Thursday Salute to Originals: Paris by the Billions

Paris 26 Gigapixels Architectural Image

Few cities compare to Paris when it comes to art and architecture. The urban fabric and historic atmosphere renders the capital of France a brilliant study in aesthetics. While a visit there allows an emersion in the wonderful Parisian culture, a website provides architects an interesting study in the way the whole city comes together.

At the Paris 26 Gigapixels website, the City of Light brilliantly comes through in a twenty-six gigapixel image. For those unaware, “giga” means billion- this panoramic picture displays twenty-six billion pixels! Notre-Dame, Montmarte, The Louvre, and l’Arc de Triomphe all come alive with clarity and scope.

Shot by renowned photographer Arnaud Frich, the image used over 2,300 individual frames and utilized digital image stitching by French-based Kolor. Waiting sixteen months for the perfect weather conditions, Frich’s team shot for two-and-a-half hours from on top of the Église Saint-Sulpice. A painstaking process of image stitching followed, showing several gaps from missing photos and a number of out-of-focus images. After that, an intricate search slightly blurred any privacy issues. When the human element concluded, a computer chugged away for three hours, without any further input, to render the photo into an interactive image.

The Paris 26 Gigapixels web site allows visitors to navigate with mouse controls or the number pad on the right of keyboards in both Flash and Hi-def versions. A Flash version even comes with info buttons on the various landmarks that display interesting facts and history while still staying in the photo with a key that allowing instant “travel” to the most beautiful sites. The HD version gives a depth and fidelity so crisp you can see when particular cafes have baguettes on sale.

While no picture, no matter the intricacy, can compare to a walk down the Champs Élysées, Frich and his group deliver an amazing interactive image. Perfect for quick inspiration or in-depth appreciation, brings a little of Paris to your cubicle at work or study at home. As well, be sure to stay on the lookout for several “Easter eggs” whimsically left by Frich’s team.