November 30, 2006
Kicking the Tires: Photoshop rendering tutorials
My fellow Photoshop PM Ashley Still interacts with customers using Photoshop in vertical markets (engineering, healthcare, etc.) and has turned up some good resources on using the app in automotive, industrial, and clothing design:
- CarBody.com pulls together a wealth of tutorials covering automotive design in Photoshop and Illustrator.
- Along those lines, here’s a concept rendering tutorial on deviantART.
- AECbytes talks about how to enhance CAD files by using Photoshop layer styles.
- Scott Onstott covers some similar territory in his video training series.
- Footwear designer Michael DiTullo has posted a detailed tutorial on rendering footwear designs in Illustrator and Photoshop–from rough sketch to realistic visualization. [Via]
- See also previous related posts.
On a slightly related note, Michael Halbert is one talented motherscratcher, offering a wealth of tutorials (including good videos) on achieving a traditional scratchboard look. [Via]. He’s also featured in the Adobe.com Print Gallery.
Zombies, Communism, & other illustrated goodness
- I’m a fan of both Constructivism & retro-ironic propaganda (think Chinese military ballet), so I dig seeing this collection of Soviet Photomontages 1917-1953. See also Soviet carpet propaganda. (Doesn’t it seem a little weird to encourage walking all over your icons?). [Via]
- Think your colleagues are zombies? ZombiePortraits.com will illustrate your point for just $85. [Via]
- Talk about mudflaps, my rickshaw’s got ‘em… Okay, I have no truck, much less a rickshaw, but if I did I’d be tempted to pimp it with beautifully illustrated Bollywood mudflaps. [Via]
- Flags of our Clients shows what happens when you’re too attentive to feedback on your illustrations–in this case, flags of the world.
- Computer Arts discusses the digital illustration revolution. Memorable quote (from 1992): "John Warwicker, Creative Director of design collective Tomato, said without even a trace of irony: ‘I can envisage a time when we’ll all need our own individual Macs.’" [Via]
- Illustration Friday has an interview with illustrator Anita Kunz, showing some of her great images.
- Alberto Cerriteño does straight-up gorgeous work. [Via]
- Creating optical illusions in a room is one thing, but can you make your room look like a cartoon? [Via]
- I haven’t tried Akvis Sketch, but the new version of this Photoshop plug-in promises to convert your images to sketches quickly and easily. [Via]
- Gene Gable has posted a collection of lovely vintage map art in his CreativePro.com column. (Sadly, nowhere be monsters.)
November 28, 2006
Xerox intros self-erasing paper
The folks up the road at Xerox PARC (onetime home of the Adobe founders) have been busily developing a new kind of paper that erases itself after 16 hours or so. The idea is to reduce waste by letting people reuse some of the large percentage of paper that’s printed & recycled in short order–often on the same day. More details are in the press release.
The story provides some background on the research that gave rise to this technology: “What she has discovered is a notable change in the role of paper in modern offices, where it is increasingly used as a medium of display rather than storage [emphasis added]. Documents are stored on central servers and personal computers and printed only as needed; for meetings, editing or reviewing information.”
It’ll be interesting to see what, if any, role this technology plays in a world of email, electronic paper, etc. “I worry that this would be like coming out with Super 8 just before the video camera,” says consultant Paul Saffo. Time will tell. [Via]
PS–At the other end of the permanence spectrum, tattooing has become so popular that even Chinese fish are doing it. No word on whether "Shanghai Ink" will be airing soon. [Via]
Sonic Tinkertoys + other funky new input devices
Sure, the Nintendo Wii is getting lots of attention for its motion-sensitive controllers, but several other input projects have popped up recently:
- The Reactable is a "state-of-the-art multi-user electro-acoustic music instrument with a tabletop tangible user interface." That is, you can drag objects around a flat-screen surface, twisting and aligning them to produce sound (I’ll stop short of saying "music"*). Check out the very cool videos. [Via]
- Tai-Chi is a series of acoustic sensors that turn any surface into a touch-sensitive computer interface. Here you can see it tracking a finger, among other objects. [Via]
- The Onomy Tilty Table is a large display that can rock back and forth, moving the image on screen as you move the table. This makes it quick for cruising across large images, from geographic imagery to the AIDS Quilt. Check it out in action. The latest version will enable twisting to aid navigation. [Via]
- SandScape lets users interact with a landscape model made of sand, watching interpretations of the results projected back onto the sand. So you could, for example, sculpt a new form in the sand, then see water flow patterns projected onto the surface. It’s easier to see it in action than to describe. More info is here. [Via]
- 3D Connexion (corporate cousins of the Logitech guys behind the NuLOOQ "Adobe mouse") have introduced the SpaceNavigator, a $49 puck optimized for navigating 3D spaces (e.g. Google Earth).
