February 29, 2008
Make Photoshop sample colors outside the app
Thanks for all the feedback and suggestions about improving Photoshop’s color-picking tools. I’ll reply to many of the comments once I get a few free cycles.
In the meantime, I notice that many people are asking for Photoshop to gain the ability to sample colors from outside the application. That capability is there already: grab the Eyedropper Tool, then simply click and hold on a document, then drag elsewhere on the screen. Notice that the foreground color on the toolbar keeps updating as you move your mouse. When you let go, the sampled color will be your foreground color (or background color, if you were holding Opt/Alt when you clicked). I’ve confirmed that this behavior works on the Mac, and I believe it’s the same on Windows, but I don’t have a machine handy on which to check.
Clearly this behavior isn’t very discoverable, but I’m not sure what would make it easier to find. Some commenters noted that the color picker in Flash and other former Macromedia apps makes it easier to sample colors from outside the app: when you mouse away from the preset color swatches, it keeps sampling colors under the mouse. That’s true, though I’ve often found that behavior annoying (i.e. I end up sampling things I didn’t intend to sample).
I’m glad the topic has come up, and I’ll bounce some ideas around with the UI and engineering folks. Hopefully there’s a way to get the best of both worlds.
What color-picking tools do you like?
The Color palette in Photoshop (see screenshot) is, to be charitable, a bit long in the tooth. In particular, the little color ramp at the bottom is awfully small (occupying just 0.00072% of the screen real estate on at 30" monitor; yes, I did the math).
We certainly won’t break what’s working or force you to use a larger color picker than what’s there today. Having said that, there’s clearly room for some innovation.
What kind of color-picking tools would you like to see in Photoshop? Are there good examples you can share? We’ve already batted around the idea of revealing kuler-like functionality in Photoshop (see very rough mockup). What else would be cool/useful/powerful?
February 28, 2008
New AIR-powered Adobe kuler desktop
The crew behind Adobe’s kuler color harmony RIA has released a new version of the desktop color feed browser (screenshot). You can check it out by installing Adobe AIR, then downloading the app. New features include:
- Browse color themes from the kuler website while offline (up to 100 themes cached per feed)
- Drag and drop themes onto your own desktop as transparent "tear offs," which can be scaled and viewed over any application
- Access themes from Mykuler (must be signed in)
- Download themes as ASE (Adobe Swatch Exchange) files directly from the kuler desktop (must be signed in)
- Browse the new RSS feed "Random"
Here’s the full feature list (PDF) in case you want all the details. [Via Sami Iwata]
Completely tangential but involving colors: Art Lebedev’s Optimus Tactus keyboard concept. [Via Scott Valentine]
February 27, 2008
Leather + multitouch = foxy
Ooh, now that’s nice: student Nedzad Mujcinovic has crafted “Livre,” a concept for a leather-wrapped, multitouch-aware electronic book. Check out the photos as well as the overview. Could a large e-ink screen, organic materials, gesture-based navigation, and a minimum of button clutter change the game and make e-books widespread? It would be fun to find out. [Via]
In other cool device news:
- Small format:
- Like sketching ideas on cocktail napkins, but wish they were more expensive and susceptible to water damage? Then perhaps you’d like the Napkin PC. Naw, the concept is cooler than that–especially if you could combine multiple Napkin PCs into a single work area. [Via Jana Sedivy]
- Inchworm brings sketching and painting to the Nintendo DS. It was created by Bob Sabiston, the developer of the “Rotoshop” software used to create Waking Life and A Scanner Darkly. [Via Greg Geisler]
- Nokia envisions a future full of shape-shifting phones; peep the video for their Morph concept.
- Web developers Cynergy have built a Minority Report-style multitouch interface.
- Meanwhile Mary Jo Foley discusses some of the latest developments in Microsoft’s multitouch Surface project. (This one’s still not setting my hair on fire.)
- In a related vein, Dell showed off their multitouch laptop design. [Via Jerry Harris]
- And, as you almost certainly know already, Apple has brought their multitouch trackpad to the full line of new MacBooks. Wouldn’t it be cool if Adobe apps could take advantage of those gestures?
- CNET reports on startup company CeeLite (note: not the singer from Gnarls Barkley) creating flexible sheets of light, useful for wrapping on buses, poles, and other objects.
- Researchers at Stanford have revealed details on their plenoptic camera work.
- Alienware offers a cool, curved display for widescreen gaming. I wonder how well it would work for design & photo editing.
- Art Lebedev’s Photoshop-savvy Optimus Maximus OLED keyboard (mentioned previously) has started shipping. You can see it being set up, or you can watch the droll Art himself work his geek-fu on a real live girl. :-) [Via Jesse Zibble]
February 26, 2008
Fun with physics-based drawing
The great thing about computer-based drawing and painting tools is that they do exactly what you expect, over and over [reliability => productivity.]. That’s also what kind of sucks about them, though: happy accidents can be hard to come by.
