In case you missed the news, Microsoft announced on 2016 November 4th that on 2017 February 6th they will delete Photosynth.net and everything on it forever.
That means you have just one more month to save your Photosynth uploads.
Photosynth.net supports three different types of uploads:
1) original photosynths
3) tech preview synths
Microsoft graciously gave us a way to export our panoramas and tech preview synths (types 2 and 3) but did not offer any way to export original photosynths (type 1).
(To officially export any of your own panoramas or tech preview synths, just sign into the account on Photosynth.net that you uploaded your content with, view any of your panoramas or tech preview synths, and click the ‘Export’ link, then refresh the page in a minute and click ‘Download’.)
This morning a friend of the Photosynth community, Henri Astre, released a new script to enable anyone to export any Photosynth 1 or Photosynth 2 synth (upload types 1 and 3) but not panoramas (upload type 2).
Henri’s PhotosynthDownloader gives us:
1) the only way to easily export an entire original synth
2) the ability to download not only our own synths, but our favorite synths of others (perhaps some famous synths that were featured on the Photosynth homepage or were demoed by Photosynth team members in a video we watched).
I want you to be able to take advantage of this amazing chance to save your photosynths, but PhotosynthDownloader does take a little bit of work to get running.
Here is what you need to do:
1) Install node.js on your computer.
Henri’s PhotosynthDownloader needs node.js installed in order to work.
(Windows users, be sure to get the installer .msi file (NOT than the exe)
(Mac users, click here)
(Linux users, I assume you know what you’re doing.)
2) Get PhotosynthDownloader
(This comes as a compressed folder with a .zip file ending.)
3) Unzip PhotosynthDownloader
In Windows 10, you can right-click on the .zip file and then click ‘Extract all’ in order to unpack the zip file to a normal folder.
By default the unzipped folder will probably be named PhotosynthDownloader-master.
You may want to name the folder something shorter, such as PSD, and also perhaps move the unzipped folder to a simple place on your hard drive, such as C:\PSD or C:\PhotosynthDownloader
4) Open your command prompt
(On Windows, you can hold down the Windows key and tap the R key (and release both keys), then type cmd into the Run box.)
5) Change folders in the command prompt to the folder where you unzipped PhotosynthDownloader
a) in File Explorer open the unzipped folder
b) click in the address bar and copy the address of the folder
something like C:\Users\Nate\Downloads\PhotosynthDownloader
c) in your command prompt window type:
You can right-click in the Command Prompt window to paste the folder address after the cd and a space.
You will need to use the address of your folder on your computer.
If you renamed and/or moved your PhotosynthDownloader-master folder, then your Change Directory command might look like:
6) When Command Prompt is navigated to the folder where you unzipped your files, type npm install into Command Prompt and press Enter/Return.
You will see some activity in the Command Prompt as PhotosynthDownloader is installed.
7) Now that you have everything set up, you can open Command Prompt anywhere anytime by pressing Windows+R and typing cmd and then typing:
That is an example.
You would replace the
d44051e8-4c86-452c-a366-f4a5ede27709 part with the ID number of the synth you want to download.
When viewing any original photosynth on Photosynth.net, the ID number will be the part of the address in your web browser’s address bar in bold here:
When viewing any tech preview photosynth on Photosynth.net, the ID number will be this part of the link in your web browser’s address bar:
You also need to replace the word output with the address of whatever folder you want to download synths to.
(Please note that you will need to use the address of a folder that you have created before you enter the command to download a synth.
In other words, you cannot type the address of a folder
which does not yet
into the Command Prompt and have it create the folder for you.
If you are going to want to create a lot of different folders (maybe one folder called Photosynths and then one folder per username of people whose synths you want to download) then you might find it helpful to create a list of the folder names you want to create and use a utility such as Text2Folders in order to speed up creating many folders.
If you need any help getting this working or have any questions about saving your uploads, I would be very happy to help you if I’m able to.
I wrote this post to help you back up photosynths.
If you are looking for some of the synths and panos that have been featured on Photosynth’s homepage over the years, check out the favorites on these accounts:
If you are trying to download your own panoramas, you should use the official Export feature on Photosynth.net (as long as you can remember your Microsoft Account email address and password that you used to upload them with).
If you are trying to download other people’s panoramas (or your own which you’ve forgotten your login information for), I suggest that you go get Christoph Hausner’s SynthExport 2 for Windows and use the Format: Microsoft ICE Format option in the lower right hand corner of the window.
(Just unzip the folder and click SynthExport.exe inside of it to begin.)