- Robert Hodgin (of Flight404 fame) created a large interactive video wall in conjunction with Saturn’s hybrid vehicle launch. Grass and text ripple as users walk by; more photos and here.
November 26, 2006
The Colour & the Shape
- Colour By Numbers is a 72m-high light installation in Sweden. You can program the colors using a phone (just call +46 (70) 57 57 807), then watch the results in a live video feed on the site. [Via]
- Photographer Constantine Manos captures the nation’s rich palettes in American Color.
- COLOURlovers is "a resource that monitors and influences color trends," providing news and interviews as well as tools for browsing and rating palettes. They recently interviewed Dr. Woohoo (aka Drew Trujillo), creator of the In The Mod color analytics tool, among other grooviness.
- Moto Colors makes it possible to browse Motorola phones by color, and to create, ah, abstract designs in the corresponding colors. (Click and drag once you’ve picked a color in order to paint.) [Via]
- It’s possible to trick your eye into seeing color on a B&W photo, as in this Spanish castle illusion. To create your own version of the illusion, follow the steps of this tutorial, complete with a Photoshop action. [Via]
November 24, 2006
Animals photographed in the womb, & more
- Using a combination of three-dimensional ultrasound scans, computer graphics and tiny cameras, a team of filmmakers has been able to show the entire process of animal gestation from conception to birth. Here’s the article and amazing photo gallery. [Via]
- Created in After Effects & Lightwave by XVIVO for Harvard biology students, The Inner Life of a Cell depicts mighty mitochondria and the like doing their thing; check it out in high- or low-res Flash video. [Via]
- Among the more unusual images I’ve seen, here’s the sun shot through the Earth, displaying neutrinos that pass through the planet’s mass.
- Speaking of celestial imagery, this month’s National Geographic features stupendously gorgeous images of Saturn–just a hint of which can be found on their site. [See also previous]
- Rick Lieder must have the patience of Job, and it pays off in his insect macrophotography at BeeDreams.com [Via]
- BibliOdyssey has posted The Concept of Mammals, a collection of antique critter renderings. "As was the fashion of the time," they write, "the animals were placed in contrived settings and often given human facial qualities, which only serves to heighten the sense of bizarre. And thankful we are too." [Via] The site is jammed with other good bits, including claws, shells, whales, and more. (And if stuff trips your trigger, check out Albertus Seba’s Cabinet of Natural Curiosities.)
Lightroom Podcast #21: Richard Benson, Thomas Palmer
I was amazed at the number of folks who approached our pod at the recent PhotoPlus Expo and said, "Hey, are we going to get more of those Lightroom podcasts soon? I was really enjoying those." After a busy fall, George Jardine is back in the saddle–or rather, the headphones–recording away. Of the latest podcast, he writes:
This podcast was recorded on Monday October 30th 2006, at Richard Benson’s home in Newport, Rhode Island. Adobe Pro Photography Evangelist George Jardine speaks to fine art printer and photographer Richard Benson and his printing partner, Thomas Palmer, while they recount many fascinating stories such as working on the Gilman Paper Company book, working with Irving Penn and Paul Strand, and many other luminaries.
The podcast is available as an MP3 file via George’s iDisk (under "1030-1 Podcast – Richard Benson and Thomas Palmer"). It’ll also be available via the Lightroom podcasts RSS feed, and by searching for "Lightroom" in iTunes.