Taking a different spin on things, Umeå University’s Phun is “an educational, entertaining and somewhat addictive piece of software for designing and exploring 2D multi-physics simulations in a cartoony fashion.” Although it’s not a drawing tool per se, Phun mixes literalness with a measure of unpredictability. Check out this video of it in action. [Via Jerry Harris & Jim Geduldick]
If that’s up your alley, take a look at Nelson Chu’s amazing MoXi watercolor simulation (details). Computer power (GPU power in particular) is starting to enable sophisticated simulations on every desktop. Look at the way an app like Little Big Planet leverages a great physics engine and redefines the process of computer-based creation (in this case using a PlayStation, but so what?).
It seems like every other day I read about some app or other using the Flash platform to partially emulate old versions of Photoshop. That’s all fine, but I’m much more excited about harnessing the platform to build much richer, more immersive, and (optionally) less predictable creation experiences. We can have the best of both worlds, and that’s what keeps me amped & in the game.
February 25, 2008
Poster Flava: eBoy on AIR & more
- Today Adobe launches Adobe AIR (read about it, I dunno, everywhere), and the always wonderful eBoy collective has created a poster for the AIR launch. [Via]
- Veerle Pieters recently kicked off a “What Is Graphic Design?” poster contest, and now she’s posted the excellent winners. (I, of course, have a soft spot for this one.)
- Steven Heller offers a brief survey of US political posters. [Via]
- Film poster John Alvin, creator of pieces for everything from Blazing Saddles to Lord of the Rings, has passed away at age 59. The NYT offers a short rememberance. (I wonder what he thought of Trajan.)
February 24, 2008
Naked saunas, 3D Flash globes, and other infographic goodness
- My wife and I are nervously quizzing each other on these expert (and very funny) baby care instructions (boosted wholesale, it would seem, from David Sopp’s Safe Baby Handling Tips). [Via]
- Wable is “a coffee table that displays a user’s web activity via physical bar graphing.” Yes, I remember pining for such a thing not ever. (Are Venn-diagram kiddie pools next?)
- Concentric circles are coming for us!! The Onion has fun with news infographics.
- Seeking to place events into geographical context, Yahoo has created a 3D NewsGlobe using Adobe Flex. ComputerWorld’s got background on the project. [Via]
- In similar vein of “Learning America Smarter,” check out the naked saunas, black metal, and ass-beating of Scandinavia. (And you thought it was all chilling out with MDF.) [Via]
- The Gough Map is said to be the oldest accurate map of Britain, dating from around 1360.
- My little brother Ted let me ride along last month as he drove his garbage truck. This safeyman image (somewhat dodgy iPhone-cam quality, sorry) I snapped in his cab shows the truck really putting the “screw” back in “screw of Archimedes.”
- “Do not iron while wearing shirt (on an iron-on decal)”: more good advice from the safetyman chronicles. [Via]
- I can get behind this “Faith healing sign” at Disneyland, not to mention Serbian children escaping a triangle.[Via]
- Blogging software has made self-publishing seem simple, but beneath the covers, a whole lot’s going on. Wired has a Flash-based diagram showing what all happens when one hits “Publish.” [Via]
Lightroom Podcasts #50 & 51: Photoshop integration & color correction
George Jardine has posted a pair of new video tutorials for Lightroom:
Three Options, Unlimited Possibilities (9:28)
In this tutorial I outline the basics of using Lightroom’s Edit in Photoshop command, specifically as it pertains to RGB files. You’ll learn what your three basic options are, and how they are best used to begin taking advantage of the incredible variety of workflows available, when using Lightroom and Photoshop together.
Subjective Color Correction (6:04)
In this tutorial I outline the basics of color correction, in a situation where the color and density of the photograph are wide open to interpretation. Make sure you start with a calibrated and profiled monitor, and then learn to trust your eyes to bring out the very best in your photographs, using the Adobe Lightroom Develop Module.
February 23, 2008
Of Eyeballs & iHoles
Apparently Canon is developing an Iris Registration Mode that will enable photographers to use their eyeballs to form a kind of digital fingerprint for their images. Hmm… the tech sounds cool (well, provided it works better than the fingerprint scanner on my ThinkPad), but I’m not sure how it helps secure photographers’ rights.
What people want–and can’t have, as I’ve noted previously–is the ability to embed copyright data in images that are both easily readable and secure. Iris scanning doesn’t address the fact that if you can edit the pixels of an image, you can get around copyright data in the image (through copy and paste to a new file, if nothing else). And for all the talk of wanting secure metadata, I don’t see much use of the Digimarc technology that’s been bundled in Photoshop for ~10 years (allowing copyright to be subtly encoded into the pixels themselves), nor do I hear of many photographers passing around their images as secure PDFs (which offer 128-bit encryption, among other things). So, unless I’m missing something (and please shout out some enlightenment if so), iris scanning doesn’t seem to change the game too much, at least as regards downstream image protection. [Via Steve Weiss]
On a lighter eye-related note, check out Scot Hampton’s iHole–the camera made from an iPhone box.
