Thing #76: Photosynths

This month we’re going to take another look at photography but with a bit of a twist: Photosynths.

Photosynths are a technology from Microsoft that takes a collection of photos and combines them into a pseudo-3D experience. There are four types you can create: Spin, Walk, Wall & Panorama.

The best way to understand the difference between the types is to watch this short video:

Be sure to follow the directions on how to best take the photos to make it work. Trust me on this. If you don’t you may have to start all over and that can be very frustrating. There’s also additional text-based help @ if you have specific questions the video didn’t answer.

Getting started

First you’re going to need to decide which type of photosynth you’d like to create and take the photos. To stress an important point from the video, the more photos you take, the better your results will be. In other words: you can not take too many photos.

Once you’ve got your photos transfer them from your camera to your computer.

Creating a photosynth

Next, you’ll need to go to and sign in with a Microsoft account. (If you don’t have one already, you’ll need to create one.)

NOTE: There is an earlier version of Microsoft Photosynth that was based on downloadable software. While that version is still available it is no longer supported and doesn’t work all that well. So please be sure you’re using the online “preview” version shown throughout this lesson.

Once logged in, click “create” in the upper-right corner. On the next screen, drag your photos into the box with the + in the middle of the screen.

Step 1a

You’ll then get a preview of your images. Depending on the number of images, the size of your files, and your upload speed, this may take anywhere from a few seconds to a minute.

Step 1b

Click next–> and you’ll then be asked to choose the type of photosynth you’re creating. Click the appropriate one then click next–> again.

Step 2

Now you need to provide some information about your photosynth. Enter a title, description, visibility, and rights. Be sure to check the notification option as that’ll let you know when your photosynth is ready to view. Click finish–> when you’re done.

Step 3

Your photos have been uploading in the background this whole time. However, as before, depending on the number of photos, file sizes, and upload speed, you may see a status screen at this point with percent complete. Once all the photos have been uploaded you’ll see “upload completed”. At this point you start creating another or go to your library. Let’s go to the library.

Upload Complete

Creating the photosynth will now take some time. In my experience give it at least 15 minutes. If you don’t want to wait on this screen, feel free to go off and do other things. If you previously checked the notification option, you’ll receive an e-mail once the creation is complete.


Once complete, your library will update with a preview of your creation.


Click on the preview and your full photosynth will be displayed. On the play screen you can play, pause, and control your photosynth. Additionally, in the lower-left are buttons for information, sharing (Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, and embedding into a Web site), and a heart/like. In the lower-right are buttons for play/pause and full-screen. To return to your library, click the photosynth icon in the upper-left.

Photosynth Play

Here’s a few of my first attempts. As you’ll see doing these well can take a little practice, especially spins.

Party food by msauers on Photosynth

My office by msauers on Photosynth

Stacks by msauers on Photosynth

Home Office Wall by msauers on Photosynth


  1. Create a Photosynth or two.
  2. Embed it in your blog.
  3. Write about your experience.
  4. How might the library use this technology?


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One Response to Thing #76: Photosynths

  1. Maria Cadwallader says:

    I like Photosynth a lot.

    My review of Photosynth and links to two synths (one spin and one walk) are at:

    I also posted links to the synths on the Val website in a blog entry addressed to teens, at

    And posted links
    on our Facebook page: Valparaiso NE Public Library
    and on our twitter account: @ValparaisoNELib

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