

I want to do some reef panoramas in which you can zoom in on individual fish. I want to do some jungle panoramas in which you can zoom in on a spider. That was what attracted me to Bobbi’s site here.

I still haven’t figured out how she got that depth. Blows my mind!