February 04, 2014
Okay, I admit it…
…I’m going to Google just to play with Legos :-) :
Here’s the direct link to the builder.
January 21, 2014
Photoshop CC helps you do 3D printing (for real!)
This kinda makes my little 3D-printed head explode, but you can not only import an image into Photoshop CC, but you can beautify it (painting textures), fill in gaps, and send it directly to Shapeways for printing. Check out a 90-second demo:
December 27, 2013
4D printing: 3D shapes that transform
In essence, the ‘fourth dimension’ represents change—4D printing simply refers to printers that create objects that can transform over time and, in some cases, self-assemble. [...]
Kinematics is a system for 4D printing that creates complex, foldable forms composed of articulated modules. The system provides a way to turn any three-dimensional shape into a flexible structure using 3D printing.
December 20, 2013
Merry Christmas from Chuck Norris
Hungarian production company DelovDigital has created a brilliant spoof of featuring Chuck Norris.
December 19, 2013
Make photorealistic Photoshop mockups with these templates
I took these templates for a spin & came away impressed with their ability to map one’s artwork onto fabric, into 3D-extruded wood, and more. Ten bucks from Creative Market.
December 16, 2013
Freeform: 3D sculpting in space
I can’t wait for this to be featured in a super-unsexy remake of Ghost:
December 12, 2013
Some rather brilliant imaging tech from Microsoft
The company’s Photosynth technology has been public since 2006, and while it’s been cool (placing photos into 3D space), I haven’t seen it gain traction in its original form or as a free panorama maker. That could now change.
The new version stitches photos into smooth fly-throughs. Per TechCrunch:
[U]sers upload a set of photos to Microsoft’s cloud service then the technology begins to looking for points (“features”) in the successive photos that appear to the be same object. It then determines where each photo was taken from, where in 3D space each of these objects were, and how the camera was oriented. Next, it generates the 3D shapes on a per-photo basis. And finally, the technology calculates a smooth path – like a Steadicam – through the locations for each photo, and then slices the images into multi-resolution pyramids for efficiency.
Check this out:
Once you’ve clicked it, try hitting “C” to reveal & interact with the 3D camera path. Here’s an example from photographer David Brashears, who captured Mt. Everest during one of the highest-elevation helicopter flights ever attempted:
So, will we see this become more common? It’s the first presentation I’ve seen that makes me want to don a wearable, lifelogging camera on vacation.
November 30, 2013
Rendering real-world 3D content in real time
MIT is making pure magic:
Check out some below-the-table stills on Colossal.
inFORM is a Dynamic Shape Display that can render 3D content physically, so users can interact with digital information in a tangible way. inFORM can also interact with the physical world around it, for example moving objects on the table’s surface. Remote participants in a video conference can be displayed physically, allowing for a strong sense of presence and the ability to interact physically at a distance. inFORM is a step toward our vision of Radical Atoms.
November 25, 2013
How Disney Animation simulates snow
I really hope they have 40 subtly different words for this:
Only theoretically related: “There really are 50 Eskimo words for ‘snow’”
November 01, 2013
RetroLift: Simple 3D extrusion for Photoshop
I’m digging RetroLift, an easy way to give any font this kind of 3D appearance:
The action set costs
$8 $12 and doesn’t require use of Photoshop’s 3D features.
October 14, 2013
Seene: a “3D instagram”?
With less than 30 seconds of setup after installing the app, you can record and manipulate an object in real-time, and in 3D. It’s like iOS 7 parallax gone wild…
Even with poorly done Seenes, the app’s 3D effect is breathtaking since it uses the iPhone’s accelerometer to alter the perspective of the image accordingly when you move your hand. On the web, moving your mouse on an image alters its perspective.
[Via Tomas Krcha]
October 12, 2013
Behind the scenes: AE on “Star Trek Into Darkness”
Andrew Kramer & company used After Effects, Premiere Pro, and more to create titles & HUDs for the most recent Star Trek installment. Check out their detailed notes, as well as the video below. And yes, they talk about how they made the lens flares. :-)
October 08, 2013
Insanely fast-spinning televisions
If you’ve ever thought, “Hey, I’m gonna glue a couple of flat panels back-to-back and then spin them at such outlandish speeds that they form 3D images,” well, you’ve got more in common with Benjamin Muzzin than I do:
October 06, 2013
Book covers, re-imagined in 3D paper
Check out how Kelli Anderson made 40 big paper books for the NY Public Library, via the quick vid below & her more detailed blog post.
October 03, 2013
World War II From Space
“A stunning 90-minute documentary visualizing key events from World War II from the vantage point of space,” World War II From Space just won an Emmy for Outstanding Graphic Design and Art Direction. Featuring 300 animations and 79 VFX shots, it made heavy use of an Adobe workflow (script writing in Adobe Story, 3D integration with After Effects & Cinema 4D, editing in Premiere Pro). Check out an in-depth interview on how the team made it happen.
September 27, 2013
See Barcelona’s “finished” Sagrada Familia
I had no idea that Gaudi’s masterwork might actually get finished (hey, it’s only been 120 years) in 2026. Check out this nicely rendered 3D visualization:
Margot, hearing the slightly cheestastic music just now without context, said, “Oh boy—what are we getting motivated about this morning?” [Via]
September 25, 2013
Projection mapping + robots
Oh God that’s cool. Just stick with it for a minute:
According to The Creators Project,
The team has pioneered the use of robots that are normally used for manufacturing vehicles, and instead developed software to interface the robots in 3D system Maya.[…] Designed to control camera movement, activate lights, and shift set pieces with ever-repeatable motion, this precision allows the virtual and physical worlds to unite and CG elements to match in real time.
September 24, 2013
“The world’s first 3D sensor for mobile devices”
Occipital is Kickstarting a way to “capture models of rooms, 3D scan objects, play augmented reality games, and develop mobile applications with 3D sensing.” Check it out:
September 11, 2013
Animation: “What’s inside Play-Doh”
I find this short piece from Giant Ant rather charming. After considering claymation, they opted to use 3D animation instead:
September 09, 2013
“3-Sweep: Extracting Editable Objects from a Single Photo”
Yes, this is damn cool. Thanks to the approximately 300k people who mailed me the link. :-)
Somewhere Canoma is spinning on its grave’s Z-axis.
August 10, 2013
An artist’s trippy 3D painting technique
I’ve heard Photoshop layers referred to as “sheets of acetate,” but Juan Miguel Palacios’s work takes that literally:
A recent transplant to Brooklyn’s Bushwick neighborhood, Spanish artist Juan Miguel Palacios is making a splash in the New York art scene with a series of work focusing on the human form. Palacios uses a unique technique which involves layering a series of paintings on top of each other to create stunning three-dimensional pieces. We spent some time with Palacios in his studio to discuss his influences, his background and the complexities of his creative process.
[Vimeo] [Via Bryan O'Neil Hughes]
August 08, 2013
“The Centrifuge Brain Project”
What a droll, understated little piece of 3D animation; stick with it:
[YouTube] [Via Jerry Harris]
August 06, 2013
Damn cool 3D animation from Honda
What a great little tour of their product history:
[YouTube] [Via Mel Brown]
July 30, 2013
Animated infographics: “Stranger Than Fiction”
I just (re)stumbled across the great work that MK12 for Stranger Than Fiction a few years ago & thought them worth a re-look:
July 28, 2013
3D animation: “Tumbleweed Tango”
Yo dawg, I strongly question your commitment to personal safety—but you sure are cute.
