November 17, 2008
Pixel Bender arrives in Photoshop
- It runs filters really, really fast on your graphics card (GPU)
- The plug-in is not one filter, but rather a harness into which you can drop Pixel Bender files (.PBK and .PBG)
- Pixel Bender also runs cross-platform in After Effects CS4 & Flash Player 10
- The filters people write for Flash will also work in Photoshop
- We should therefore see an explosion in the number of new Photoshop filters becoming available
I recorded a quick (1 minute) demo movie of the plug-in in action. The package includes great sample filters from developers Joa Ebert, Petri Leskinen, Frank Reitberger, Jerry Lin, and Allen Chou (thanks again, guys), and you can grab new ones from the Adobe Exchange & other developer blogs. Simply drop the tiny PBK text files into the "Pixel Bender Files" folder that’s created in your Photoshop CS4 folder, open the filter (Filters->Pixel Bender->Pixel Bender Gallery), and go to town.
- The Pixel Bender plug-in has the same GPU requirements as Photoshop CS4. The more memory on your card, the larger the images you can process with it.
- This being a Labs release, it’s a little less polished & a little more utilitarian than what you’d expect from a filter that’s installed by default. (For example, you can’t click onto the filter preview to manipulate parameters directly.) Even so, we expect it to work well.
- A couple of commenters have given me grief about Photoshop’s old-school Radial Blur & Mosaic filters (the former for not having a live preview, the latter for not offering independent height/width controls). Both requests are addressed by filters included in this download. (The radial blur option does spin only, but you can grab Ryan Phelan’s Zoom Blur sample to do zooming.)
- Adobe has released various PB developer tools as well. Engineering manager Kevin Goldsmith provides details on his blog.
Fundamentally, Pixel Bender demonstrates that Adobe’s significant architectural investments are delivering a faster, more interactive, much more easily extensible Photoshop & Creative Suite, now and in the future.