May 31, 2006
What’s the future of GoLive and FreeHand?
All kinds of confusion, speculation, and declaration are bouncing around the blogosphere and online media at the moment concerning the future of Adobe GoLive & FreeHand. Here’s the official statement from Adobe:
Q. Is Adobe going to discontinue GoLive and FreeHand?
A. No. Adobe plans to continue to support GoLive and FreeHand and develop these products based on our customers’ needs. Clearly Dreamweaver and Illustrator are market leading when it comes to Web design/development and vector graphics/illustration. Customers should expect Adobe to concentrate our development efforts around these two products – with regards to future innovation and Creative Suite integration.
Being a public company, Adobe employees generally have to remain mum about future product developments (for good reason, since we have to be wary of affecting the stock price). For that reason, we’ve done a pretty bad job of communicating our plans, especially to passionate GoLive and FreeHand users. Folks here are working to make that better, and we’ll share more info as it’s available.
Regarding GoLive, both it and Dreamweaver offer some really unique capabilities. GoLive has always emphasized strong visual design tools (a layout grid, etc.), and there are interesting ways to use those capabilities going forward. I won’t presume to speak for either the GL or DW teams & won’t get into more detail, but there are clearly ways the two codebases can complement one another.
Regarding FreeHand, I feel I need to make a couple of points.
- Macromedia did not ship a new version of FreeHand following the MX release in 2003. I don’t have further information on why the company took that approach (I didn’t work at MM at that time), but it was a decision made independent of Adobe.
- In addition, last year Macromedia–again independent of Adobe–made the decision that it would no longer include FreeHand in Studio. Although the announcement was made following the Adobe-Macromedia merger announcement, it was prior to that deal closing. In other words, it was done at at time when Adobe and Macromedia were not permitted to interact and plan together.
So, while FreeHand may not share the same strategic place in our product portfolio as Illustrator, it hasn’t been discontinued and we’ve now at least put some clarity on that. Now, excuse me while I go to another meeting to plan ways to make Photoshop & Fireworks play well together. :-)
QuickTime 7.1.1 available, fixes Mactel installer freeze
Good news: Apple has updated QuickTime to version 7.1.1, addressing the issue that caused the Photoshop and Creative Suite installers to freeze on Mactel systems. You can download the update from the QuickTime download page, or via the Software Update utility.
Photoshop TV visits Adobe HQ
The guys at the NAPP have included a quick visit to Adobe San Jose in Episode 32 of Photoshop TV. (It starts at 16:30, or a little before halfway, for the impatient.) Host Matt Kloskowski chats a bit with engineers Russell Williams, Scott Byer, and Edward Kandrot, as well as me (who managed to keep my customary on-camera persona, Pasty McStammers, in check). A more in-depth version of the interview may be posted in a later show. The video streams via Flash & is also available via this iTunes link. [For a photographic take on our scintillating den, see also Jeff Schewe's earlier A Visit to Adobe.]
May 30, 2006
Through a cold lens
A macro lens made from a Pringles can? Someone’s been there, done that. A pinhole camera made from an airplane hanger? Sorry–beaten to the punch. So how’s an enterprising photo geek to distinguish himself? How about taking photos through a lens made of ice? Evidently unimpressed with Scientific American’s challenge to light a fire with a lens made entirely of ice, photographer Matthew Wheeler fashioned his own very cold lenses and has posted a gallery of images. I couldn’t find a demonstration or other info on the gear used, but some googling did turn up an article and video depicting the “excruciatingly painful” lens-making process. [Via]
May 27, 2006
Andries Odendaal (of Wireframe fame) has created has created Information, an endlessly zoomable series of photomosaics. The renderings have a certain Chuck Close quality to them (<a href=right?), and they show off sponsor Getty’s collection in a great light. [Via Mark Kawano] See also the other components of the 10 ways project.
I also happened across some of Jim Bumgardner’s mosaic portraits built from Flickr tags, the makings of which are covered in his book Flickr Hacks. I like the efforts to plot photos according to time. (Some of the visuals remind me of the graphical depictions of one’s own DNA available from various companies.)
For a mosaic of another sort, check out Technology Smiling, a rendering of the Mona Lisa done in computer parts. [Via]
And elsewhere in the world of visualization, Sala at Aharef.info has posted graphical views of Web site tags. I’m not entirely sure how to interpret the results, but they’re easy on the eyes. Take a look at your site via the same applet, here. [Via Marc Pawliger]
May 26, 2006
Can’t install Photoshop? Here’s some info.
