Sysygy Image Viewer: a virtual 3D art gallery


Sysygy is a free virtual 3D art gallery. It allows you to create and use sets of your images and photos in a 3D-rendered environment viewed from a first-person perspective.

When I first downloaded this one I will admit that I did not know what to expect. I knew from perusing the author’s site that Sysygy embeds images in a game-like 3D environment, but I couldn’t help but think “so what?”. It seemed like a bit of nice eye candy and, less generously, a mere gimmick.

However, no sooner than I had tried it for myself that I knew what the point was: the immersive 3D gallery environment was very enjoyable. Moreover, it is possible to let other users experience your gallery, such that (at least in theory) you could actually use Sysygy to stage virtual showings of your photos/artwork/favorite images and share them online. In any case something about this program is quite exciting.

Here are more notes on this program:

  • Quality: the quality of the images and effects, done with OpenGI, is very high. Lights, shadows, and effects are very realistic and professionally done.Sysygy screenshot
  • The virtual environments: the version I reviewed had three to choose from. If you imagine what it might be like to play a first person shooter in an art gallery you’ll get a sense of what these look like, roughly. Some have elaborate descriptions/stories weaved around them (e.g.”this small building was built far away from any civilization, on a moon of Jupiter”).
  • Multi-server mode: Sysygy allows you to set up a server to allow friends to join/visit your virtual gallery and chat with everyone present. I will say that I getting connected could be easier or more intuitive (wished there was a server autodetect or that people could be sent an invite code). Was surprised to see that my entire image collection was downloaded on the remote computer; for one thing it delays the process significantly, takes space on the remote computer, and perhaps I don’t even want my images available on people’s computers.
  • The images: can be resampled using a number of filters for higher quality, or simply resized. (I did the latter to conserve disk space, and the quality was top notch nonetheless). You can add a caption to each image that your users can read under the image as they approach it.Sysygy screenshot
  • Bots: you can have a user-defined number of bots running around and looking at the artwork (and making random comments on the images).
  • After-effects: choose from eight effects such as greyscale (i.e a black and white world, negative, night vision, blur, etc. Kind of cool but somewhat redundant.
  • Portable: comes in two flavors, a normal installable version and a portable version that you can simply unzip and use.
  • Audio: provides some cool instrumental tracks to accompany your galleries, or you can add your own playlist.
  • Customize: you can customize everything about this, including your own bot, the animation speed, resolution, available effects, etc.

How to use Sysygy: there are four executables that work together to create your virtual gallery.

  1. Sysygy screenshot - gallery creatorCreate your gallery: run the “GalleryCreator”, add your images, add captions (if you want), then save. Obviously you do not have to do this step if you intend to join a remote gallery.
  2. Enter your gallery: run “SysGame”, choose “one visitor” if you just want to browser a local gallery or “multi visitor” if you are hosting or joining a gallery that is being broadcast online.
  3. Host your gallery: run “SysygyServer” to host your gallery. Should be fairly self explanatory.

Wish list:

  • The ability to use images hosted on image sharing sites such as Flickr.
  • Making this a web service. Would be very cool.
  • No blank pictures on the walls, please: I noticed that if you do not add many pics to your gallery the program leaves blank white rectangles on walls where it would have otherwise placed your images. It really should use the texture from the walls or backgrounds instead.

The verdict: you’ll either like this or not care for it much. I must admit that I am in the former category even as I started out in the latter. The program is interesting and fun and pregnant with possibilities.

Version Tested: 1.3

Compatibility: Windows 2000, XP. Vista is not officially supported, though it might work (please report in the comment section if it worked for you!). Officially requires a 3D accelerated graphic card with at least 64 MB video RAM, supports at least OpenGL 1.3 (make sure you have the latest drives installed).

The program page no longer exists, but you can download ver. 1.3 of the program here.