May 31, 2007
Adobe+Google for Photoshop 3D
I’m pleased to report that Adobe has teamed up with Google on 3D, enabling Photoshop CS3 Extended to browse the Google 3D Warehouse, then download 3D models right into Photoshop. The upshot is that Photoshop users now have direct access to a large & growing repository of free, community-driven 3D content.
The plug-in and more info are available on Adobe Labs. (Note: The team is working to fix a bug found in the Windows version at the last minute. Therefore the Mac plug-in is up now, and the Windows version should be up tomorrow.)
Better sharpening, more in Camera Raw 4.1
Adobe Photoshop Camera Raw 4.1 for Photoshop CS3 is now available for download (Mac | Win) from Adobe.com. In addition to supporting 13 new cameras, this release brings welcome improvements to sharpening and noise reduction. Jeff Schewe has posted a great & highly detailed overview of what’s new. If you want the cheap n’ cheerful overview, here’s what the Read Me* file has to say:
New Control available in the Basic panel. Clarity adds depth to an image by increasing local contrast. When using this setting, it is best to zoom in to 100% or greater. To maximize the effect, increase the setting until you see halos near the edge details of the image, and then reduce the setting slightly.
Additional controls available in the Detail panel. The zoom level must be set to 100% or greater in order to view the effects of these controls.
Adjusts edge definition. Increase the Amount value to increase sharpening. A value of zero turns off sharpening. In general, set Amount to a lower value for cleaner images. The adjustment locates pixels that differ from surrounding pixels based on the threshold you specify and increases the pixels’ contrast by the amount you specify. Press Alt (Windows) or Option (Mac OS) while dragging this slider to view the sharpening on a grayscale preview.
Adjusts the size of the details that sharpening is applied to. Photos with very fine details may need a lower radius setting. Photos with larger details may be able to use a larger radius. Using too large a radius will generally result in unnatural looking results. Press Alt (Windows) or Option (Mac OS) while dragging this slider to preview the radius effect on edge definition.
Adjusts how much high-frequency information is sharpened in the image and how much the sharpening process emphasizes edges. Lower settings primarily sharpen edges to remove blurring. Higher values are useful for making the textures in the image more pronounced.
Controls an edge mask. With a setting of zero, everything in the image receives the same amount of sharpening. With a setting of 100, sharpening is mostly restricted to those areas near the strongest edges. Press Alt (Windows) or Option (Mac OS) while dragging this slider to see the areas to be sharpened (white) versus the areas masked out (black).
* Hah–I will get someone to read the contents of a Read Me! (Talk about an ironic name. Those things are like reader-repellents.)
May 30, 2007
Guns, kids, and salt
- Magnum photographer Philip Jones Griffiths knows war. He reflects on violence & its tools in this Guns and Kids photo essay presented by Slate. The piece brings to mind these ladies–and these.
- The subjects of It’s All Good couldn’t be less so–junkies, crackheads, gangsters and their families in NYC, "where escape is one rock, one shot, one Glock away." Gallery. [Via]
- PingMag interviews Edward Burtynsky, whose Manufactured Landscapes images chronicle humanity’s impact on the earth. (Not long ago I kind of harshed on one of Burtynsky’s photos. It certainly has more impact in the context of his larger efforts.)
- Chris Jordan (mentioned recently) is using the synthetic world of Second Life to present his "Running the Numbers"–depicting the scale of human consumption.
- The miniature City of Salt comes from Nicholas Kahn and Richard Selesnick–the photographers behind the similarly amazing Apollo Prophecies.
- In Salt Dreams, Jimmy and Dena Katz chronicle the racers, rocketeers, and pink flamingos of the great Salt Flats. More info is here. [Via]
May 29, 2007
Camera Raw 4.1 announced, due shortly
As you may have seen already, Adobe has announced Camera Raw 4.1, due to be available shortly via Adobe.com. (The communication got out a little ahead of the actual plug-in, which should be posted in the next 24 hours or so.)
Camera Raw 4.1 adds support for 13 new digital cameras and backs, including the Canon EOS-1D Mark III, Fujifilm FinePix S5 Pro, Nikon D40x, Olympus E-410, Olympus SP-550 UZ, Sigma SD14, Phase One H 20, Phase One H 25, Phase One P 20, Phase One P 21, Phase One P 25, Phase One P 30 and Phase One P 45.
In addition, Camera Raw includes some very cool enhancements to sharpening & noise reduction. I’ll share more details on these shortly; in the meantime, here’s a teaser screenshot. (By the way, all the same controls will be coming to Lightroom soon, too.)
May 28, 2007
Sculpting unusual substances
Maybe it’s the BBQ warming up next to me, but I’ve got weird sculpture (food-based and otherwise) on the brain:
- Jennifer Maestre makes amazing pencil sculptures. [Via Reen Bodo]
- Crazy for Corks provides examples (crazy and otherwise) of how to reuse wine corks. [Via]
- You may have been a good smuggler once, but now you’re dark chocolate… Find out how to make a Han-Solo-in-carbonite chocolate bar. (There’s also a queso version, si quieres.) [Via]
- If that’s up your alley, check out this life sized cake-Skoda (and accompanying TV spot).
- Cara Barer photographs books turned into sculpture.
