October 31, 2008
A handful of Halloween art
- Goodwill Halloween–awesome. :-)
- Obey Alfred E. Neuman! Related: A million and one Obama poster parodies.
- Calamity Coach is an Edward Gorey-esque tale of vehicular woe. [Via] For a less frightening, more nostalgic trip, see Gene Gable’s round-up of vintage Greyhound bus art.
- John McConnell shows how to turn Tom Cruise into an alien. (Isn’t that a little redundant?) [Via]
- What the hell is going on with this broccoli?? [Via Matthew Richmond]
PSCS4 shortcuts available
Just a quick note: Photographer Trevor Morris has posted a comprehensive list of Photoshop CS4 keyboard shortcuts, building on his previous entries for Bridge, Camera Raw, and earlier versions of Photoshop. He’s also posted a custom shortcuts file that adds and tweaks some keystrokes. Thanks for the great resources, Trevor.
[Related/previous: Shortcuts changed in CS4]
October 29, 2008
Lenticular adventures in CS4
Lenticular printing is a technology in which a lenticular lens is used to produce images with an illusion of depth, or the ability to change or move as the image is viewed from different angles. Examples of lenticular printing include prizes given in Cracker Jack snack boxes that showed flip and animation effects such as winking eyes, and modern airport advertising graphics that change their message depending on the viewing angle… Recent advances in large-format presses have allowed for oversized lenses to be used in lithographic lenticular printing.
Adobe evangelist Russell Brown has gotten really excited about using Photoshop to enable creation of lenticular prints, and he’s posted a great set of tutorials and sample files to help get you up to speed. Even better, he’s used the forthcoming Configurator utility to create a panel (see screenshot) that walks you through the steps and actually executes them on demand, right within Photoshop. Super cool.
October 28, 2008
Get better color online through Flash Player 10
Let’s not mince words: Presenting your images through Flash is now the best way to preserve the fidelity of their color online.
Support for color management is in Web browsers is rare (only Safari supports it by default, and the IE team is apparently missing in action). Color management thus can’t be counted on from browsers, and images display differently in different browsers. Flash Player, on the other hand, is ubiquitous, consistent, and reliable–and now in Flash Player 10 it offers basic color management support. It’ll take a little while for the new FP10 to proliferate, but this is a huge step forward. Color mgmt. in Flash will finally put an end to colors shifting when you move from PS to Flash.
I’ve asked Adobe color management expert Peter Constable to provide further details. For those, read on. For my take on why Web designers should give a damn about this stuff, see previous.
Me & Woz, down by the schoolyard
Quick–which of the following doesn’t seem to belong?
- Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple
- Peter Max, Pop art icon
- Rudolf Frieling, Media Arts Curator @ SF MoMA
- Me (!?), guy without Wikipedia page/icon status (this biz notwithstanding)
Somehow I’ve gotten tapped to serve as a judge with these guys for a digital art contest connected to Macworld:
The Macworld Conference and Expo Digital Art Gallery is now accepting artwork submissions. Images chosen will be exhibited at Macworld being held at Moscone Center in San Francisco January 6-9, 2009.
This competition is open to all Macintosh digital artists in the United States and the cost to enter is $20.00 per artist with a 3-image limit. Artists may enter in either the Student or Hobbyist/Professional category.
I’m kind of tripped out (and flattered) to have any association, however tangential, with a guy whose signature adorned the Apple IIgs after which I lusted in 7th grade. If the contest is up your alley, don’t delay: the deadline to enter is this Friday, Oct. 31. More details are on the site.
October 26, 2008
Feelin’ a little love
We never stop looking for ways to make Photoshop better, but every so often it’s nice to take a deep breath and reflect on how far the app has come. Here are some nice props I’ve seen in the last few days about CS4:
- On CreativePro.com Ben Long says, “This is what a must-have upgrade looks like:
- New features you’ll use regularly
- Fixes to old features
- Performance and stability enhancements
- Interface improvements (that don’t interfere with the stuff you already like).
Tick off every one of those points and you get Photoshop CS4.”
- Talking about the 64-bit version of CS4, customer Jeff Holmes writes, “This is the product of the century. The only thing I’m waiting for is the plugins to catch up. I do the plugin work in the 32-bit version and design work in 64-bit, but it’s worth the hassle. In my opinion this release is worth far more than it costs. Photoshop on steroids. It helps to have as much hardware as you can afford, too, but my jaw is still hanging after a week of playing.” [Via Adam Jerugim]
- Scott Kelby reports from Photo Plus East that ”Adobe’s booth was a madhouse. Lots of buzz around Lightroom 2 and CS4, with back-to-back sessions going all day. The crowd was 10 deep.”
- Writing for MacWorld, Lesa Snider King says, “Bridge got a makeover, a speed boost, and a new Review Mode that’ll make photographers squeal with joy… With the workspace overhaul and speed increase, Bridge is a real joy to use.” (Here’s a complete list, with video demo, of what’s new in Bridge CS4.)
Thanks for the kind words, guys!
October 25, 2008
Being kind of hyped about multitouch user interfaces, I loved seeing Saturday Night Live spoof the TV channels’ infatuation with flashy but often meaningless info displays. Skip ahead to 5:20 or so to check it out:
If for some reason the embedded video isn’t working, you can try it (and see stills) on this Engadget page.
It really is kind of hard to satirize just how dorky people can look when filling live TV time with these things.
October 24, 2008
Recent political illustrations, animations, & fruit
The US presidential election is motivating all kinds of creativity, from posters to pumpkins. (And before anyone flips out, let me say that A) I’m trying to be evenhanded in the distribution of links below, and B) I picked things to share based not on political affiliation, but based on creative/graphical interestingness.)
- Start your day right with Cap’n McCain’s and Obamaos (and annoying jingles!).
- MC Yogi’s pro-Obama video shows skillful type chops. [Via]
- Ceremonial fruit orbs:
- Better Homes and Gardens offers downloadable pumpkin-carving stencils for creating the likenesses of the candidates, not to mention media figures from Colbert to Oprah.
- Orange State’s Yes We Carve project is all Obama, all the time.
- You may just want to tune out the politics, rocking out with Yoda, Space Invaders, and other geekery. [Via]
- The NY Times features an interactive presentation that tracks their editorial endorsements for president through history, including blurbs from the endorsements, links to full articles, and an indication of which candidate prevailed.
- Well, you can’t say you don’t know what to expect with this one: The Brokers With Their Hands On Faces Blog.
Tutorial: Creating Flash panels for Photoshop
Matthew Keefe has posted a brief tutorial on how to create your first Flash panel for Photoshop CS4. To load any SWF in Photoshop as a panel, just drop it into the Adobe Photoshop CS4/Plug-Ins/Panels directory, then launch PS and look under Window->Extensions. To make a SWF communicate with Photoshop via scripting, however, a bit more work is required, and that’s where Matthew’s tutorial comes in. If you create something cool, or if you see interesting SWF panels popping up, please let us know.
- The Photoshop Panel Developer’s Guide, including sample code, is available for download from the Photoshop Developer Center
Pixel Bender + Your Photos
I’m a big fan of Todd Dominey’s SlideShowPro component for Lightroom (using it pretty much incessantly), so I’m extremely pleased to see Todd adding support for Adobe’s new Pixel Bender imaging technology. PB is a way of running fast filter code in Flash Player 10, After Effects CS4, and–very shortly–Photoshop CS4. In this example (which you’ll need FP10 to see properly), color images are being converted to B&W on the fly, and the gallery is running a blur effect as the transition.
On-the-fly filtering opens up all kinds of possibilities for altering images non-destructively, from adding custom vignettes to applying sharpening (example). At a more humble (but arguably even more important level), the same graphics architecture enables color management support in Flash for the first time. Look for a more detailed post on that subject soon.
Pixel Bender support isn’t yet in the Lightroom version of SlideShowPro, but I’m looking forward to it. As for Photoshop, we decided to give the PB plug-in for CS4 a couple more weeks to bake, so look for it on Adobe Labs in early November. (In the meantime, just to be annoying, let me mention that being able to cruise over to the Pixel Bender Exchange, download filters (e.g. a fast zoom blur with preview), drop them into PS, and have added super-fast filters without restarting the app doesn’t suck at all.)
October 23, 2008
I know they’re slightly OT from my usual fare, but you may dig ‘em:
- Cooliris (formerly known as PicLens), the super cool hardware-accelerated browsing plug-in that I’ve praised many times, now makes a version for iPhone. The power of the little GPU in the phone is incredible, and seeing things like this, I’m inclined to agree with John Gruber: “It is our flying cars.”
- David OReilly has created the delightful little iHologram, an animated cat that seems to be jumping off the screen in 3D. [Via]
- Even sweeter? iPhone cupcakes!
