January 31, 2011
Photosmith promises iPad/Lightroom integration
Earlier today Christopher Phin pointed out the interesting-looking Photosmith, “the iPad to Lightroom bridge.” I haven’t tried the app, but it sounds promising for lightweight, on-the-go triage & sync (y’know, the thing that photographers have been clamoring for):
It’s not a replacement for Lightroom–it’s a travel-sized companion.
The Lightroom integration will work simply as a plugin… By using a File > menu option, you can open the [Photosmith] Sync screen directly from within Lightroom.
No additional software is needed. No tinkering with settings is needed. No iTunes or special configuration. It works on a PC or a Mac… The iPad is detected automatically as long as you’re connected to the same WiFi network and [Photosmith] is running on it – as soon as the Sync screen opens, it automatically looks for your iPad and then shows you the stats (last sync date, number of new images/collections/keywords), and then lets you choose the collection you want to sync (or all of them).
(rt) Illustration: Loose Tweets, great posters, & more
- Poster art:
- Art history:
- Check out the cheerful models who were used in “American Gothic” standing next to the painting. [Via]
- You can buy fantastic Susan Kare prints of original Mac icons. Moof! [Via]
- I’ll see you on the Dark Side of the Dorito.
January 30, 2011
I have no context for this, but boy it’s neat:
Related (?): Crayola is now selling 3D sidewalk chalk–no kidding. [Via Jesse Diamond & John Dowdell]
January 29, 2011
“We Fulfill Our Three-Digit Destiny with Nack and Hughes”
Bryan & I were honored to join Deke & Colleen for the penultimate installment of their long-running Martini Hour series. Check out the episode summary, or jump right to the audio (regular/high quality).
Thanks for having us, Deke & Colleen, and for a great series!
PS–I am not Bette Midler.
Lovely fractal animation
A little amuse l’oeil for Saturday morning:
January 28, 2011
Video: Kids vs. old-school technology
“I recently heard of a grade school child coming across a old corded telephone in a junk shop,” notes blogger Michael DiTullo, “and exclaiming to her parent ‘look, this way you won’t lose your phone!'” I feel this way whenever our little guys try to push a button on my laptop screen by, well, actually pushing it. Related cuteness/puzzlement ensues:
An epic 750,000-layer PSD is done
Bert Monroy eats your wimpy little 50-layer files for breakfast!
After four years and more than three quarters of a million Photoshop layers (spread across several docs), his monster Times Square file is online & zoomable. According to his site,
- The image size is 60 inches by 300 inches.
- The flattened file weighs in at 6.52 Gigabytes.
- It took four years to create.
- The painting is comprised of almost three thousand individual Photoshop and Illustrator files.
Faces in the crowd include the Knoll brothers, numerous Photoshop experts & authors, and even, somewhere in the lower-rigth quadrant, me. Amazing work, Bert; congrats!
January 27, 2011
Awesome app o’ the day: Toontastic
The other day I said that creation on tablets would be more about fun, about speed, and about the unbridled pleasure of creation than what we know today. Toontastic is the sort of thing I have in mind:
I just spent half an hour creating cartoons with our 2- and 1-year-old sons, quitting only when I had to go to work. We had a pirate-loaded ball.
I’m reminded of my own childhood, when I tried animation with flipbooks and even an Etch-a-Sketch Animator. Apple IIgs apps were similarly promising but frustrating. It wasn’t ’til college that I found Director & Flash, but of course those are complex pro tools. I love seeing the creation experience taken to the next level.
Thanks to reader Hendrik for pointing out the app.
Video: “Why Can’t We Walk Straight?”
Here’s a neat little animation from Benjamin Arthur on an interesting subject; worth watching despite Robert Krulwich’s characteristically twee & cloying narrative style.
January 26, 2011
Ask a Pro: Setting up a killer video system
If you’re doing video editing and/or effects and want to set up the optimal workstation, check out this Friday’s live presentation/Q&A session (12-1pm Pacific time):
This session will show you how to configure After Effects, Premiere Pro, your computer, and your projects so that working and rendering take as little time as possible. Topics covered include memory and multiprocessing settings in After Effects, CUDA processing in Adobe Premiere Pro, OpenGL processing in After Effects, background rendering, and dozens of little tips to make things faster.
- Al Mooney – product manager for Adobe Premiere Pro
- Paul Young – software engineering manager for Adobe Premiere Pro
- Chris Prosser – software engineering manager for After Effects
- Todd Kopriva – technical support lead for Adobe professional video products
“In Soviet Russia, photo ‘shops YOU!”