November 23, 2006
Pleasures of the Flesh… with Toast
Clearly the smell of slow-cooking turkey meat wafting down the hall is getting to me, and soon enough I’ll give this laptop a much-deserved break. But before that, here’s a wee cornucopia of hopefully interesting bits:
- Sure, it’s not "Kentucky Fried Turkey," but this insanely huge logo project seemed topical. A video depitcs the assembly of 65,000, one-foot by one-foot painted tile pieces into one big, smiling Southern mug. More info here.
- Pleasures of the Flesh is an offbeat photo illustration project from David Field. See his portfolio for more creepiness. [Via Kevin Connor]
- Setting a new standard for truth in advertising, Your Name On Toast offers–wait for it–"your name, except on toast." The idea is that by selling photos of bespoke bread, they can raise money for a good cause. Tasty!
- While Americans are busy hacking their birds, Japan is the Land of the Rising Pimp-Ride: Dekotora are insanely modified trucks, as you can see in this gallery of wild creations. [Via]
- If watching football today on a glossy screen is just too poncey, maybe you’ll soon be able to select a grittier experience, courtesy of rear-projection concrete.
Adobe open-sources Web gallery code
A few months back I mentioned that Adobe has been working on a system to enable rich Flash- and HTML-based Web galleries to be created from Adobe apps. That engine is currently available in Photoshop Elements and Photoshop Lightroom, and I’m happy to report that the underlying ActionScript code is now available as an open-source project. The galleries (see examples) are rather deceptively simple, but the underlying code supports good stuff like dynamic resizing, user-configurable high/low bandwidth states, multi-resolution files, and more. [Via]
If you just want to start generating slick Flash galleries from Photoshop CS2, check out Felix Turner’s sweet PostcardViewer hook-up (see example output), as well as the ones that ship with Photoshop.
"’Shopped, not Stirred"
Growing up, I clipped a newspaper’s list of all the James Bond films to date, keeping the yellowing paper taped to our refrigerator until I’d seen & checked off every one. So as you’d imagine, it was kind of a thrill when, during the new Casino Royale last week, one of the characters said, "It’s amazing what you can do with Photoshop these days." Hot damn! And apparently I wasn’t hallucinating, as Digit Magazine has taken note. [Via] [Update: The Bond films’ classic intro sequences are here. [Via]]
‘Tis the season for Photoshop making cameos, it seems. Photoshop engineer Russell Williams writes, "Last week’s CSI featured a murderer who’s a news photographer who kills to
hide the fact that he’s composited his Iraq war pictures with Photoshop. At
one point the police officer questioning him says something to the effect
that ‘I’m surprised an adrenaline junkie like you would want to waste his
time with Photoshop.’" (What, the clone tool isn’t adrenaline-packed…?) Our PR folks report that the app popped up recently in Two And A Half Men as well as Desperate Housewives. And The Daily Show continues to rock out, even featuring a montage of 10 years of P’shopped photos–now sadly yanked off YouTube.
We have in fact visited folks in Hollywood and talked about Photoshop’s role in their work & the stories they tell, but as far as I know these mentions are purely organic.
PS–Much to her delight/chagrin, I think I’ll now start referring to my wife as Pixels Galore. ;-)
November 20, 2006
Adobe Design Awards: Call for entries
Offering "international prestige and valuable prizes," the 2007 Adobe Design Achievement Awards are now accepting entries from student designers, photographers, illustrators, animators and digital filmmakers. The press release has more info, and the site lists offical rules & so forth. Loot includes $5k per winning entry, Adobe software, plus a trip to San Francisco for finalists to participate in the awards ceremony. You can also check out the gallery of winning 2006 entries. [Via]
Do not taunt Happy Photoshop Icon…
Alan Becker, creator of the rather brilliant Animator vs. Animation (a Flash user vs. his creation) has returned with The Sequel, and it rocks harder than before. Even the Photoshop icon gets involved, using its laser vision! [Via Maria Brenny]
Haven’t procrastinated enough yet? Well then, here are some more video bits I’ve enjoyed recently:
- Fail Harder. They write, "Wieden + Kennedy 12, an experimental advertising school run by Portland ad agency W+K, is responsible for buying out all available clear push pins on the west coast of the US. Over 100,000 thumbtacks were used over 351 hours to create a wall mural that spells out Fail Harder, a message that underlines the importance of failure during the creative process."