October 22, 2008
Per-layer metadata comes to Photoshop
Fair warning: this is likely to be a pretty nerd-tastic blog entry, and it’s the kind of thing most people will never know or care about. Unless, that is, someone leverages it to do extremely cool, useful things. Right now it’s kind of a toss-up.
In summary, Photoshop’s scripting system can read and write parameters (keywords, descriptions, etc.) for each layer, meaning you can more richly tag layers with info–something that’s highly valuable when moving PSDs downstream into other apps. Adobe hasn’t yet leveraged this support to enable new features, but the support is in place for developers. Read on for the details.
Lightroom 2.1, Camera Raw 5.1 now available
- Canon 1000D (Digital Rebel XS/EOS Kiss F)
- Canon 50D
- Fuji FinePix IS Pro
- Kodak EasyShare Kodak Z1015 IS
- Leaf AFi II 6
- Leaf AFi II 7
- Leaf Aptus II 6
- Leaf Aptus II 7
- Nikon D700
- Nikon D90
- Nikon Coolpix P6000
- Olympus SP-565 UZ
- Pentax K2000 (K-m)
- Sigma DP1
- Sony A900
The recent Camera Raw 4.6 release added the same support to Photoshop CS3. Note that if you’re not using CS3/CS4 or Lightroom 2, the free DNG Converter can make your files compatible with earlier versions and with other DNG-savvy software (not to mention smaller and more portable as well).
Lightroom 2.1 fixes are covered in this Read Me file.
Lightroom/ACR PM Tom Hogarty notes, "The beta versions of the Camera Profiles and DNG Profile Editor on Adobe Labs have also both been updated. The Profile update includes additional profiles and incremental improvements to the previous beta profiles. The DNG Profile Editor update includes minor enhancements."
October 21, 2008
Solid Photoshop & Lightroom resources
Recently I’ve happened across a few resources that may be of interest:
- PSDTUTS offers great Photoshop tutorials in a beautifully designed wrapper. They also host interviews (e.g. one with Peter Jaworoski) with inspiring artists. Paid membership gets you access to source files and more.
- Design Reviver is geared towards Web design, offering tips like how to design icons in Illustrator and 350+ brushes, textures, and fonts in the aptly named "Massive Hand Drawn Roundup."
- To create The Full Montage, author Steve Caplin "has spent the last two years photographing, processing and preparing images" that work really well in image composites. The readymade set, using Smart Objects & warps to enable mapping objects onto surfaces, looks particularly interesting. Royalty-free pieces are for sale on the site.
- LiveSurface offers a large library of images ready for use with Photoshop’s Vanishing Point filter. Files "are pre-masked, layered and have embedded 3D surfaces."
October 20, 2008
A slightly random sampling for a Monday morning:
- Same actor, different role: clever, and kind of self-explanatory once clicked.
- Who needs to wait for a bank collapse when you’ve got this ATM mugger? (Lose money the old fashioned way, I say.)
- Folicular stylings (perfect for our XD group):
- Tutorials & resources:
- Dilbert creator Scott Adams is all over Photoshop + Wacom Cintiq. [Via many people]
October 19, 2008
Making progress on metadata
Although it’s not especially glamorous, metadata–information about files–is vital. Without metadata, files are like unlabeled cans on a shelf: you’d have to open up each one to find out what it contains. Adobe has been making some notable progress with metadata lately:
- The company has recently teamed up with Apple, Canon, Microsoft, Nokia, and Sony to form the Metadata Working Group. The group aims to drive standards & best practices that’ll enable better compatibility now & in the future. Metadata PM Gunar Penikis shares more details on his blog.
- Save for Web has been enhanced in CS4 to help photographers preserve copyright and contact info without adding unnecessary bloat to Web-ready images. A new menu (screenshot) enables fine-grained control over exactly what metadata goes out in a file. Special thanks go to Richard Anderson and the ASMP/UPDIG folks, with whom we worked closely in defining the implementation, for their guidance & for keeping us on our toes.
- File Info in Photoshop, Bridge, and the other CS4 apps is now Flash-based. Most people may not know or care (that is, you don’t have to do anything different/weird because of this architectural change), but the door is now open to building network-aware metadata components. A newspaper, for example, could have File Info pull a keyword list from a central server, ensuring that everyone uses the same controlled vocabulary. Here’s a screenshot of an experimental panel the metadata team whipped up with Yahoo, offering related terms for each keyword. I look forward to sharing a mapping/geotagging example, hopefully soon.