“A balloon dog is lost in a world of danger. One wrong step and his dancing days are done. Only love, and tango, can possibly save him.”
July 24, 2013
Poppy: “Turn Your iPhone into a 3D Camera”
This Kickstarter-funded project like some good high-low tech fun:
July 21, 2013
AIREAL: Disney’s prototype for haptic feedback in thin air
What if Dyson made video games? As Engadget writes, “The idea is to give touchless experiences like motion control a form of physical interaction, offering the end user a more natural response through, well, touch.”
July 18, 2013
An augmented-reality coloring book
First, you go to colAR’s web site and print out your coloring page of choice (the free app usually comes with one option included and a few others available for in-app purchase, but their full catalog is free until July 28th)… Once you’re done [coloring], pop open the app, and hit the “Play” button to bring up a camera view. Hold your drawing up to the camera, and bam! It takes your work of art and wraps it around an animated 3D model.
If only one could draw a Centrifugal Bumblepuppy in this thing, it would be perfect. (Or my head would explode. Or both.)
July 09, 2013
Bruce Lee gets unearthed through CGI
Creator Joseph Kahn writes,
My good friend BBH Creative Executive Johnny Tan and I first talked about doing this concept a year ago. We shot it in Hong Kong, and then we worked with vfx company The Mill in London to create a completely CGI Bruce Lee over nine months. EVERY shot of his head and every detail in there is completely cgi. We got Shannon Lee, Bruce Lee’s daughter, to come aboard and we really picked her brain to make sure that everything was accurate from look to soul. We wanted to be as respectful to the man and legend as we could.
Be like water, my friend, so that someday you may bend when they dig up & puppet you, too. [Vimeo] [Via Fran Roig]
June 06, 2013
“Anti-Gravity Object Modeling”
I can’t tell you quite what’s happening here, and (spoiler alert) there’s no real punchline—but boy, it’s still kinda neat:
May 22, 2013
3D Glass Cows
People who live in them… Ah, never mind. Enjoy your good-looking non sequitur of the day:
May 13, 2013
New 3D features coming to Photoshop
The Photoshop Extended product is gone, meaning that as of Photoshop CC, all PS users get 3D functionality. Here Zorana Gee gives a 1-minute tour of what’s new:
April 09, 2013
What’s coming next in After Effects?
Steve Forde gives a quick tour of the forthcoming Warp Stabilizer, Refine Edge, and 3D integration with Cinema 4D.
April 04, 2013
Map Illustrator artwork to 3D via LiveSurface Context
You might already know LiveSurface, a stock-image library that featured preset grids optimized to work with Photoshop’s Vanishing Point feature. Now the crew behind it has announced the beta of LiveSurface Context, a unique 2.5D app with a built-in artwork store.
Founder Joshua Distler writes,
The app makes design exploration & visualization (for both designer and client) much faster and more fluid by acting as a kind of next-generation WYSIWYG tool. Designers can work naturally inside Illustrator and visualize their concepts rendered photographically with a click. With it you can:
- Work inside Illustrator and preview ideas rendered in photographic realism with just a click.
- Simulate a variety of inks and materials (such as foil, emboss, fluorescent) by simply choosing swatches in Illustrator.
- Download surfaces by drag and drop; surfaces are automatically re-rendered at hi-res when the download completes.
- Resize and/or rotate Plus Surfaces with a few clicks.
- Output very hi-res renderings in the background, without interruption to workflow.
The app drew a nice write-up in Fast Company. Here’s a quick demo of browsing for photographic templates, then applying artwork:
More info is in 9to5Mac’s write-up.
March 31, 2013
CGI: The evolution of the human face
Kottke writes, “Here’s a video that shows how scientists believe the human face has changed over the past 7 million years:”
March 19, 2013
Adobe & Maxon announce an alliance
“Today,” writes After Effects PM Steve Forde, “Adobe announced it is entering into a strategic alliance with MAXON, the makers of CINEMA 4D.” He goes on to hint at future integration:
“Do what you know, and be the best at it.” Hand in hand with this idea means that you DON’T do a whole lot of stuff you don’t know. With this relationship announcement you have two companies who focus on being the very best at what they do…
I wish could go into more detail right now – but stay tuned. This area is about to get very exciting.
See also the Maxon announcement which says, “As part of the alliance, both companies are expected to collaborate and engineer a pipeline between Adobe® After Effects® software and CINEMA 4D to give users a seamless 2D/3D foundation.”
March 13, 2013
An animated 3D chalk art snake
Chris Carlson is a madman.
March 08, 2013
Illustration: “Spirals, Fibonacci, and Being a Plant”
This one time, at math camp…
[Via Marc Pawliger]
Theoretically related: “a fully-articulated, 3D-printed gown with nearly 3,000 joints” that “follows the Fibonacci Sequence in the way it curves around a woman’s body, in order to maximize its theoretical beauty.”
December 16, 2012
Foldify: 3D printing you might actually do
This app looks incredibly charming:
[Via Mark Kawano]
December 12, 2012
Photoshop CS6 Extended gains new 3D features
The CS6 update (13.1) posted yesterday gives Creative Cloud members new features in Photoshop Extended. The team writes,
- Improved 3D effects: Save time and steps with improved live (OpenGL) previews of shadow effects as well as reflection roughness and refraction. Also, get more control over illumination by using a 32-bit color picker to create amazing glow effects.
- Image-based lighting enhancements: Get enhanced lighting when you illuminate your scenes using 32-bit HDR images as light sources or create other image-based lights (IBLs).
- Enhanced details for textures: Improve the lighting of bumps and textures on 3D objects by automatically generating a normal map.
Here’s a 2-minute tour from PM Zorana Gee:
December 07, 2012
MoGraph: Musselman’s Pop-Up Book
I like the straightforward charm of these animated illustrations. This kind of thing wins my heart over the disposably trendy every time.
October 25, 2012
3D Puppetry: A Kinect-based Interface for 3D Animation
Our system allows puppeteers to directly perform animations using physical toys in front of a Kinect depth sensor. Our system tracks the puppets in real time and re-renders them in a virtual scene using stored 3D models. We combine the ease-of-use of a physical puppet show with the 3D camera and lighting controls afforded by animation software.
October 07, 2012
Painting a McLaren with lasers
They kinda had me at “Marshmallow Laser Feast,” but boy this is beautiful:
Working with McLaren we were able to process their wind tunnel airflow data and score out paths for individual trails of light. Each frame was then sliced into 650 frames that represent depths of 3D space and a plasma screen, mounted on a motion control rig, was used as a 3D light printer to play back the 650 slices as it moved through the space. We then repeated the move a thousand times for each frame of the animation and with each frame the camera, mounted on another motion control rig, moved a few millimeters so that over the course of the shoot we were able to create the effect of a moving camera.
