April 30, 2006
Infrared hoops; NYC in HDR
My panos were all shot in the middle of a very, very bright day in Manhattan. What I find interesting about HDR is it has extended the time of day that I can shoot and still get interesting results. Normally, a photographer would not seek out the brightest most contrasty locations possible, as I did when I went to Lincoln Center and Columbus Circle in the middle of the day. HDR lets me see into the shadows and show the highlights while producing incredibly rich files. The so-called limitation that the subject should not be moving is a plus for me. New Yorkers are always moving, coming and going and the transparency of the people underscores this energy.
The small Web gallery can’t quite do justice to the originals, as several were printed out approximately 5′ wide using an Epson 2400 with roll paper.
Scanning the past
Wired News reports on Kodak’s efforts to develop high-volume scanning technology for old prints. These machines analyze the images, then categorize them & assign metadata by recognizing faces, print size & shape, handwriting, and more. Sounds like a cool & fairly painless way to get shoeboxes full of snapshots into a computer.
This reminds me of a little-known but powerful feature in Photoshop. The Crop & Straighten Photos command (“Lift & Separate” to its friends) is found under File->Automate in Photoshop CS and above. The command takes a bunch of photos scanned at once (like this) and turn each into a separate cropped, rotated image (like this).
April 29, 2006
Hipsters, robots, lightning, & more
[Never mind that beeping sound; the blog is backing up to unload some good bits that’ve been buffering.]
April 28, 2006
Insanely obscure scripting feature o’ the day
I considered calling this post “Most Obscure. Feature. Ever,” but then I remembered the tweaky labyrinths woven as Russell Brown bribed various engineers for little improvements. In any case, knowing this tip would qualify anyone as Photoshop Illuminati:
When accessing File->Scripts in Photoshop, first hold down the Opt/Alt key. Instead of running the selected script, Photoshop will open it in the ExtendScript Toolkit (Mac/Win)–itself quite a well-kept secret.
Hey, I said it was obscure, but it could be a useful way to inspect anything from layers to PNG to Flash gallery creation. Thanks to Tom Ruark, Photoshop engineer & Russell’s collaborator on the Image Processor script, for pointing this out.
April 27, 2006
Send us your poor, your tired, your haloed images…
…yearning to blend free. We’d like to ask your help in improving HDR (high dynamic range) imaging in Photoshop. The halos produced by many current HDR conversion techniques (see the Flickr HDR pool for some examples) are kind of cool and wonky, but to make HDR more than a fad, we need to produce more reasonable results. With this in mind we’d like to get sample images–particularly ones with which you’ve gotten better results converting 32->16/8 bits using another package than you have using Photoshop. Photoshop engineer John Peterson writes,
I’m looking for cases where the “other leading brand” is doing a better job than Photoshop. I’d like to get three or four really good cases of this from customers that are (potential) heavy users of Merge to HDR. I’d be interested in JPEG or raw source files, plus the HDR result file from the other application. JPEGs should be generated by the camera, not via Camera Raw. f-stop should be held constant, exposure should differ by two stops or so, and resolutions in the 2-6 MP range would be sufficient.
If you’d like to work with us on this, please shoot me a mail & I’ll get you in touch with the right folks on our end. Thanks!
April 23, 2006
AE->Flash Part II: Audio Amplitude
Dr. Woohoo is back, introducing After Effects 2 Flash: Audio Amplitude. This new ExtendScript exports the audio analysis data from AE 7.0 as an XML file and uses a component to map it to the Rotation and Scale Matrix transformations in Flash 8. “In other words,” he writes, “it makes objects in Flash dance to the music.” The scripts complement the recently introduced Transform Properties work, and each is on sale for $40. It’s cool work, and seeing it takes me back to a weird & ridiculous example I did, using AE to map audio data to rotation, then exporting XML to LiveMotion be made interactive.
April 19, 2006
Amazing turnout at PS User Group meeting
I just wanted to say a quick thanks to the 200 (!) or so folks who trekked over to Adobe San Jose last night for Julieanne’s Photoshop & Lightroom session. And thanks especially to photographer/impresario Dan Clark for organizing the event. Attendance for this event was the best yet, overflowing the overflow room we set up after the 165-seat main room got packed. The “pizza rebate program” (whereby a percentage of your Adobe license fees is returned as cheese & sauce) is always a draw, but it was particularly great to see the huge interest in Julieanne’s presentation & the discussions that followed. If you have suggestions for future guests or topics, please let us know.
April 18, 2006
DNG SDK now available
We’ve just posted the DNG SDK, a set of documentation and tools meant to help hardware manufacturers and software developers add support for the Digital Negative specification. From the download site:
The DNG SDK provides support for reading and writing DNG files as well as for converting DNG data into a format that is easily displayed or processed by imaging applications. This SDK can serve as a starting point for the addition of DNG support to existing applications that use and manipulate images or as an aid to the inclusion of DNG support within cameras.
Developers have been asking for this kind of support for some time, and we hope it’ll spur further adoption of an open, industry-standard raw image format. Every month some 20,000 photographers download the free DNG Converter from Adobe.com (Mac/Win), and broader native support across tools can only help this momentum.
[Update: PhotoshopNews has the press release, which notes that according to a recent InfoTrends study with 1,754 professional photographers, more than 18 percent of photographers use DNG as part of their imaging workflow.]
April 17, 2006
Talking integration at FITC
I’m putting the “Eh” back in “JNack” this week, heading up to the FITC show in Toronto on Thursday. If you’re planning to be there, please come say hey. Much as we did at Flashforward Seattle, a number of product managers are hosting a roundtable discussion on improving the integration of Adobe’s Studio, Creative Suite, & DV applications. The last conversation spawned some good thinking (e.g. a suggestion that Photoshop & Illustrator offer a “Flash-safe” working mode & enable preflighting images before export), and I’m looking forward to this one. I’m also planning to give a Photoshop CS2 presentation on Saturday morning (nothing too elaborate, but hopefully a good refresher in case you’ve missed what we’ve been doing in the last couple revs of Photoshop).
April 15, 2006
Performance tweak plug-in for CS2 Mac available
We’ve posted Disable VM Buffering, an optional plug-in for Photoshop CS2 (Mac only) that addresses painting pauses on machines with more than 4GB of RAM. From the ReadMe:
The Disable VM Buffering plug-in can be installed to eliminate pauses during painting on Macintosh machines with more than 4GB of physical RAM installed. It will have no effect on machines with 4GB or less of RAM. On machines with more than 4GB of RAM it can eliminate pauses during painting operations at some cost in performance with very large documents.
More details about the plug-in and why you may or may not want to install it are on the download page.
April 13, 2006
Lightroom Podcast #4: Martin Evening, Bryan O’Neil Hughes, and Peter Carides
The fourth Lightroom podcast is available via iTunes (search for “Lightroom”) or this RSS feed. Photography evangelist George Jardine writes, “This podcast was recorded March 23rd 2006, at the Greg Gorman digital photography workshop in Mendocino, California. Guests include Martin Evening, Peter Carides and Bryan O’Neil Hughes joining George Jardine from Adobe Systems. George and his guests have a discussion about the workshop and digital photography workflows, fashion photography, Lightroom features and archiving strategies.” PhotoshopNews also has a good write-up about the workshop.
April 12, 2006
Slick After Effects->Flash integration
I’m delighted to see that Drew Trujillo (aka Dr. Woohoo) has released a pair of tools for moving After Effects keyframe data into Flash. Along with a free AE export script, Drew has created After Effects 2 Flash-Transform Properties, a Flash extension that smooths the importing of AE data. You can read more about the tools on his blog. (Note: My role in this is kindly overstated; in fact I just helped people smarter than myself get connected–which, for what it’s worth, is what a lot of product management boils down to.)
This kind of integration is, I think, the start of much great progress to come. Back in 1999, when I first heard that Adobe was thinking of making a Web animation tool, I started lobbying my contacts at Adobe & Macromedia for a “Flash Interchange Format” that would enable Flash, AE, and other applications to exchange data with layers, keyframes, object names, and other data intact. The timing wasn’t right, of course, but now that the companies have come together, the opportunities to collaborate are incredible. Stay tuned, and in the meantime, give these tools a shot.
(More on Drew’s work can be found here.)
[Update: I realized I’d inverted the title. It’s now revised to indicate the direction of integration: AE into Flash.]
April 10, 2006
Photoshop User Group in SJ on April 18
If you’re in the Bay Area next Tuesday evening, please join us at Adobe’s San Jose HQ (map) for the next meeting of the local Photoshop Users Group. Photoshop Evangelist Julieanne Kost will be on hand to demonstrate techniques in Photoshop and Lightroom. Pizza and drinks will be on hand at 6:30, and the presentations will begin at 7pm; come to the East Tower lobby.