- Oliver Laric, creator of the "787 clip arts" vid, has re-emerged with "Aircondition," a crazy little video of… well, you tell me. (And just try forgetting that soundtrack.)
- Pikapika is a "lightning doodle project" from Japan, using flashlights & stop motion to create groovy effects. Makes me think of Michel Gondry a bit, or of Picasso painting with light. [Via]
By the way, speaking of the Photoshop icon, I don’t know why you might need these, but earlier today someone requested copies of historical versions of the icon. So, here you go. (And for reference, here are the previous toolbars and splash screens.)
November 18, 2006
Biggest. Typography. Ever.
- geoGreeting leverages Google Maps, letting you assemble animated greetings by using satellite photos of letter-shaped buildings. Ridiculous! Check it out! [Via]
- Along vaguely similar lines, FireHorse Studio has fun with lettering in a 15 second teaser trailer for Toyota. [Via]
[Update: That giant "MOMO" signature (mentioned recently) would qualify as well. And so would the 8-foot LED letters of Mary Ellen Carroll's Indestructable Language installation in Jersey City.]
November 17, 2006
Design cage match tomorrow in SF
Okay, I’m slow on the draw in mentioning it, but if by chance you’re near San Francisco and feel like watching designers rumble, check out Cut & Paste, going down tomorrow night. The tournament-style competition "pits eight of the city’s best graphic designers against each other in an elimination battle of creativity, technical expertise, and wit. The competitors will work live on stage, in front of an audience and panel of expert judges. An MC will host the festivities and a soundtrack will be provided by hometown favorite DJs." Each round is 15 minutes, and designers have to create artwork totally from scratch. There’s also an audience design contest.
And speaking of gigundo pixels…
- Duncan Wilson has created pixelnotes, a wallpaper constructed from Post-It-style chunks of paper, four deep, each of which is a different color. "Pixelated formations and shapes develop according to our patterns of use." Groovy. See also his funky Cup Communicators (heh), as well as his PSP cocoons. (And I’m envious that he gets to work with someone named "Sirkka Hammer." That’s the kind of name that belongs on the Photoshop splash screen.) [Via Julie Baher]
- Krazydad (Jim Bumgardner) turns vintage sci-fi covers into pixels, arranging them into a "coverpop." Covers are arranged horizontally by time, and vertically by average hue. Jim provides an interesting backstory (combining Flash, Processing, ImageMagick, and more) and visuals here. [Via Marc Pawliger]
November 16, 2006
Super chunky pixels, Raw workflow, more on Design Center
The Adobe Design Center fires off a salvo of new content:
New Dialog Box:
- A raw workflow in the real world by Jeff Schewe
- Big, chunky pixels: New lo-fi animation by Dan Nadel
- Some background information [After Effects] byBob Donlon
- Tweak to get the perfect trace [Illustrator] by Mordy Golding
- Use Flash text to display text in your website [Dreamweaver, Flash] by Garrick Chow
- Use watched folders to automate PDF creation [Acrobat] by Garrick Chow
- Create a night scene with Fireworks [Fireworks] by Angelo Sabal
- Apply video effects to clips with alpha channels [Premiere Pro] by Jeff Schell
- Set up a Version Cue PDF review [Version Cue] by Ted LoCascio
- Team Adobe Premiere Pro with Encore DVD [Encore DVD, Premiere Pro] by Chad Perkins
Introducing Kuler, Adobe’s color harmony RIA
Today Adobe takes the wraps off kuler, a new hosted application for creating and sharing color harmonies. The best way to experience kuler is to jump right in, but if you want a quick peek, here’s a screenshot.
Written in ActionScript 3, kuler (to quote the FAQ)
"allows users to quickly create harmonious color themes based on predefined color
formulas, or by mixing their own color themes using an interactive color wheel. Color themes can be
created in multiple colorspaces including RGB, CMYK and LAB. Themes can be tagged, shared and
commented on. Users can search the kuler online community for top rated colors, or search for schemes
by tag word or date created. Users of Adobe Creative Suite 2 applications can download any color theme
as an Adobe Swatch Exchange (.ASE) file that can be imported in their preferred creative application and
can be applied on their artwork."