- You can also use a Flash UI to read/write metadata from a panel (palette). A developer could, for example, create a panel that reads license terms from the image, determines whether you still have rights to use it, and displays the photographer’s contact info.
- Layer-based metadata makes it possible to associate information with individual layers. This one deserves its own post.
October 17, 2008
Where did Extract & others features go?
We’ve been doing a great deal of architectural rework in Photoshop to make good things possible now and in the future (64-bit, a new GPU architecture, better localization support, etc.). That means we have to comb through older features and determine whether it’s worth investing in modernizing them, or whether the time would be better spent elsewhere.
- Our plan is to replace the Extract plug-in with improved versions of its constituent pieces, built directly into Photoshop. Some of these pieces (e.g. Refine Edge) are in place now while others are still in development. In the meantime Extract remains available as an optional download.
- Picture Package, Contact Sheet, Web Photo Gallery, and PDF Presentation have been replaced by the new Output module in Bridge CS4. Of these the first three are in the optional download package, while PDF Presentation no longer works in CS4.
- Photomerge remains part of PSCS4, but the interactive dialog (where you can drag photos around instead of just letting Photoshop do the work automatically) has been moved to the optional downloads package. (Thanks for the feedback on that subject.)
- The Mac TWAIN plug-in is quite long in the tooth and has been moved into the optional downloads, as has the Pattern Maker plug-in.
- The download also contains optional plug-ins (Bigger Tiles) and content (Textures for Texturizer, WPG presets) that used to ship on the product disc.
As noted earlier, it’s never fun removing/retiring functionality lest we break an existing workflow. Having said that, we need to prune the app to reduce redundancy and to make sure effort goes into the most valuable tools. Hopefully we’re striking a good balance.
A quick CS4 housekeeping note
Hoping to make it easier to find CS4-related info, I’ve created a category–blogs.adobe.com/jnack/cs4/–where all such posts will live.
October 16, 2008
Shortcut changes in PSCS4
By and large, keyboard shortcut changes suck. Mature tools are like musical instruments, and you don’t go moving the piano keys or cello strings without a great need to do so. It’s painful. We know.
Sometimes, though, a little pain enables much better things. In the CS4 release, we have made some improvements that result in a few shortcuts needing to change. First, the improvements:
- Photoshop is now consistent with both Mac & Windows shortcuts for switching among open documents. The Mac-standard Cmd-~ (technically Cmd-`) now cycles from one open document to the next. Adding Shift cycles in reverse order. These shortcuts work on both Mac & Windows. In addition, Photoshop continues to support Ctrl-Tab/Shift-Ctrl-Tab on both platforms, just as it always has, for the same function.
- The app is now consistent with other Suite tools (Illustrator, InDesign, Flash) in setting the zoom level to 100% via Cmd-1/Ctrl-1. (PS will continue to support the existing Cmd-Opt-0 as a duplicate shortcut.)
- You can drag-resize any brush cursor by holding down Ctrl-Opt (Mac)/Alt-right click (Win), then dragging. Add Cmd (Mac)/Shift (Win) to the combo to adjust brush hardness instead of size.
- People doing video work in Photoshop strongly requested single-key shortcuts for moving among frames. You can switch these on/off via the "Enable Timeline Shortcut Keys" command that lives in the Animation panel fly-out menu.
- Photoshop supports what we call spring-loaded shortcuts, enabling you to jump from any tool to any other temporarily.
Some of these enhancements necessitate some other changes. This all gets pretty esoteric, so I’m putting the nerdery into this post’s extended entry. Read on for that.
Bay Area + Bridge?
We’re planning some customer visits, so if you’re located in the Bay Area and might like to chat face-to-face about Adobe Bridge, drop me a line. We’d like to learn more about how people use the app across a variety of workflows, and to discuss the app–past, present, and future. Whether or not the timing works out for this set of visits (we’re targeting the week of the 27th), it would be good to be in touch.
October 15, 2008
PSCS4 extensibility: Flash, 64-bit
Now that Photoshop CS4 is shipping, let’s talk extensibility.
- By and large, your existing plug-ins should work just fine with CS4. Photoshop PM Bryan O’Neil Hughes reports that when it comes to PS on the Mac and PS on Windows running in 32-bit mode, "Our in-house testing proved early on that with very rare exceptions, ‘if it worked in CS3, it works in CS4.’" Developers like onOne and Digital Anarchy have already issued statements of CS4 compatibility, and I expect more to follow.