- Devorah Sperber plays visual tricks using spools of thread. [Via Clare McLean]
May 26, 2007
Use Photoshop effects inside InDesign
Wherever possible & useful, Adobe apps try to share code libraries that enhance integration. By picking up Photoshop and Illustrator libraries, for example, Flash CS3 is able to import & convert these apps’ files, much like After Effects, Premiere Pro, and other apps that use the libraries.
InDesign has long been able to place PSD and AI files, even turning on and off layers, applying layer comps, etc. to reconfigure files on the fly. In CS3, however, InDesign has also integrated the code that enables Photoshop layer effects (glows, bevels, drop shadows, and more). This means that you can apply these effects to native InDesign artwork, making it possible to apply & adjust effects without bouncing back to Photoshop. Over on CreativePro.com, Anne-Marie Concepcion & Pariah Burke talk about ways to take advantage of these capabilities.
If there are other places you’d like to see the apps share code, please let us know.
Graffiti a go-go
Takin’ it to the streets (no Michael McDonald required):
- Kiev’s Інтересні казки ("interesting cases") crew produces all kinds of bright graffiti. More images are here. [Via]
- If you enjoy that work, check out Brazilian twins Os Gemeos.
- Time Magazine–not usually the go-to source for fresh urban style–offers a gallery of street art. [Via]
- Dan Witz creates delicate works on walls, like this one from his hummingbirds series. (Note the airbrushed shadow.) Gotta love this big adverb, too.
- "Urban primitive" artist Billy has created an art car for Hyundai.
May 25, 2007
CS3 wallpapers available
Like your computer desktop, but wish it were a more insane chromatic freakout? You’re in luck: a variety of CS3 wallpapers are available via Terry White’s Creative Suite podcast site. Also available: closing eyes, mashing fists into eye sockets, enjoying the fireworks. ;-)
(FWIW, I dig the aesthetic; I just dig busting chops a little, too.)
May 24, 2007
Stefan Sagmeister, Experience Design, & more in Design Center
The Adobe Design Center is back with a handful of updates:
New Dialog Box:
- Live + work with Stefan Sagmeister by Hillman Curtis
New Think Tank:
- On the ground running: Lessons from experience design by Adam Greenfield
- Design beautiful websites with Fireworks by Jason Beaird
- Adjust the bandwidth of an audio clip using Track EQ in Adobe Audition by Bruce Williams
And as always, don’t forget to check out the Adobe links on del.icio.us. Content wrangler Jen deHaan reports, "
Currently we have 811 links, and 1749 ‘fans’ (people who have added us to their network, and watch our new bookmarks).
We receive about 4 links from the community every day." Info on how to contribute links is here. [Via]
Flash extends Bridge, adds JPEG export
Once loaded into the Bridge startup scripts folder, the BridgeExportToJPEG extension will demonstrate a Flash UI panel in Bridge (screenshot) that is functional in driving Bridge to create JPEGs and manipulate XMP metadata. All the thumbnails that are created in Bridge are JPEG based, so it is possible to export these thumbnails as JPEGs — for example if you want to create a JPEG catalog, or quickly send JPEGs of your RAW files.
To install this extension in Bridge, download it, then launch Bridge, go into Preferences, choose Startup Scripts, and then press Reveal to pop the folder open in your Finder/Explorer. Then drag the script & SWF into that folder & relaunch Bridge. It’ll then be possible to show the panel by choosing Window->Show Export to JPEG.
Granted, the interface is "engineer art" (less polished than what you’d generally find in an Adobe app), and it’s possible you’ll run into bugs/limitations. Even so, we think the component offers some useful functionality, as well as source code you can modify as you’d like. Thanks to Bridge team member David Franzen for whipping it up.
For more info on extending Bridge, check out the Bridge SDK. For more examples of Flash extending Bridge, stay tuned.
Scientific bits: Seadevils, severed arms, & Stephen Hawking
- Air & Space has the story of the first images from space (starting in 1946), taken from captured German V-2 rockets. Here’s a large panoramic shot from 1948. [Via]
- Having moved on just a bit since then, NASA & the USGS have created a series called Earth as Art (this shot featuring the Anti-Atlast Mountains; think we could get Google Earth to provide sponsorship & have them renamed the Anti-Alias Mountains?).
- Before The Deluge provides vintage renderings (c.1872) of Earth’s past. (And what is this guy chewing on? Hopefully it’s not an arm turned into crocodile snack, then reattached. [Via])
- The NYT features a slideshow of amazing underwater creatures ("Dumbo octopi," seadevils, and more)–many who live just down the road from here in the Monterey Bay. (And is it me, or did a seadevil used to be in Motörhead?
- CNET has posted a gallery of hot solar action. NASA provides info on how to use Photoshop to make the images 3D.
- And finally, for a look of sheer joy, can you beat Stephen Hawking going for a spin?
May 23, 2007
Lightroom Podcast #31: Develop module basics
Continuing his focus on short, practical video tutorials, Adobe photography evangelist George Jardine has posted a new Lightroom podcast. This installment demonstrates the basics of working with Lightroom’s Develop module. George writes,
This mini-tutorial podcast is the second in a series that will cover bite-sized tips and techniques designed to help you get the most out of Lightroom. The focus of this series will concentrate primarily on basic color correction techniques using the Develop module, but will also touch on many other parts of the application. This tutorial shows the basics of using the Develop module to make corrections to a slightly underexposed photo.