[Via Adam Pratt & Gizmodo]
September 27, 2012
Tutorial: Create 3D Anaglyph Images with an iPad & Photoshop Touch
I’m endlessly surprised & pleased by the creative (mis)uses of Adobe tools—things never envisioned by the people developing them. In this case Chris Stevens captures a pair of images with his iPad, then uses layering & adjustments in Photoshop Touch to create a 3D image:
[Via Stephen Nielson]
August 27, 2012
A 3D print of your head, delivered by flying drone
Before looking up to see a UAV, festival-goers will have previously visited ReAllocate’s ‘dome’ to complete the first part of the art experience. At the dome, visitors can interact with a photo booth fitted with Kinect cameras, where with 3D software, their photos will be turned into 3D models. Instead of waiting for the models, attendees can leave the dome with a GPS transponder, free to enjoy other aspects of the festival.
[Via John Dowdell]
August 08, 2012
A 3D Olympics logo done in Photoshop
Even though Photoshop Extended is not (and is not promoted as being) a 3D modeling app, Corey Barker of NAPP decided to see how close he could get to NBC’s animated Olympics logo. (Non time-delayed spoiler: Pretty close!)
[Via Zorana Gee]
August 04, 2012
A little girl’s 3D-printed “Magic Arms”
“You know, a lot of people in our industry spend time making a lot of useless technology,” says Margot. “And then there’s this.”
Here’s more info about the exoskeleton. [Via Matthew Richmond]
June 30, 2012
Valve Source Filmmaker
They’re just giving away this new storytelling tool?? From the site:
The Source Filmmaker (SFM) is the movie-making tool built and used by us here at Valve to make movies inside the Source game engine. Because the SFM uses the same assets as the game, anything that exists in the game can be used in the movie, and vice versa. By utilizing the hardware rendering power of a modern gaming PC, the SFM allows storytellers to work in a what-you-see-is-what-you-get environment so they can iterate in the context of what it will feel like for the final audience.
These are the days of miracles & wonder.
June 02, 2012
(T)ether: A spatially-aware system for animation & annotation
Hey, it’s the return of my (not at all) beloved Nintendo Power Glove!
Cynical take: “Oh, you were bitching that UIs requiring you to lift your hands & touch a screen would make you tired? Wait’ll you have to hold up an iPad in one hand just so you can re-create Lawnmower Man! You’ll be built like Jeff Fahey in no time, tuffy!”
Actual take: Cool!
Check out the project site for more info.
[Via Dave Simons]
May 29, 2012
“Photoshop Dimensions” magazine now available
Very cool: free*, and right from the Photoshop 3D team:
Photoshop Dimensions is the magazine of 3D in Adobe® Photoshop®. Whether you are new to 3D in Photoshop or an old hand, Photoshop Dimensions will show you new and exciting ways to add another dimension to your work. Photoshop Dimensions is written by leading authorities and experts who truly understand Photoshop’s powerful 3D features.
In this free issue of Photoshop Dimensions, we look at the many changes made to Photoshop’s 3D tools in CS 6 that will speed-up your workflow and expand your capabilities.
*Update: The first version is free, and the second costs $4.99.
April 25, 2012
New 3D reflections, draggable shadows in Photoshop CS6
Check out this concise demo from PM Zorana Gee:
April 15, 2012
Ion Lucin used Cinema 4D + After Effects to create a lovely monochromatic meditation on the idea of “sphere”:
April 03, 2012
A trippy “Shining”
Topi Kauppinen creates a really uncanny effect, turning 2D stills from The Shining into 3D:
He explains the process on Vimeo:
“The overlapping parts must be photoshopped [*Cough* -- Adobe brand cops] so that in the end everything comes together without any seams or texture repetition. The Content Aware Fill feature found in Photoshop CS5 is a godsend for this type of work.”
April 02, 2012
New videos cover 3D in CS6
Photoshop team member Daniel Presedo has posted a series of short videos meant to make you productive quickly using Photoshop CS6′s totally revamped 3D tools. Photoshop PM Zorana Gee writes:
I’m really excited about the overhaul of the 3D features in Photoshop CS6 beta (Extended). The main focus we have is with performance (both interactivity as well as performance) and usability. You’ll notice that we added some great additions like live, re-editable 3D type; easy extrude operations; a single tool (the Move Tool) to adjust the position of all the elements in your scene; and many other great additions. Designers wanting to integrate 3D objects into their composites or create simple 3D geometries from type, paths, etc. will find that 3D in Photoshop is really powerful and fun to use.
Please let us know if you have specific tutorials you’d like to see and myself as well as some folks from the team will be happy to start sharing them.
March 29, 2012
Demo: Lighting Effects in CS6
For years, at the start of every Photoshop cycle, some version of the following conversation repeated itself:
“People really love Lighting Effects, but we haven’t touched it in *years*.”
“Yeah, there’s so much cool stuff we could do there! This should really be a major investment.”
“Ah, but we can’t this time… Could we at least just make the dang preview window bigger?”
“Well, that code was written on punch cards during the Nixon Administration, and the effect should really just work on canvas (no preview window at all), so really we should rewrite everything, but…”
…and so on.
At last, though, the team has had time to deliver something that’s worth the wait. Check out the goodness in action:
March 16, 2012
A sneak of Photoshop.next’s new 3D chops
It’s about usability (think “3D for the rest of us”) and performance:
March 05, 2012
See how After Effects & Premiere were used to make “Hugo”
This year’s Oscar winner for Best Visual Effects used the Creative Suite on set:
February 17, 2012
VFX: Inception Park
As Colossal puts it, “This is almost too good for words. A wonderfully clever video directed by Fernando Livschitz of Black Sheep Films, in which hovering roller coasters fly through the streets of Buenos Aires, completely untethered to tracks.”
January 29, 2012
New 3D mapping tech for iPad, Android tablets
Looks creamy smooth. Here’s a bit more info.
January 24, 2012
How warring rabbits led to 3D in Photoshop
January 09, 2012
Mind-blowing 3D projection
What the… what??
It was all shot in single takes, recorded in real time:
In the past, projection mapping worked only from a single, static view point, and thus was very limited. By attaching the PlayStation Move to the camera, we can track projections to screens in real time, enhancing the effect of spatial deformation and false perspective on the projections and allowing viewers to look round (virtual) corners, bend walls, create a hole in the wall, or remove the walls altogether to reveal vast expanses of virtual worlds.
Check out the fascinating making-of piece:
[Via Felix Baum]
December 19, 2011
A 3D planetary animation made in Photoshop Extended
Every time I think I know the limits of what one can do with Photoshop…
Creator Panos Efstathiadis shows how it’s done in this tutorial.
November 05, 2011
Demo: Microsoft’s 3D “Holodesk”
This project leverages a Kinect sensor to let you manipulate 3D virtual objects with your hands:
November 02, 2011
Amazing 3D map technology
These are the days of miracles & wonder:
October 25, 2011
Amazing tech for turning video into 3D
I will never get over how lucky I am to work with people like this:
In this video, Sylvain Paris will show you a sneak peak of a potential feature for editing videos, including the ability to create 3D fly-throughs of 2D videos and change focus and depth of field.