- If you’re running Photoshop in 64-bit mode on Windows (Vista 64 or XP64), you’ll need updated, 64-bit-native versions of your plug-ins. (The 64-bit version of Photoshop can’t host 32-bit processes, and vice versa.) We’ve been providing documentation to plug-in vendors for many months, and the 64-bit-savvy CS4 SDK is publicly available for download. I expect vendors to be trying to gauge the level of interest in 64-bit versions of their tools, so if you’re in that camp, you might want to give them some friendly encouragement.
- Photoshop on Windows consists of two binaries (one 32-bit, one 64-bit) which can be installed in parallel as completely separate applications. This means you can use the 32-bit version to run older plug-ins while waiting for them to go 64-bit-native.
- Support for running SWFs as panels represents a development renaissance for Photoshop & the Creative Suite. It’s never been possible to create panels for Photoshop in the past*, and developing for other apps meant learning different APIs and writing different code for each. Now you can create cross-platform, cross-application, non-modal, vector-based, network-aware extensions using Flash or Flex. This is going to kick serious ass, and the Photoshop Developer Center now features the Photoshop Panel Developer’s Guide. Look for more examples and documentation soon.
If you’re a developer and have questions, feel free to drop Bryan a line so that he can point you in the right direction.
*Unless you were a really clever developer like the guys at Nik Software–and they’re the first to say “Oh yeah, that was awful”; now it’s possible in an easy, reliable way.
XD responds to user feedback
A brief note: A number of folks have questioned the XD team’s decision to render their new INSPIRE publication through the Flash Player. I passed the feedback along to the design team, and now XD manager Ty Lettau has replied.
InDesign + Flash goodness
As noted recently, one of my longest-held wishes has been for Flash (the authoring tool) to play better with other apps, enabling much richer exchange of documents. Now, thanks to the new XFL format introduced in CS4, we’re seeing that vision become more real. In a new segment on Adobe TV, Flash evangelist Paul Burnett demonstrates how InDesign works with Flash.
In a nutshell, you can choose to export your pages as either SWF (ready to go right into a Web page with animation, no tweaking required) or XFL (ready to go into the Flash authoring environment with content intact*). The beauty is that InDesign can offer rich direct-to-Web publishing without trying to replicate every conceivable authoring option. (Oh, and members of the InDesign team helped build the rich new text support in Flash Player 10, enabling higher fidelity hand-off between the apps.) [Via]
Next up, look for demos of After Effects leveraging XFL export to bring projects to Flash.
* One subtle detail is that Flash Player 10 now supports basic color management–more than a little important when you’re working across media and want to keep your images looking good. I plan to share more details about this support soon.
Quick notes on Camera Raw 5
Tom Hogarty has posted some brief notes about Camera Raw 5, now shipping as part of Photoshop CS4. He writes,
One important note is that the new camera support added in the last Camera Raw update for CS3 is not currently available in Camera Raw 5.0. We’ll be providing a Camera Raw 5.1 update next week that will include additional camera support.
Camera Raw 5 offers:
- Local adjustment brush
- Graduated Filter
- "Post Crop" Vignetting
- Opacity for the cloning/healing tool
- Improved Auto Adjustment
- Support for the new Camera Profiles that are still in beta form
Oh, and Thomas Knoll & co. just might have a couple of additional tricks up their sleeves–things one might see in an update due soon. (I’m not sayin’, I’m just sayin’…)
CS4 is out the door!
Happy Ides of October: I’m delighted to say that Adobe Photoshop CS4 and Photoshop CS4 Extended, along with the whole Creative Suite 4, are now shipping. The product tryouts haven’t yet been posted to Adobe.com, but you can sign up to be notified when they’re available. In the meantime you can grab the new Flash Player 10 to enable all kinds of good new stuff (Pixel Bender, 3D, etc.).
October 14, 2008
New Adobe XD pub, thoughts on CS4 UI
The Adobe XD (Experience Design) team has launched INSPIRE, a new online publication in which team members can share thoughts on how, why, and what they design; gather feedback; and more. Among the good bits:
- Julie Baher has posted some thoughts and background on the CS4 user interface overhaul (see previous)
- Julie Meridian discusses challenges faced in designing spinning interfaces (canvas rotation, 3D) for Photoshop CS4.
(Apropos of nothing, both designers are among a similarly named group of "me Julies," which seems like it should be British slang if it isn’t already.)