The podcast is available via George’s iDisk (look for “20070512 Tutorial Podcast – Develop Module Basics”). It’s also available via iTunes (search for "Lightroom"), and via the Lightroom Podcasts RSS feed.
Tips on Lightroom Flash galleries
If you’re interested in wringing the most out of Lightroom’s Flash-based Web galleries, check out the Bluefire Blog. It’s written and maintained by the guys at Bluefire, the Web developers Adobe hired to build the galleries. They get down to the nuts and bolts of how the galleries work, revealing hidden settings and more. Note that you can find the open-source gallery code on opensource.adobe.com.
Flash galleries are a big interest of mine, and I hope to have some more good news to share on this front soon. Stay tuned. [Related: Flash gallery hook-up for Photoshop.]
May 22, 2007
New Photoshop Action Pack available
Photographer, author, and scripter Ben Long has updated his popular set of AppleScripts, taking the Photoshop Action Pack to version 3.5–adding CS3 compatibility and a new action in the process:
The Photoshop Action Pack lets you
control Photoshop CS, CS2 and now CS3 from Apple’s Automator,
allowing you to create complex automated image processing workflows.
Through Automator’s drag-and-drop interface, you can easily build
stand-alone applications, droplets, Finder plug-ins and watch folders
that automate all sorts of normally tedious operations. With the
addition of the Photoshop Action Pack, you can use Automator to drive
As with previous versions, the Photoshop Action Pack v3.5 is
free, although donations are gratefully received through an attractive PayPal button.
On a semi-related note, Ben has also posted an interesting article containing tips on night photography. I could stand to take some of this advice, in order not to produce more images that look like they’ve been doused in soggy Fruity Pebbles. (At least they’re good for testing noise reduction technologies.)
New Photoshop plug-ins: Genuine Fractals, YouSendIt
- onOne, the publishers of resizing tool Genuine Fractals and other Photoshop plug-ins, have gone native with their tools, offering Universal Binary versions of Mask Pro, PhotoFrame Pro, and Intellihance Pro along with Genuine Fractals. They’re offering some free UB updates as well as a plug-in suite that includes all four tools.
- The file transfer experts at YouSendIt have created a Photoshop plug-in that automates the process of sending large files, directly from Photoshop. Sounds pretty cool, though I haven’t gotten to check it out. I’ve always wanted a way inside Photoshop and other tools to say, "Okay, these three open files–bang, send ‘em to my client, zero fuss."
May 21, 2007
Tasty Flash bits: Milk, missives, and grins
I’ve encountered some savory Flash business around the Web recently:
- Get the Glass features gorgeous illustration & great game play–all in the name of milk. [Via Veronique Brossier]
- I’m not sure whether Blank Missives has a point, or whether having a point is the point, or… anyway, it sure does look nice. Dig that typography, too. [Via]
- The reflective "wet floor effect" comes to the excellent SlideShowPro. More info is at developer Todd Dominey’s site. [Via]
- Neave.com features what Bridge engineer Rob Corell calls a "grin-inducing Flash effect." This kind of thing makes me really want to capture the life and imagination of Flash apps & infuse it into desktop tools.
- Buzzword is a terrific name for what promises to be a cool product: Flash-based online word processing. Here’s more press on it.
May 18, 2007
New Adobe Exchange goes live
Last year the Adobe Web team integrated the former Macromedia and Adobe Exchanges into a single content repository. A number of customers complained about slow performance and difficulty navigating the new site, so the Web team has been hard at work conducting interviews & building a revised system. The new Adobe Exchange launched today as a beta, using an HTML interface in place of the former SWF UI. (You can find Photoshop-related content here.) If you have feedback for the Web team, please let them know via the Exchange forum.
From the Dept. of the Brilliantly Simple:
- Viva dry erase: Slate shows a great new set UPS ads and talks about how they came to be.
- Comedy Central’s new illustrated campaign is a model of efficiency–and it’s more than a little edgy in spots. [Via]
- Can you make an ad campaign from clip art? Yes, if you’re making dirty little stories for 42 Below Vodka.
- Speaking of stock illustrations, Gene Gable features the great clip art (oxymoron? not this time) of Lew Hymers.
- Alberto Seveso has a really fresh take on the genre of vector-illustrated women. More images are on Flickr, and you can buy prints on his site. [Via]
- Tech Vector offers a clean design, good choons, great A2Detail. [Via]
- Pablo Bernasconi makes cool collage portraits. The site navigation is a little wonky, but I think it’s worth the effort. [Via]
- Fiodor Sumkin is back with more letter-rich goodness. His site’s frameset design makes it hard to link to specific bits, but I especially like the "Moscow-80" work.
- Here’s a collection of Photoshop-powered fantastical houses [Via]. Reminds me of this defiant dude–no Photoshop involved.
Finally, it’s a little tangential, but I spotted a nice shout-out for CS3 on illustration blog Drawn: "You’ve probably already heard all the buzz about it being the biggest upgrade ever, bla bla bla. Well, this time the buzz is true… I predict our industry (I mean anything graphically creative) is about to undergo a huge jump in look, feel, efficiency, and impact because of this." Thanks, guys! [Via Joe Ault]
May 17, 2007
Apollo gets kuler: Color RIA lands on desktop
I’m pleased to report that kuler, Adobe’s Web-hosted application for exploring, creating and sharing color harmonies, can now be accessed from your desktop via Adobe’s Apollo technology. After a sneak peek at the CS3 launch event, the "kuler desktop" is now available for download on Adobe Labs, along with the required Apollo Runtime environment.