October 09, 2011
The first digital 3D-rendered film, c1972
Check out this groundbreaking work from Ed Catmull (later of Pixar fame) and the story behind it:
October 08, 2011
Video: Tactile 3D technology
RePro3D, writes Engadget, combines “a glasses-free 3D display with an infrared tactile interface, they are able to create a holographic model that responds when ‘touched.’ The next step for the team is to provide feedback via a wearable device, adding the sensation of touch.” Check it out:
September 23, 2011
Video: 3D text projection the hard way
[Via Steve Guilhamet]
Here’s another example or artist Stephen Doyle creating a similar piece:
September 06, 2011
New 64-bit Flash Player accelerates 3D
A new prerelease version of Flash Player 11 is available for testing on Adobe Labs. Key features include faster 3D gaming performance, as demonstrated by toolmakers Unity (whose gaming dev tools will target Flash Player).
August 17, 2011
HTML5, Flash, 3D meetings in SF this week
August 12, 2011
New free 3D sculpting app for iPad
Autodesk’s latest offering looks pretty nifty:
CG Channel writes,
The app, which is currently available for free, offers basic sculpting and detailing tools. The geometry can be textured by importing images or capturing them with the iPad 2 camera and ‘stencilling’ them onto its surface.
123D Sculpt offers 17 base models. Five further packs of four are available from the App Store for $0.99 each.
[Via Jerry Harris]
Sneak peek: After Effects 3D GPU tech
Fast, direct, highly interactive object extrusion? Yes please.
[Via] Update: Steve Forde addresses some NVIDIA-related concerns via the comments.
July 31, 2011
VW’s Augmented Reality
Check out this tool for visualizing & playing with a Golf Cabriolet:
That’s nice and all, but I’m so advanced that for the last 11 years I’ve been able to just look out the window to see the same dusty Golf materialize in front of me. (It’s okay to be jealous. ;-) #120hpRealUltimatePower)
July 18, 2011
Solar-powered 3D printing with sand
If you thought yesterday’s 3D printing example was even remotely cool, you must see the “Solar Sinter,” below. The clip unfolds slowly, offering that deserty “my brain’s cooking in my skull” sense of time, but it’s worth the wait.
“By using the sun’s rays instead of a laser,” writes creator Markus Kayser, “and sand instead of resins, I had the basis of an entirely new solar-powered machine and production process for making glass objects that taps into the abundant supplies of sun and sand to be found in the deserts of the world.”
July 17, 2011
Video: A 3D printer creates working tools
…and in color, no less! Fascinating.
[Via John Eakin]
July 13, 2011
64-bit Flash Player 11 accelerates 3D, more
You can download a beta version of the new Flash Player 11 from Adobe Labs. Highlights include:
- Stage3D APIs — A new set of low-level, GPU-accelerated 3D APIs enable advanced 3D experiences and improved 2D performance across devices.
- 64-bit support — Support for 64-bit operating systems and browsers on Linux, Mac OS, and Windows.
- G.711 audio compression for telephony — Integrate voice/telephony into business apps using G.711 codec.
- H.264/AVC SW Encoding — Encode higher quality video locally using H.264 video.
- Socket Progress Events — Build advanced file sharing apps like FTP clients that send large amounts of data.
- HD surround sound — Deliver full HD videos with 7.1 channel surround sound directly to AIR powered TVs.
June 28, 2011
Paper animations of 3D lettering & more
Bianca Chang animates by cutting sheet after sheet of paper and precisely stacking them.
June 17, 2011
Video: A clever use of 3D + text in Photoshop
Now *this* you don’t see every day: Check out Scott Valentine’s quick use of a 3D preset in Photoshop Extended to create a novel text effect:
June 14, 2011
Dutch stamps add augmented reality
Popping 3D architectural data out of a postage stamp? Crafty, to say the least:
April 17, 2011
Trimensional: 3D Scanner for iPhone
Nifty, even if I’m not sure how & why it would be practical:
[Via Mike Orr]
March 02, 2011
Video: 3D video projection remaps a room
Craft Dutch projector wizards Mr. Beam have “created a unique physical 3D video mapping experience by turning a white living room into a spacious 360° projection area. This technique allowed us to take control of all colors, patterns and textures of the furniture, wallpapers and carpet. All done with 2 projectors.” Check it out:
March 01, 2011
Learn Photoshop 3D this Thursday in SF
If you’re free Thursday evening in San Francisco,
Come check out Zorana Gee, Photoshop Product Manager and author of “3D in Photoshop: The Ultimate Guide for Creative Professionals”, talk about 3D workflows. This is a must-see presentation!
She’ll demonstrate an overview of the 3D capabilities in the latest Photoshop by targeting workflows, such as compositing a 3D object into a photo and how to create a 3D logo/text using Adobe Repoussé.
As part of this presentation, we’d like you to send us questions that can be addressed by Zorana. Please post them on the wall related to this meeting in Meetup.
Update: In response to a question from Rich MacDonald via comments, you can check out similar demos from Zorana via PSDTuts.
February 25, 2011
Interesting 3D Photo app
I can’t readily pronounce it “endlessly useful,” but 3D Photo‘s ability to map a live camera feed onto 3D shapes is rather cool:
It can be hard to take tablet hardware, which is largely designed for low-power media consumption & gaming, and make it perform well for general-purpose imaging operations. Lately I’ve taken to joking that, “Well, my year-old iPad can run a beautiful 3D pinball game fullscreen at 30+ FPS, so maybe we should let people draw with friggin’ 3D pinballs, because apparently those can be made to go fast.” Look for Adobe Avian AngerPaint™, coming soon to an app store near you!
February 10, 2011
Crazy 360-degree dodgeball video
Photographer Ryan Jackson strapped together four cheap GoPro video cameras into an interesting Frankenstein, shooting a cool 360-degree panoramic video. “The short version of this story is that I shot with four GoPros, extracted still images from video, stitched the stills together into panoramas then recombined them back into video. For the much more detailed and nerdy answer, read on.” [Via Manu S. Anand]
February 04, 2011
New OpenEXR plug-in for Photoshop CS5
Photoshop PM Zorana Gee writes,
People who work in the 3D and film industries and who use the OpenEXR format in Photoshop CS5 will be happy to know that we now offer a plugin which preserves files’ alpha channel on import/export. Out the box, Photoshop bakes the alpha into the layer transparency. Users who are happy with this behavior don’t need to do anything. Others who find that they need to preserve the alpha channel should simply install this plugin to override the default behavior.
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 07, 2011
Trimensional: 3-D Object Scanning for iPhone
December 14, 2010
Feedback, please: 3D in Photoshop
The Photoshop team is running a quick survey on 3D tools & applications. It would be great to get your take on the state of the tools & what their future should hold. Thanks.
[Previously: "Photoshop 3D is not about 3D."]
November 23, 2010
Video: Body Dysmorphia, Xbox edition
November 21, 2010
(rt) Typography: Font detection, crazy bikes, & more
- Yes, there is a sort of “Shazam for fonts” (letting you snap pics to ID typefaces): WhatTheFont for iPhone.
- “Write a Bike“: Crazy typographical cycles. [Via Mira Albert-Bullis]
- Ian Curtis is spinning in his grave: “Joy Division Divorce Attorneys.”
- “If you touch…” Oh my. A topical, TSA-themed cross-stitch.
