If you've seen the amazing stitched panoramas on the Photosynth site you've experienced the work of our friends in Microsoft Research who created "ICE", the free Image Composite Editor that can stitch and blend immersive 360-degree panos of almost any size.

Today they broke the lock that ICE had as the exclusive panorama stitcher for Photosynth by releasing a Photoshop plug-in that can upload stitches created by a range of different pano tools. To quote from their blog post:

Today we are pleased to announce that the Photosynth Export Plug-in for Photoshop is available on the Microsoft Research Downloads page. This plug-in lets you export panoramas from Photoshop or Photoshop Elements directly to the Photosynth web service.

Photosynth added the panorama feature back in March, but up until now, Microsoft ICE was the only way to generate panoramas.  A few clever people figured out how to bypass this restriction (see users xRez_Studio and OrasulMemorabil), but their solution takes a lot of effort. With the Photoshop plugin, you can now use any stitching program (AutoPano, PTGui, Hugin, ICE, GigaPan Stitch, Photoshop, etc.), edit the results in Photoshop, and simply select “Export” from the Photoshop file menu to upload full-resolution, interactive panoramas to Photosynth.

Read all about it, and if like to perfect your panoramas in Photoshop, download their plug-in and give it a try.

We are going to feature Photoshop-exported panoramas on the home page of Photosynth.net for a few days after the holidays, so if you'd like to be in the running for this honor, tag your pano with "photoshop" and we'll choose the best of them.

Here's an example from one of our users showing how seamless you can make your stitching if you go this route: