May 22, 2008

Pixel Bender now showing in Flash Player

Earlier today I found myself over at NVIDIA, demoing some of the new OpenGL-accelerated Photoshop technology we’ve got cooking in the labs.  The latest GPUs are just crazy-fast, and it’s a great pleasure to see a 2-gigabyte, 442-Megapixel Photoshop file gliding around like buttah*.


Adobe’s efforts to take advantage of the GPU certainly aren’t confined to Photoshop.  In a short video on Adobe Labs, Flash Player PM Justin Everett-Church demonstrates Pixel Bender filters running in Flash Player 10.  If you’ve installed the FP10 beta, you can play with Pixel Bender yourself in this interactive demo.  It comes pre-loaded with some cool (and very fast) filters, and you can grab more from the Pixel Bender exchange.  If you want to experiment further, check out documentation from Adobe’s Lee Brimelow.


On a slightly tangential note (using the shipping Flash Player 9, not FP10/Pixel Bender), Robert Lewis & co. of Fashion Buddha have created "dynamic
that arrange the byte arrays of the images and then re-compress them as JPEGs – all within Flash.  By displaying a sequence of
these byte-tweaked images quickly we can create an effect similar to
an old TV tuner that badly needs to be adjusted. The glitch effect is
subtle by default, but can be increased using the slider in the menu."  I can’t wait to see what these guys can accomplish with FP10 & Pixel Bender.


* Incidentally, to the folks recently carping that nothing meaningful ever improves in Photoshop, I’d submit that expending a heck of a lot of energy to make the display of every single pixel faster and smoother is, well, *rather meaningful*.  Effort really doesn’t get more fundamental, or more broadly useful, than that.

[Update: Flash Player engineer Tinic Uro gives a detailed overview of Adobe Pixel Bender in Flash Player 10 Beta. Pixel Bender code runs well on a GPU or CPU, and FP10 introduces more GPU support, but it doesn’t run Pixel Bender code on the GPU.]

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