Archive for August, 2008

Developers Go Camping

The recent Foo Camp held at O’Reilly‘s HQ in Sebastopol CA was your basic developer’s get-together with one exception — the attendees actually slept in tents. Talk about a “busman’s holiday” . . .

It was a perfect event for Adobe Platform Evangelist Duane Nickull to cover in today’s episode of Duane’s World on Adobe TV — the show that covers the developer scene from a decidedly heavy-metal angle.

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One thing that Duane (pictured above) and I have in common is that we’re both rock musicians turned technology geeks. I really dig his style of presenting — and don’t let all the credits at the end of the show fool you, Duane puts together 99% of the show completely by himself.

The Creatives

Jake Wiens is the all-around-video-go-to-guy on the Adobe TV team. He shoots, he edits, he designs motion graphics, and he even creates the thumbnail images for all the videos on Adobe TV. Needless to say, we’ve been keeping him pretty darn busy.

Today, Jake takes a step into the spotlight in the debut of his new series The Creatives on Adobe TV.

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That’s Jake in the middle, holding the clapboard.

Because Jake is uniquely tapped in to the creative community here in San Francisco, he’s able to bring you a behind-the-scenes look at a variety of talented people who use Adobe tools to help express their creative vision. Today’s episode features Jon Julio, the creative force behind the Velo Skate brand.

I get to see the results of the use of such skates every now and again as Jake is himself an avid skater and has been known to show up at the office on Monday morning with a variety of bruises and bumps.

Flash in a Frenzy

When John Schuman presented the idea for his Adobe TV series Flash in a Flash, I thought to myself “if only this show existed 5 years ago when I was trying to learn Flash authoring.” It’s a show for newcomers to Flash, and if you’ve ever wanted to learn the basics of this powerful authoring tool you’ve come to the right place.

John thought it would be great to have an animated character as the “virtual mascot” of the series, so we asked Kush to design one. For those of you that don’t know who Kush is, he’s (amongst many other things) the host of Ask The Adobe Ones, the production genius behind the Johnny Encore videos on Short and Suite, the designer of many of our program Icons — basically the “renaissance man” of Adobe TV. He came up with the character Victor Vector, who you can see in every episode of Flash in a Flash.

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Victor Vector on the Flash “Stage”

Like any great creative mind, Kush is loaded with ideas. So he initially presented 13 different character designs — here are a few that didn’t make the cut:

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They are (clockwise, starting in the upper-left corner):

Flashy the Dramatic Prairie Dog
Flash the Flashgun
Blobby the Slime
Nikita the Flacheetah
F-Man
Bungie the Neurotic Rabbit

If it was my show I probably would’ve gone with “Blobby the Slime”, but that’s just me.

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Caffe Fibowha?

When a presenter has a clear vision for what they want their show to be, I try and stay out of the way and let them run with it. But I was just a tad apprehensive when Rufus Deuchler and Tim Cole pitched the concept for their Adobe TV series Caffe Fibonacci — a show about graphic design that takes place in an Italian kitchen.

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Check the Adobe Creative Suite boxes hanging on the wall alongside the garlic and salami.

What the heck is a Fibonacci? “You don’t want a title that needs to be explained” I said to Rufus. Then he told me who Fibonacci was and spoke a bit about the Fibonacci Series and how it relates to design (click here to watch a neat Flash animation on the subject). Both he and Tim were adamant about the idea, and after all Rufus is from Italy. So I let them run with it and lo-and-behold it is now one of our most popular shows.

Today on Adobe TV, you can watch Episode 6 of Caffe Fibonacci, in which Rufus and Tim use a layer cake as a metaphor for layers in different types of design documents. I haven’t yet watched the entire episode, but I did catch the ending which involves this little scene:

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And people ask me why I don’t attend all the shoots . . .

I’m Your Puppet

When I began recruiting Adobe presenters to appear on Adobe TV, one of the first to put their hand up and say “yes, please” was Karl Miller, a.k.a. Johnny Encore. Karl had been an Evangelist over at Serious Magic and amongst his many talents he is the lead singer and songwriter of a Star Trek band. Yes, you heard that right — Karl’s band Warp 11 play songs about Star Trek, wear the uniforms, and appear in music videos on a set of the star ship Enterprise.

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They’re very well known in the Trekkie universe, so much so that during each NAB they hold a get-together at the Star Trek Experience in the Las Vegas Hilton which is well-attended by Warp 11 fans. I joined them at this year’s event to partake in neon-colored drinks served in fishbowls with dry ice on top. I did not feel so swell the next morning.

What could Karl possibly to do top this? Well, he started an Adobe band — not a band of Adobe employees, but a band that performs songs about Adobe. Johnny Encore and The Acrobats was born, and thus the premise of the Adobe TV series Short and Suite. Each episode features a new Acrobats video, which Adobe Evangelists Jason Levine and Karl Soulé then dissect to show how the song was recorded and the video created.

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“Apparently it’s a blues video, not a blue video.”

This month’s episode of Short and Suite
features the music video for “I’m Your Puppet, I’m Your Tool” in which stills of the Acrobats were animated using the very popular Puppet Tool in After Effects CS3. Karl Soulé does a great job of explaining some of the advanced features of this tool, so if you’re interested in character animation do check this video out.