Photosynth to Shut Down February 6, 2017


In February 2017 Microsoft will decommission the Photosynth website and services. We regularly review our portfolio of products and evaluate customer use and feedback to adjust our areas of investment based on how our services are being used. We understand that innovative photo experiences are important and are committed to development efforts in the experiences that mean the most to our customers.

The Photosynth site will be shut down on February 6, 2017. In preparation, we have created a way for you to download your “synths” and panoramas and view them locally on Windows or Mac computers. Microsoft will not retain any data after the site shutdown, so if you want to keep your creations you will need to download them before this date. Note that we will only be distributing a viewer, not a way to make more synths on your own computer. If there are some final places you want to capture in Photosynth, you’ve got a few more months to do so.

Here’s how to download your synths and view them offline:

  1. First install the new offline viewer from download.microsoft.com using this link for Windows or this link for Mac.  If you have a 32-bit version of Windows, use this version of the app. This viewer supports both panoramas and “Tech Preview” synths. Unfortunately, we do not have an offline viewer for the original synths.
  2. Go to https://photosynth.net, and sign-in to your Photosynth account.
  3. Click “My Photosynths”.
  4. Click on one of your panoramas or Tech Preview synths, and look for the “Export” button shown below. If you do not see the export button it is because you are not signed in, or you are not the owner.
    export
  5. Clicking the Export button will cause the pano or synth to be packaged for export. This may take a few minutes, especially if the synth is very large. You will see the button change to “Export Requested”, and sometime later it will change to “Download” signaling that the packaging has completed and your synth or pano is ready to download. (Note that you do NOT need to stay on the page waiting for the packaging to complete; you can return to your library and schedule another synth or pano for export while you are waiting.)
  6. Click Download and wait for the file to be downloaded to your computer. Depending on the size of your pano or synth, and the speed of your connection this could take minutes or even hours.
  7. Finally, use the new offline Photosynth viewer you installed in step 1 to open this downloaded file.

 

 


Comments (62)

  1. David says:

    This is terrible news! Keep it open, keep it alive!

  2. Not good says:

    🙁

  3. Georgi says:

    open source it!

    1. We are open sourcing the viewers, but not the synthing code itself. There are quite a few open source projects that do something like Photosynth… Check out the list at the bottom of the Wikipedia article: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Structure_from_motion

  4. vbryadov says:

    I’m forgot my account with my “synth” ( https://photosynth.net/userprofilepage.aspx?user=vbryadov ). How can I find the login for authentication for this account ? is ready to provide all necessary additional information

    1. Hi vbryadov. Please send an email to photosynth@live.com, and we will help you there.

  5. Arthur says:

    Will it still work on my phone? I don’t want to share them, just make them.

    1. Yes, but the app will stop working on your phone at some stage. We removed it from the App Store more than a year ago.

  6. James Shanahben says:

    It’s been about an hour now since I clicked the Export button from a synth that was taken with an iPod Touch 4th Gen. I’m assuming it’s not a huge file but it’s taking really long for the Download button to appear. Any thoughts?

    1. James — Not unexpectedly, there were a flood of export requests yesterday. Your could have been queued behind a lot of very large ones. Did your job eventually complete and make the download available to you? If not, please send an email to photosynth@live.com.

    2. Bill Crowle says:

      IN the browser, you have to refresh it f5 after a bit to get the Downloaded response to show up!

  7. Zarathustra says:

    Nooooooooooo. This is terrible news, photosynth was one of my favorite places for 3D stuff….why can’t you open source the synth code itself?

  8. This is terrible news! Photosynth is a great product.

  9. Kurt Ristniemi says:

    Is there a way to download the original synths photo by photo to my own PC?
    These photos could then be used on the PC to stitch a panorama.
    And finally the panorama could then be downloaded as a panorama to the PC.

    This would make it possible to save also the synths.

    1. Sorry. For a number of reasons we cannot provide a viewer for the original synths, and even allowing people to download their photos from them isn’t going to be useful because all those photos have been broken into tiny 256×256 tiles.

  10. Chuck says:

    OK, one more thing, the offline viewer for windows need to be installed on a 64 bit OS and I’m still on 32 bit Win 10 after the upgrade. What are my options?

    1. Chuck — we will be remedying this. We’ll do an update to this viewer later in November and will take care of that.

      1. Chuck says:

        Awesome, thank you, I’ll look for that update and I’ll continue do download my stuff.

  11. Thor says:

    Never rely on cloud services, whether paid for nor free of charge…

  12. Chris says:

    Haven’t really used Photosynth since 2010, but I was able to login and view my old synths (using the older interface with Silverlight).

    However there is no “Export” button for me below the viewer, only “Edit”, both for my unlisted and for listed synths.

    Does anyone know why that is?

    1. Unfortunately those “original” synths are not exportable.

  13. feklee2 says:

    For panoramas, I see the export button. Why don’t I get an export button for the synths of type “Synthy”?

    My user name is “feklee”. I use IE11 on Windows 7 x64.

    1. Unfortunately those “original” synths are not exportable.

      1. feklee2 says:

        Those synths are very valuable to me. Is it at least possible to download the invidiual images?