Late last week, customers began reporting that once they’d applied Apple’s QuickTime 7.1 update, they were unable to install Photoshop or the Creative Suite on Mactel systems. Apple and Adobe engineers have been working together* since then to diagnose the problem.
The tech docs for the installer freeze and activation failure are being pushed live now and may not yet be available, so in the meantime, here’s some key info:
Photoshop CS2 installation freezes Intel-based Mac
When you install Photoshop CS2 on an Intel-based Mac with the QuickTime 7.1 update installed, your Mac freezes. Apple is working on a QuickTime fix. Until it’s available, use the following solution, or contact Apple at 1-800-APLCARE (in North America) or go to http://www.apple.com/contact/phone_contacts.html for a list of international Apple support phone numbers.
- Restart the Macintosh and hold down the Shift key immediately after you hear the chimes.
- Release the Shift key when the Apple logo appears. When the Macintosh is in Safe Boot mode, the words Safe Boot appear on the logo.
- Insert your Mac OS system CD and perform an Archive and Install of OS 10.4.x, and select the option to Preserve Users and Network Settings. For instructions, see the documentation that came with your Apple computer, or contact Apple.
- Reboot the computer in normal mode. Note: Do not install the QuickTime 7.1 update.
- Install Photoshop
Obviously this approach isn’t ideal, and if you can sit tight, Apple should have an update ready soon. We’ll post more info as soon as it’s available.
Thanks for your patience,
* Sorry, conspiracy wingnuts: Apple and Adobe are on the same side & closely collaborate on these things. The truth bores sometimes, I know.
May 24, 2006
Adobe gets del.icio.us
Adobe folks have started populating del.icio.us, the popular shared bookmarking application, with interesting bits relevant to Adobe apps & users. The root is http://del.icio.us/adobe, and from there you can go to more specific areas (e.g. del.icio.us/adobe/Photoshop or del.icio.us/adobe/AfterEffects). Luanne Seymour, a member of the group doing this work, hastens to point out that this effort has just begun & the set of links isn’t yet comprehensive. That said, it’s growing every day.
Hopefully this is just the start of Adobe using more creative ways to connect customers. Much, if not most, of the strength of the apps lies not in their features, but in the communities around each, yet while you’re inside Photoshop, Flash, etc., you’re effectively in isolation. Other good efforts are continuing (LiveDocs, the U2U forums, the to-be-united Adobe and Macromedia exchanges, etc.), but getting to these things still requires excessive geek-cred. We’ll work on finding simpler, more seamless ways to reveal and interact with what & who are out there.
May 23, 2006
Photons to Ink; Adobe Proxy & Edge
Here’s a fistful of good learning resources:
- Now ready for download: Volume II, No. 2 of Proxy, the quarterly design magazine from Adobe. This issue features a talk with John Maeda of MIT’s Media Lab; type geekery with Robert Slimbach; vectorizing in Illustrator; top 10 keyboard shorcuts in Creative Suite 2; enhancements to Adobe Stock Photos, and more.
- The May 22 Adobe Edge newsletter is also live. Featured in this installment: Driving the Jaguar Experience Online | Edge Interview with Tim O’Reilly | Flex 2: What’s in It for Flash Developers? | Merging Two Sites: The New Adobe.com | Get More from Your Ajax Applications | Tips for Rookie Video Producers | Tapping into the Adobe Developer Community [Via]
- The accomplished teacher/photographer duo of Katrin Eismann and Jack Reznicki are conducting their Photons to Ink weekend seminar June 24-25 in NYC. Looks like lots of good info will be flowing.
- Update: The Adobe Design Center has been refreshed as well. New content includes:
- Gallery: Flash movies from Ernesto Lavandera & Michele D’Auria
- Think Tank: Getting Real: An interview with Jason Fried by Khoi Vinh
- Dialog Box: Video on the Web — getting started by Hillman Curtis
- Trapping by Olav Martin Kvern, David Blatner
- Color management by Olav Martin Kvern, David Blatner
- Simple Adjustment Layers by Bruce Fraser, David Blatner
- Closed and Open shape path tools by Mordy Golding
- Frame by frame animation by Helge Maus, Sascha Wolter
More visual trickery
[See also previous examples]
May 22, 2006
Photoshop & the Dead Sea Scrolls
Ah–here’s a great example of a non-traditional use of Photoshop that I’ve been wanting to share for a while. Researchers at USC’s West Semitic Research Project have been using Photoshop to aid in analyzing the Dead Sea Scrolls and other historic texts. Dr. Bruce Zuckerman, director of the WSRP, writes, “Adobe Photoshop CS2 is the single most important enabler in the WSRP’s work. It is pivotal to our ability to unlock the history of the ancient past.” We’ve put together a 4-page article (PDF) that talks more about the work:
Frequently, Photoshop CS2 is used to combine parchment or papyrus fragments of texts that are often physically separated in different museums and libraries in what amounts to digital jigsaw puzzles. Some writing is so tiny that researchers use a fiber-optic “light brush” to direct a very narrow beam of light onto a small area. In such cases, Photoshop CS2 allows scholars to combine images to build composites out of the smaller images. Some writing cannot be seen at all because the background is too dark or the ink itself is too faded. In this case, researchers use infrared and ultraviolet imaging to reclaim the ink traces. Because infrared and ultraviolet images sometimes hide as well as reveal data, scholars use Photoshop CS2 to combine various images in order to have all the visual information available for viewing.
- The WSRP maintains online guides for scholars using Photoshop in their research.
- John Dowdell mentions Adobe’s growing focus on imaging science and outreach to scientists–for example, the image authentication work on which Adobe’s been collaborating with Dr. Hani Farid & his team.
- The Photoshop product pages cover ways in which the application’s capabilities have grown for these users in the most recent releases.
May 21, 2006
May 16, 2006
Lightroom Podcast #6: Cool splash screen names, unite!
“Seetharaman Narayanan” isn’t the only great-sounding name to grace the Photoshop splash screen over the years, and now Zalman Stern (who ported PS 2.5 to PowerPC, then left, started a company, and helped create Macromedia Contribute) has found his way back home. Both engineers joined their boss Dave Story plus George Jardine & Jeff Schewe to chat recently. George writes,
Assembling a cast of some of Adobe’s most interesting and talented engineers, this podcast attempts to crack the lid, if only just a little bit, and allow you a peek into some of the issues and thinking around our cross-platform development. We’ve included Zalman Stern, who has worked in the bowels of Photoshop code and just a few other world-class desktop applications… now working on Adobe Camera Raw; Seetharaman Narayanan, who has been crafting some of Adobe’s most ambitious cross-platform code for well over a decade; Dave Story, our VP of Engineering, who is training our focus on the big picture, to keep us firmly planted as leaders in the industry as we move into the 21st Century of application development; and finally, Jeff Schewe…. just to make sure the customer voice is always being heard!
As always the podcast is available via iTunes (search for “Lightroom”) and via this RSS feed. And maybe next time we’ll get Nkono Boyomo to sit in on a talk. :-)
Photoshop & bugs (the exoskeletal kind)
Now that we’ve squashed some bugs in Photoshop CS2*, we can look at an instance of the tools being used in conjunction with actual insects. Microscopy UK talks about photographing slide mounts using a combination of digital SLRs, microscope, and slide scanner. The Photoshop content here is limited, so I’m passing it along as much for the great high-res imagery as anything. [Tangentially related: Berkeley scientists have been inspired by insect vision to create new camera lens designs.]
* Speaking of Photoshop and bugs (the other, bad kind), there’s a Photoshop Top Issues RSS feed as well as a dedicated product support page. If you see something going haywire, please let us know (and send us your feature ideas, too). We probably won’t respond to each report directly, but we do read them all, and we use the info to guide product planning. Thanks.
May 15, 2006
Photoshop CS2 update (9.0.1) now available
[Update June 2, 2007: If you're here because you're trying to rip us off by somehow stealing Photoshop (via serial number, keygen, crack, etc.), keep moving; you'll get no satisfaction here. Adios. --J.]
I’m pleased to report that we’ve just posted the Photoshop 9.0.1 updater for Photoshop CS2 (Mac/Win). In addition to addressing a crummy PDF offset bug, this release means that:
- After editing an image in Photoshop CS2 via Acrobat Touchup, the image no longer gets re-positioned.
- Photoshop no longer hangs for several seconds when using painting tools with quick strokes.
- A program error that could appear when mousing over high res doc with Brush Tool has been fixed.
- Documents containing a large number of text layers now open more quickly.
- An error that could cause a crash on Mac when launching, or when opening or saving a file, has been addressed.
- Problems related to palettes on Windows (slow redraw, palettes go white, possible crash) have been addressed.
- TIFF files from certain scanners can now be opened correctly.
- XMP metadata from AI & PDF files is now retained in Photoshop.
- Slow performance when toggling layer visibility has been fixed.
- Info palette numbers now display and update when moving a curve point in Curves via the cursor keys.
- Problems opening certain TIFF and PSB files greater than 2GB in size have been resolved.