October 13, 2008
Okay, this has nothing to do with anything, really, but you may find it amusing.
I’ve been eagerly awaiting Apple’s next batch of MacBook Pros (my current 17" is nearly 2 years old), and tomorrow they’re due to announce new hardware. In particular I’ve been awaiting the next batch of GPUs, and I’m eager to see whether they go farther with multi-touch technology. (For CS4 we worked with Apple to enable the new gestures on MacBook Pro/Air models to let you zoom, pan, and rotate images in Photoshop and Bridge, and I can’t show off this support with my current rig.)
Anyway, I awoke this morning to discover that the letter "J" (aka the thing I now have to keep on a text file for copy and paste) had stopped working. No warning, no other affected keys–and no J (kind of a big deal for me, for obvious reasons). I’ve had keys occasionally get stuck in the past, but in this case lifting the key and cleaning underneath had no effect. In fact, the key popped off entirely, leaving me with this somewhat disconcerting sight of a glowing stump.
Now I have to explain to my boss that no, really, it’s completely coincidental that my machine broke right before the new ones are announced–I swear. (Mm, yeah, good luck with that…)
October 12, 2008
Software developer Brent Simmons shares some interesting thoughts on how & why applications grow and grow:
Here’s the schizo thing about software development (at least on Macs):
1. Everybody praises apps that don’t have a ton of preferences and features.
2. Everybody asks for some new preferences and features.
(Okay, not everybody. Not you, I know. I mean everybody else.)
To make it worse:
1. Everybody thinks they’re representative of the typical user, so what they want ought to be a no-brainer.
2. And they act like you put skunks in their fridge if you don’t do whatever-it-is.
(Okay, again — not you. You’re cool. I’m talking about the others.)
The problem is 100 times worse when it comes to deleting features…
It’s extremely difficult to remove features from Photoshop. Once you’ve gotten someone to rely on a bit of functionality, you feel responsible for not letting them down (making me think of The Little Prince). All features, even if many years old and seemingly unchanged, consume effort to maintain, especially when we’re modernizing the application architecture (for 64-bit, Cocoa, GPU, better localization, etc.). Even so, we’re loathe to pull the rug out from under anyone.
No one uses everything in the app, and yet everything in the app is used by someone. Even if a feature benefits only 1% of customers, that translates into tens of thousands of people–and that’s just counting the ones paying for any given version (not those with older copies, and not counting thieves).
Here’s a case in point: A couple of cycles back (CS, I believe), we decided that the 3D Transform filter had outlived its usefulness, so we decided to send it to the Restful Menus Retirement Home (offering it on the product DVD, but no longer installing it by default). No one ever talked about using this feature, and yet as soon as we moved it, the tech support calls started piling up. Even a couple of years later, Pete Bauer from the NAPP Help Desk reported that they’d still gotten 25 inquiries within a month. I’ve started to think that the best way to find out who uses a feature is to try removing it.
Why do I mention all this? Two reasons:
- Maybe we can’t remove (many) features–but you can. Configurator is about subtraction. Taken together with Photoshop’s ability to remove menu items & to save workspaces that apply custom menu/panel/keyboard arrangements, Configurator helps you assemble versions of Photoshop that are "everything you need, nothing you don’t." Most people will probably never get around to creating their own configurations, but because they’ll be extremely easy to share, everyone can benefit from them.
- We’ve bitten the bullet with this release and have sent a number of features into retirement. Extract, Pattern Maker, Web Photo Gallery, Contact Sheet, Picture Package, and PDF Presentation have been removed from the default installation. The latter four have been replaced by the Output module in Bridge CS4, and our intention is to replace Extract with features inside Photoshop (building on Refine Edge & more). All of these except PDF Presentation will remain available as optional installs (to be posted on Adobe.com), but over time they’ll be phased out.
There aren’t any magic bullets here, and as I say, we’re loathe to disrupt existing workflows. We can’t sit still, however, and with CS4 we’re making progress on multiple fronts.
October 10, 2008
Camera Raw, DNG Converter 4.6 now available
- Canon 1000D (Digital Rebel XS/EOS Kiss F)
- Canon 50D
- Fuji FinePix IS Pro
- Kodak EasyShare Kodak Z1015 IS
- Leaf AFi II 6
- Leaf AFi II 7
- Leaf Aptus II 6
- Leaf Aptus II 7
- Nikon D700
- Nikon D90
- Nikon Coolpix P6000
- Olympus SP-565 UZ
- Pentax K2000 (K-m)
- Sigma DP1
- Sony A900
Lightroom/Camera Raw PM Tom Hogarty notes, "You won’t find this update listed on our traditional Camera Raw page as we are moving quickly towards updates specific to the Camera Raw 5 and the CS4 release. For our Lightroom customers, similar camera support can also be found in Lightroom 2.1 currently available on Adobe Labs as a Release Candidate."