February 22, 2008
You Suck at Photoshop #7
“Nicole Richie’s head on a corn dog…” Wow, even as just a mental image, that’s something I can’t easily un-see. Enjoy. [Via Gary Savelson]
February 21, 2008
Mama don’t take my Polaroids away
News about the demise of Polaroid film production has pulled a number of interesting items out of the woodwork:
- Eames + Cramps + Cams: Check out this demo film of the Polaroid SX-70 made by famous furniture designers Charles and Ray Eames, but inexplicably set the music of The Cramps. Weirder still, it all kind of works. [Via]
- "The late cinematographer Jamie Livingston, who died at age 41 in 1997," writes Mike Johnston, "left an archive of almost 6,000 Polaroid SX-70 shots, taken one per day (with only minor lapses) for 18 years." You can browse the archive here.
- David Friedman would like to see a Polaroid-style digital picture frame, complete with dry-erase area for jotting notes. [Via]
- "Polaroid made me the photographer I am today": Photographer Ctein reminisces about the format’s importance in his artistic development.
- We recently met with some photogs doing a great project using large-format Polaroids. Once they post images publicly I’ll pass along the news.
One more photo-nostagia tip–this time for Kodak–this clip from Mad Men shows a pitch for the original slide carousel.
February 20, 2008
Lightroom Podcast #49: Gregory Heisler
Photographer Gregory Heisler is one of the most interesting guys I’ve had the pleasure of meeting in my job. He’s shot numerous covers for Time Magazine, and his work really shines in large-format printing. Now Gregory has sat down with Adobe photography evangelist George Jardine to record a podcast. George writes:
“Maybe you want to do a Brett Weston, and you don’t want anyone to open your files. Maybe you want your files to just die a peaceful death, and you want to pull the plug on them, and send them on to eternity. And what you want are these finished prints; they are the realization of your vision. And everything else was just a way to get there. Like you don’t actually want somebody, in a sense, reprinting from your negatives. You’re done. It’s fine. Even though with photography the temptation is that it’s always an open door, it’s fine to lock the door and throw away the key. That’s OK.” – Gregory Heisler
This podcast was recorded on Wednesday February 6th, 2008 at the National Arts Club in New York City. Gregory sits down with George to have a conversation about working with Arnold Newman, his love of portraiture, and some of his thinking on a wide range of subjects including the value of the print, and the difficulties of developing a personal style.
The 1:20:49 podcast, labeled “20080206 Podcast – Gregory Heisler” is in George’s iDisk. It can also be found on iTunes by searching under Podcasts for “Lightroom,” or via the Lightroom podcasts RSS feed.
February 19, 2008
Happy birthday, Photoshop and Lightroom
Is today, February 19th, "The Most Important Date In Digital Imaging History"? That’s the case Jeff Schewe makes on Photoshop News. On this date in 1990, the first version of Photoshop shipped to the world; exactly five years ago we saw the debut of Photoshop’s Camera Raw plug-in; and one year ago today, Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 1.0 made its official bow. Jeff posts all kinds of good info on the site, and in a sidebar he asks "Where were you on 2-19-1990?" (I thank goodness that no digital cams were on hand there to capture my hairdo.) For a bit more info and color, see Lightroom PM Tom Hogarty’s post on the occasion.
A history of logos, great desktops, and more
- Neatorama features a history of tech company logos, from Adobe to Xerox. Who knew about the 1,000-armed Canon, or Nokia and the fish?
- Google invites kids to “Doodle 4 Google.” The winner gets a $10,000 college scholarship and a $25,000 technology grant for his/her school.
- Tap some taproot with the cute Jacobs & Sons Carrots logo (diggable). I also enjoy the efficiency of the Colorado Conservation Trust mark.
- Having grown up with the illustrated genius Richard Scarry, and having just gotten some of his books at a baby shower, I’m especially charmed by this Beastie Boys Sure Shot remix. [Via Marc Pawliger]
- Veerle has posted a bunch of lovely patterns, plus plenty of links you can use for further pattern research/inspiration.
- Smashing Magazine offers up some “(Really) Stunning Desktop Wallpapers.”
- Concept art:
- There’s plenty of 50’s art and illustration on Plan59.com
- For related goodness, see the I Love My Electric Appliance!! Flickr pool. “Lots of overjoyed women leaning on stuff,” notes Core77.
- Vanity Fair hosts a slideshow of classic Hollywood lobby cards from the late screenwriter Leonard Schrader’s collection.
- The Hatch Gallery offers up a sample of contemporary letterpress work. [Via]
- I enjoy the Art Deco stylings (not to mention the writing) in 1930’s The World in 2030. [Via]
- Also from the Thirties, you might like these Colliers ads and illustrations. [Via]
- Talk about dedication to a (suddenly) losing cause: a guy gets a Pats tat on the head. [Via, of all things, Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me]
February 18, 2008
Meet Adobe Illustrator (1987)
As promised a couple of weeks ago, I’ve uploaded a copy of the VHS tape that shipped in the box with Illustrator 1.0, hosted by company co-founder/president/Illustrator developer John Warnock:
Many thanks to Andrew Keith Strauss for digitizing the tape. Of the video Dr. Warnock writes, “That video demo tape was shot live, with no editing. We didn’t have video production tools at that time, and we didn’t want to pay for a professional to do it, so I did the demonstration.” It’s fun to contrast this tape with the Illustrator 88 video made just a year later.