Kite aerial panoramas
A few months back I wondered whether someone would attach a digital camera to a pigeon. No luck so far, but how about 360° panoramas taken from kites? Photographer Scott Haefner has rigged up a Nikon Coolpix with fisheye lens to a kite, from which he snags shots like this one of Stanford’s Hoover Tower. Images go through PTMac & PanoTools on their way to Photoshop and final output.
Finding this work led me to learn about kite pano pioneer George Lawrence, whose 17-kite “Captive Airship” helped document the aftermath of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. Scott plans to try to replicate the shot using modern equipment, while another team plans to recreate the shot using a replica of the original camera and a helicopter. A number of Lawrence’s photos are currently on display at SFMOMA.
By the way, through the magic of Wikipedia I learned that Lawrence was the great-grandfather of Adobe blogger Thomas Phinney. Small world!
PS–So, maybe the pigeon-cam thing has yet to pan out, but you can still glimpse the world from the perspective of a bear, armadillo, or other critter. [Via]
April 05, 2006
Let No Man Scare You
Humble packing tape gives rise to ghostly forms in the work of photographer and sculptor Mark Jenkins. The Morning News presents a gallery of his pieces, along with an interview that’s well worth a read (not the usual art house banality). As we think of higher & higher tech ways to preserve creations for the ages, it’s refreshing to hear from someone at peace with impermanence. You can see lots more from Mark on his site and here. [Via]
[Update: YouTube features Jenkins casting his head by wrapping it in tape–and, amazingly, not asphyxiating himself or Van Gogh-ing an ear. [Via]
April 04, 2006
Marching Ants, Hamm’s Beer, & Photoshop
MacPaint changed my life, period. I’d fooled with the primitive tools on Apple ][‘s and a PCjr., but MacPaint was a whole new animal. At a friend’s birthday party in 1984, I laid eyes on their new Mac & dumped my usual “plays well with others” schtick like a hot rock. This machine was the stuff, and the other kids weren’t gonna get close until I’d rocked out with MacPaint’s cool features (drawing a prison just so I could paintbucket the walls with the brick pattern). I’ve been hooked ever since.
But who knew that the “marching ants” animation that denotes a selection in Photoshop and other applications comes from the Land of Sky-Blue Waters? According to Folklore.org, MacPaint author & Mac UI pioneer Bill Atkinson was inspired by a Hamm’s Beer sign. Groovy. [Via the PhotoshopNews history of the Photoshop toolbar]
On a related note, in covering Apple’s 30th anniversary, c|net shows an early ancestor to MacPaint. (Seems like rounded rectangles–always popular, overused in every era–have always been with us). And if you just can’t get enough of people waxing Apple’s car, check out frog design’s
shout-out [update: link now MIA], as well as Engadget’s review of good, bad, and ugly Apple products from the last 30 years. (Hey, I kind of liked the Network Server! It had a certain ED-209 charm to it…) [Via]
April 03, 2006
15,000-layer Photoshop file
‘Tis the season of gigantic PSDs: Digital painter Bert Monroy sees Kevin Hulsey’s work and raises him a couple of gigs. Bert, a former matte painter at ILM and elsewhere, has been pushing Photoshop since v1.0, and at Photoshop World he unveiled his latest creation: a monster painting that’s 1.7GB (when flat!), comprised of some 15,000 layers, 500 alpha channels, and 250,000 paths. Man… what a testament to Bert’s artistry & commitment to his craft. [Via]
Photoshop handles tasks from creating sub-1KB Web graphics to wrangling files of basically unlimited size, and that makes it tricky for us to ship the app with settings that address all scenarios optimally. The Support team publishes some tips on optimizing performance (Mac/Win), and we’re looking at ways to make it easier to tune the app.
[Update: Tobias Hollerich points out that the site has been “dugg,” making it slow to load. The Digg.com entry lists some mirror sites & links to videos of Bert in action.]
Lightroom podcasts, vol. 3
George Jardine has posted a new Lightroom podcast. He writes:
Recorded March 23rd 2006 at the Greg Gorman digital photography workshop in Mendocino, CA. Guests include Greg, with Marc Pawliger, Bryan O’Neil Hughes and George Jardine from Adobe Systems. George and his guests have a casual discussion about the workshop, digital photography workflows, what the students are learning, about the food and wine, and the gorgeous environment for photography here on the Northern Coast of California.
Check it out by searching the iTunes Music Store for Lightroom, or via this link.
[Update: More info and photos are available on Photoshop News.]