- The Merge to HDR command now functions properly when using high-ASCII characters in user login.
Dot releases (updates) like this are much like detention in high school–a kind of penalty box that keeps you away from what you really want to be doing (building the Next Great Transformative Thing and all). They’re also a drag since cracking open the shipping app brings a risk of breaking something else, so quite a few testing cycles go into making sure everything is solid. In any case, we hope you weren’t experiencing any static with CS2 thus far, and if you were, this update should set things right.
[Update: As probably wasn't clear enough in the last paragraph, I was going for humor, not whining. Fixing bugs that have been hurting customers is clearly the right thing to do, and we're glad to have taken the time to do this update. (And again, sorry we didn't catch these problems before shipping.) I just don't like the idea that dot releases are an expected fact of life, and that one shouldn't buy or use a product until after a first dot release, service pack, etc. has been issued. The goal of any developer should obviously be to avoid the need for a bug-fix update.]
May 14, 2006
Get lean. Stay hungry.
“The old Jetta was trim and compact, with chunky good proportions. The new one — 5.7 inches longer — is so big and amorphous they should have called it Jetta the Hutt. Every manufacturer engages in this incremental generation-to-generation size creep, and if it keeps up, eventually Shriners will drive 1996 Buick Roadmasters and we’ll laugh at their comical little cars from the observation decks of our Subaru Imprezas. Somebody, stop the madness.”
– The NY Times auto section*
The same could be said about a lot of modern software, of course, and a decent backlash is underway. Throw a dead cat & you’ll hit some manifesto or other talking about how features don’t matter, shouldn’t be added, etc.**
Why is that? A few things come to mind:
- Packing in tons of features makes software take forever to load, and/or makes it run slowly and consume tons of resources. Therefore everyone is penalized by stuff they’ll never use.
- The existence of unused features makes it harder to get at the small percentage you actually care about. Locating the right command is like finding a needle in a stack of needles.
- Being presented with a wall of options (especially if the previous set wasn’t well understood) makes people feel inadequate. The percentage anyone comprehends grows smaller as the app grows more vast.
- New features give the impression of a neverending, ever longer learning curve. Rather than make things simpler, they risk adding confusion and redundancy, fatiguing the people they’re supposed to help.
If this is all true, then aren’t the critics right? Yes–if it’s true. But what if it weren’t? What if:
- New software booted up faster than its predecessor on the same machine?
- It ran faster, felt smoother, and produced better results, without requiring any additional learning from users?
- The interface could grow simpler, more focused, more relevant to your needs (and your needs only)?
In short, if you could take away the pain that comes with a large and growing feature set, yet keep its benefits, would it cool the critics out? Would we then have permission (or blessings, even) to add whole new levels of power and capability?
As you might guess, we’re thinking about these issues all the time. In my view we need to define a fairly rigorous “Contract with the Customer” to ensure that before we move on to adding new layers of richness, we do the hard work of addressing the problems mentioned above.
We need your permission to take Photoshop in new directions, to add features that will blow people’s heads clean off. And to earn that permission, we need to show that we’re nailing the fundamentals. It’s not going to be an overnight thing, but I think we’re on the right track.
* VW can always take solace in having possibly the coolest parking structure ever. Oh, and once again, a fistful of great ads.
** To me, though, these critiques ring a little hollow–not unlike the great Onion article, “Report: 98 Percent Of U.S. Commuters Favor Public Transportation For Others.” That is, to some extent the critics are saying, Don’t add anything for anyone except me, that I personally don’t need right now.
May 12, 2006
“We’re huge in Japan…”
Okay, we knew people were excited about Lightroom and wanted to see more of it, but this takes things to another level. Someone (and evidently we don’t know who), impatient for a localized Japanese version, has done the translation honors him- or herself: check out this screenshot. (I’m posting it here since the site where we found it is password-protected.)
Heh–good stuff, eh? It’s a great vote of support for Lightroom, and if we can coax the mystery author to take a little credit, I’ll update this post with more info.
May 10, 2006
Lightroom Podcast #5: Graham Nash, Mac Holbert
In the latest installment of the popular series, Graham Nash and Mac Holbert chat with George Jardine. George writes,
This podcast was recorded April 21st 2006, at the Encino, CA home of Graham Nash. Mac, Graham and George discuss the journey Nash Editions has traveled, pioneering in the world of fine art digital printmaking. We discuss the changing perceptions of photography as art, and how the digital revolution has played into those perceptions.
May 08, 2006
What the h___ is Word talking about?