Enable commenting in Adobe Reader, more
The Adobe Design Center crew is back on stage for a new year, posting all sorts of good content.
New Think Tank
- The value of multimedia in learning — Patti Shank
- Flash: Prepairing and building ads with Flash — Jason Fincanon
- Soundbooth: Repairing and adjusting audio clips — Adobe Soundbooth CS3 Classroom in a Book
Vector drawing techniques in Photoshop — Adobe Photoshop CS3 Classroom in a Book
- Acrobat: Enabling commenting in Reader — John Deubert
As always, Adobe training mavens Luanne Seymour and Jen deHaan are kicking out the jams, so check out their sites for fresh material. And as always, check out some of the 1000+ Adobe links on del.icio.us. Info on how to contribute links is here. [Via Luanne]
February 17, 2008
Digital imaging in, and of, space
- Is there a sculpture of a Man on Mars? Not really, but the illusion is cool. Of course, anthropomorphic stone formations are also found closer to home.
- Virgin Galactic has unveiled the brilliant Burt Rutan’s elegant SpaceShipTwo. Here’s more info on the efforts. [Via]
- Bring on the nuclear tricycles! Air&Space Mag features alternative lunar vehicles that didn’t quite make the cut. [Via]
- CNET talks about lightning strikes on Venus, as well as how the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has helped explain bizarre Mars textures using stereoscopic imaging. The also point out the dusty Mars rover finding evidence of water.
- The Hubble recently captured a double Einstein ring. An Einstein ring occurs when light from one body is deflected into a ring by another body, such as a black hole. In this case, the effect required three galaxies to be perfectly aligned. [Via]
- Scientists have now turned up a smaller version of our solar system using "a trick of Einsteinian gravity called microlensing."
- On a level I can understand more directly, dig this Solar System typography from Christopher David Ryan. [Via]
- The NYT reports on amateur "satellite spotters" who track the motion of satellites & share their findings on the Net. [Via]
- MSNBC’s has posted their top space photos of the year, while National Geographic has shared their top science images of the year.
New $20,000 Adobe design challenge
Compose an engaging 15-second or less animation or motion graphic video of the Photoshop brand logo that illustrates the theme of “See What’s Possible.” The winning work must incorporate and close with the Adobe Photoshop logo and will be used by Adobe as part of an upcoming Photoshop marketing campaigns.
The grand prize is $20,000 (USD) and Adobe Creative Suite 3 Master Collection (BYO forklift & Brinks truck). "But this challenge isn’t just about winning," says John Fiorelli, executive director of Cut&Paste. "All submissions will be publicly showcased on CutandPaste.com where contestants can share their skills with not only fellow designers, but fans, recruiters, and potential clients."
You’ve got until the Ides of March (specifically, 11:59 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time on March 15, 2008) to submit your work, and it needs to be created predominantly with Photoshop, Flash, and/or After Effects. Full details are on the site. Rock out! [Via]
February 15, 2008
Some days it’s not even worth chewing through the restraints…
…at least, not with a ridiculously persistent head cold. Then, however, the Interwebs kick up some crazy little gem that makes it all good. I got this piece of spam today and was unreasonably amused (names omitted to protect the guilty):
Dear John, I am a recruiter for the xxxx Casket Company and I am interested in networking with you. I am currently seeking a 2 Product Managers (Wood Product Line, Accessories Product Line). Our headquarters is located in [BFE], Indiana, which is commutable from both [cold places where you no longer live]. xxxx Casket Company is more than the world’s leading producer of premium caskets and cremation products, we set the standard for success and productivity. […] I am hoping that you might know of other Product Managers that I could network with that might be interested in exploring these exciting job opportunities! If you are interested in this position, I also welcome that conversation. Here are a couple of websites that might be helpful when passing along my contact information: [xxxx]. I appreciate your help in advance and look forward to hearing from you! Sincerely, [xxxx]
Man, what am I still doing here typing? Who in his right mind wouldn’t give up Photoshop for Wood Casket Accessories Product Line Manager? It’s the job of a lifetime–specifically, the end of many other people’s lifetimes. My ship has finally come in–woo hoo! Adios, suckkaz!! ;-)
You Suck at Photoshop #6 posted
Enjoy. (Meanwhile I’ll work on forgetting connections made between Liquify & the human digestive system. ;-)) [Via Gary Savelson]
Fun & clever recent infographics
I’m endlessly fascinated with how people display information visually. Here are some cool recent examples:
- JamPhat features a hilarious (and huge!) collection of hip hop-inspired infographics. Images are helpfully linked to YouTube vids of the related songs. It was a good day…
- Fun with Venn diagrams: I love the simplicity of this clever music elitism t-shirt. (Compare to Wu-Tang Clan.) [Via]
- What if we regarded flags as info visualizations? That’s what Brazilian designer Icaro Doria did for the magazine Grande Reportagem. [Via]
- Call it "Most Inscrutable. Karaoke Interface. Ever." Or just call it pretty. Robert from Flight404 (see previous) has used Processing to create the lovely video Solar, incorporating lyrics from Goldfrapp. [Via]
- HistoryShots sells prints of really cool infographics.