The kuler desktop offers the same RSS feed functionality as the kuler Dashboard widget but with a new form factor (see quick clip of it in action). Users can view RSS feeds of the highest rated, most popular, and newest themes from the kuler site, search the thousands of titled and tagged themes, search by kuler user name, and copy theme hex values to the clipboard.
For other cool Apollo bits, check out the technology showcase on Labs.
Note: By default, kuler installed itself on my Mac using my user Applications directory, rather than in the root Applications directory that I normally use. This isn’t a big deal, and you can easily change the install location, but I mention it in case you find yourself wondering where the app has been installed.
May 16, 2007
knowhow: Flash-powered help inside Illustrator
"You know more than we do." That’s the simple, and powerful, thought behind "knowhow," a new Web-savvy part of Illustrator CS3.
Using a Flash SWF file running inside an Illustrator panel (palette), knowhow is designed to provide information about tools and topics right within Illustrator. The feature offers help information for over 100 Illustrator-related topics—including all tools and panels. As you use various shortcut keys while using a tool, the appropriate hint term highlights in context, making it possible to find more info about it.
The really interesting part, though, is that instead of searching only Adobe-made Help, knowhow queries social bookmarking site del.icio.us. Anyone can add content to the knowhow del.icio.us page, meaning the Illustrator community can enhance the info available inside Illustrator. That’s a key part of the vision we’re pursuing as we Flash-enable Photoshop and other Adobe desktop tools.
To see knowhow in action, check out the online demo on Adobe Labs, or bring up the panel inside Illustrator (download tryout); it’s under Window->Adobe Labs. For the full details, check out the FAQ (PDF) and visit the knowhow forum.
FreeHand no longer updated; moving to Illustrator
After a long and storied career, Adobe (neé Altsys, Aldus, and Macromedia) FreeHand has reached the end of its development road. The application has not been revised since Macromedia released MX nearly four years ago, after which the company removed FreeHand from the Studio product line. Adobe has created an FAQ (PDF) that explains the details of the decision not to rev FreeHand, talks about Illustrator CS3 features added to make FreeHand users more comfortable, and more. [Note: The official product pages aren't all updated yet; hence my posting this info on the blog.] Here are the highlights:
Adobe and FreeHand
Adobe does not plan to develop and deliver any new feature-based releases of FreeHand, or to deliver patches or updates for new operating systems or hardware. Adobe will, however, continue to sell FreeHand MX, and will offer technical and customer support according to our support policies.
FreeHand Upgrade Path
A special upgrade to Illustrator CS3 is available to all registered owners of FreeHand for $199 U.S. This upgrade is available worldwide through the Adobe Store and through the Channel. There is no direct FreeHand to Creative Suite 3 upgrade, but FreeHand owners who also own Adobe or Macromedia products that are eligible for upgrade to the Suite can use that path to move to the Suite.
Support for Customers Making the Move
A number of materials are available at no cost to help customers make the move from FreeHand to Illustrator. All of these materials can be found on the Switch to Illustrator pages on Adobe.com and on the Illustrator Design Center.
FreeHand to Illustrator Migration Guide—available as a PDF and in printed form.
Targeted to designers and illustrators, this four-color manual provides a graphical comparison of the FreeHand and Illustrator workspaces, along with differences in terminology, features, and functions between the two applications.
Migrating from FreeHand to Illustrator: A technical resource—PDF format
Designed for production managers, IT managers and designers, this technical resource provides the best ways to move legacy FreeHand content into Illustrator, handle different file formats, outputting files, and other information.
Migrating from FreeHand to Illustrator with Mordy Golding—(video training)
Video training produced by lynda.com. The CS3 update to this series is completed and will be available shortly.
May 15, 2007
Apocalypse, memory, and redemption
- In Dr. Strangelove Dr. Strangelove, Canadian Kristan Horton recreates shots from the film using everyday objects: "Silverware become an airplane, plastic and coffee grounds become the sky." Fantastic. [Via]
- In a slightly related vein, Edward Zwakman produces large-scale photographs by painstakingly reconstructing objects and landscapes from memory. A bit more info is in his Tales from the Grid, but I’d like to know more.
- Chris Jordan attempts to make staggering numbers comprehensible in his Running the Numbers: An American Self-Portrait. By assembling thousands of photographs into large, intricately detailed prints, he depicts "a slow-motion apocalypse in progress." See also the fascinating images of his earlier Intolerable Beauty. [Via]
- Artist Amanda Vandermeer and photographer Paul O’Grady have collaborated to create Sustainable Jewellery, using flora & fauna to decorate the human form. (Weirdly, there’s no permalink on the blog where the images appear, so you’ll need to scroll down to the relevant section.) It might be interesting to see this work juxtaposed with Chrisopher Conte’s sculptures, such as this biomech arm or this stainless steel spider.