        1. If you are only looking to download the photos from an original synth, you have two open source options.

          PhotosynthToolkit ( bit.ly/photosynth-toolkit ) by Henri Astre can download every photo in an original synth and if you choose to download both thumbnail and HD copies of your photo when prompted, it will even copy the original photos’ metadata (time and date captured, camera model and settings) from the thumbnail versions of the photos where the metadata is stored and paste it onto the full resolution “HD” copies of the photos (which to me is critical information).

          SynthExport synthexport.codeplex.com by Christoph Hausner is capable of downloading all photos, point clouds, and camera positions from original synths, but does not save the photos’ metadata.

          SynthExport can also download photos from panoramas and tech preview synths.

          Neither of these tools requires you to be the owner of the original synth, panorama, or tech preview synth, so if you can’t remember your username and password or you want to back up a family member’s or friend’s photos for them without asking them for their login information (or maybe you want to download a few of the synths or panos of other people that you have favorited over the years) these can help you out.

        2. Hi, I tried sending you this answer before but my answer is stuck in moderation because it had links in it.

          To save the photos in original synths, please try using:

          PhotosynthToolkit by Henri Astre and choose to download both the thumbnail and HD versions of your photos when asked.
          This will make sure that your photos have their original metadata (date and time taken, camera model and settings, etc.).

          SynthExport by Christoph Hausner is easier to use and can save the photos, the point clouds, and the camera positions for an original synth, a Tech Preview synth, or a panorama, but when it downloads photos it has no option to save the photos’ metadata.

          1. feklee2 says:

            Thanks a lot Nate! I am in the process of downloading synths with both tools, just in case.

  14. Don says:

    Terrible news

  15. Don says:

    What is the status of ICE? Will that be decommissioned also?

  16. Miguel says:

    I’m disappointed that the site is being decommissioned entirely. It would have been helpful to have one general export and download button for synths. It took me a while to go through all of mine (going back 4 years of activity) to retrieve my syths.

  17. Leandro Vieira says:

    First discontinuing the app, now not even the website will remain? Jesus, there ARE people in this world that will kill a marvelous thing, that will look at a beautiful, new and innovative tech and say, “nah, the world doesn’t need something like this, let’s get back to the old, boring stuff that is available everywhere and don’t have an ounce of originality”. Looking back, the app disappearing from the Windows store was the First clear sign that the Windows Phone plataform was going to be abandoned. Wish I had heard the warnings before buying a Lumia 640 XL a year ago. Now Android has the Google Street app that promises to do the same thing as Photosynth… But I will always know who the pioneer was.

  18. This is another example of how the cloud is a bad idea: when the services get pulled, we the people are left high and dry. This one is particularly hard because Photosynth is so unique and so hard to duplicate on the desktop (and is free!). I found the .pano download useful a while ago, and it does provide a way to view my panoramas natively on my PC. How long, though, will this format be supported in Windows and OneDrive? (This sounds similar to Google’s recent announcement of shutting down Panoramio, too.)

    But, I’ve actually been looking around for a way to self-host my panos on my own server. I’m considering krpano (http://krpano.com) because it has panorama-generating tools, and the results can run on any server. Development seems to be current, and support appears to be good. Now I’m just figuring out the best workflow to get panoramas out of Microsoft Image Composite Editor ready for processing by krpano before I put out the money to buy it (yep, it’s not free).

    The bottom line is I have a path forward, but most people are not going to, which is very unfortunate.

  19. JCFan says:

    Really know how to waste good tech guys. No one has anything like this that is as good. What’s next to die? Hyperlapse? MS has a great talent at not knowing what to do with or how to market any of their great tech. I hope this tech isn’t just getting dropped. What a waste if so.

  20. Not Pleased With This Terrible News says:

    Why u do this? All other SFM programs produce textured meshes, photosynth is the only one which preserves image quality! At least give us source code, don’t leave us for dead!

    1. Connie Jo Carter-Lee says:

      I AGREE IN FULL!! Such a wonderful & fun program & community – why??? I don’t understand in the least!!!

  21. Imran Anwar says:

    Many of us would like to see visitors to our websites see our PhotoSynths. Why not just make Exports actually Standards based, e.g. HTML5, so we would not need to be telling people to go download viewers etc.

    Or is the Export data HTML5 or some similar standard based? Thanks.

    Imran

    1. We will be open-sourcing the viewers for panoramas and new synths shortly. These are written in JavaScript and WebGL. It’s exactly the same code that currently runs on the Photosynth site. When that happens anyone who wants to can create a service where you could host your synths and continue to offer them on your Web Site.

  22. Joudrey says:

    Great app, Great potential but microsoft kill this Photosynth.. omg… 🙁 i still using this app with mode developer.

  23. Alex Jones says:

    This is awful. I just discovered this amazing tool.

  24. Greg Downing says:

    Sad to see it go, it has been a fun tech! First I would like to thank you for offering a method for us to download our content and a viewer, so many companies leave their users in a lurch and just dump stuff. Thanks for not letting this follow the typical abandon-ware route.