First, before you think I’m picking on/picking a fight with the folks at Microsoft, let me point out that the title of this post could be a sort of software Mad Libs, where “[product]” (including “Photoshop”) could replace “Word.” More on that in a second. But first, an Airing of Grievances:
Just now I double clicked a .DOC attachment sent to me in email. Entourage dutifully launched Word, and I glanced over the document, then hit Quit. Here’s where the fun begins. “Hey, your Normal template has changed,” says Word (or something to that effect); “Would you like to replace your Normal template?”
Uhh… no? (I didn’t make any changes to any template, so I probably shouldn’t replace something that sounds pretty fundamental, right?) I hit “No.”
“Okay–please choose a folder for saving the new template.”
Um, what? Again, I don’t want to save anything (since, again, I didn’t create or change anything). Hit “Cancel.”
“Hey, your Normal template has changed. Would you like to replace it?”
What? What the hell are you talking about? Fade out.
I’ve bothered to write this for a couple of reasons. One, I’m sure the process I just experienced makes sense to someone on the Word team, and it probably makes sense even to some Word power users. Heck, it probably opens up all kinds of powerful possibilities. But for a guy simply trying to open and read a file, then move on, it’s bizarre & unnerving. Just what have I done to my software, and why?
More importantly, though, it illustrates the disconnect between developers/power users & ordinary mortals just trying to get something done. Features made for one perplex the other, and once you’re an expert, it’s hard to see with a fresh perspective.
Back to the original point: you could easily substitute “Photoshop” for “Word” and cite plenty of examples that baffle newcomers. Imaging is complex, and whether it’s a color profile warning every time you open a file, or a “Do you want to maximize compatibility?” dialog every time you save (more on that soon), plenty of Photoshop functions are hardly self explanatory. Trouble is, we’ve been around the tools for too long, and we know why things are as they are. That makes it tough to see through new users’ eyes.
So, at last, my plea: If something in Photoshop (or another Adobe app) gives you a moment of “Wha…?,” please let us know, okay?
Devo does Photoshop, &c.
Camera Raw 3.4 now available
Adobe Camera Raw & the DNG Converter have been updated to version 3.4 and can now be downloaded for Mac and Windows. New camera support (bringing ACR’s total to
113 or so 121!) includes the following:
- Canon EOS 30D
- Epson R-D1s
- Leaf Aptus 65
- Leaf Aptus 75
- Olympus EVOLT E-330
- Olympus SP-320
- Pentax *ist DL2
- Samsung GX-1S
As always, please take a second to ensure that you install the plug-in into the correct spot:
Mac: /Library/Application Support/Adobe/Plug-ins/CS2/File Formats/…
Win: \Program Files\Common Files\Adobe\Plug-ins\CS2\File Formats\…
[Update: Geoff Stearns asks, "Should I bother updating even if I don't have any of the new cameras? Are there any bug fixes or other tweaks to the existing cameras?" To which Thomas Knoll replies, "There are nearly always at least minor bug fixes with any camera raw update." Cue NBC's "The More You Know" riff.]
May 05, 2006
Pixels a Go-Go
Think you’ve got a lot of data after starting to shoot raw? The new RED ONE camera system eats bandwidth for breakfast & then asks for thirds. The recently announced system is said to generate an insane 60fps of 4520×2540 (11.4 megapixel), 12-bit raw data (see specs). Put that in your hard drive & smoke it (literally).
Elsewhere in Tales of the Ginormous, a Microsoft researcher is stitching together hundreds of photos to make a 4-gigapixel monster (with 2.5x bigger on the horizon). And John Carmack of Doom/Quake fame is using a 5GB “MegaTexture” to power his next title. [Via]
These guys ought to hire The Humungous to be their pitch man…
May 04, 2006
Manga Zoomlines for Illustrator
Plug-in maker GraphicXtras has released Zoomlines, an Illustrator utility for making the focus/zoom lines often seen in manga and other comics. The interface is a bit inscrutable, but for $12 a lot can be forgiven. Just don’t stare too long a the vibrating centers of your creations, lest they induce a seizure. [Via]
I dig this kind of little single-purpose tool: quick, affordable, and built to solve a particular problem. We do need to make it easier to modify Adobe authoring tools to encourage this kind of development, and we’re working on that.
The images created by Zoomlines reminds me of some fun I’ve been having in Illustrator lately, trying out ideas for this blog. I was kind of taken with the album art for Volante, so I experimented with techniques to make something similar. In case it’s useful, I’ve illustrated the steps taken to create the basic artwork that became the background for this page. I think it’s got kind of a Soundgarden/Rollins Band thing going on.