Web type that doesn’t suck, Historic typography, & more
- Beautiful type specimen books from the 1920′s appear in this Flickr photo set. [Via]
- Tiny type–from cuneiform tablets to spies’ microdots–is on display in Cabinet Magazine’s A Minor History of Miniature Writing [Via]
- Michael Bierut offers Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Typeface, naming various ways to choose the right font. [Via]
- Aiming to make Web typography suck less, Jon Hicks (designer of the Firefox logo, among other things) has created a quick, useful primer on Web type. He’s provided related links as well.
Photoshop, meet JPod
We’ve often heard Photoshop namechecked in pop culture, from The Daily Show to CSI, Desperate Housewives to Casino Royale. Until now, however, I hadn’t seen it appear in a novel. Photoshop staffer Zorana Gee reports,
I was reading Douglas Coupland‘s new book (JPod) on my flight home from
Michigan and was pleasantly surprised to find that on page 258 is a
reference to most of Photoshop 7.0 engineers and managers (taken from the
His book is filled with random and often gratuitous references to many
mundane things we often face/see/are bombarded with in this ‘internet-era’ -
so our splash screen names have managed to infiltrate into the subconscious
minds of our customers…cool. :)
Say it with me: Seetharaman Narayanan, Seetharaman Narayanan… ;-)
May 14, 2007
Scoble, the Phillustrator, & me
A couple of weeks ago, Robert Scoble (former Microsoft blogfatha) visited the Adobe San Jose office. We spent just under an hour talking about Photoshop, and you can catch the broadcast here (also available fullscreen). Our chat touches on engineer/pilot Thomas Knoll’s frugal Midwestern ways; HDR imaging; Eyes Wide Shut incantations; raw Smart Objects; the redemption of Brightness/Contrast; and more*.
Robert also spoke recently with lots of other Adobe folks, including Phil "the Phillustrator" Guindi**, talking about what’s new in AICS3. Here’s a full rundown of recent sessions:
Adobe Premiere CS3 49 minutes.
Adobe Flash/Flex architecture overview 30 minutes.
Adobe Flex goes open source 25 minutes.
Adobe Flash CS3 overview 55 minutes.
Adobe Apollo overview 43 minutes.
Adobe Dreamweaver CS3 34 minutes.
Adobe Connect overview 29 minutes.
Adobe Acrobat 8.0 19 minutes.
*And it includes, of course, my weird lip-smacking mannerisms; yeesh. Yeah, and you thought it was hard just to listen to oneself recorded…
**Naming credit goes to our friend Bryan Hughes. I persist in calling Phil’s new little son “Phillustrator Elements.”
May 13, 2007
Bought Photoshop, but really want Extended?
In the last few days, a couple of people have remarked that they’ve purchased Photoshop CS3, only to realize later that they really want Photoshop Extended. There’s no upgrade path that lets you go CS3->CS3 Extended for less than the price of the CS2->Extended upgrade, but you do have another option: Adobe Customer Service can work with you to return your standard license, then purchase an upgrade to Extended instead. They point out that only customers within the 30-day money back guarantee window can return/swap product; more details on that.
Sunday in black & white
It’s been far too long since I’ve gotten to share some photographic finds. So, without further ado, here’s great stuff in black & white:
- The Apollo Prophecies sounds fascinating: "This installation features a continuous ten inch by thirty-six foot long black and white panoramic photograph depicting astronauts from the 1960’s traveling to the moon and back. While on the lunar surface they discover a lost Edwardian expedition that may or may not be real. It was shot and assembled on sets or on location with miniature models and live actors." Here’s a video about its creation, followed by larger detail images. The long-snouted astronauts have a Hieronymus Bosch quality.
- Through photog Tim Mantoani (who’s doing a really interesting project I’ll mention soon), I learned of rock n’ sports vet Michael Zagaris. Sports Shooter is hosting a gallery of his work (love the Bill Walsh/Joe Montana shot), and more is available to see and purchase on Michael’s site.
- Jonathan Greenwald sets his portfolios to music. Dig the "Ordinary Life" set, well paired with Coldplay.
- Herman Krieger’s Mall-aise captures suburban anomie with visual & verbal puns. [Via] On a somewhat related note, Stephen Crowley captures isolation at a rural motel.
- SUNY Buffalo hosts a rather haunting gallery of early 20th century images from the Arkansas State Prison. [Via]
- On Flickr folks are re-creating vintage photos of London. See also the site’s Then & Now photo pool. [Via]
- Apparently, in child portraiture, it was once common for mothers to disguise themselves as chairs. [Via]
May 12, 2007
After Effects CS3 roars on 8-core Mac
"As you know," writes Rob Morgan of benchmarking site Bare Feats, "we’ve been fishing for an application that, by itself, can justify the purchase of an 8-core Mac Pro. I think we have found it: Adobe After Effects CS3."
According to the site, AECS3′s ability to spawn multiple processes & render multiple frames at once is "like creating a ‘render farm’ within a single Mac" and produces some great results: e.g. doing in 35 seconds on an 8-core Mac what a quad-core G5 needed 155 seconds to accomplish. Bitchin’. I think that longtime AE interface designer/newly minted AE Product Manager Michael Coleman may have more details to share on his blog soon. Also note that AECS3 is available for download as a public beta via Adobe Labs. [Via Fergus Hammond]
New Filter Forge: Make your own Photoshop filters
The crew behind Filter Forge, the Photoshop plug-in that lets you roll your own filters, have announced three new versions of the application. Filter Forge consists of a node-based editor used for assembling a series of mathematical operations into a filter. $99 gets you access to the repository of community-generated filters; $199 gets you standard filter creation; and $299 buys the ability to enable more advanced modules (e.g. 32-bit processing). I haven’t gotten to try it yet myself (no Mac version yet, as far as I can see, and I’ve yet to install Parallels or the like), but I love the idea of democratizing the creation and sharing of Photoshop components.
