New Feature Updates from Photosynth

We've been very busy in the last few months working hard on squashing bugs, improving our synther technology, evolving our viewer and building some community features for our website.  We're able to share some of that hard work with you today and promise to have more great features launching in the coming weeks. Some of the improvements affect things that happen in the background, so you might not notice them at first... but probably the biggest update we're releasing today is an experimental cross-platform Silverlight viewer. The details on the new viewer and some of the other major new features can be found below. Happy synthing and thanks for supporting our efforts to create a truly useful, innovative and interactive photo experience.

New Experimental Cross-Platform Viewer

Our current Photosynth viewing experience uses a technology called Direct 3D, and makes sophisticated use of the graphics hardware on your computer. This approach has its advantages and disadvantages. If you have a recent Windows PC with up to date graphics drivers you’ll have a great experience, and you’ll be able to view synths with buttery smoothness. But lots of people have older machines, and many people have Macs, and none of these folks could view synths before now. Silverlight is cross-platform (PC and Mac) and works on most old machines as well as all new ones. This generality comes at a price though, and for now Photosynth’s Silverlight experience is a couple of steps behind our Direct 3D one.

Try It: Explore Synths in Silverlight

Most of the features in the Direct 3D viewer are implemented in the Silverlight viewer. In particular, the incredible zooming that Photosynth achieves via the Seadragon technology is now a major feature in Silverlight, and is known to the world as Deep Zoom. This means that even if you are viewing a synth of 300 10-megapixel images, every pixel in every photo is available to you at the flick of your mouse wheel. Very cool! Not so cool is the fact that Silverlight doesn’t currently have direct support for point clouds. Because we couldn’t achieve reasonable point cloud performance in Silverlight we decided to leave them out of this viewer until we can do them well, or replace them with some other way of visualizing the geometry.

More information about our Experimental Silverlight Viewer is here.

Site Feature Updates

Recent Activity on Profile Page
Login and view your profile area and you'll see a new tab with the latest comments on your synths. This is the first step in helping you keep track of the activity on your synths and the ones you find interesting. You'll soon be able to see updates on who favorites your synths and keep track of comments you've left on other members synths.

Find Related Synths on View Pages
People from around the world have been creating and uploading some pretty awesome synths and we want to make it easier for you to explore and find these great synths. On the view page of all synths you'll now see a "Related" area in the bottom right corner that will display synths related to the one you're viewing. Try it out here. (The more of your synths you tag, the better this feature will get)

View in True Full Screen
Because Photosynths are immersive experiences, we thought it was important to give you a true full-screen viewing option... and now you can. Once in in the synth world with your viewer in full screen, you might want tp use the viewer Keyboard Shortcuts to help you navigate around.

Improved Comment Flow
Synths can be quite interesting and we want to encourage conversation around the ideas and content shared in a synth. We've made some adjustments to the comments area to make it easier for you to participate in the flow of conversation around synths on the site. We already have some plans to improve the comments area even more... but don't let that stop you from sharing your thoughts and comments right now..

Multi-word Search
We've added in the ability to wrap multiple words in quotes to get better search results for multi-word queries. For example, a search for "Smith Tower" will now give you better results of where Photosynth was born.

Fresh Featured Synths
There is a whole new collection of great synths on our homepage. Too many interesting, fun, creative and detailed synths have been created lately and we had the tough task of selecting only a handful to share on the homepage. We look forward to highlighting your next great synth on the homepage soon! View the new featured synths here.

Synther Updates

The brains behind the synthing technology have made some great improvements that I technically would do a very poor job of trying to explain... but the basics are that you should notice faster crunching of your images and better matching and synthy-ness percentage in your finished synth. You'll really notice the improved speed if you have a multi-core machine... (The upload process can still take a while depending on your internet connection speed.)


As always, we welcome your thoughts and suggestions.

Happy Synthing!

Comments (16)

  1. usacomp2k3 says:

    So is there a way to re-synth some synths that are already up there?

  2. spike says:

    Please add the possibility to rate synth and some "Digg" buton for the community to share it’s passion for a synth and drag people to your great technology.

  3. dariusmonsef says:


    We don’t have an online way for you to re-synth, but you’re welcome to try recreate some of your synths you’d like to see better matched.  Let us know what kind of results you come up with.


    Thanks for the suggestion spike.  We plan on adding some more "social media" functions in the near future.  I hope you’ll share your favorite synths when the features are online.


  4. Scoopigg says:

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  5. Lee says:

    I’d really like a way to ‘hint’ to Photosynth after it’s done the initial matching, so that it can achieve better synthyness.  I’ve tried synthing some older photo collections that I know can be lined up, but there’s not enough of an overlap for photosynth to figure it out itself, but there’s probably enough if it got a ‘hint’.

  6. fevans says:

    I’d like to use Photosynth for a corporate project right now.

    1. But based on what I’ve read the content is all uploaded, and visible to everyone. As much as I’d like to share that simply isn’t an option. Is there a beta program for corporate users?

    2. Ideally I’ll need a .NET API for adding images (potentially thousands)

  7. fevans says:

    This is a follow-up to my previous post. Having searched more, I found threads discussing the "restricted online" model.

    Unfortunately that’s not an option. The data must reside on a closed LAN.  In many cases we don’t own the data, only the license to use it. In some cases, the "restricted online" model would be a breach of contract, in other cases it would be a felony.

    Also, there is the matter of the volume of data. In my previous post I said "thousands of images". That’s only for the proof-of-concept.  The actual volume of data is terabytes and potentially petabytes.

  8. Stephen says:

    The problem is, that under Monolight, it doesn’t work.  The Silverlight viewer (being marketed as cross-platform) restricts users to Windows XP SP2-SP3 or Vista.  Let me know when the contradictions end.

  9. Ivan Ivanoff says:

    What the hell? Why I cannot use your site in my Ubuntu Linux?

    Where is your so-called cross-platform compatibility?

  10. Mark says:

    Hi Stephan,

     the Silveright viewer will work on various flavors of the Windows operating system and also Intel based Macs, see: for a list of the full compatibility matrix.  While not covering all platforms out there this does allow coverage for a large portion of users, hopefully the Monolight project will progress soon enough so that the viewer becomes available on a Linux system in the future.

  11. Joe says:

    I have the photo any two work on windows live spaces can get two stream on windows live spaces plus windows live frameit.

  12. Ian says:

    please, please implement a point cloud exporter!

  13. Chuck says:

    How adding HD Photo support.And is there a way two get photosynth work with windows live frameit and windows live spaces.

  14. rob says:

    Is there a way to export a cube map for use as background environment in a 3d application such as 3ds Max or Maya?

  15. engineer#178 says:

    I agree with the comment on corporate use. This would be an incredible tool for documentation and training, for instance as a virtual walk-through of a manufacturing plant.

    From overviews of pieces of equipment, typical panel readings and conditions, (without the noise/time associated with an actual walkthrough), it would be really easy to share problems with a widespread team without the problems of putting it into context.

    But, there is no way it could be done if the synth was public, or even stored on anything other then a private corporate server. Are there any plans to make a corporate version? For something that powerful, and such an obvious boost to productivity, I’m sure many corporations would have no problem licensing it.

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