September 27, 2005
New Photoshop Elements 4 announced; what about Mac?
We’ve just announced the new Adobe Photoshop Elements 4.0. As you’d expect, it offers numerous crafty new features, and in early reviews people seem impressed.
So, what about the Mac version? In short, we’ve said that it’s in development (e.g. see the last line in the first paragraph here). We haven’t been any more specific than that, largely because as a public company Adobe has to be very careful about forward-looking statements. (Technically speaking, if you asked me whether we were going to start selling garden gnomes tomorrow, I don’t think I could say yes or no.)
And so, fellow Mac users, please don’t jump to any conclusions. We don’t have a new Mac version to announce, nor can we provide details on when we might have one or what it would contain. That said, Elements Mac development continues, and in the meantime the great Photoshop Elements 3.0 for Mac is available now.
Frogoshopping, Tennis, and Smackdowns (oh my)
The always-entertaining Worth1000.com features a great frog-modification contest. I’m humbled by these folks’ skills.
These contests remind me of the Photoshop tennis matches that people started playing a few years ago (tossing a PSD back and forth, adding layers to riff on your partner’s work). The original site is taking a break, but many fun matches are documented in the rather generically named Photoshop: Secrets of the Pros.
Along similar lines, Adobe and Aquent are sponsoring Studio Smackdown 2, which puts designers head to head using Flash and the Creative Suite. Should be good.
September 26, 2005
Your type can look better
As things get easier and faster, do they have to get crummier? No, but if we’re not careful, it’s easy to sacrifice depth and craft for breadth.
Ten years ago, print designers couldn’t understand why I couldn’t replicate their leading and kerning in HTML. Ten years later, I wonder how many designers bother to kern at all.
But beyond resurrecting these fundamentals, new technology lets us do better. OpenType technology allows for much richer character sets, and numerous faces in the Adobe Type Library support this new functionality. Access to alternate characters can help put an end to the kind of blunder I saw in a national magazine several weeks back, where supposedly handwritten parchment featured three identical “g”‘s in a single word.
To see the benefits in action, check out this tutorial from Russell Brown, and this one from Deke McClelland.
(On related fronts, the new Flash Player features much improved text display. Also, Typetester is a little online utility for comparing screen fonts [link via Newsight]. And Linotype has released FontExplorer X, with an iTunes-like ability to organize, preview, and purchase fonts.)
Two in the hand
Wow–now this you don’t see every day. A small company called Tactiva has unveiled a rather eye-popping demo of a device that lets you use both hands while working in design software.
The appeal of using two hands at once (instead of essentially pointing with a stick and grunting, as is done with a mouse) isn’t new; the latest Wacom tablets feature touch strips for non-dominant hand work, and Logitech and others sell a variety of pucks and other devices for the same purpose. But the Tactiva device takes things to a new level by displaying a ghosted image of your actual hands overlaid on the UI, as well as providing force feedback when you interact with on-screen objects.
The device faces plenty of obstacles to adoption (no manufacturers yet, potential $1000 price point, need for support in applications that assume a single input control). Yet I keep thinking about it.
What do you think? Just a neat parlor trick, or the future of computing, or something in between?
September 21, 2005
The Illuminated Continent
Think you’ve got a lot of digital photos to manage? National Geographic photographer Mike Fay & crew flew some 60,000 miles at low levels over Africa, snapping a high-res digital photo every 20 seconds. The tiny Cessna contained more than 2 terabytes of storage for capturing the GPS-stamped data. You can read more here and check out the interactive features, including Flash videos and a high-res PDF map. And if you happen to be on Windows, you can check out the way this content has been
integrated into Google Earth.
Photography events this week and next
Speaking of National Geographic, if you happen to be in the Bay Area next week, the Aurora Forum is presenting what looks to be an interesting panel discussion on documentary photography and democratic ideals. The panel includes photojournalist Chris Rainier, whom I was privileged to have assisted (a very small bit) in the launch of Cultures on the Edge.
And if you happen to be in LA this week or DC next, check out the film festival for All Roads, “a National Geographic initiative supporting films by and about indigenous groups and under-represented minority culture filmmakers.”
September 20, 2005
The elevator supports Undo!
Okay, you know you’re spending too much time at work, or on computers, or both when you get excited about something like this. I discovered this morning that the elevators in the new Adobe tower support undo. That is, if you’ve pressed a floor button by mistake, you can press it again to deselect the floor. Who knew? This reminds me of Photoshop quality engineer Pete du Fosse realizing that he was working too much when he found himself holding a hand over his microwave’s keypad, getting frustrated when no tool tip appeared.
[This is probably also the time when my bosses question the value of letting me blog on work hours. ;-)]
September 19, 2005
Adobe Photographers Directory wins WebAward
Just a little patting of our own backs: the Adobe Photographers Directory has won a WebAward. Congrats to the folks at Euro RSCG 4D and Adobe who’ve made it happen. Now that the directory is linked from Adobe Bridge, we hope that more photographers and designers, ad agencies, and other clients will find each other through it.
September 17, 2005
Stop motion & SLRs
Editors Guild Magazine features an interesting article about the new movie “Corpse Bride” being shot with a digital SLR, the Canon EOS-1D Mark II. “[P]erhaps most significantly, it’s the first movie to choose digital cameras over film cameras based on the criterion of image quality.” [link via Rob Galbraith DPI]
This reminds me of the much lower budget but also clever “Between You and Me”, shot entirely with a Canon 20D. Dig the creative misuse of shiny technology.
