You can backup your old photosynth!

January 3rd, 2017 by Henri 2 comments »

I have 2 gifts for the new year:

A photosynth downloader which will let you backup your precious photosynth 1.
You can find it on github: dddexperiments/PhotosynthDownloader.

npm install
node synth_downloader.js 8645d183-4718-4325-bd7b-5d48955839d6 output

An updated offline viewer which support the photosynth 1 and view them with my experimental webgl viewer, created originally for my chrome extension.
The updated source code is available on github: dddexperiments/offlineViewer.
An updated win64 setup is available: Photosynth_Viewer_Setup_1.0.5.exe

BTW if you need a tool to get a list of ps1 to download, I would use the playground of the open-source photosynth2 viewer. You can select photosynth 1 filter (top right) and then use the file render method and csv instead of json for output.

Please checkout Nate post if you have trouble using the downloader.

Hurry up: you only have 1 month to download your favorite ps1/ps2!


So long and thanks for all the synths!

November 13th, 2016 by Henri 5 comments »

Microsoft is pulling the plug on but they are also very gracefully giving us a way to save all our synths before full shutdown. What is also very generous from them is that they are planning to open-source the viewers (I implemented the latest one) and are providing an offline viewer for panoramas and ps2s (technical preview synths).

If you are a heavy user it might take you a while to click export (as explained in original post) and wait to download all your synths. I have a solution for you: I wrote a mass downloader!

How to batch export all my panoramas and ps2s

1) Install my chrome extension: photosynth website on steroids (or just update / re-enable it).
2) Log-in to your account.

Without the extension:

With the extension enabled:

3) Click on the added “My info”, then you can either save all your panoramas or ps2 (technical preview synths):

4) Click on download all my [...]
When you click on that button in the background it’s going to click on the export button of all your panoramas / synths for you and then return immediately. It might take several hours for to export all your synths. So I recommend you to click on both download panoramas and ps2s and then wait for a couple hours and try again.

If everything went smoothly at some point the alert box should tell you that all synths are available (for download) and that none of them are still processing (export in progress) and hopefully none of them are failing.

5) A Save-As dialog box should appear that will ask you to save a file: this file format is very simple:

for all synths:
photosynth-guid -> download_url

Thus none would be available originally but after a few minutes/hours they should be all there.

End of part one! you should have exported all your panoramas and synths and end up with these 2 files containing all your synths:

  • panoramas_list.txt
  • ps2_list.txt

How to batch download all my panoramas and ps2s

I assume that you did part one already and you have panoramas_list.txt and ps2_list.txt.

I wrote a python 2.x script to mass-download all your synths using the list files.

1) install python 2.x on your machine.
2) create a folder in a hard drive with lots of space (~rougly the same space reported on the “My info” page).
Example c:\my_synths_backup\
Then download and copy it into c:\my_synths_backup\
3) copy your list files into c:\my_synths_backup\
3) in the command line run:

cd c:\my_synths_backup\
python panoramas_list.txt
python ps2_list.txt

The script is supporting resuming, so you can Ctrl+C to cancel the current download list and then call the script again to resume downloading.

End of part two: happy downloading!


Experiment with a RICOH THETA

March 17th, 2014 by Henri 1 comment »

I’ve borrowed a RICOH THETA camera from a friend and I wasn’t expecting to have so much fun :) ! The image quality is not so good (noisy, even with latest firmware) but being able to capture a panorama in one click is really powerful and let you create new visual experiments ;) .

Here is my little experiment with a little planet video effect:

I’m thinking of open-sourcing my tools to allow other people to generate such videos. I may also try to release directly an interactive webgl viewer. Stay tuned!

BTW I’ve updated my photosynth chrome extension (it was broken due to a website update).


Photosynth website on steroids :)

February 3rd, 2014 by Henri 2 comments »

Bad idea: hacking during the new year holiday and during the super bowl go Seahawks! Result? A very hacky google chrome extension which is adding several alpha/beta quality features to the website. This is my gift for 2014, enjoy! :)

You can get the extension here. Make sure you are logged in on (and have joined the beta) while using the extension as some photosynth2 feature are still only available to beta users (hopefully this limitation will be removed soon).

