Lynette thinks Bree is perfect. But poor Bree has her own moral dilemmas. (Quicktime Movie, 1.8 MB)

Since shedding my high level administration duties at work a few months back I've been able to concentrate on design and geeky things. Being creative in my day job: I'm in heaven.

A few weeks ago we introduced a new section to our museum's Web site: Interact. We'll introduce small and fun things to do with our artwork and be able to highlight some of the virtual exhibitions we've created.

Last week I did my first Zoomify. This application allows the viewer to explore an image by zooming into it to view details. One of the drawbacks of displaying pictures online is the small size and resolution required for easy Web viewing. Zoomify allows the viewer to see details and technique of each piece.

Creating a Zoomified image is really simple. Drop a very high resolution file on top of the application and it automatically turns your artwork into hundreds of small easily loaded image tiles. As you zoom in the program simply accesses new tiles at higher levels of magnification. The actual Zoomified image is parsed through Macromedia's Flash application. What you're viewing is a light-weight (in size) Flash movie.

One of our signature pieces at the Smithsonian American Art Museum is Larry Fuente's Game Fish. Made up of hundreds of toy pieces it's a great piece to view on our museum's walls. However, it's been almost impossible to appreciate the work when viewed on the Web. Game Fish was a natural candidate for Zoomify. Take a look.

I got so excited by the possibilities, I was Zoomifying all over the place. I did a few more of our artworks then decided to try one on one of my own photographs: an aerial photograph I took for a photo documentary called In Our Path I did in the 1980s and 1990s on the building of the "last" freeway in Los Angeles. The site is scheduled for a design and code update soon. And Zoomify will be a good addition.

With Zoomify this photograph has a Tom Clancy, satellite surveillance feel to it. The image is twenty years old but I had never explored its details as I can do now. A coworker found people talking in their backyard!

Not every image is a good candidate for this process. But if you feel the limitations of displaying Web images, try this out. And, until March you can get this application for free courtesy of VRMag.