[Update: On a related note, check out the stop motion used in the video for Sia’s haunting “Breathe.” A similar technique was used for Sam Bisbee’s “You Are Here.” [links via Kottke.org.]]
New Ricoh 8MP camera supports DNG
Just a brief entry to note that Ricoh has adopted the Digital Negative specification for raw capture in the just-announced 8 Megapixel compact GR Digital camera. This announcement follows Hasselblad’s announcement last month, plus Leica’s announcement earlier this year.
Adding in-camera support for a new file format takes time and careful consideration, but the advantages of supporting a standard format (immediate compatibility with a wide range of DNG-aware software, for starters) are pretty apparent to customers. It’s great to see manufacturers responding to this demand, and we look forward to this momentum continuing.
September 09, 2005
Photoshop weblogs, podcasts, and more
Last week, Photoshop engineer Scott Byer mentioned some great resources for Photoshop-related info, including Photoshop News and Rob Galbraith’s site. I subscribe to those sites and wanted to highlight some others:
- Photoshop author and trainer Jan Kabili frequently highlights techniques, new books, and articles at The Unofficial Photoshop Weblog.
- Long-time author David Biedny has started the first (to my knowledge) Photoshop-centric podcast. (For those new to subscribing to downloadable audio programs, David points that in iTunes you can choose Advanced->Subscribe to Podcast, then paste the URL “attentionphotoshoppers.libsyn.com/rss”.) [Update: I've learned that Photoshop User magazine is also podcasting, as is Inside Mac Radio. I've recorded segments for both this week.]
- We haven’t yet gotten her blogging, but Julieanne Kost, along with Daniel Brown and Tim Cole, maintains a wealth of info at AdobeEvangelists.com.
The links below aren’t Photoshop-specific, but I enjoy them as well:
- Digital Photography Review is frequently updated with news of digital cameras, in-depth reviews, and more
- Macromedia’s indefatigable John Dowdell covers wide-ranging developments related to Flash and Web technologies.
- Dynamite designer Jon Hicks (known for the Firefox logo, among other things) makes me wish I knew CSS. He also blogs periodically about design and Web technologies. (And if you’re on a Mac, check out his beautiful and useful PimpMySafari.com.)
September 03, 2005
Katrina: Help a displaced designer
“… Many of the displaced–-creative people like us–-will have to start from scratch. We wish to help by offering these people a space from which to earn a living, to re-establish self-sufficience… to get back on their feet. With this in mind, we have started this resource–a place where displaced individuals can be matched with those of us with some extra studio/office space, a desk (or table), a computer/phone/internet connection, or a handful of square feet from which they can start to work and continue to earn a living…”
Please do what you can to help & to spread the word.
September 02, 2005
Speaking Plainly, Part II
Okay, my turn: for some reason we haven’t been able to explain the deal when people are considering upgrading to the Creative Suite. I’ve seen lots of confusion in forums, emails, etc. lately, so, here goes:
Q. Can I upgrade from Photoshop to the Creative Suite?
Q. Which versions?
A. All versions.
Q. If I upgrade Photoshop to the Suite, and later I decide I want to upgrade just Photoshop, can I do that?
A. Yes. As long as you still own that earlier copy (say, PS7) and have the serial number, you’re golden.
Q. What if I get an application (say, InDesign) for the first time as part of the Suite, and later I want to upgrade just that application (not the whole Suite). Can I do that?
A. No. For various legal reasons, a Suite isn’t a collection. So, you can’t upgrade just one piece of it.
To recap, if you owned Photoshop previously and want to upgrade to the Suite, you will have a choice of upgrades in the future. And if you owned InDesign, Illustrator, etc. on their own, you could upgrade them on their own in the future, even after upgrading the Suite. It’s only apps that you didn’t own outside of the Suite that need a Suite upgrade to move forward. Make sense?
If you have further questions or hear conflicting info, please let me know: jnack [at] adobe [dot] com.
Speaking Plainly: Thanks, Google
Someone smarter than I should devise a “Law” (call it “Carlito’s Last Theorem” or something) that says that as you throw more marketing weenies (like me) at the task of communicating, the message becomes logarithmically more bloated and impenetrable. We can’t just spit it out.
So, I had to smile when I read this warning dialog that accompanies Google Desktop 2.0:
Please read this carefully. It’s not the usual yada yada.
When you use Advanced Features, you may be sending non-personal usage information and information about websites you visit to Google.
For example, Google Desktop sends Google information about the news pages you visit in order to personalize the news you see in Sidebar. We use other non-personal usage data, including crash reports, to help improve Desktop’s performance. Please note that none of this data actually tells us who you are; we use it merely to improve Desktop’s ability to give you the information that’s most relevant to you.
Ah, nice. So even while they’re busy taking over the world, Google manages to keep it real & respect its users’ intelligence. I can dig it.
Flash + After Effects
I’ve been dying to see After Effects and Flash get together for a long time, having written a bunch of tutorials on the subject back in the day. Until now, however, the process has been powerful but a bit laborious.
With the advent of support for alpha channels in Flash video, however, you can create some slick combos. See The Flash Blog’s examples of AE-made video composited with interactive Flash elements. Groovy.