Feature added by the extension:

The extension is changing the top menu to:

  • Search: previous Explore page + new links to fullscreen grid based ps2 explore page.
  • Explore: new fullscreen map based explore page.
  • My Synths: previous My Photosynths page + new tab (my map, my ps2, my info).
  • Preview: link to the new preview website + animated preview on the create page.


Animated preview when you hover a thumbnail of a PS2 + links to new explore page.

Clicking on “Explore most recent PS2″ or “Explore most viewed PS2″ will display a page like this:

The bottom row contains the latest synths of the current user (the one of the current synth being played). You can hover to see a preview and click to load a synth. Experimental feature: it’s using a new version of the viewer capable of quickly unload/load synths (don’t click too fast :-) ).


New fullscreen page showing synths (ps1, panorama and ps2) on a map. Sadly there is no proper ranking here so you need to zoom in a lot before being able to see synths. Also there is a known bug in google chrome which is preventing from seeing silverlight content opened in new tab.

My Synths:

The extension add 3 new tabs: My map, My PS2, My info

My map

This page is really complicated, adding a lot of feature… I will propably have another post explaining how to use it.

Basically you can map (=geotag) your own synths (ps1, panorama, ps2). You need to be logged in and click on ‘show untagged synths’ then you can search for a place on the map, move the orange pushpin or right click to reassign it location. Then once the orange pushpin is at the place where you’ve captured your synth, you can click on ‘assign pushpin location’ to assign the location to the corresponding synth. To select synths, you can press and hold ‘ctrl’ and then draw a rectangle, from that selection you can either remove their map position or assign them a text tag. Clicking on ‘movable pushpins’ will allow you to directly move your synth pushpins on the map. You can click on on ‘Find neighbors’ to find synths arround your synth (orange synth = community, green = yours). You can also play with the timeline to only display synths captured in the corresponding time interval. You can also change the url and switch w=0 to w=1 to enable the wikipedia option. This option will search for the closest wikipedia of your synth. Please consider donating to WikiLocation if you are using the w=1 option.

My PS2

This is a new page allowing you to quickly preview all your ps2 synths. They are grouped by topology (spin, panorama, wall, walk) and then sorted by captured date.

My info

Sadly the captured date information is not properly filled by the system (it’s using the upload date). You need to click on ‘fix capturedDate’ to set the captured date of all your ps2 (it might take a while: wait for the ‘done’ alert box).

Preview – Create

The extension is adding an animated preview which will help you to choose the proper topology:


This extension was created by me only and thus it doesn’t mean that this is representative of upcoming photosynth feature.

FYI this is not my first extension for the photosynth website, I’ve already created one which is adding a webgl fallback viewer if you don’t have silverlight for photosynth1 content.

Have fun exploring all feature introduced in this chrome extension!


Photosynth 2 launch!

January 25th, 2014 by Henri 3 comments »

Happy new year 2014!

This is a short post in case you’ve missed the launch of Photosynth2. I’m glad to be able to break the silence and to show some nice stuff again :) . I’ve developed the WebGL viewer used to display ps2 synths and I’ve been busy capturing tons of ps2′s (I still have a lot of datasets waiting to be uploaded :) ).

If you are using a modern browser you should be able to see this ps2 with the WebGL viewer:

Otherwise we are also generating an mp4 fallback:

In case you are wondering what’s new compared to photosynth1, I’ve created this video showing the benefit of a ‘good’ geometry (ps2) for image-based rendering instead of using only a dominant plane (ps1):

Photosynth 1 is allowing unstructured capture and thus the navigation is very difficult. In Photosynth 2 we are constraining the user to capture images along a single path (1D manifold) and thus the navigation is very simple (and touch friendly :-) ). Photosynth 2 introduces 4 different topology (camera motions):





BTW if you type: “The answer to life, the universe and everything”, on the view page of a synth a magic menu will appear with lot of options so that you can tweak your viewer. You will need to refresh the view page to apply most options and the changes are permanent (store in localStorage).

‘m’ and ‘c’ are also two other shorcuts that you should try…

I should have another post very soon. Stay tuned!