Get all your questions answered about our latest Photosynth Technical Preview.
Can I export a photosynth as a format I can bring into a 3D editor such as Blender or Maya?
It depends whether you're talking about original photosynths (made with the original Photosynth desktop application for Windows 2008 - current day) or 2nd generation photosynths (made in Windows Azure with the new Preview website).
To save the data from original synths you can use:
1: Christoph Hausner's SynthExport http://bit.ly/synthexport
(saves a synth's various point clouds in a variety of formats and the camera positions as a CSV file)
2: Henri Astre's PhotosynthToolkit http://bit.ly/photosynth-toolkit
(saves the largest point cloud of a synth with its camera positions as well as the option to save a thumbnail version of each input photo which stores the EXIF metadata in addition to a full resolution copy of each input photo with the goal of feeding it to Yasutaka Furukawa's PMVS 2 to generate a dense point cloud, to improve on Photosynth 1's sparse point cloud)
You may also want to take a look at the work of:
1: Greg Downing of xRez Studio who has exported Photosynth data to Maya to create a gigapixel shot of an Egyptian artifact http://www.pgrammetry.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=85
2: Josh Harle who has used SynthExport and PhotosynthToolkit to open Photosynth data in 3DStudio Max
http://tacticalspace.org/archives/camperdown/ (sadly his interactive demo is missing in action)
The accompanying synth: http://photosynth.net/view.aspx?cid=56f11824-aab7-4984-ab16-e5c7c3e116f5
And a snapshot of part of his reprojection on flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/joshharle/5242353417/sizes/l/in/photostream/
Also look up Kean Walmsley's BrowsePhotosynth for AutoCAD 2011 http://bit.ly/browsephotosynth
If you're specifically asking about Photosynth 2 synths from the 2014 Technical Preview, then no one has yet published an update to any of the utilities listed above to handle the new data formats.
Henri Astre was snatched up by Microsoft http://www.visual-experiments.com/2012/07/11/moving-on-again/ and is working on the new Photosynth 2 WebGL viewer.
Christoph Hausner reported that he is updating SynthExport to do so in a thread where someone was asking about downloading their mobile panoramas:
"I am working on adding this functionality to SynthExport.
v1 panoramas will be exported as six faces of the cubemap (or as ICE project),
v2 synths (all four types) as a series of images (undistorted versions of the source images)."
Josh Harle also stopped by the site recently in this thread:
and said that he's looking at how the reconstruction files from new synths fit together.
Regarding the four new synth types:
1: the point clouds are actually more sparse than point clouds from original photosynths, so for modelling purposes, you may prefer the original Photosynth.
2: there is less freedom in how you shoot a scene or how much you can fit into a single reconstruction, so there is another advantage to the original Photosynth
3: although Photosynth 2 synths carry a low polygon depth map for each photo which successfully matches into the scene, there isn't a single global mesh which they all match into, so how desirable it is to even project all the input photos onto all the polygons simultaneously in a 3D modeling program remains to be seen.
Here's a video where Eric Stollnitz from Microsoft Research explains the steps behind generating what we know today as Photosynth 2 spins:
By way of source, the Preview's 'About' page http://photosynth.net/preview/about/ says,
"Third, the technology uses the feature points in each photo to generate 3D shapes. It does so on a per-photo basis rather than trying to generate a global 3D model for the scene."
I know that's a lot of links and perhaps more information than you wanted, but hopefully it gives you a sense of where to keep an eye on (SynthExport), who to talk to (Christoph, Josh, and Greg), and source code to look at (SynthExport is on CodePlex and PhotosynthToolkit is on Github).