May 11, 2007
Helping the Help: Photoshop now on LiveDocs
The Help files that ship with Adobe products seem to catch a lot of slings and arrows from users. There are some fair points to be made, and one small team of writers can never be as specific, detailed, or personable as the many third-party books out there. This is especially true when the Adobe writers are trying to finish their work far in advance of shipping the product, in order to have time to localize the content into multiple languages.
The reality is that the people using the apps day in and day out (y’know, real customers) are likely to have plenty of good ideas and info to contribute. Recognizing this, the documentation team is now publishing the help content via LiveDocs–the user-editable Web publishing system rolled out by Macromedia. This has two important results:
- Adobe help content is now accessible via search engines. So, even if you think the Help menu is made of Kryptonite and prefer to look for documentation online, high-ranking hits from the Adobe materials can be found there.
- More interestingly, the content is open to comments from users. On this page, for example, user Shangara Singh asks for clarification about noise reduction in Camera Raw, drawing a reply from the documentation team. Elsewhere people can flesh out topics, add tips, and so forth. I plan to do so myself in a few spots.
Like most things, this is just one step, but I really like the direction of baking more community into our apps. Whether it’s help content, scripts, palettes, or anything else, we have to get out of the business of Adobe trying to do everything & make it easier for people with the know-how to share it with one another. More thoughts on that to follow.
May 09, 2007
200+ CS3 videos on Adobe Design Center
I knew the training and documentation folks had been busy, but I didn’t realize to what degree: more than 200 short videos covering the CS3 family are online in the Adobe Design Center video workshop. You can also tap into this content via the desktop by using Bridge Home (screenshot).
Type as image, color workflows, & more in Design Center
The Adobe Design Center shakes the bottle & lets some new content spray:
New Dialog Box:
- Type is image by
- Color workflows for Adobe Creative Suite 3 by
- Transparency in Adobe Applications by Adobe
- A Designer’s Guide to Transparency for Print Output by Adobe
- Remove spots from an image in Photoshop Lightroom by Matt Kloskowski
- Organizing a local site in Dreamweaver by David Karlins
- Building a video player with Flash by R Blank
- Creating nested sequences with Premiere Pro by Terry Nauheim
May 08, 2007
Read this blog, via Flash, right within Photoshop (?)
As I’ve mentioned previously, Photoshop CS3 introduces the ability to run Flash/Flex SWF files inside Photoshop dialogs. Not only does this enable faster creation of rich user interfaces for Photoshop; it also opens the door to a whole new level of connectedness right within Photoshop. It will enable–if you’ll let me get buzzwordy for a second–"crowdsourcing": letting users collaborate & solve their own problems, enhancing Photoshop in the process. That’ll largely happen in the future, but right now we’re shipping a practical example that runs scripts, plays video, and displays RSS feeds.
Now, if you want to take this for a spin and have Photoshop CS3 installed (and if you don’t, by all means please grab the tryout), here’s what to do:
- Navigate to the Adobe Photoshop CS3 application folder on your machine.
- There you’ll find FlashUISample.jsx, along with FlashUISample.swf and
FlashUISample.mxml (the latter being the Flex source code). [For convenience I'm posting them here as well, though you may need to maintain the same relative location in order to run other scripts from this UI.]
- Drag and drop FlashUISample.jsx onto the Photoshop app icon (Mac) or into the Photoshop process tab on the Windows task bar. Alternately, from within Photoshop you can choose File->Scripts->Browse, then navigate to the folder/file.
I’m looking forward to seeing what designers and developers can create with Flash in Adobe desktop apps. In addition to Flash, Dreamweaver, and Fireworks (which have supported SWF-based panels for some time), InDesign, Illustrator, Bridge, and Soundbooth support SWF UIs. I believe this support is just a beginning, and that Flash technology will help transform the Creative Suite experience.
CS3 tryouts now available
I’m pleased to relay the news that 30-day tryout versions of the Creative Suite 3 family are available for download from Adobe.com. (Photoshop Extended is here.) Only English versions are ready at the moment, but other language versions should follow in a few weeks, via the same URLs.
May 07, 2007
3D printing goes to our heads
Russell Brown has a certain Jobsian knack for not only seeing interesting possibilities, but for getting folks to jump in on his crazy little journeys. A few months back, Photoshop 3D engineer Pete Falco and I accompanied Russell on a field trip to Monterey, CA-based Cyberware. There Steve Addleman was most hospitable as he scanned our domes (pix here), turning them into digital files compatible with Photoshop CS3 Extended (quick clip of Russell’s gourd spinning in PS).
Ah, but why stop there when you can look fantastic in plastic, thanks to a 3D printing machine? Russell persuaded Steve Chapman of Gentle Giant Studios to then render our busts, leading to quite possibly the vainest objects in my entire life. I kept trotting out the damn things at our recent housewarming ("Honey, they’re conversation pieces; they need a spotlight"), only to get them firmly shooed back into an obscure bookcase.