Note that if you’re not using CS3, the free DNG Converter can make your files compatible with other DNG-savvy software (not to mention smaller and more portable as well).
October 08, 2008
Introducing Adobe Configurator
By now you’ve probably heard me talk many times about our desire to better manage the complexity and power of Photoshop. The very general interface that Photoshop presents is incredibly flexible, but it can be overwhelming, and it doesn’t do much to show you just what you need when you need it. We can do better.
It should be possible to:
- Make Photoshop “everything you need, nothing you don’t”
- Navigate Photoshop as task-based pieces (think workspaces on steroids), each showing only what you need for the task at hand
- Let anyone remix the Photoshop UI to fit their needs
- Make it drop-dead easy to share these remixes
Adobe Configurator (screenshots 1, 2), a new utility that’s due to ship on Adobe Labs around the end of the month, is a key part of our strategy. Configurator makes it easy to snap together your own Photoshop panels (a.k.a. palettes). Think of Configurator as a box of Legos–an app that lets you drag and drop all the tools and menu items in Photoshop, call actions & scripts, and add widgets (images, videos, other SWFs, etc.). I’ve posted a 10-minute demo on Russell Brown’s site. (If you don’t have QuickTime installed, you can watch it on YouTube as well, though the compression quality there is pretty abysmal.)
We’ve shown a beta of Configurator to members of the press & have been getting great responses:
- Imaging Resource: “Dead easy. But we expected it to be easy. What we didn’t expect was just how useful the little panel we built would actually be.”
TG Daily: “[I]t is very intuitive to use and enables users to integrate virtually any function of Photoshop in a custom panel.”
- Outback Photo: “We personally love the new Adobe Configurator 1.0… Using the new Configurator is as easy as gets.”
We’re putting the finishing touches on Configurator right now, so look for it on Labs in the next few weeks. [Update: It’s live now!] (I’ll of course post news about it here.) We look forward to hearing your thoughts & using your feedback to move the tool forward.
[Updates: Sorry, I forgot to mention that Configurator requires Photoshop CS4. It’s building on top of the Flash panel extensibility system that’s new to CS4. We wanted to make sure people could create for that system without having to be coders. If you do write ActionScript, however, you can go much further using Flash and/or Flex. You can create independent SWF panels, and you can incorporate your SWFs into Configurator-made panels via drag and drop, just as easily as I added an image in the demo.]
PS–If you’d like to be able to configure other applications (Illustrator, InDesign, Flash, Fireworks, etc.) via Configurator, please make a little noise. We’ve designed the tool such that the other apps just need to supply an XML file that lists their menu items plus the associated scripting commands, as well as PNGs for their tools. Hearing your interest would help the PMs of other apps raise the priority of supplying those assets & testing Configurator.
October 07, 2008
ADIM & MAX
Next month’s Adobe MAX conference is shaping up to be a great show. These sessions seemed worth a mention:
- Russell Brown has adjusted his popular-and long-running ADIM (Art Directors Invitational Master Class) to coincide with MAX. It’s "the essential two-day, hands-on instructional course that brings top art directors, designers, illustrators, and photographers together to learn advanced tips and techniques using Adobe products." ADIM takes place Sunday & Monday, Nov. 16-17th, and plenty of details are on Russell’s site.
- Dr. Woohoo will be presenting three sessions talking about using Flex+AIR to automate CS3/4. (Here’s some background on that subject if you’re interested.)
- I’ll be covering Photoshop CS4 on Wednesday the 19th 2-3pm, and Bryan Hughes will be giving his PS session 3:30-4:30 that day. You can find other Photoshop-related sessions by clicking the "By Session" tab, then choosing Photoshop from the product drop-down.
October 06, 2008
See CS4, LR2 in person at Adobe HQ
If you’ll be in the San Jose area next Tuesday, Oct. 14, you’re welcome to join us for the next meeting of the area Photoshop User Group. Info, pizza, and drinks are on the house, and event details are below.