- When this is someday done in HTML5, it’ll be considered the best, most revolutionary thing ever. [Update: I probably should have added a jokey wink emoticon to convey my tone on this one. So, ";-)!" I'll shortly post a very long list of big, significant things Adobe is doing to support the advancement of HTML5, so no one need stress.]
November 12, 2010
Flash Player’s adding hardware-accelerated 3D
“Flash will innovate or die,” I wrote earlier this year. “I’m betting on innovation,” and that’s paying off.
Flash Player is used to deliver something like 70% of all online games, and its 3D chops about to grow much more powerful. At MAX the team announced “Molehill,” a new set of low-level, GPU-accelerated 3D APIs that work across screens (desktops, phones, TVs, etc.). Here’s a sample demo:
Flash Player PM Thibault Imbert shares more info & demos here:
And for a deeper dive, check out this presentation from engineering manager Kevin Goldsmith.
October 05, 2010
New Photoshop 3D book, iPad app
Photoshop 3D PM Zorana Gee & lead engineer Pete Falco, working with expert digital artists, have created new new book 3D in Photoshop, together with a free interactive version for iPad. Zorana writes,
Check out the only book of it’s kind that breaks down everything you need to know about working with 3D in Photoshop. Not only is it written directly by the Photoshop 3D Team themselves but also Photoshop masters, like Bert Monroy, have contributed useful and inspiring tutorials that will benefit any designer wanting to learn 3D.
Further, the team has put together a companion iPad app that takes the first chapter of the book (basic 3D concepts) and added interactive animations to each page to help illustrate the concepts. Scrolling across will read as the first chapter of the book plus interactivity and scrolling down will introduce 15 unique tutorials (only found in the iPad app) that show you how to create all the animations directly in Photoshop CS5 Extended.
October 01, 2010
Video: Creating a 3D logo using Photoshop CS5
I meet a large number of people who are intrigued by the features in Photoshop CS5 Extended, but who are unsure about how to dive in and make something useful. Photoshop PM Zorana Gee endeavors to break that logjam with a simple, focused tutorial:
See the PSDTuts site for downloadable source files & the second part of the video.
June 22, 2010
Augmented reality meets Better Photoshop Techniques
Philip Andrews and the folks at Better Photoshop Techniques* have used Flash & 3D to create an augmented reality component for their latest issue:
* Presumably not colloquially known as “BP Techniques” these days.
May 27, 2010
Video: Iron Baby!
If this doesn’t make you grin, I don’t know what would:
Apparent fatherhood/VFX rockstar Patrick Boivin makes my cheap-n’-cheerful parental Photoshoppery seem so anemic, but I love the work nonetheless. [Via Jim Geduldick]
May 26, 2010
Script facilitates Photoshop-Maya integration
3D artist/Ars Technica writer Dave Girard has created a “Go Photoshop” script that sends selected meshes from Maya to Photoshop CS4 or CS5 for texturing. If that’s up your alley, check out this quick demo:
May 15, 2010
(rt) Type: Trees as giant letters, slick 3D, and more
May 10, 2010
Video: Using 3D stock objects in a Photoshop scene
The guys from 3DVIA show what’s possible:
May 08, 2010
Video: Creating 3D “Iron Man 2″ text in PS CS5
I love seeing tutorials & projects getting better and better as people become more familiar with new creative tools. Over on Planet Photoshop, Corey Barker shows off how to create 3D text inspired by Iron Man 2, using the new Repoussé feature in Photoshop CS5 Extended. If that’s up your alley, see also his other tutorial on creating 3D text.
May 05, 2010
Video: Creating 3D shapes in Photoshop Extended CS5
April 28, 2010
3DVIA plug-in searches for 3D content from within Photoshop
The free 3DVIA plug-in for Photoshop makes it easy to pull 3D content into your files, then work on it using Photoshop’s 3D manipulation tools. From the product page:
Search over 15,000 premium and user-generated 3D models and import them directly into your working file without leaving the Photoshop window. From high-end, photoshoot quality models to stylized models, 3DVIA has something for every project need.
April 09, 2010
Video: 8-Bit Destruction!
Oh God, this is so great. I raise a forkful of ghost meat in salute to Pac Man & co. Full-screen viewing is a must.
March 31, 2010
Photoshop 3D Effects & More, tomorrow night with Corey Barker
If you’ll be around San Francisco tomorrow night, come check out the Adobe SF user group meeting:
Corey Barker is a content developer for Kelby Media Group and Executive Producer of the popular tutorial site Planet Photoshop. He is also co-host of the the hit podcast Layers TV and makes occasional appearances on Photoshop User TV.
Corey will highlight numerous and unusual ways you can use the 3D features in Photoshop Extended to create stunning effects for any designer – both traditional 2D as well as those interested in learning more about 3D capabilities.
Things get underway at 6:30pm, and pizza will be served.
March 14, 2010
(rt) Photography: Curves, Frankencameras, & more
- Nikki Graziano takes photographs of curves found in nature & the graphs and functions that go with them. [Via]
- Medical imaging pic o’ the day: “Buddy Sneaks Into Chest X-Ray.”
- Eric Curry makes cool, somewhat surreal photos.
- Peeps at Gizmodo have fun with photographic action sequences.
- Check out a DIY 3D camera rig at the Olympics: Two Nikons lashed together. Looks kludgy but sophisticated. [Via]
- The Boston Globe’s The Big Picture tackles Chile’s quake in photos. Stunning, heartbreaking. [Via]
February 12, 2010
Demo: Google Liquid Galaxy
“Google’s Liquid Galaxy is… a wraparound view of 8 LCD screens providing a truly immersive experience of Google Earth and Street View.”
I’m told by Adobe folks working at the TED conference that the bandwidth used to power this really isn’t that extreme. [Via Tobias Hoellrich]
December 15, 2009
3D face + augmented reality business card
December 12, 2009
“And now, elephants on trampolines…”
I’m guessing it’s impossible for almost anyone to take as much pure delight in this little CGI video as my 21-month-old son is taking today (“Elephant bursting!!“), but it’s fun to try. :-)
Also delightful: Feist on Sesame Street, singing a custom 1234.
December 08, 2009
Amazing iPhone video + CGI for a great cause
The team at The Mill have rigged up an iPhone in a novel way in service of City Harvest. First, check out the finished product:
Then see this brief making-of:
FreshDV has a bit more back story. Super cool. [Via Stu Maschwitz]
November 30, 2009
Video: Rapid creation of 3D using a video camera
Check out this bit of cleverness:
It reminds me of a more automated version of the Video Trace technology (see demo) that popped up around two years ago. It also brings to mind Strata’s Foto 3D, a tool for generating 3D models from within Photoshop using just a series of photographs.
I know Photoshop’s entry into 3D can sometimes be a little confusing (e.g. wasn’t the app big/complex enough already?), but we see 3D becoming more and more accessible & ubiquitous. It’s not a question of “if” but “when.” For more info you may want to see “Photoshop 3D is not about 3D.”
May 15, 2009
Tilt-shifting in AIR; Slick, simple 3D
- Developer Art & Mobile has created TiltShift Generator, a simple little Flash app that lets you selectively blur parts of an image, simulating very shallow depth of field. You can download the app for use outside your browser, too. [Via Rich Townsend]
- Box Shot 3D is a very simple, very easy-to-use little app for mapping images onto common 3D objects (boxes, bottles, business cards, etc.), then rendering a nicely lit result; see screenshots. I downloaded a copy and got good results in a minute or two.