You can also get readouts of the color values & copy them to the clipboard.
I think that you may, as Ryan Stewart writes, find kuler "strangely engaging." In any case, I think we’ll look back and see this launch as a milestone, a key moment when Adobe creative tools moved from their desktop-only heritage to a future in which they make connectedness & collaboration first-class parts of the experience. Good, good stuff. So, jump in, start creating, and let us know what you think!
November 15, 2006
Of skulls & skaters
Okay, I know that 11-year-old mallrats & their feckless Hot Topic enablers have all but stomped the life out of skull imagery, but dammit, there are some good bits left:
- I Want Your Skull pulls together "Art, design, toys. All things skeletal." [Via]
- The site turned me on to Brian Morris’s excellent skull-heavy artwork. He shares more work through his blog.
- Marc Ecko’s Better Off Dead watch = fun, morbid bling. My wife is all over it. I’m sure it would go well with this skull disco ball.
- "You call yourself a Misfits fan?" Mr. Facial Skull-Tat does, and no one will question him. The first commenter captures my sentiments exactly. [Via]
- A woman gets sketched from the bones up here. [Via Reen Bodo]
- I stumbled across a gallery of Cameron Stewart’s incredible–and intense–artwork from The Other Side, the Vietnam war story he created with Jason Aaron.
- Charles Anderson’s Mysterio Collection offers stock art done in the style of Mexican horror pulp. Viva pelo peligroso. [Via]
- [Update: These handsome skull cufflinks will set you back a cool $225.]
- Growing up, I delighted my parents for several years by covering my bedroom door with skateboarding stickers–always heavy on the skull imagery. Powell Peralta’s Bones Brigade and Jim Phillips’s Santa Cruz art were among my faves. Along those lines, I got a kick out of this tribute to Jim’s iconic screaming hand.
- Speaking of skating, DX Interactive has posted The A-Z of Skateboard Tricks, a Flash-based gallery of 3D-rendered moves. [Via]
[See also previous skullduggery]
November 14, 2006
Tipping cows, Bending Light, & more
- Postcard Polaroid features, well, just that–a blog-ful of Polaroid snaps sent in by readers, often with little magic marker witticisms.
- In a related vein, Photojojo has a cool idea (and tutorial) for turning a single photo into a large mailable mosaic. And in their Awesomeness section (heh), they sell The Mailable Photo Frame, a self-contained 4"x6" sleeve with its own stand.
- If that’s up your alley, you might like MOO’s Flickr MiniCards–an easy way to print tiny, sharable copies of your images.
- Through Joe Lencioni’s excellent Shifting Pixel, I found Bending Light Magazine, home to numerous lovely Flash galleries like this one. I especially liked these discoveries. (“I’ve got a fever… and the only prescription… is more cowball.”)
- I escaped rural Illinois without ever having tipped a cow, though I was chased by a few. Too bad I didn’t think to shoot them (with a camera, of course). Rachel Sudlow did; Cowscapes is the result.
- Borut Peterlin does some cool portraiture.
November 13, 2006
10.4.8 boosts Photoshop 35% on Mactel
Apple’s recently released 10.4.8 system update includes a number of enhancements to the Rosetta processor emulation technology. Now Macworld’s benchmarks add some specifics, reporting a roughly ~35% improvement running Photoshop CS2 on Intel-based Mac systems.
This is pretty great news. I mean, when’s the last time you got a free update that made your machine 35% faster at something? Our engineering and QE folks worked closely with Apple as the new code was developed, testing frequent drops for compatibility and performance. (See, it’s knowing/doing this kind of thing that makes me flip out when people start making up nonsense.)
Now, obviously–obviously–the preferred solution is to get Photoshop & other PPC apps to run natively on Mactel ASAP, and of course we continue to work hard on that front. (Just figured I’d spare anyone the trouble of writing "Git-r-done!!" or words to that effect. ;-)) In the meantime, it’s great to see Rosetta making strides to let people be more productive on these new systems.