    Most of my Synths are “Original” and not “Tech Preview” Since you are not offering a way to download the “original” synths is there at least a method for migrating to the “Tech Preview” so they can be downloaded?

    1. Hi Greg — Thanks for those kind comments. You and xres have certainly uploaded some wonderful experiences to Photosynth over the years. Due to the different shooting styles of original synths (“no rules!”) and new synths (“conform to one of 4 shapes”) it isn’t possible to automatically convert original to new. That said, there is an open source tool for downloading the images (and point clouds, and camera locations) of original synths, so you could try this and submit some of the more “shapely” original synths to the new pipeline. Just make sure you do this quickly, as everything goes away February 6th. The open source tool is here: http://synthexport.codeplex.com/

  25. Michał says:

    This is terrible news! Keep it alive
    Great app, Great potential but microsoft kill this Photosynth 🙁

  26. Michał says:

    add photosynth to Office 365 for education.

  27. Rich Reper says:

    As a Georgia Tech Grad Student working with original Photosynths, I am impressed by the technology. I am also a Destiny gamer on the xbox. Seems like a great match for navigating the environment with the VRML like controls. Any chance we see dev support for something like that?

  28. Jack says:

    I’m not clear on terminology. Is a panorama considered a synth?

    In March of 2017, will someone be able to download a PC based application from Microsoft to stitch together photos to form a panorama in a .jpg format?

    Will the current Photosynth PC application that I have installed my Windows 10 PC continue to be able to build JPG panoramas in March of 2017?

    Either way, I am now passing eye water into weakness tissue.

    1. Panoramas are the fused spheres created by the desktop ICE application or the (now retired) Photosynth mobile app. Synths are collections of individual photos taken from different positions that we allow you to smoothly move between. After February 6th 2017 no more panoramas will be uploaded, any copies of the original Photosynth App you may have installed will stop working, and no new synths will be computed in the cloud. More importantly, along with the Photosynth Website all existing panoramas and synths will be deleted. Microsoft will not retain a copy of them.

  29. Patrick Franke says:

    Sorry to hear that. I’ve had a lot of fun, making the synth, but need to admit, haven’t done it for a while. Therefore I understand your decision and apologize if I’ve been a part to it.

    It is a great software. Thank you for sharing it.

  30. Connie Jo Carter-Lee says:

    This is horrible news!! I agree with David – “Keep it open – keep it alive!” – PLEASE!?!

  31. I am the sculptor of “The English Pug and the French Poodle”. I was quite delighted to see the 3D effect you did around the lady with the poodle.
    Congratulations about your product; It gives you the perspective you need for a sculpture.
    I am sincerely sorry to read that your system will be decommissioned.

    Best of wishes,

    Marc A. J. Fortier

  32. Scott R. says:

    “Microsoft Photosynth” is better than Apple’s Pana. (panorama)

  33. Kar.ma says:

    I am sad to see Photosynth go, but I saw this moment coming. What I didn’t expect is the valuable effort to give us an offline viewer and the support you are providing. I really appreciate this, just as I always appreciated your wonderful iOS app, which I suggested to a lot of people, telling “look at this AWESOME Microsoft app”. Thank you.

  34. S.Umemoto says:

    Very Good

  35. Michael says:

    I’m logged-in to my account. There is an Edit button but no Export button. How can I download my synth?

    1. Are you sure you are signed in to the same account that you used when you made this synth/pano? You can check it by clicking the “My Synths” button when signed in; that will show you the synths that definitely belong to that account. If you are signed in to the correct account, then the issue is that this synth is one of the original ones, and we do not have an export capability for the original ones unfortunately. You can recover the photos from an original synth though with this open source tool http://synthexport.codeplex.com/

      1. Michael says:

        Thanks for your reply. I do still ahve the original photos but well I hoped to somehow preserve the artwork.

  36. Henri Astre says:

    I wrote a chrome extension and a python script to batch download all my panoramas and ps2s (tech preview synths). You might find it useful if you have lots of synths to backup…
    See how-to process described in: http://www.visual-experiments.com/2016/11/13/thanks-for-all-the-synths/

    Thanks Microsoft for open-sourcing the viewers and providing a way to backup our synths before shutdown!

  37. Carlos says:

    I’ve just downloaded my synths onto my Win 10 PC and noticed, that the built in Photo App is able to display the synths. 🙂
    What can the offline viewer proposed above do more?

    1. The built-in photos app can display stitched panoramas. The offline viewer can display these as well as the “Tech Preview” synths — these things: https://photosynth.net/preview

  38. We have just made a minor update to the offline viewers, and the links above have been updated to point to this 1.0.1 version of the viewer. Bugs fixed: JavaScript stack trace when loading a new synth 2 seconds after a previous one; JavaScript stack trace when going to full screen if you had previously loaded a panorama. Also: a 32-bit build has been provided for anyone running a 32-bit version of windows. See links in the main body of the blog post.

  39. Shawbum says:

    Was checking the site for updates and just saw the closure notice. That’s too bad. 🙁 I had a blast creating all those caving related photosynths.

    Getting all mine downloaded and archived one at a time is going to be quite a process though. Any way to speed up this process? Some kind of way to bulk download the files?

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