- ArmsFlow presents global arms transactions, visualized in an interactive map. Clicking individual countries shows their import/export flow for a given year. Interesting concept, but the lines overlap so densely that it’s hard to see what’s happening. I’d love to see the whole thing taken further. [Via]
- Knowing things Biblically:
- Virtual China features a Chinese diagram on how to cook chicken with beer. [Via]
February 14, 2008
New Adobe Magazine available
Volume 2, Issue 1 of Adobe Magazine, the company’s quarterly design and technology mag, is available for download. The new issue features Photoshop being used for concept art, architectural illustration, and scientific imaging. Other highlights:
- Talent for Good - Poster power: Listen to seven diverse designers talk about the power of a poster and how they can be used to inquire, compel, and provoke while maintaining a civic responsibility.
- New Interactive Spaces: Watch New York-based FeedTank encourage people to think creatively by building public interactive experiences.
- Awakening the Web: Explore the new UNIQLOCK site, and see how the creativity of Tokyo based Projector thrives in a world of technological restrictions.
- Digital Imaging Wonders: See how the imagination can take on an infinite variety of shapes, from landscape illustrations to hyper-real scientific images.
February 13, 2008
A wealth of Lightroom tutorials
- Setting up an organizational system in Lightroom
- Working with color management in Lightroom
- Using the Camera Calibration feature in Lightroom
- Working with History and Snapshots in Lightroom
- Split toning for color
- Making a better slideshow in Lightroom, part 1: Organization and layout
- Making a better slideshow in Lightroom, part 2: Timing, music, titles, and transitions
- Presentation possibilities in the Slideshow module, part 1: Preparing and selecting your photos
- Presentation possibilities in the Slideshow module, part 2: Customizing the slideshow’s appearance
- Presentation possibilities in the Slideshow module, part 3: Playback and export
- Choosing a Web gallery type in Lightroom
- Creating a promo sheet in Lightroom
- Exporting from Lightroom Q&A
- Using the Print Sharpening feature in Lightroom
- Apply metadata, keywords, and presets as you import images
- Working with snapshots in Lightroom
- Working with the History panel in Lightroom
- Working with the Histogram in Lightroom
- Web galleries:
- Exporting images from Lightroom
Helmut Newton, the death of Polaroid, and more
- Mike Johnston shares a number of interesting thoughts on recent photographic news. Talking about those huge zoom lenses, he says, “[W]hat people are really interested in is who can buy the biggest, baddest, most expensive status symbol in the form of massive glass. Plus, the narrowed field of view of the smaller sensor has now come into direct conflict with the preferred status symbol in sensors, so-called “full-frame” (i.e., 35mm size). We’re back to the best of both worlds in terms of one-upsmanship: the people with the biggest sensors also need the biggest lenses. Perfect.”
- James Danziger has posted a short, funny, and salty interview with the late Helmut Newton:
- Q: Your about to be published autobiography stops in 1982. What have the readers missed?
- A: Nothing! People who reach their goals are very uninteresting. What could I have written about the last 20 years? I met a lot of awfully boring Hollywood bimbos. I earned a lot of money. I fly only first class. [Via]
- You’ve probably heard that Polaroid film production is reaching its end. One can, however, convert a Polaroid cam to digital [Via], and while the film stocks last they lend themselves to painterly manipulation. [Via
- I’m sure my folks in Illinois can relate to this beautiful ice. Certain things I’m happy to observe from afar. [Via]
- Storm chaser Jim Reed risks life, limb, and gear to get some amazing shots, cataloged in his book. [Via]
- Image database Covering Photography is billed as “a web-based archive and resource for the study of the relationship between the history of photography and book cover design.” [Via]
- I’m late in posting it, but I enjoyed this unusual photo of Sen. John Edwards on the campaign trail. [Via]
- Dan Heller’s blog covers the business of photography.
February 11, 2008
Leopard 10.5.2 improves Photoshop, LR compatibility
I’m happy to see that Apple has released the 10.5.2 update to Mac OS X Leopard (check Software Update under the Apple menu). The update addresses some snags reported in using Photoshop CS3 and Lightroom on the new OS:
- Typing values into the options bar in Photoshop (e.g. to set brush size or crop dimension) is no longer problematic.
- Prior to 10.5.2, some Apple apps (Finder, Aperture, iPhoto, Preview) could crash or fail to read some complex XMP metadata, such as Lightroom develop snapshots. That problem has been fixed.
I’ve just installed the update, so I don’t have more detailed notes to share right now. That said, Macworld’s Dan Frakes enumerates some of the user-friendly tweaks featured in this rev.