[Update: Mike Downey reports that Flash 8 runs roughly 10% faster due to the update, and Steve Kilisky says that After Effects can run up to 15% faster.]
New Photoshop training videos
- Photographer and workflow expert Peter Krogh has created new video training that addresses Adobe Camera Raw, DNG, Bridge, and Peter’s RapidFixer extension for Bridge, as well as interfacing with iView Media Pro and more.
- As Help Desk Director for NAPP, Pete Bauer has heard just about every Photoshop question a dozen times. Maybe for the sake of his sanity, he’s committed the answers to the Photoshop CS2 FAQs for Lynda.com–a set of 120 or so short movies that address each common question.
- Speaking of Lynda, they’ve added Deke McClelland to their stable of talent.
- In conjunction with the Creative Suite 2.3 and Acrobat 8 launch, the folks at Total Training offer new training in high definition.
- The Online Photographer has posted a review of Bruce Fraser’s Real World Sharpening in Photoshop CS2. (I’m kind of fascinated by this trend in specialized publishing. Could there be a Real World Open Dialog coming soon? ;-))
November 12, 2006
Pantone tats, Evil timesheets, & more
A fistful of illustration goodness:
- Who says people today are noncommittal? Make your graphic design geekery permanent with a Pantone tattoo. It’s part of Reset Design’s invitation to designers to rethink the function of body art. Here’s the gallery of submissions to date. [Via]
- Maira Kalman (creator of the much-loved "New Yorkistan" New Yorker cover, among many other things) now has her own illustration blog on the NYT. Dig that crazy Nietzsche action.
- The iconography of the classic Photoshop toolbar now decorates this Insanely Great Pixel Tools t-shirt.
- Moleskinerie is a Flickr pool of art sketched in Moleskine notebooks [Via]
- Paper is evil. Timesheets are especially abhorrent. These images prove it.
November 11, 2006
More rockin’ Photoshop brushes
- Calling itself "The largest Photoshop brush resource on the Internet," PSBrushes.net just might have what you’re looking for. [Via]
- After a little hiatus while switching to the new (ex-Macromedia) infrastructure, the Photoshop area on the Adobe Exchange is back to posting new brushes, actions, styles, and more.
- If you’re looking to add some kaPOW to an image, peep this small collection of burst brushes.
- For more on brushing, see PhotoshopSupport.com’s comprehensive list of resources, including GetBrushes.com.
Photographic sculptures, giant graffiti, & more
- Gwon O-Sang creates intriguing three-dimensional sculptures (full-size people, vehicles, pets) from flat photos (c-prints). An essay on the site shares more details. [Via]
- The NYT features an audio slideshow, with accompanying article, "In the Holy Caves of India." [Via Mary Huber]
- Julia Fullerton-Batten has skills. ‘Nuff said. [Via]
- PicLens is a brilliant little Mac utility for delivering "an immersive full-screen experience for viewing photos on the Web." It’s ridiculously easy to use with image collections on Flickr, Google, etc.: clicking a little image overlay invokes a full-screen slideshow. I used it today to enjoy Vincent Benoit’s photostreams on Flickr. [Via]
- High-speed photography: Nike blows stuff up real good with their new Juice ball. [Via]
- To flash or not to flash: that is the night photography question. Consider the results. ;-)
- Not photography, but what the hey: Street artist MOMO writes his (?) name the width of Manhattan. [Via]
Panoramas: Cubism, Holgas, and DIY planets
- "Holga Cubism": Susan Bowen is a fine art photographer who creates panoramic collages using a cheap plastic Holga camera. She writes, "The long overlapping images are created by only partially advancing the film between exposures – the overlapping occurs in the film itself. It delights me how well these mostly unplanned juxtapositions capture my experience of a particular time and place and at the same time have an identity all their own." Check it out. [Via]
- Danish photographer Hans Nyberg took a series of panoramas at Photokina , including a pair showing the Adobe booth.
He reports, "For fast action panoramas we shoot 3 or 4 images with a fisheye.
Many of us use the Canon 5D today with a Nikkor 10.5mm fisheye (with an adapter).