Somehow I never quite got to this 1987 gem when it made the rounds a few months back. Without further ado, then:
January 25, 2011
A note about Photoshop Express & location services
The newly released Photoshop Express 1.5 for iOS includes a dialog that’s too strongly worded, and it’s causing some confusion and consternation among App Store reviewers. If you’ve turned off location services, the app says the following:
Location service denied. PS Express will now run with reduced functionality. Photo metadata cannot be added or preserved and browsing through photos in the library will be disabled.
Why does Express need location services enabled in order to support the new photo review mode? Wouldn’t you expect that this switch would simply govern whether location data is added to your photos?
The issue is related to security. iOS 4 gives third-party apps access to the photo library, including the ability to read location data from photos. Apple wanted to ensure that users could control the process, so they required that location services be enabled before apps could read the library. That way apps can (and must) ask permission to use location services. (In case my explanation doesn’t make sense, you can see this one from the makers of Camera Genius.)
The subtleties are of course hard to communicate in a few words, but we should have tried harder to find less threatening wording. I apologize for not having done so, and we’re now talking about ways to rephrase the warning. Thanks for your patience.
Photoshop Express 1.5 arrives for iOS
I’m delighted to report that Photoshop Express, Adobe’s free photo capture & editing tool that’s been downloaded over 15 million times (!), is now available in enhanced version 1.5 form via Apple’s App Store.
This release reworks the photo capture experience, adding support for batch capture of photos plus a highly useful review mode, and it includes full Retina display support. iOS 4.2 compatibility brings benefits like an improved ability to upload images in the background.
After going a bit quiet (publicly, at least) following the previous release, the Express team is now cooking with gas, and we have other cool enhancements queued up for the near future. In the near term, please let us know what you think of the new release, and what you’d like to see us do going forward. Thanks for your interest & support.
January 24, 2011
A few interesting iOS apps (video & utility)
- Video-recording app Precorder takes a cue from the world of reality TV production: rather than recording everything to disk in hopes of getting some good nuggets, it buffers a video stream (a la DVRs). It’s constantly saving the few seconds of video before you hit record, so if something interesting happens, hit record & capture it. If not, no worries: there’s nothing to delete. I tried it with the kids yesterday & it worked nicely.
- 8mm Vintage Camera brings the trendy retro aesthetic to handheld video, “capturing the beauty and magic of old school vintage movies. By mixing and matching films and lenses, you can recreate the atmosphere of those bygone eras with 25 timeless retro looks.” [Via]
- Written by Lightroom team vets Troy Gaul and Dustin & Dylan Bruzenak, Handoff “simplifies sending things from your computer’s web browser to your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch” via a combo of app + desktop browser extensions. Looks clever and useful.
Esprit de Corps, JNack Style
Headed into the third day of passionate, contentious, and ultimately very rewarding conversations with a new team, I sent them this image. Seems to have struck the right chord.
January 23, 2011
Illustrations: Fun logos, social commentary, & more
- Round, logo-y:
- Kottke uncovered an interesting depiction of the World’s Tallest Buildings, 1884. [Via]
- Cycling enthusiasts lay down some cheeky social commentary in a bike lane.
- Map Your Moves: “This map distills more than 4000 moves from over 1700 people, collected in an informal survey by WNYC, a New York based public radio station.” [Via]
January 21, 2011
(rt) Interesting Miscellany: Riffing on Starbucks, Android goggles, & more
- Heh: The predicted ongoing simplification of the Starbucks logo [Via Russell Brown]
- New ski goggles run Android (!), offering built-in maps & video.
- Heh–check out this MacGyver-style iPad drawing aid (low-tech palm rejection).
- Kickin’ it dough-school: Shell-toes in Play-Doh.
- Know who won’t be boldly going through these doors? Girls.
January 20, 2011
New GuideGuide panel sets columns & grids in Photoshop
Designer Cameron McEfee has created “GuideGuide, a columns, rows and midpoints panel for Photoshop CS4 & CS5.”
The tool sets margins, columns, and midpoints, and it even pays attention to active selections. I’ve only kicked the tires a bit, but the panel seems solid and useful. Do note that because it sets each guide separately, setting numerous guides may fill up your undo stack (meaning that you won’t be able to undo operations prior to creating the guides). I’ll look into whether that’s something that could be addressed in the script.
In any event, nice work & thanks, Cameron. [Via Joel Eby]
[PS: The panel was done in Flash. Just thought the haters would like to know.]
January 19, 2011
Video: “Minnesota Death Star”
17 seconds very well spent. :-)
January 18, 2011
New Adobe TV videos for photographers
As always, good tutorials are making their way onto Adobe TV. Some recent examples:
Presenter Dennis Radeke says, “Many times, I’ve seen great work that was somewhat spoiled by the fact that it employed a reflection as part of the design. Creating a reflection on any image is a fairly easy thing to do and in this episode we’ll look at some techniques to make a convincing and realistic reflection within Adobe Photoshop.”
In this episode I’ll show you how to set up the Hard Drive Publish Service to allow you to continue to manage your photos in Lightroom, but also sync them to your iDevices via iTunes without using iPhoto.
Every now and then it’s much easier to show someone than to try to explain it to them. After a few emails from Beau about how to use Mini Bridge? I just decided to make it the topic of this week’s Creative Suite Podcast.
When you need to find a specific image among a huge number of images, filtering can provide an excellent solution. This jump-start will provide you with a sense of the power of filtering to find an image within Lightroom.
The countdown to the new set is winding down. In the meantime, check out this interview with Adobe’s Julieanne Kost.
January 17, 2011
Why would you *want* to create on a tablet?
You need to take a picture, and I put in front of you a smartphone containing a camera. Next to it I put an excellent dedicated camera–say, a 5D Mark II. Which will you use?
At one time that question would have been absurd: of course you’d use the high-end camera. In many cases that remains true, but increasingly I find myself choosing to use my iPhone instead of my SLR–and not just because it’s handy & the SLR isn’t. I choose the phone because of the slickness, the immediacy of creating (including post-processing), sharing, and getting feedback.
I mention this because I remain deeply interested in building creative tools for tablets, and I see a parallel. Today if you put my iPad next to my MacBook Pro & ask me to create something visual, I’m always going to choose to use the laptop. The precision, the horsepower, the screen size–everything makes it a faster, more satisfying option for me. I rarely use the iPad for creative work, instead doing standard consumer stuff (browsing, email, Netflix, etc.).
But can & should that change? All else being equal (i.e. factoring out size & availability), what would make me want to choose the tablet over the laptop?
I’m frankly uninterested in making a “poor-man’s Photoshop” for tablets. Good thing, too, as customers seem uninterested. We already have Photoshop, and the rationale for putting apps on tablets can’t simply be, “The device is smaller than a laptop.” If you just want a small computer, get a MacBook Air or similarly lightweight device & be happy.
Tablet apps have to be about something else–about a different spirit, a different ethos–to be worth doing. Otherwise it’s just the same stuff dumped onto more feeble hardware. I suspect that transformative apps be more about fun, about speed, and about the unbridled pleasure of creation than what we know today. They’ll certainly take advantage of a tablet’s differentiating hardware (accelerometer, location awareness, and of course multitouch).
I haven’t yet seen the app(s) that’ll make me favor a tablet for creative work–but I know they’re coming. And I’m going to try to be part of flipping that proverbial bit.
Your thoughts are, as always, most welcome.
January 16, 2011
Integrating Flash with iPhone, Kinect
The smart folks at BLITZ–the same ones who built the really cool Wiimote/Flash painting tool a couple of years back–have made it possible to use a Microsoft Kinect device to control a Flash SWF:
Meanwhile, the developers of flying game kijjaa! have figured out how to make a browser-based Flash game that’s controlled via an iPhone’s accelerometer:
January 15, 2011
Painting with lasers & Photoshop (seriously!)
Honest to God, I kind of live for seeing inventive people like Russell Brown combine the tools we make in really novel, unintended ways. Here Russell uses Pixel Bender CS5, a laser etching machine, a printer, and some old-school artistic media to create digital paintings with real depth:
January 14, 2011
New Lightroom presets from Julieanne Kost
Our friend/Adobe evangelist Julieanne has whipped up some great new Lightroom presets. You can view the whole list of presets on her blog, or use these links to jump right to those you find most interesting. Each entry includes an explanation & download links:
January 13, 2011
Videos: Russell Brown on HDR, iPad portfolios
By very popular demand, Russell Brown has recorded & posted his tutorials on creating tablet-ready portfolios & great-looking (non-cheesy) HDR images. Enjoy.
- Exporting Adobe Bridge Images to an Apple iPad Portfolio
- Exporting Adobe Lightroom 3 Images to an Apple iPad Portfolio
- Exporting Adobe Bridge PDF Portfolios to an Apple iPad
- Exporting Adobe Lightroom 3 PDF Portfolios to an Apple iPad
- Advanced PDF Portfolio Techniques in Adobe Acrobat Pro X
- Exporting Video from Adobe Lightroom 3 to an iPad
(rt) Photos: Bokeh & Polaroids on iPhone, more
- Bokeh from an iPhone? So promises SynthCam from Stanford prof Mark Levoy. [Via Jeff Chien]
- Nifty: the Polaroid iPhone Decal.