Moments in time: Frozen Grand Central & more
Playing with our sense of time:
- Improv Everywhere recently staged some captivating performance art in NYC’s Grand Central Station, in which 207 people froze in place for five minutes. I’d love to see a time lapse view of the happening. [Via]
- IKEA makes superb use of slow-mo video in this new interactive catalog. The Flash UI lets you drag the image to change angles or change rooms. Motionographer offers some comments.
- oobject features time lapses of people playing with Wiis. [Via]
- Flickr use Apres makes intimate use of long exposure (more).
February 10, 2008
New video shows GridIron Flow in action
Last month I waxed the car of GridIron Flow, a new workflow management technology designed to work with Photoshop, the Creative Suite, and other tools. Since then the product picked up a Best in Show nod at Macworld, and now you can see it in action in a video on their site. In it company CEO Steve Forde shows Flow managing a workflow spreading across Photoshop, Illustrator, After Effects, and InDesign.
Flow isn’t yet shipping, but GridIron is accepting sign-ups for beta testing.
New Filter Forge Freepack for Photoshop
The guys behind Filter Forge, the visual node-based filter creation tool, have released "Filter Forge Freepack 2 – Photo Effects," meanwhile announcing a 20% discount for their flagship product. According to the folks at PhotoshopSupport.com, "The theme of the second Filter Forge freepack is photo effects and enhancements. The free plugin comes with seven filters, each capable of giving any photo a unique look and feel."
Filter Forge is presently Windows-only (Mac version promised), so I haven’t yet given it a spin. I’d fire up my copy of Vista via VMWare, but now it’s telling me that because I haven’t run it in a while, "You may be the victim of software counterfeiting!”–and thus refusing to function. Ah, good ol’ copy protection…
February 08, 2008
Wine offers improved Photoshop-on-Linux support
Wine, the open-source compatibility layer for running Windows programs on top of Unix-style operating systems, has been updated to offer improved support of Photoshop CS2. Using the latest updates (of which another has been posted today), it should be possible to run PSCS2 for Windows on top of Linux.
Wine release manager Dan Kegel reports, "As of wine-0.9.54,
Wine is able to install, activate, and run the retail version of
Photoshop CS2 well enough for the average early adopter to use
(with caveats, e.g. you have to install the Times32 font first,
and ImageReady and Bridge aren’t supported yet)." Check out WineHQ’s Photoshop page for more details.
[Pre-emptive, comment-saving non-disclosure: No, I don’t have other info/plans to share concerning Photoshop on Linux, and yes, we know that Linux folks would like a fully native PS on Linux implementation. Just thought I’d spare you some typing. ;-)]
Friday photography: Old Hollywood & New Cams
- Norman Jean Roy, Mark Seliger, and other photographers reinterpret famous Hitchcock scenes using current actors in this month’s Vanity Fair. (Here, at least, Renée Zellweger is on her way to looking like Henry Gibson.) [Via]
- Speaking of Hollywood, Alison Jackson creates fake paparazzi shots (not 100% work-safe, FYI). [Via]
- CNET’s Stephen Shankland hosts an interesting interview with Canon’s Chuck Westfall, talking about various camera tech developments–sensor dimensions, OLED displays, geotagging, and more.
- YouTube hosts a video demonstrating how camera lenses are made. Not shown: my wallet imploding. [Via]
- On the big-glass front, Sigma has trotted out this $25,000 badboy, and yet that’s got nothing on this Canon 1200mm cannon–selling for a cool $99,000, used. Not satisfied yet? How about a 5200mm Canon, good for photographing stuff 32 miles away? Even more examples are here.
- At the other end of the spectrum, 20 bucks gets you a 6x iPhone camera zoom. [Via]
- Toronto Star photographer Lucas Oleniuk illustrates the issue of global warming in a video created entirely by using still images. The Thoreau quotation is chilling and well chosen. [Via]
- If M.C. Escher had a camera, you might see something like this cool effect.
February 07, 2008
Shat Shat Revolution, car cutaways, and more
“Some creators love a great sunset; some have in mind my bloodshot eyes…” So says William Shatner of The Shatner Show, a gallery presentation and now book of artwork inspired by the man, rendered in every conceivable medium (including Lego). B to the zzare. The project reminds me a bit of Naoki Mitsuse’s Elvis Paintings. (I have a particular soft spot for Tiny Elvis.)
In other illustration news:
- Juan Francisco Casas creates large-format artwork using just a ballpoint pen. In looking at the images, I could swear I just smelled that sticky, sickly Bic scent. [Via]
- The Periodic Table of Elements Printmaking Project brought together 96 artists “to produce 118 prints in any medium; woodcut, linocut, monotype, etching, lithograph, silkscreen, or any combination.” Etsy hosts an interview with the organizers. (Apparently my blog is Hassium-powered.) [Via Petra]
- 8-bit jams:
- Jimi Benedict has made a rather great Super Mario portrait. He’s also made some obligatory Obama artwork (quite the little cottage industry these days). Oh, and his riot of death-rod imagery makes me think of the recruiting poster my old friend Adam Symons created for AGENCY.COM back in the day (simply
ripping offremixing a Pietasters album cover, I believe). [Via]
- On a Mario-related note, peep Sam Mullins’s Super Mario sleeve tattoo.
- Jimi Benedict has made a rather great Super Mario portrait. He’s also made some obligatory Obama artwork (quite the little cottage industry these days). Oh, and his riot of death-rod imagery makes me think of the recruiting poster my old friend Adam Symons created for AGENCY.COM back in the day (simply
- Get ready for 5000 Web Apps in 333 Seconds. (If you watch for more than a few seconds, try not to swallow your tongue.) [Via]
- Genius steals? Behold these Automotive logo ripoffs. [Via]
- Wilhelm Deffke was a trailblazing German identity designer. I’m guessing there’s one work he’d like to omit from his portfolio, however.
- Musical Notes
February 06, 2008
Get your wet floor on in Lightroom
- New "Header" area to display a logo (with link), gallery title and gallery description
- New "Wet Floor" effect (see example)
- 4 template groups, each containing 8 variations for landscape/portrait, dimension and aspect ratio (32 options total).
- New inputs to directly assign an audio file and caption
- New Director formatting panel
Todd notes, "The templates are also a great way to get a "fitted" look really quickly, as it calculates all the dimensions for handling 3:2 / 4:3 imagery
without gaps." SlideShowPro for Lightroom is $25.
Note: It’s also possible to use SlideShowPro together with Photoshop; see previous.
February 04, 2008
Adobe Stock Photos to be discontinued
Adobe has announced Adobe Stock Photos, the service integrated into Adobe Bridge, will be discontinued as of April 1, 2008. An FAQ is posted to address common questions (especially if you’re an ASP user), and there are uninstallers for Mac and Windows that let you remove ASP from Bridge if you’d like.
The FAQ is very light on the rationale for the decision, but in an interview with StockAsylum’s Ron Rovtar (subscription required for part of it), Adobe director James Alexander says, "We thought we went to market with a set of features and functionality that were going to improve workflow. It was just not as compelling as we thought it was going to be."
I don’t have a lot of additional context to offer, other than to say that we’re working hard to make Photoshop, Bridge, and the other Creative Suite apps much more easily extensible so that they can support whatever services customers find useful–whether from Adobe or from third parties.
February 03, 2008
Adobe ACE Exams available for CS3
I’ve been asked a number of times over the past few months for news on when Adobe Certified Expert exams for CS3 would be ready for trainers, authors, and others wishing to document their proficiency in Adobe tools. I’m therefore happy to report that the exams have been updated. Thanks to Jim Mendes for the heads-up.
Recent Flash goodness in 3D & beyond
- When is a shopping site… something else? When it’s this viral site for Dutch chain Hema*. "It’s like an IKEA catalog was sliced up and fed to a Rube Goldberg machine," says Motionographer. "The magnifying glass bit is brilliant." [Via]
- Who doesn’t like "secret interactive frivolity"? Design firm Baker and Hill lavishes attention on the details of their fun-to-navigate company site.
- 3D action:
- Don’t let the ultra-retro intro fool you: Electric Oyster’s demo features the beginnings of a nifty Flash-based flight simulator. [Via]
- National Geographic offers a 3D Atlas of Human History. Developer g.wygonik from the always-interesting Terra Incognita provides background on the project.
- This Adobe Japan page features 3D balls gone mad. [Via]
- The Volvo XC70 site features a fully rotatable rendering of the car, festooned wih interactive touch points. Stick around through the intro, then hit the arrows to continue. (Yes, we have kid-haulers on the brain, and I’ll always have a thing for Volvo wagons.)
- ASLuv busts out the fairy dust with this little particle sprayer. (Don’t break the glowsticks ’til you feel the beats hit.) [Via]
- In a sorta related vein, see Lee Brimelow’s YTMND-style Billy Mays tribute. Puzzling; I can dig it.
- The Air Pocket Symphony (no relation to Adobe AIR, MacBook Air, wayward heiresses, etc.) features photorealistic objects and a nice, simple sliding animation. [Via]
- MyFlashFetish offers SWF bits (particularly music players, it seems) that can be embedded in your site. [Via]
* Tangential: It’s not Flash, but on the innovative shopping front, software maker Panic lets you drag and drop items into your shopping cart. Slickness.
February 02, 2008
You Suck at Photoshop 5, Russell Brown, and more
- Depresso-guru Donny is back with Episode 5 of You Suck At Photoshop, offering some sarcastic advice: "You know, if you want to use your Magic Wand, that is awesome. You can go grab a juice box and a Fruit Roll-Up and we’ll see you in about six hours…" It naturally all ends in (very funny) tears.
- Original Demo Gangsta Russell Brown really doesn’t suck at Photoshop and has dropped a whole crop of new videos. PhotoshopNews has the details, and the vids themselves start about halfway down this page (look for the "New" flag).
- And hey, big news from the crew at Photoshop User TV: the show is moving to real, big screen TV via Fox Business News Channel. Scott Kelby has the details. Quite a milestone, guys–congrats!