They are stitched with software like PTGui." Here are some more.
- Photojojo (no relation, we presume) has a fun tutorial on How to Create Your Own Planets Using Your Panoramas. [Via]
November 09, 2006
More stellar imagery (literally)
- The Photoshop team got a treat today when astro photographer David Malin paid us a visit. David shared a selection of his work and techniques with the team, and put in some good requests (some of which we are delighted to be addressing). His site features a wealth of photos, including 50 Favourite Images from the Anglo-Australian Observatory.
- Along similar lines, I recently discovered a collection of 100 Great Images from the Hubble, as well as this stunner. And speaking of the famous telescope, in response to the news that it’s been decided to keep the Hubble flying (yeah!), the NYT has posted a short essay on the history of "NASA’s Comeback Kid." As always, if you want to open the raw imagery from the Hubble directly in Photoshop, check out the free FITS Liberator plug-in.
- My friend Phil Metschan, an art director at ILM, has created some concept art for his rocket-science brother’s proposed space flight technology. (More pix are on pp. 41-45 of the PDF.) It’s kind of funny for me to think that just a few years ago Phil and I were in NYC, building the Gucci site in Flash. Seems a world away now…
[At the other end of the size spectrum, David has created some beautiful micrographs from very tiny subjects (crystals, etc.). The images remind me a bit of Mac pioneer Bill Atkinson's ridiculously lovely coffee table book Within the Stone.]
November 07, 2006
Flash wins Emmy, enables "Invention of the Year"
I’m a little late in mentioning it, but I wanted to congratulate the Flash team on winning an Emmy Award for the contribution made by Flash Video! Even though basic video capabilities first appeared in the Flash Player in 2002, it wasn’t until the past year that its popularity became massive, thanks to Flash-powered sites like YouTube and MySpace. And speaking of YouTube, Time Magazine has dubbed the site the Best Invention of 2006. [Via]
In other Flash Player news, today the team dropped a bit of a bombshell: Adobe is open-sourcing the code behind the fast new virtual machine inside the player, and it’s contributing the code to the Mozilla foundation. As Mike Potter writes, "From a developer point of view, this means that you can build applications for Flash Player 9 that will use the same code structure as applications for Mozilla 2. No longer will you need to learn two seperate languages." Player engineer Tinic Uro discusses the highlights.
Drawing tools: Rat brains, willows, and Director
- Mikons is "a new form of self-expression that connects people through visual symbols (personal tags)," and the site creators call their Mikon Machine (created using Director) "the most advanced drawing tool of its kind available on the Internet."
They plan to add color, text input, a product builder, and a store to enable artists to sell their designs.
- Cumulate Draw offers a some similar capabilities but is done by leveraging the scripting engines built into modern Web browsers [Via]
- If having humans in the loop gets you down, why not try a little tree art? British artist Tim Knowles attaches pens to the branches of various trees, letting them draw whatever the wind dictates. I’m having trouble getting the photos to appear in my browser, but here’s a link in case you have more luck.
- Not out there enough for you? Okay, how about 50,000 rat neurons in a petri dish driving a robot arm in Australia, translating neural activity into drawings? Read all about it.
November 06, 2006
Best practices for Flash, Flex, more in Design Center
New Dialog Box:
- Why shoot raw? by Bruce Fraser
New Hot Topic:
- Best Practices, by Jen deHaan
- Apply multiple headers using one master,
by David Blatner and Anne Marie Concepcion
- Using a sharpening workflow in Photoshop CS2, by David Blatner and Bruce Fraser
- Manic Compression, by Bob Donlon
- Apply video effects to clips with alpha channels, by Jeff Schell
- Image editing tricks with Fireworks, by Jose Olarte 3
- Total Training videos: Tweening in Flash Professional 8, by John Ulliman
New podcasts for Illustrator, Lightroom, Photoshop
- Illustrator pro Mordy Golding has uncapped PEN, the Vector Podcast. Each episode is available in video & PDF form, from Mordy’s blog as well as via iTunes. I’ve been using Illustrator for 10 years, and I just learned a brutally obscure but useful transformation tip from the latest episode. Thanks, Lasso of Truth!
