in partnership
The Gigapixel ArtZoom Project is made up of nearly 2,400 twenty-two-megapixel photos stitched together using Microsoft’s Image Composite Editor and Photosynth, creating a panorama which provides viewers a unique 360-degree view of the city. (Image: Microsoft)

Microsoft and local artists team up for The Gigapixel ArtZoom Project

At first glance, it may seem that computer engineer and artist are at two completely opposite ends of the career spectrum. Leave it to Microsoft Research, local Seattle artists, and a 20-gigapixel panoramic image to prove that wrong - with The Gigapixel ArtZoom Project.

The Gigapixel ArtZoom Project (say that ten times fast), is an interactive website and panorama of Downtown Seattle made up of nearly 2,400 twenty-two-megapixel photos. Taken at the top of The Bay Vista Tower on 2nd, and using several Microsoft photography programs (ICE and Photosynth), lead researchers Michael Cohen and Matt Uyttendaele were able to create a panorama of the city in such intricate detail, that when you zoom in you can literally see people playing in the Olympic Sculpture Park, shopping at Pike Place Market, and working in their office buildings.

This level of detail gave Cohen and Uyttendaele the idea to create within this interactive website, a "Where's Waldo" of sorts. They teamed up with John Boylan and more than 70 local Seattle performers and artists to scatter about the city and perform, and create, while they were taking the pictures for the panorama.

Try and spot the urban acrobatic duo in mid toss on a street corner. Or how about the man who proposed to his boyfriend in South Lake Union? What looks like mere scenery becomes precise moments and art when zoomed in on.

"We loved the idea of first seeing Seattle as a whole at the outset of the panorama," said Uyttendaele. "And then drilling into little vignettes of the city and artistry going on here."

The more you zoom, the more you find. Cancel the plans for the rest of your day, and get ready to be fantastically delighted and completely occupied on this site for the rest of the day.