The Experimental Silverlight Viewer is an integral part of the evolution of Microsoft Live Labs' Photosynth, along with bug fixes and the advancements introduced to the synther technology. In this context, the Redmond company delivered an experimental cross-platform Silverlight viewer the past week, designed to fight the disadvantages inherent when accessing Photosynth via a computer with inferior hardware resources. This simply because the standard Photosynth viewer takes full advantage of the graphics hardware via Direct 3D.
“If you have a recent Windows PC with up to date graphics drivers you’ll have a great experience, and you’ll be able to view synths with buttery smoothness. But lots of people have older machines, and many people have Macs, and none of these folks could view synths before now. Silverlight is cross-platform (PC and Mac) and works on most old machines as well as all new ones. This generality comes at a price though, and for now Photosynth’s Silverlight experience is a couple of steps behind our Direct 3D one,” revealed Darius Monsef
, Program Manager of Community for Photosynth at Microsoft.
The Experimental Silverlight Viewer is up and running and available here
. Microsoft makes sure to also point Windows users only to the high performance viewer, in case their machines meet the necessary requirements to enjoy the superior experience. According to Monsef, Silverlight continues not to feature support for point clouds because of performance issues. In this regard, because of Silverlight's shortcomings, Microsoft also left out point cloud support when it comes down to the viewer.
“Most of the features in the Direct 3D viewer are implemented in the Silverlight viewer. In particular, the incredible zooming that Photosynth achieves via the Seadragon technology is now a major feature in Silverlight, and is known to the world as Deep Zoom. This means that even if you are viewing a synth of 300 10-megapixel images, every pixel in every photo is available to you at the flick of your mouse wheel,” Monsef added.