May 01, 2009
Bert Monroy speaking to SF PUG May 14
Master digital painter Bert Monroy will be presenting his work & techniques at the San Francisco Photoshop User Group meeting May 14. In addition to showing his traditional 2D methods,
Bert will also show new exciting 3D workflows for creative designers who want to learn about Photoshop CS4 Extended’s 3D capabilities. There are many simple 3D effects one can use for many different creative outputs that many people aren’t aware of and Bert will wow us with these techniques.
I caught Bert’s presentation on the topic at Photoshop World & can vouch for the strong audience reaction. Check out the SF PUG event page for complete details. [Via Jeff Tranberry]
April 24, 2009
3D Invigorator comes to Photoshop
3D Invigorator for Photoshop allows you to create complex 3D objects using Adobe Illustrator files and fonts. You can easily model 3D objects based on the vector files, adding depth, bevels, and other 3D features. The drag and drop materials makes it simple to apply reflective, transparent, or bump mapped textures to your objects. You can combine textures, adjust the position of the textures, and add multiple lights to give every 3D object a different look.
Although the plug-in doesn’t (yet) create native 3D layers in Photoshop, it works with Smart Objects, meaning you can go back and modify 3D geometry, lighting, etc. The tool costs $199, supports Photoshop CS2-CS4 on Mac & Windows, and is available for download as a tryout from Digital Anarchy’s site.
April 02, 2009
Script facilitates 3D file handling in Photoshop
Did you know that you can browse & download thousands of free 3D models right inside Photoshop? Yeah, there’s all kinds of cool, obscure stuff like that hanging around.
In any case, some people have reported hitting a problem where files from Google’s 3D Warehouse–or other Collada-format files–are imported into Photoshop fully or partially invisible. This happens because many Collada exporters invert the opacities in materials (meaning that 100% opaque will come in at 0% & thus be invisible). If you hit one of these files, try running this script to invert the opacities in your model’s materials. (For reference here’s the official tech doc.)
March 30, 2009
Electric Rain finds success with Configurator
“Goodbye seven-click, menu-driven plug-in launch…hello single-click access to 3D joy.” I’m really glad to see that Electric Rain has enhanced the usability of their Swift 3D.PS 3D plug-in for Photoshop by leveraging Flash panels & Adobe Configurator. On their site they posted a detailed overview of the panel creation process and benefits. Good stuff, guys.
Speaking of Configurator, thanks to all the folks who attended the Photoshop extensibility sessions that Jeff Tranberry, Tom Ruark, and I presented last week at Photoshop World. By popular demand Jeff has posted his slides alongside lots of other detailed notes on panel creation. More ambitious Configurator users will want to check out his notes on combining scripts with Configurator panels, including some details on how to package up external files using Extension Manager.
March 13, 2009
Great CGI storytelling
Here’s a little inspiration for your Friday. Filmmaker Bruce Branit has created World Builder, in which “a strange man builds a world using holographic tools for the woman he loves.” I’ve embedded it below, but it’s worth hitting the full-screen viewing button (next to the Vimeo logo).
This is how smooth and effortless I’d like Photoshop to feel.
Bruce was one half of the two-man team that produced the excellent 405: The Movie on their desktop computers back in 2000 (more info). Thanks to reader Cris DeRaud for the link.
March 08, 2009
Sunday Type: Comics, zombies, & more
- Poor Papyrus: It’s on the hit list of this Simple Pledge. (Man, next thing you know, photographers will be told that black jeans & fanny packs are on the way out.)
- “We meet again, my dear doctor…” Blambot presents a detailed but accessible survey of Comics Grammar & Traditions. [Via]
- Graphic Mania features a roundup of fresh 3D typography. The fountain of type for the Zune Marketplace sorts me out.
- “Nazi Zombies!!” Austin, you have been warned.
March 07, 2009
Fun with Augmented Reality
Wikipedia describes “augmented reality” as “the combination of real-world and computer-generated data (virtual reality), where computer graphics objects are blended into real footage in real time.” Now it’s come to Flash, with some amazing results.
The GE Smart Grid site lets you print out a sheet of paper, hold it up to your Web cam, and interact with 3D graphics. I was all set to link to a quick demo of the technology, but it just went MIA from YouTube. No matter: here’s a demo of an interactive print piece for Mini:
Thanks to the open-source FLARtoolkit for Flash, augmented reality is popping up all over, as in this augmented Happy New Year’s card:
It’s even been combined with Twitter + t-shirt printing. For more info, check out David Pogue’s report from TED. [Via lots and lots of people]
Tangentially related: This funny example of “real-life multitouch” is, indeed, a sign of too much iPhone usage. (Seeing it reminds me of Photoshop QE Pete du’Fosse realizing that he was working too much when he found himself hovering a hand over his microwave’s keypad, getting frustrated when no tool tip appeared.)
March 05, 2009
New Photoshop plug-in creates & edits true 3D text and more
I’m very excited to see that Electric Rain has released Swift3D PS, a plug-in that lets you create & edit 3D layers within Photoshop CS4 Extended. According to their site, top features let you:
- Create, bevel and extrude 3D text from any font in seconds.
- Quickly create extrusions and 3D lathe objects with a Bézier pen tool.
- Extend Photoshop’s workflow with After Effects CS4 Live 3D view.
- Import, extrude and bevel existing 2D vector artwork from Illustrator or Flash.
- Simplify 3D scene creation with targeted cameras & lighting.
Because it works inside Photoshop, the plug-in taps into the power and flexibility of Photoshop’s 3D system. After extruding some text, for example, you can still apply Smart Filters in Photoshop, paint the surface of the letters, rotate them directly in PS, and send them back to the plug-in for further updates.
Very cool; I’ve been hoping to see something like this for a long time. Swift3D PS should make it much faster and easier to create popular 3D text effects (like this) & more.
Check out some screenshots, and peep these 3-minute tutorials to see the system in action. The plug-in (Windows only at the moment) is downloadable in trial form and sells for $149 (with a 15% off coupon available now).
Update: What the heck, here’s a sample video (3 minutes):
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.
September 15, 2008
Cool recent tech: Lifelike 3D, image detection, & more
I’m more than a little snowed under right now with preparations for next week’s announcement, but I wanted to share a few interesting finds:
- Photographers are always asking for better ways to prevent misuse of their works, and TinEye promises to help by using image-recognition techniques to find images in the wild. Ars Technica’s got details.
- I’m delighted to see that Cooliris, the very cool browser technology formerly known as PicLens (see previous raving), is available once again for Safari. I’d forgotten how much I missed it until it returned recently. The developers are also offering an embeddable Flash-powered version for use on your own sites.
- 3D technology is getting waaay too realistic these days. [Via Daniel Presedo & Zorana Gee] Tangentially related?: Disney Lab Unveils Its Latest Line Of Genetically Engineered Child Stars.
September 12, 2008
Photoshop 3D is not about 3D
Or rather, it’s not just about 3D. But let me back up a second.