- I saw a square, brownish 70’s family photo at Tom Hogarty’s house the other day and thought, “Oh, they used Instagram.” Man, I’m losing it.
- Evil Pregnant Natalie Portman (artist’s conception).
- Happy Family Slim-Slim #5; don’t trust it @ 99 cent store.
January 12, 2011
App Idea: Photo Defiler
The other day while using Instagram, it occurred to me: To really do proper retro photos, I need a way to obscure half the image with my dad’s finger. In that vein, how about an app that would fill your images with cliched errors? A few ideas:
- Head Clipper: Use face detection to identify people in an image, then partly lop off their domes.
- Shadow Caster: Hey, where’s the photographer? Ah, there’s his handy shadow!
- Back Lighter: Fill light/Shadow-Highlight is passé; we need a way to silhouette subjects into oblivion.
- Grass Expander: Auto zoom out, then use Content-Aware Fill to surround one’s subject with even more grass & extraneous details.
- Blink Synthesizer: If society has figured out how to put human eyes onto Muppets, surely we can shut the eyes of at least some people in a group photo.
- Face Blurrer: A bit o’ witness protection.
- Digital Intruder: My dad’s finger on millions of handsets around the world. You’re welcome.
Not quitting my day job,
January 11, 2011
Adobe employees: “It Gets Better.”
I’m really pleased & proud to see so many friends & colleagues participating in the It Gets Better project. I found the piece below quite moving. Well done, guys, and thanks.
Reminder: Russell talks HDR, iPad portfolios tonight
Russell Brown will be speaking this evening at Adobe SJ. Please see previous entry for details & RSVP info. And yes, by popular demand we’ll plan to record & post the session for those who can’t attend in person.
Time Lapse: The Pale Blue Dot
Carl Sagan reads a short excerpt from his book, “The Pale Blue Dot” in this lovely time lapse from filmmaker Michael Marantz:
January 10, 2011
John Gruber made an interesting remark the other day:
“In hindsight, I think the use cases for the original iPad are simplicity and delight.”
This suggests that delight itself (the beautiful execution) is the feature, rather than merely a characteristic of a feature. That is, I buy and use the iPad not to do things I couldn’t otherwise do, but for the pleasure involved in doing those things.
I find this point of view intriguing. It gets at some of what I’ve had in mind for new Adobe mobile apps: that they should be about JOY, about pleasure–more like games, maybe, than very sober, precise desktop tools one associates with Adobe.
In a similar vein, Prerna Gupta, CEO of music startup Khush, writes that Not all Products Need To Be Painkillers:
It’s easy to say today that Twitter solves the problem of dispersed information, or Facebook the problem of dispersed friends. But who thought of these as “pain points” back in 2004? I don’t believe Twitter and Facebook are painkillers. Just ask yourself, Is “acetaminophen” really the drug you feel like you’re on when you’re using Twitter? Or does “methamphetamine” sound more appropriate? [...]
If you focus only on painkillers, you’ll likely miss out on a completely different, and potentially much larger, set of opportunities: those that target pleasure. Pornography, sports and coffee are, for example, three insanely lucrative industries, and each of them sells the promise of pleasure.
Your desktop/laptop already offers pain & pain killers. So, in building new mobile apps, can we focus more on aphrodisiacs? What would you like to see?
Video: The effects in Boardwalk Empire
I’m always a sucker for behind-the-scenes peeks like this one from Brainstorm Digital:
January 09, 2011
(rt) Illustrations: Strangelove, disfigured Muppets, & more
- I love “The Haunted Household“: Clever, beautifully simple illustrations from Christoph Niemann.
- “I’m so cute and cuddly! I help you pee!” Hello, Kidney. See also “In Cutero.”
- Check out some great Strangelove-style desktop wallpaper from Ross Zietz.
- Dig these minimalist posters for musical genres. I love the one for the Twist.
- So, this exists, then: http://muppetswithpeopleeyes.tumblr.com/ (And if you write to say you can’t unsee it, I’ll reply in the vein of Airplane!: “You saw the URL, you knew what you were getting into: I say, let ‘em crash.”)
