Topic: 3d viewing with a Mac

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jimcseke (Over 1 year ago)
I finally convinced one of my co-workers to check out and create an account with Photosynth.
Long story short, he owns a brand new Mac and for some reason he is not able to view synths in the direct 3d viewer.
The Direct 3d viewer link is not even on the on the synth view page.

Is this normal? Or perhaps he missed something when he created his account.
Do Macs have the same abilities with Photosynth as a PC?
Is there some software for Mac users he should download?
If the download process is the same for a Mac, then perhaps I will take the time to sit down with him and try to figure out what he might have done wrong.
Any information on this topic is appreciated and could perhaps save me some time. And also allow my friend to see what Photosynth really is capable of. 
Then I am hoping he will inspire our other co-workers to type in and see why I think this is one of the best sites on the web.
Thanks in advance.
jimcseke (Over 1 year ago)
P.S. I have searched the forum and other sites and was not able to find anything which addressed this topic. If I missed it somewhere, I appologize for rehashing old discussions.
Nathanael.Lawrence (Over 1 year ago)
Hi, Jim,

He should be able to view any synth using the Silverlight viewer, but he cannot use the Direct3D viewer (which is built using DirectX - a Windows only technology... also the reason that the viewer was ported to Silverlight which works on both Windows + Mac OS 10). 

Neither is the synther available for Mac OS 10, as it is only a Windows application.

Since your friend has a modern Mac, he has several options. He can run Windows on his Mac in several ways. The most simple + straightforward is to use Apple's 'Boot Camp' application (which is built in to MacOSX) to install a second operating system... in our case, Windows. After opening Boot Camp, he simply selects how much hard drive space to give to the second OS, inserts an installation disc, + lets it copy the files + restart.

The second option is to use a Mac OSX application which acts as a virtual computer which will run a copy of Windows, allowing him to install the synther + Direct3d viewer.
Nathanael.Lawrence (Over 1 year ago)
A couple of virtualization or emulation programs that will run Windows from within MacOSX are as follows: 


jimcseke (Over 1 year ago)
Thanks (again) Nathanael.
Nathanael.Lawrence (Over 1 year ago)
I should clarify that using Boot Camp will result in a 'dual boot' scenario. e.g. When your friend turns on his Mac, he will need to hold down the 'Option' key to choose either MacOSX or Windows.

While the Boot Camp installer is within OSX, it will require a reboot of his computer each time he wishes to make a synth or use the Direct3D viewer, even though he will be getting the advantage of his entire machine's resources being applied to synthing or viewing.

Virtualizing Windows has the benefit of not needing to restart the computer, however it has the drawbacks that emulation is always slower than running code directly on the actual hardware + running Mac OSX + whatever other applications he may have open in the background in both operating systems will certainly all work together to limit the size of the synths that your friend will be able to construct (although being a new synth maker he may not be breaking size limits) + the performance of the D3D viewer.
ozone702 (Over 1 year ago)
Can't this stuff run using Mono on a Mac?
NateLawrence (Over 1 year ago)
Here's how things map out for Photosynth viewers and different operating systems: 

Old Direct3D Photosynth viewer (what you get when you scroll to the bottom of a synth's page and click the 'View this synth in Direct3D' link)
This viewer is the most powerful because it can use your computer's GPU, but since it uses DirectX, can only be run on Windows and the browser plugin was only written for Firefox on Windows and Internet Explorer.

New Silverlight viewer (what you get when you browse the site normally)
This viewer works in all major browsers on Windows and Intel Macs. It does everything on your CPU, so isn't as fast, but also doesn't require any updating of video card drivers, etc. Also, people may have Silverlight installed from Netflix, etc.

Unofficial: iSynth viewer for iPhone (since plugins on iOS are a no go)
Greg Pascale wrote a Photosynth viewer for iPhone when he was an intern with Live Labs. He was later hired by the Photosynth team.
NateLawrence (Over 1 year ago)
Although Silverlight works for Intel Macs and Windows, Microsoft never ported Silverlight to PowerPC Macs. 

Moonlight is still working on Silverlight 3 compatibility and the Photosynth viewer is already a Silverlight 4 app. 

Moonlight is focused on the Linux story, but it is open source. There has been some activity lately around porting Moonlight in its current state to OSX, but mainly for Intel machines so far.!/kangamono/status/29338337823!/natelawrence/status/29346172970!/kangamono/status/29346656903

I'd love to see a PowerPC port, though.!/natelawrence/status/29347101092!/kangamono/status/29347199882

Just a note: Mono is aimed at being open source .NET, while Moonlight is a subset of Mono - just as Silverlight is a subset of WPF.
NateLawrence (Over 1 year ago)
Photosynth has a new Technical Preview for their upcoming new Photosynth 2 types.
They are more constrained than original photosynths, however the viewer to view them is written in WebGL (a version of OpenGL [the open source standard for 3D graphics which works on all operating systems] for web browsers) which will work fine in Safari (WebGL has to be manually enabled in Safari at the time I'm writing this), Firefox, or Chrome. (Opera also has WebGL support, but I don't think that Photosynth is testing in Opera yet.)

In terms of Jim's original question about his Mac friend being able to view Photosynth 1 synths (original photosynths), the new viewer does not view old photosynths or stitched panoramas made with ICE, Photoshop, Photosynth's mobile panorama apps, etc.

If viewing original synths in WebGL is important to you, let Photosynth know here:
NateLawrence (Over 1 year ago)
You can check out the Photosynth 2014 Technical Preview at:

You can apply to get into the Preview at
About the Preview:

Help with the Preview:
(contains Video Tutorial Shooting Guide and Frequently Asked Questions)

Get a tour of the new Photosynth from David Gedye:
See an early sneak peek at the new Photosynth from Blaise: