May 06, 2008

Technology sneak: Photoshop, AE, Flash

Last Thursday Adobe held a day-long event at which the execs briefed members of the financial community.  A couple of us spear carriers (Steve Heintz, Karl Soule, and I) were recruited to help show off some new technology that’s baking "in the labs" (i.e. none of this stuff is promised for a future version, your mileage my vary, void where prohibited, professional driver on a closed course, etc.).

Check out the Connect webcast to see the goods in action.  (Scrub ahead to 18 minutes or so–about one third of the way through–to catch the demos.)  I show off some new performance tuning in Photoshop by playing with a 650 megapixel image on a Mac Pro.  It’s too bad that the low frame rate of recording hides the fluidity of panning, zooming, and rotating via OpenGL hardware acceleration.  I also demonstrate automated merging of images to extend depth of field, as well as a 360-degree panorama mapped onto an interactive 3D sphere on which I can paint directly.  (Painting directly onto 3D models–mmm, yes.)  Steve demos Adobe’s new "Thermo" RIA design tool while Karl shows off inverse kinematics in Flash and more.

You can check out the rest of the executive presentations & their slides here.

Posted by John Nack at 4:30 PM on May 06, 2008

Comments

  • greg Geisler — 5:20 PM on May 06, 2008

    WOW! Amazing stuff! Thanks for sharing. Thermo has me drooling like a hungry dog. Part of CS4?
    BTW, the reference in the webcast to the “Schwab commercials”- that stuff is about 90% hand-drawn. There’s no magic “filter” that is run on video footage to get something that looks that good. Many have tried but it just ends up looking, well, filtered. ;^)
    [Yeah, definitely agreed. I wasn't comfortable with comparing a filter to the elaborate hand-crafting done in Rotoshop, but with everything else going on last week I didn't want to make a stink about it. --J.]
    And do all the Flash nerds know that this exciting new “tweening” process was in LiveMotion 7 years ago?
    [8, actually. >;-) --J.]
    By all means borrow all of the other superior GUI enhancements LM had and slap a shiny “New and Improved” sticker on the Flash box! I’ll buy!
    [Heh--everything old is new again. (Similar tweening was available back in Director, what, 6.0?, not to mention every version of AE and other motion graphics tools. Painter fans could say the same of canvas rotation in PS. Fireworks fans could say the same about non-destructive filtering in PS.) Lots of stuff planned for Flash looks more than a little familiar (as PSD import did last time).
    So yeah, it's frustrating to have built a lot of cool stuff a long time ago, to have been largely ignored, & to see someone else introduce it to great fanfare years later--but that's how these things go. At least in one case they have old code to leverage! --J.]

  • KS — 5:46 PM on May 06, 2008

    Oh man. Adobe never ceases to amaze me in the advancement of their technology. They’re always on the bleeding edge. Wow. Nice job on the presentation as well, John! Can’t wait for CS4!

  • Pedro Estarque — 8:02 PM on May 06, 2008

    Jaws dropped.
    Lots of items ticked in the “wanted for next version” checklist.
    OpenGL acceleration … 360 editable panoramas.
    I got get some water.

  • Nat Brown — 8:51 PM on May 06, 2008

    You guys are worse than drug dealers. Give us a sniff so we’ll all get hooked.
    That 3-D sphere from 2-D looks great.
    I’ve got my wallet out. Just let me know what street corner I need to drive to in order to get some.
    But to the comments that all that is new is old. For someone like me, for whom using PS is a “night job,” bringing these things into an integrated package has tremendous benefits. I never have enough time to find and assess products the way I would like. If it’s part of PS, all I’ve got to do is click on the menu.
    Further, if I can get acceptable functionality out of a product that uses a GUI with which I’m familiar, I’ll take it. I’ll do this to save time. I do it even if I understand that another product may be “superior” in some absolute sense.

  • David — 9:11 PM on May 06, 2008

    I use a Cintiq, and look forward to the canvas rotation option. I think it would be cool if the Cintiqs had multi-touch as well, so I could move the image with one hand use the stylus in the other.
    Will the transform tools be OpenGL accelerated? It can be hard to line up images because of the low speed and aliasing of the current tools.
    I only deal with 88 megapixel and smaller images, so the new features should run well. :-)

  • Andrew Baker — 1:25 AM on May 07, 2008

    Let me get this straight. You can now “take a filter like Gaussian blur and have it applied to every frame of a video automatically”?
    ;-)
    [Heh; don't sweat the exec talk track too much. --J.]

  • Aaron Spence — 1:56 AM on May 07, 2008

    G’day John,
    Thanks for the tip on new 360 panorama functions that may or may not make it into PS4. At present we’re using a 13,000+ line PS script to batch stitch our panoramic work from RAW to final files, where PS3 controls 2 other programs to do the stitching and output while performing steps like tripod cap creation & GPS/EXIF data placement internally.
    It all works very well as evidenced by the 4000+ high rez virtual tours we have on our panorama/mapping sites, but I’m always interested in options that may improve quality, increase render speed or simplify the process. So I look forward to trying out the new functions if/when they arrive :)
    BTW: hardware acceleration for 360 panos in flash would be a god send.
    Thanks, Aaron Spence.
    http://blog.panedia.com

  • Custom Business Cards — 3:37 AM on May 07, 2008

    Painting directly onto 3D models??? This is something I’ve dreamed of since I got into 3d modeling.

  • Stefan Klein — 4:19 AM on May 07, 2008

    Wow! Great stuff! Will we see that in CS4? Will there also be GPU accelerated filters?
    [I have to be kind of coy and say that all this stuff is just technology demonstrations, so we can't talk about whether/when the tech will make its way into specific products.
    Having said that, clearly Adobe is doing quite a bit around GPU technology. Check out this post about AIF and the "Hydra" scripting language. We've been working closely with that group, and it would be pretty exciting if the same fast filters could run across tools/platforms (in Photoshop, After Effects, Flash, Flash-based online tools like Photoshop Express, etc.). It'll take some time for the story to unfold fully. --J.]

  • keith — 5:59 AM on May 07, 2008

    As for the financial community, yep Adobe stock has been ticking up since March.

  • JonPad — 6:12 AM on May 07, 2008

    Wow. Impressive.
    It’s kind of cool, i think, that some old features get recycled. I am still waiting for someone to resurrect some of the interesting features that LivePicture had (clone on a path… anyone? anyone..?)

  • John Dowdell — 1:31 PM on May 07, 2008

    If by “tweening” you mean the parameter-based timeline, then that came from Ed Catmull’s “Tween” program at NYU (he later pioneered Pixar), and the first commercial implementation was MacroMind Three-D, which influenced the early CoSA crew and After Effects.
    jd/adobe

  • Colin Smith — 6:30 PM on May 07, 2008

    1 hour and 6 minutes later…
    Really interesting and exciting John, thanks for posting!

  • Andrew Smith — 8:48 PM on May 07, 2008

    Those new features had better come with a drool tray. :-P

  • meekish — 2:22 PM on May 08, 2008

    I’d be sorely tempted to buy CS4 just for the interface overhaul. Flash looks hot!
    [Cool; I've let the design team know. --Thx, J.]

  • Frank — 10:19 AM on May 25, 2008

    Hi John,
    any chance that Adobe is giving up the platform specific licensing with CS4 so that I can use the same license on my PC at work and on my Mac at home or do I still have to buy two licenses again?
    Thanks
    Frank

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