January 08, 2011
Nomad Brush promises soft bristles on an iPad
“Nomad Brush is a unique artist paintbrush,” says its product site. “Made with a long handle and soft bristles, it is the first paintbrush stylus for the iPad. Available February 2011.” The video is frustratingly short on details, showing the tool in action for just a moment:
January 07, 2011
Trimensional: 3-D Object Scanning for iPhone
Video: Show your bones
Crafty German folks + gaming hardware = Creepy good times.
“The cross section isn’t actually the user’s skeleton but a volume visualization of a medical data set,” notes PCWorld. Here’s more info on the Medical Augmented Reality project.
January 06, 2011
(rt) Photography: Images of the year, “Crouching Child, Hidden Mother,” & more
- The New York Times rounds up 2010: The Year in Pictures–often heartbreaking, occasionally beautiful.
- “Crouching child, Hidden mother:” Who’s up for restoring this weird photographic convention? (The comments are morbid.)
- Your photos + cheap Swedish furniture = Mykea. Neat. [Via]
- I dig this tranquil, snowy photo from Jason Santa Maria.
Video: The Tale of How
To quote Towlie, “I have no idea what’s goin’ on right now…,” but it’s rather beautifully animated:
Update: Here’s the making-of video. I’d skip past the first three minutes or so.
[Via Maria Brenny]
January 05, 2011
Quote o’ the day
“Everything I did in my life that was worthwhile, I caught hell for.” — Chief Justice Earl Warren [Via California's new AG, Kamala Harris]
Plotting a hell-catching, ass-kicking 2011,
“Please do not watch this video,” writes Scott Kelby, “if you’re one of those really serious types that’s going to post a ‘Mr. Kelby, I am very disappointed in you…’ comment.” I couldn’t put it better myself.
I found this video funny and really well done, but it contains a Bad Word, so please skip it if that sort of thing bothers you.
(Incidentally, Photoshop does have a dedicated red eye tool.) [Via Barkin Aygun]
January 04, 2011
Eye-Fi enables direct camera-to-iPad transfer
Ah, I’ve been waiting for this one for some time: Eye-Fi is enabling direct photo transfer from cameras to iPads–something I’ve heard photographers request over and over again. Now, if only I could get a WiFi-enabled card that would work in my 5D. (Eye-Fi strongly discourages the use of an SD-to-CF adapter.) [Via Sean Parent]
(rt) Holiday leftovers: Assorted design links
- “Reclined Jabba, Salacious Crumb Variation”: Star Wars Yoga. [Via]
- This chair + the hot sun would make your butt look like a Whopper.
- “Soylent.PSD”? The TidyPSD service will organize your Photoshop files for $9/apiece (down from $29, I believe).
January 03, 2011
UNDERCITY: A guerrilla exploration of NYC
This is one of the most captivating, weirdly suspenseful short films I’ve seen in ages, and it’s essentially just one dude walking (or rather, sneaking) around New York City:
Come see Russell Brown talk iPad portfolios, HDR Jan. 11
If you’ll be around San Jose next Tuesday, the evening of Jan. 11, come see Russell Brown present a double session to the Photoshop User Group at Adobe HQ:
Using your iPad, iPhone or Galaxy Tab as a Photography Portfolio
In the first part of the evening Dr. Brown will spotlight an incredible collection of useful tips and techniques for publishing your photo portfolio to your favorite portable devices. Learn some techniques for exporting images from Adobe Photoshop CS5 as an album without having to navigate through iPhoto.
Also discover the wonders of PDF export from Adobe Bridge CS5 and learn to publish your own portfolio books that you can share with others.
Creating Natural Toned HDR Images, and the Wonders of Camera RAW & Smart Objects
OK, we have all seen the classic over saturated, and super sharpened HDR techniques, but now it’s time to move to the next level of HDR imaging.
In this presentation, Dr. Brown will discuss some of his favorite new techniques for a more gentle and realistic looking HDR toning. This process may have you revisiting some of your earlier HDR shots and processing them again. All these techniques will be done using HDR Pro in Photoshop CS5.
Also covered in this part of the evening will be Dr. Brown’s Photoshop techniques for working with Camera Raw images in combination with Smart Objects.
Learn the true art of Photoshop creativity with these nondestructive techniques.
As always we’ll offer free pizza and drinks starting at 6:30, with the session commencing at 7. Please RSVP online if you plan to attend.
January 02, 2011
Time Warp: Liquid Sculptures
January 01, 2011
A New Year’s Photoshop resolution (no DPI required)
Happy New Year, everyone!
I’ve been unsuccessful in tracking down the origin of this great little image, but I hope the creator won’t mind my sharing it here. Props to Tymn Armstrong for the image. [Via Pierre-Etienne Courtejoie & Jeff Almasol]