Bryan O’Neil Hughes, from Adobe Systems, will show presentations on the new Lightroom 2 and the even newer Photoshop CS4. We’ll have pizza and drinks at 6:30, and the meeting will start at 7:00, in the Park Conference Room of Adobe Systems’ East Tower, 321 Park Avenue, San Jose. To park underneath the Adobe building, use the Almaden Avenue entrance, under the East Tower. If the security guard at the parking entrance asks for an Adobe contact, use Bryan O’Neil Hughes’s name. He’s our contact there (as well as a Photoshop Product Manager). Please RSVP via Evite, and feel free to forward this invitation to anyone you know who might be interested. If you would like to be on our email list, send a note to firstname.lastname@example.org. See you there, Dan Clark and Tom Upton
Monday Illustrations: Current events to optical illusions
- Current events:
- From the history books:
- While the Supreme Court considers tobacco company advertising practices, Contexts.org posts some vintage Marlboro ads targeted at moms. [Via]
- CreativePro’s got a roundup of strange old illustrations found by Gene Gable. (SF is so colorful and gay!)
- James White pulls together Saul Bass’s most iconic logos. [Via]
- I love Bryan Katzel’s super cool long-scrolling design. Scroll down the page to see how it mixes foreground elements with a stationary background. [Via]
- Optical tricks:
October 04, 2008
Last chance to move up from PS7
With the CS3 product cycle, Adobe instituted a "3 versions back" policy on upgrades. That is, you can upgrade to the current version of Adobe tools from any version up to three versions back. In the case of CS3 that meant Photoshop 7, CS, and CS2. With CS4 it’s of course CS through CS3. The upshot is that if you want to upgrade from Photoshop 7, the window is closing, and you’ve got until October 15 to do so.
Saturday Photography: Bumblebees to balsa wood
I can’t just talk CS4, now can I? Taking a little break from current software events, here’s a collection of cool recent photographic finds:
- Our friend Mike Hill features a great image from Brazil on his site’s landing page.
- I’m digging the ghostly, muted tones of Michael Kenna’s work. Much more is on his site.
- The lovely Moontime gallery of David Stubbs whets my appetite to learn about low-light imaging. [Via]
- Last flight of the bumblebee: Jozsef L. Szentpeteri has captured some amazing images of bee-eating birds. [Via]
- Ever wanted to build a Canon out of balsa wood? Me neither, but it’s still kinda cool to see. [Via]
- Nothing if not dedicated, Dan Hanna’s posted 17 years of daily self-portraits as a video. (The spinning motion is a little sick-making.) [Via]
- Big photo printing + raingear = the most aggro umbrella ever (well, short of those umbrella-sword/gun combos, anyway).
October 02, 2008
Make instant JPEGs from raw files
Michael Tapes from RawWorkflow.com has teamed up with the guys from Imagenomic (known for Noiseware) to create the very cool–and free–Instant JPEG From Raw utility. It doesn’t interpret or convert your raw image data; rather, it just pulls out the JPEG preview embedded by your camera*. It can optionally downsample these JPEGs to a lower resolution as well. Check out a quick video demo of the tool in action.
I think there are some especially interesting possibilities here with DNG. As you may know, when you edit the settings of a DNG file using Camera Raw or Lightroom, you can opt to update the embedded JPEG data as well as the settings themselves. This means, as photographer Peter Krogh likes to say, that a DNG file can serve as a “job jacket”: a container that holds your negative, your development instructions, and your print. The IJFR utility provides an immediate way to extract not just the data your camera captured, but the data as processed per your instructions.
*Worth another mention: Bridge CS4 now offers the ability to browse just embedded JPEG data, bypassing the raw processing stage to enable quick initial passes through a shoot.
October 01, 2008
“Dear InDesign, Illustrator…”
Continuing a bit of a theme:
- InDesign Sr. PM Michael Ninness has responded to nearly all the top 25 beefs reported on DearAdobe.com. He’s also provided another 15 responses to other gripes that they plan to address in a future blog entry. (Regarding the gripe about the lack of a color picker, although it’s not exactly what’s being requested, I’d point out that InDesign, Illustrator, Flash, and Photoshop CS4 all feature the same Kuler panel (screenshot) for color selection. We’re sharing more code, but it’s not an overnight thing.)
- Meanwhile former Illustrator PM Mordy Golding has surveyed the remarks about Illustrator, and he’s posted responses to the top 25 comments along with good points about what does–and doesn’t–constitute useful, actionable feedback.