And yet that’s not the half of it: Russell re-teamed with these guys at last month’s ADIM conference, scanning the attendees and turning them into action figures–some 130 full color, custom made heads in all. Right on! The only question: How can they top it for next year?
Tangentially related at best:
- Materialise MGX produces consumer goods through what looks like an amazingly high-fidelity 3D printing process.
- Evil Mad Scientist wants to make 3D printing cheap and sweet–by printing on sugar. [Via]
- The NYT has an interesting article about rapid prototyping, but I waited too long to post it and now it’s behind a subscriber login. I’m providing the link in case you have access.
- Speaking of 3D heads, Hoss Gifford’s got a whole chorus of ‘em fashioned into a synthesizer.
- And speaking of unusual heads, here’s Oliver Laric’s rendered in IMG tags. (Try resizing your browser window and watching the effect.)
May 06, 2007
Lightroom, as rendered by Flex
Wow–now here’s something you don’t see every day: Adobe Flex used to simulate Adobe Lightroom. Juan Sanchez of ScaleNine was inspired to create a skin for Flex (Adobe’s framework for creating Flash applications), resulting in a Flash app that walks and quacks a lot like Lightroom (at least in basic functionality; image browsing, manipulation, etc. aren’t hooked up). Source code is downloadable from the homepage. A few thoughts spring to mind:
- Last summer Photoshop engineer Pete Falco hooked up a Photoshop plug-in that displayed 3D in an OpenGL window that was surrounded by Flash UI that looked like Lightroom; trippy.
- Lightroom has the Flash Player embedded, so I can imagine someone developing UI bits for Lightroom using Flash/Flex (maybe not the most direct way to go, but seemingly possible).
- Now, what was that about a hosted Photoshop? :-)
[Via Tom Hogarty]
Guidance on migrating from ImageReady
ImageReady is dead; long live ImageReady.
The Web optimization companion to Photoshop has reached the end of its road with the arrival of CS3. ImageReady 1.0 introduced great new capabilities in 1998 (cutting literally hours per project from the Photoshop->DeBabelizer->GIFBuilder process my shop had been using)–something for which I’ll always be grateful. In the time since then, however, customers made it clear that they wanted IR’s functionality inside Photoshop*.
The vast majority of what debuted in ImageReady (slicing, N-up optimization, multi-layer selection, variables, animation, frames to layers, etc.) has, by popular demand, been integrated into Photoshop. A few remaining things (image-based rollovers, Web content palette, SWF export) haven’t made the journey. Therefore Adobe tech support has created a document that details what is & isn’t in Photoshop CS3, noting where to find things & suggesting alternate ways to get certain functionality (e.g. rollovers).
*Incidentally, for the conspiracy-minded out there, it’s worth noting that we decided to migrate IR into Photoshop & to discontinue it as a standalone app right after the CS1 cycle (late 2003)–and not, in other words, because of Adobe acquiring Macromedia and Fireworks.
Upcoming CS3 events
The folks behind the Adobe CS3 Creative License Conferences have asked for a little help in spreading the word, so I’m passing along detailed info in this post’s extended entry. Synopsis: there are one-day sessions in six N. American cities between now and mid-June ($79), plus two-day sessions in NY and LA towards the end of June ($199). Beyond training, attendees will receive access to Lynda.com resources, discounts to Adobe Max, and more. Read on for the full details.
May 05, 2007
World’s first terapixel image, online via Flash
Medical imaging company Aperio has created what it’s calling "the world’s first terapixel image"–i.e. an image containing more than one trillion pixels. The image itself, depicting a breast cancer scan*, is a 1,095,630 x 939,495 pixel whopper that tips the scales at 2875.94GB. More info is in the press release.
From a Photoshop/Adobe perspective, it’s cool to see this image displayed via the Flash Player, using the same Zoomify technology that’s in Photoshop CS3. The folks at Aperio write,
You may be interested to know Aperio has implemented BigTIFF – support for TIFF files larger than 4GB. After linking the new version of libtiff into our ImageServer, we were able to use the Zoomify viewer with no changes at all. Pretty impressive. By way of demonstration we’ve made the world’s first terapixel image, and it can be viewed right in a standard web browser with the Zoomify technology."
[For more Zoomify hugeness, check out the 8.6 gigapixel fresco mentioned previously.]
*Not the most asethetically compelling image–unless, I suppose, it proves that one doesn’t have breast cancer
May 04, 2007
CS3: Switching platforms, free upgrades
Q. Can I switch my product from Windows to Mac or vice-versa?
A. Yes. Just call Adobe Customer Service (800-833-6687 in the US; 020 7365 0733 in the UK; more country-by-country numbers here) for assistance. The process, as I understand it, involves signing an agreement stating that you’ve destroyed the product on one platform, and in return Adobe will send you the product for the other platform. According to the service folks, there may be a cost involved; verification of product is required; and restrictions apply.
Q. Why are Customer Service hold times so long?
A. The CS3 launch is far and away the single biggest in Adobe’s history, and during the first week or so I heard many stories of long waits on hold. I’m not surprised that the phone lines were slammed, and although I’m not hearing the reports now, you may want to open a Web support case instead of calling, or contact us during non-peak business hours.