Remember the Newton? My first week at Adobe, I attended an outside "how to be a product manager" seminar at which the Newton was held up as a cautionary tale. The speaker pointed out that the product’s one critical feature–the thing on which everything else depended–was a handwriting recognition system that sucked at recognizing handwriting. Among many other things, the Newton also featured a thermometer. Customers, according to the speaker, had a conniption: what the hell were the product designers thinking, getting distracted with stuff like a thermometer when they couldn’t get the foundation right?
The moral, obviously, is that if you’re going to branch into new territory, you’d better have made your core offering rock solid. And even if it is solid, some customers may perceive any new work as coming at their expense.
I worry a bit about Photoshop users seeing the app branch into 3D and thinking we’ve taken our eye off the ball. Earlier this week reader Jon Padilla commented, "Some of my disgruntled co-workers grumbled ‘oh great! a bunch of cool features we’ll never learn to use…’" No matter what Photoshop adds specifically for your needs, the presence of other features can make it easy to say, "That looks like a great product… for someone else."
Obviously we care about improving the way Photoshop gets used in 3D workflows, especially around compositing and texture painting. If that’s all we had in mind, however, I think we would be overdoing our investment in 3D features relative to others. As it happens, our roadmap is broad and ambitious, so let me try to give some perspective:
- At root, Photoshop’s 3D engine is a mechanism that runs programs on a layer, non-destructively and in the context of the Photoshop layer stack. At the moment it’s geared towards manipulating geometry, shading surfaces, etc., but shader code can perform a wide range of imaging operations.
- Features that work on 3D data–being able to create & adjust lights, adjust textures and reflectivity, paint on transformed surfaces, etc.–work on 2D data as well. (Wouldn’t it be nice to have Lighting Effects written in this century?)
- As photographers finally tire of chasing Yet More Megapixels, cameras will differentiate themselves in new ways, such as by adding depth-sensing technology that records 3D data about a scene. The same infrastructure needed for working with synthetic 3D objects (e.g. adjustable lighting, raytracing) can help composite together photographic data.
- The field of photogrammetry–measuring objects using multiple 2D photos–is taking off, fueled by the ease with which we can now capture and analyze multiple images of a scene. The more Photoshop can learn about the three-dimensional structure of a scene, the more effectively it can manipulate image data.
I know I’m not providing a lot of specifics, but the upshot is that we expect Photoshop’s 3D plumbing to be used for a whole lot more than spinning Coke cans and painting onto dinosaurs. Rather than being a thermometer on a Newton, it’s a core investment that should open a lot of new doors over many years ahead, and for a very wide range of customers.
June 21, 2008
LightWave Rendition for Photoshop now shipping
The resulting output delivers a high-quality, photo-realistic image, all from within the Photoshop Extended environment.
LightWave Rendition ships with sample projects and a library of 3D model art. The product also includes support for 3D models from a variety of applications, including LightWave 3D, Google™ SketchUp’s 3D Warehouse or many readily available 3D formats. It includes:
- Slider Controls for Render and Anti-Alias Quality, allowing for quick preview renders up to photo-quality images.
- Material Presets for the option to apply a preset material or any selected Photoshop materials to the surface of your 3D object for complete flexibility in design.
- Light Environments open the use of the default Photoshop Extended lighting environment or users can add to the power of LightWave Rendition for Adobe Photoshop by using any 2D layer as a light map for complete control of the final light environment.
The product is $149 for Mac and Windows & is available for purchase and download from the NewTek site.
April 08, 2008
LightWave Rendition adds new 3D power to Photoshop
I’m pleased to see that NewTek, the folks behind the LightWave 3D modeling, animation, and rendering package, have announced a new product, LightWave Rendition for Photoshop. This plug-in technology builds on the 3D file format support in Photoshop CS3 Extended, adding on high-quality rendering and lighting manipulation. In this screenshot they show an image as displayed by Photoshop’s built-in renderer, then hit with the LightWave renderer & touched up in Photoshop. Here’s a second example.
According to their marketing docs, LightWave Rendition for Photoshop includes:
- Slider Controls for Render and Anti-Alias Quality: Allows for quick preview renders up to photo-quality images.
- Material Preset: You have the option to apply preset or selected Photoshop materials to the surface of your 3D object for complete flexibility in design.
- Light Environment: Use the default Photoshop Extended lighting environment or add the power of LightWave Rendition for Adobe Photoshop by using any 2D layer as a light map for complete control of the final light environment.
Because the product is in beta form, you can buy it now for $99, discounted from the normal price of $149. The discount ends when the beta does.
For more cool 3D add-ons to Photoshop, see previous announcements from Strata & Daz3D.
March 24, 2008
3D text goodness
- Marion Bataille’s ABC3D popup book looks terrific; here’s a video of cruising through the pages. [Via]
- You The Designer features 25 Tasty 3D Graphic Design Treats, all centered around lettering.
Side note: I keep trying to tell developers that I think there’s an opportunity to knock together a very simple 3D extrusion/adjustment environment as a Photoshop plug-in, leveraging PS CS3 Extended’s ability to manipulate 3D layers. No one has yet seized the opportunity, but I’ll keep trying.
March 06, 2008
No, seriously, you *do* suck at Photoshop…
Heh–in the vein of sites like AwfulPlasticSurgery.com, now we’ve got the Photoshop Disasters blog–chock full of image manipulation mishaps. It’s good to indulge in a little schadenfreude now and then, and with phrases like “the culturally-ravaged, post-wardrobe-malfunction neo-fundamentalist, sexual dystopia we live in,” it has to be good. (Wasn’t that the Smucker’s slogan?) [Via Lori Grunin]
Speaking of sucking, You Suck at Photoshop #8 has been posted, getting Fergilicious with 3D layers.
February 24, 2008
Naked saunas, 3D Flash globes, and other infographic goodness
- My wife and I are nervously quizzing each other on these expert (and very funny) baby care instructions (boosted wholesale, it would seem, from David Sopp’s Safe Baby Handling Tips). [Via]
- Wable is “a coffee table that displays a user’s web activity via physical bar graphing.” Yes, I remember pining for such a thing not ever. (Are Venn-diagram kiddie pools next?)
- Concentric circles are coming for us!! The Onion has fun with news infographics.
- Seeking to place events into geographical context, Yahoo has created a 3D NewsGlobe using Adobe Flex. ComputerWorld’s got background on the project. [Via]
- In similar vein of “Learning America Smarter,” check out the naked saunas, black metal, and ass-beating of Scandinavia. (And you thought it was all chilling out with MDF.) [Via]
- The Gough Map is said to be the oldest accurate map of Britain, dating from around 1360.
- My little brother Ted let me ride along last month as he drove his garbage truck. This safeyman image (somewhat dodgy iPhone-cam quality, sorry) I snapped in his cab shows the truck really putting the “screw” back in “screw of Archimedes.”
- “Do not iron while wearing shirt (on an iron-on decal)”: more good advice from the safetyman chronicles. [Via]
- I can get behind this “Faith healing sign” at Disneyland, not to mention Serbian children escaping a triangle.[Via]
- Blogging software has made self-publishing seem simple, but beneath the covers, a whole lot’s going on. Wired has a Flash-based diagram showing what all happens when one hits “Publish.” [Via]
February 03, 2008
Recent Flash goodness in 3D & beyond
- When is a shopping site… something else? When it’s this viral site for Dutch chain Hema*. "It’s like an IKEA catalog was sliced up and fed to a Rube Goldberg machine," says Motionographer. "The magnifying glass bit is brilliant." [Via]
- Who doesn’t like "secret interactive frivolity"? Design firm Baker and Hill lavishes attention on the details of their fun-to-navigate company site.