Saturday Type: Lip tats to Woody Allen
New alphabets have emerged:
- With his Twenty-Six Types of Animals, Jeremy Pettis uses type for “channelling the essence of the beast.” [Via]
- The Daily Mail has amassed a rather amazing butterfly wing alphabet–each letter found in nature. [Via]
- Ow, ow, ow: if you’re not too squeamish, check out Thijs Verbeek’s Clothespin & skin alphabet. [Via] (In a similarly painful vein (no pun intended), how about a little Mozzer on your lips? [Via Bryan O’Neil Hughes])
- The Politically Incorrect Alphabet is more cute than offensive. [Via]
Elsewhere in the world of type…
- Fun with cultural detritus:
- Also hailing from Jolly Ol’ is this rotting London grocery store sign.
- You’ll want to don safety glasses before inspecting these flair typefaces from the 70’s (scroll down til you hit the motherlode). My wife will always refer to Bookman as “that yacht club font.” [Via]
- Staying on the them of puke induction, what’s up with the font used for The History of Visual Communication? Type is a little like wine with me, in that I never feel confident in my tastes. In both cases I’m kind of reassured when I hit something and can say, “Okay, that’s just foul.”
- Type goes beautifully, organically creepy in this ad for The Spiderwick Chronicles.
- BibliOdyssey features a terrific collection of historic ornamental typography.
- Cristian Kit Paul chronicles Woody Allen’s typographic repetitions. Apparently the choice of Windsor goes back to asking designer Ed Benguiat for advice over breakfast. [Via]
February 01, 2008
Terrible UI o’ the day
Ah, Vegas: It’s like the whole town just coughs into your mouth. Everything about this place makes me feel dirty, strung-out, and used.
I mention it because just now I was impressed to find a Coke machine that featured a credit card swipe-strip for payment. Kind of convenient, I thought–though of course it means that the prices have been jacked out of the range of the small bills you’re likely to be carrying.
Speaking of price… It’s displayed only intermittently, when the words “Coca-Cola” aren’t crawling by. (I’m sure that text is very helpful to the people confused about the nature of this giant red machine that sells only Coca-Cola.) Terrible info presentation, but whatever, I’m thirsty.
Swipe, pause… card authorized, press soda button. Wait several seconds… nothing. Did it hear me? I press again. Wait… [rumble] Coke arrives. And then another. And then a third. Suddenly I’ve paid nearly eight bucks for 60oz. of sugar water–about 10x more than I actually wanted.
Genius! I’m serious, actually: by tossing out the most basic interface principle of providing prompt user feedback, these guys just tripled their income. How many times a day must this happen, and who’s going to spend time sweating these guys for $5? The house wins again.
PS–I know that in posting this little bit of whining I’m really unleashing the power of the blog, so to speak. Maybe the anti-consumer UI beatings that happen in Vegas should, in fact, stay in Vegas.
Random greatness: Slingbox & NetNewsWire
Even at my most,
random er, eclectic, I try to keep this blog focused on Adobe-related things (photography, illustration, scientific imaging, typography, and so on). I love great design wherever I find it, so in this case I thought it would be worth giving props to a couple of excellent non-‘Dobe-related tools I’ve found recently. Read on if you’re interested.
• Slingbox is a little contraption that connects to your TV and converts the signal to streaming video. That enables you to watch live TV, recordings on a TiVo or other DVR, or even (apparently) Apple TV content via your computer, whether you’re in your house or on the road.
Why is that a good thing? In our case, instead of buying an additional TV to go upstairs for use while working out, my wife scored us a Slingbox AV. Now any of our laptops can get plopped onto a stand and used to control the TV. The streaming quality is good, to the point that a standard-def signal arguably looks better on my 17" laptop screen than on the 40" LCD TV. We’re glad not to have an additional TV (and cable box, and wiring, and remotes) clogging up the scene when they’re not needed.
The only downside is that what you stream is the same as what’s on your TV, meaning that two people can’t watch different shows on different devices. On the upside, I’ve confirmed that it’s possible to connect to the box from the road, then quietly pop up on-screen menus in front of one’s spouse’s episode of What Not to Wear. Well, at least I thought it was funny…
• NetNewsWire is a killer RSS feed reader for the Mac. I know, I know–what rock have I been living under, right? And yet RSS reading remains a niche behavior, so it’s worth evangelizing tools that make it a pleasure.
I’ve been subsisting on RSS reading in Safari for the last couple of years, and I can’t believe how much better NetNewsWire makes things. Listing all the feeds & being able to browse them without leaving the app is solid, but God is in the details, and developer Brent Simmons really sweats the small stuff. The app is chock full of handy little shortcuts for popping links open in Safari, shooting links via email, and more. It’s also fastidious about respecting behaviors that have become second nature in Safari (putting focus on search, popping new tabs, and so on).
I won’t claim the app saves me time, as my saved cycles get rolled into more browsing, but it’s certainly far more efficient than my previous methods. So, get ready for even more tangential ephemera (oh boy).
PS–See Adobe evangelist Terry White’s detailed Slingbox review if you’re hungry for more insights into that system.