Q. I purchased a CS2 product after CS3 was announced. Do I qualify for a free upgrade to CS3?
A. Yes. Again, call Customer Service in your region to discuss the details. Verification of CS2 product is required and restrictions apply. When in doubt, call; these folks are there help.
May 03, 2007
Type bits: What fonts come with CS3; Why Web type sucks; more
Time for another round up of interesting typographical bits:
- Creative Suite 3 ships with quite a few fonts. Thomas Phinney lists ‘em here.
- The type designers at Vier5 are adamant that "you cannot work with modern pictures and at the same time use the typefaces of the last 50 years. The time for these typefaces is gone," and that only their new designs will suffice. The commentariat at Design Observer promptly takes ‘em to the woodshed.
- I came across a short & interesting video on letterpress printing–worth a look despite the terribly mannered speaking style. [Via]
- A panel discussion at SXSW is captured in this podcast on why "Web typography sucks" [Via] . [Update: the presentation slides are here (thanks, Thomas).]
- Hoping to counter the suckage, CSS Zen Garden presents Tips for Timeless Type . It’s funny: we’ve come so far from when I started on the Web (tsk tsking at print designers who asked me to change the leading of body copy), and yet I still can’t get the point sizes on this blog to look consistent in Firefox vs. Safari & IE.
- CreativePro features a piece about opening up to OpenType–leveraging the power of this very rich format. Scroll to the bottom for a quick visual demo of the power of alternate characters in punching up a type treatment–something I put to good (hopefully not gratuitous) use on the programs for our wedding.
- Ever wonder what comic book onomatopoeia would look like in Arabic? (Who hasn’t, I know.) Wonder no more. [Via]
- The edict not to "risk sounding ridiculous" in various languages is illustrated through word balloons. Hopefully when me talk German one day, I sounded a bit better than this. [Via Dirk Meyer]
- Think setting type on a computer can be a drag? Your ancestors faced tuberculosis & lead poisoning, not to mention death by Grape-Nuts.
Home movies, straight from your inkjet
Here’s one of the weirder applications of Photoshop (and Premiere): using the archaic Filmstrip file format (do we even still support that? apparently so) together with a desktop inkjet & box cutter, Jesse England was able to print his own Super 8 & 16 film. Madness! (The results remind me a little of the fetishization of the lo-fi PXL-2000.) [Via Gary Cohen]
Elsewhere in the world of because-we-can printing, the crew at Evil Mad Scientist has created a CNC (computer numerical control) toaster, good for burning one’s face onto bread. (I wonder if Epson will start making archival-quality papadums.) These guys link to a similar project at Olin College, this time using a laser to put Elvis onto white bread (goes great with PB, bacon, and banana, I’m told). Oh, and you can use lasers to geek out your matza–guaranteed to repel any potential mate within 50m. [Via John Peterson]
[Mentioned previously: Your Name On Toast]
May 02, 2007
Software Pirates of the Caribbean
Salty sea-dog Russell Brown has teamed up with friend & FX pro John McConnell to create a new Photoshop Films production, Software Pirates of the Caribbean. Despite Russell’s Malkovich-style multiplicity (playing a dozen characters, including the odd parrot), the credits swear that "No Russell Browns were harmed in the making of this feature." Heh–most excellent stuff, and I do believe I caught some ace usage of the Wilhelm Scream :-). A little advice to Russell: just don’t try to transport that mustache across state lines.
In related news, you can see the same 3D ship used in the movie get attacked by a sea monster, all inside Photoshop CS3 Extended, in Russell’s new tutorial. The good folks at Daz3D, creators of the sea monster, are making the file downloadable for free for use in Photoshop. And elsewhere Terri Stone shares some piratical photos from the just-wrapped ADIM Conference, where attendees had their heads scanned & turned into action figures. More on that soon!
May 01, 2007
High Plains Drifting
I’m just back from the desert, and boy are my arms sandy… We gave our friend/my fellow Photoshop PM Bryan O’Neil Hughes a solid send-off to his single days, I think. Word to the wise : RV+sand = elephant+tar pit; oi vey. Sadly, I didn’t manage to see a real live Adobe Photo Shop [Via]. I did, however, find a great deal on California real estate in Trona. (Hope you like sulfur… and breaking your windows just to cut your wrists.) Ballarat Bob was MIA, but we caught up with our friend, the Mayor of Ballarat, along with his even more grizzled (!) dad–keepers of Charlie Manson’s truck & black helicopters; here’s a small gallery.
Their one-room building (famous for $2 cans of Milwaukee’s Best–which will taste good to you when it gets hot enough) also features a photo I really love. I don’t know a thing about its subject or its history, and I always choose not to ask. Sometimes it’s good to savor a little mystery.
In a photographic vein, and starting with Death Valley:
- Author & photog Ben Long is just back from the park as well, and he’s posted a gallery of terrific shots.
- If the boys of Ballarat were ever to go digital, they might like the Kodak 1881: a digital camera as vintage locket. [Via]
- "You just had to run": TOP relays an anecdote from Steven Spielberg on catching the dawn for Empire of the Sun.
- Author Will Self has documented his writing room, festooned with Post-It notes. (I feel like he’s got a physical version of my copy of Contribute, from which I write this blog. It’s a warren of ideas and links, jotted in blurbs, competing for too little time.) [Via]