- The NAPP’s Matt Kloskowski, familiar to many via his popular Photoshop Killer Tips (as well as Photoshop TV), last week introduced Lightroom Killer Tips, an ongoing series of short, useful video tutorials.
- Launched in September, Jan Kabili’s Photoshop Online Video Podcast features step-by-step tutorials, chats with blogfatha Robert Scoble, and more.
Also, though they’re not in podcast form, I wanted to mention that Ben Long has posted two excellent follow-ups to his overview on Using Photoshop Lightroom (mentioned previously): Editing and Output.
November 02, 2006
Scrybe: Impressive Flash-based RIA
Scrybe, described by C|NET’s Rafe Needleman as the "demo of the gods," is a forthcoming Flash-based rich internet application that promises to handle calendar tasks, manage to-do lists, and gather Web clippings. I haven’t gotten to try the service myself (the site is accepting applications for private beta testing, just begun), but the 7-minute video demo (at links above) is damn impressive. Rafe has posted a review:
"It’s like using a Macintosh: these UI cues make it much easier for your brain to follow what your hands are doing with your mouse… The other huge benefit: Scrybe works offline. I’ll say that again: It’s a Web application, but when you’re not online, it still works. You can view your calendar, add things, move items around, print and so on. This shouldn’t be a big deal, but it is, since other online applications don’t work at all when they’re not connected. When Scrybe goes online, it synchronizes the data from your local machine to the Web."
I’m most intrigued by the thoughtful little innovations that seem to be spread throughout the app–multiple time zone management; easy printing of compact, foldable calendars; one-click gathering of Web clippings; and more. I think that it, along with other forthcoming Flash-based RIAs I’ve gotten to preview (more news soon), will really start to redefine the world’s understanding of what the Adobe Engagement Platform can do.
Adobe Color Mangement Module now on Labs
The Adobe Color Mangement Module (CMM) is now available on Adobe Labs for community review and testing. So, what is this thing? In a nutshell, it’s the color converter part of the Adobe Color Engine (ACE), transformed into a library that can be used by non-Adobe apps. The upshot is that you can use a single color management engine across your workflow, enabling more consistent display and output of colors.
ACE is built into Adobe products and therefore can’t be used by non-Adobe products (Quark, etc.). This project takes a chunk of ACE (the color conversion engine) and packages it for use by applications that support external color management modules (using ColorSync on the Mac OS and ICM2/WCS on Windows). In-house color ninja Peter Constable adds, "Adobe hopes users will find the Adobe CMM a useful tool to
enable consistent, reliable, and accurate color in all parts of their color
If the CMM sounds useful to you, please grab a copy, kick the tires, and let us know what you think. A dedicated discussion forum should pop up on Labs in another two weeks.
November 01, 2006
Creating professional HDR images
Ryan McGinnis of Backing Winds has posted a solid intro to creating high dynamic range images in Photoshop. "Photoshop CS2 has a little-known (it seems) built-in HDR assembler," he writes, "that, while lacking the ‘make my photo look like an acid-trip‘ tone-mapping features of Photomatix, is capable of creating extremely realistic or extremely surreal HDR images." He ends up with a beautifully exposed image of the interior of a cathedral, although it would be nice to get a bit more info on how he (very capably) tone-mapped the 32-bit file down to 16bpc. [Via]
I mentioned the article to Photoshop engineer John Peterson, who worked on the Merge to HDR feature. He points out a few things:
- Instead of opening images via Camera Raw, setting their parameters, and then choosing Merge to HDR, you can simply select them in Bridge and choose Tools->Photoshop->Merge to HDR (or from within Photoshop, choose File->Automate->Merge to HDR).
- Merge to HDR and Camera RAW have a secret handshake where M2HDR tells Camera Raw to always zero out the exposure-related parameters (Exposure, Shadows, Brightness, Contrast) and guarantee linear output.
- "The alignment feature doesn’t usually work so great" – Fair enough, and we have some good ideas on how to improve it.
- "You don’t need to adjust the histogram…it has no effect on the final image" — This is true, although it does set the exposure value for the finished document.