- 3D action:
- Don’t let the ultra-retro intro fool you: Electric Oyster’s demo features the beginnings of a nifty Flash-based flight simulator. [Via]
- National Geographic offers a 3D Atlas of Human History. Developer g.wygonik from the always-interesting Terra Incognita provides background on the project.
- This Adobe Japan page features 3D balls gone mad. [Via]
- The Volvo XC70 site features a fully rotatable rendering of the car, festooned wih interactive touch points. Stick around through the intro, then hit the arrows to continue. (Yes, we have kid-haulers on the brain, and I’ll always have a thing for Volvo wagons.)
- ASLuv busts out the fairy dust with this little particle sprayer. (Don’t break the glowsticks ’til you feel the beats hit.) [Via]
- In a sorta related vein, see Lee Brimelow’s YTMND-style Billy Mays tribute. Puzzling; I can dig it.
- The Air Pocket Symphony (no relation to Adobe AIR, MacBook Air, wayward heiresses, etc.) features photorealistic objects and a nice, simple sliding animation. [Via]
- MyFlashFetish offers SWF bits (particularly music players, it seems) that can be embedded in your site. [Via]
* Tangential: It’s not Flash, but on the innovative shopping front, software maker Panic lets you drag and drop items into your shopping cart. Slickness.
January 31, 2008
New 3D Photoshop plug-ins
Great news: Developers are building on top of the 3D features in Photoshop CS3 Extended to deliver some great solutions. In just the last week we’ve seen a flurry of announcments:
- DAZ 3D has announced a beta of 3D Bridge for Photoshop, a connecter between DAZ’s free DAZ Studio 3D editing app & Photoshop. [Via]
- Strata has upgraded the Strata CX Suite.
- 3Dlayer.com has launched to provide expert tips & news specifically tailored to using 3D inside Photoshop.
According to the DAZ launch announcement, their tool lets you:
- View 3D scenes as Photoshop layers
- Change objects and figures simultaneously
- Render directly into Photoshop
- Import, export and modify image maps and textures onto 3D models in Photoshop
- Composite 2D and 3D content seamlessly
- Access DAZ’s full library of quality 3D content [DAZ gives away the editing application & sells adjustable content]
- Send a 3D model to PS as a 3D layer
- Send a finished rendering to PS as separate layers (shadow layer, reflection layer, color layer, etc)
- Send a PS image to a 3D background for tracing or placement
- Send a 3D model direct from PS to PDF or HTML and it embeds the 3D object (you read that correctly)
- Link PS files as 3D textures – changes made are automatically updated in the 3D texture
Good stuff all around. We think that 3D in CS3 Extended is a big step forward, and of course we’re not planning to rest on those laurels. I love seeing great developers like Strata and DAZ jump on the opportunity to help enrich the story.
By the way, did you know that you can browse the Google 3D Warehouse right from within Photoshop CS3 Extended? Here’s more info. Also, Adobe’s Steve Whatley mentions that Adobe is on tour with Maxon, showing off 3D integration between the tools.
January 25, 2008
Crazy-fast 3D slideshows for Flickr, Facebook, more
Several times now I’ve expressed my appreciation for PicLens, a beautiful (and free) little browser plug-in that enables full-screen, hardware-accelerated slideshows from Google Images, Flickr, MySpace, deviantART, and other sites. It’s changed my whole online photo viewing experience.
Now Alec from PicLens writes to say that there’s a new version available for Firefox (Safari & IE updates to follow):
It features the all-new “3D Wall,” a magical virtual interface that can exhibit 100s, if not 1000s of images. There, you can drag, scroll, zoom, and, of course, jump into full-screen mode. You’ll have to try it out to really experience it. It brings the user one step closer to a fully immersive multimedia experience on the Web.
Once you download the 1MB plug-in (Mac or Win), go into a slideshow and try holding down and arrow key to cruise through the images. I’d take a screenshot, but it doesn’t seem to get along with Snapz Pro. [Update: Here's one, though it doesn't capture the motion.] Really nicely done, guys!
[Update: Matthew from The Turning Gate has updated his free TTG Slimbox Gallery for Lightroom to offer PicLens compatibility. I've confirmed that it does indeed work, provided you upload the exported gallery to a Web server.]
January 14, 2008
Wicked cool: Building a 3D model from video
Here’s something pretty well guaranteed to put a smile on your face, I think: the Australian Centre for Visual Technologies has developed VideoTrace, "a system for interactively generating realistic 3D models of objects from video." A user sketches a few surfaces, after which the system works to generate 3D data. The short video demonstration is a little ho-hum until near the middle, which is where the uncontested smiling begins. ;-) [Via]
This demo makes me think of Strata’s Foto 3D, a tool for generating 3D models from within Photoshop, using just a series of photographs. By placing an object onto a specially printed piece of paper, then shooting it from a variety of angles, you give the software enough info to generate a 3D model that can then live as a 3D layer in Photoshop CS3 Extended.
It also reminds me of Extended’s ability to set 3D planes on a photograph using its Vanishing Point plug-in, then export the results as 3D data for use in After Effects and other tools. With it you can export an image like this as 3D data, then set camera movement in AE and create an animation like this.
January 04, 2008
Recent Flash coolness
Some bits I’ve encountered in recent travels:
- Mr. Doob is out of hand, creating all kinds of cool Flash experiments, 3D and otherwise. From the fireworks on the home page to a blog full of examples, the guy is keeping busy. I especially like this 3D cube and these spheres, both showing off depth-of-field effects enabled by Papervision 3D. This little fluid simulation is fun, too (reload the page to reconfigure the pieces).
- ClaraCollins.com presents the fashion designer’s work in a novel way. Mouse over the little arrows that sit above the pages of each portfolio, and you’ll see the images whip by in little time lapses. You can also rotate each portfolio 180 degrees. [Via]
- Layer Tennis comes to Flash in a friendly clash between James Hutchinson & Trevor Van Meter. [Via]
- Reminding me why I could afford only 120 sq. ft. in Manhattan (hello, Brooklyn!), 5th on the Park offers 1,800 sq. ft. in Harlem–for a cool $1.6 mil. I mention it here because of the cool presentation of the building & its units. You can roll over each face of the structure, clicking any unit to see its floor plan & other details. [Via]
- Art Is A Gift uses a Flash UI to let you style a little "Baby Qee" critter. Check out the gallery section, as well as the "About" link that shows kids painting the real thing as art therapy. [Via Jeff Tranberry]
- Enfant Terrible sets off its shopping site with a cheerful, simple little animated illustration. [Via]
- Adobe has created a 25th Anniversary Timeline of the company, on which you can see key developments in people, personnel, and the industry at a whole. I’m undecided as to how successfully I think the sort of "mystery meat" rollover approach works. There’s also a Flash-based 15-page overview document, complete with embedded video. (Weirdly I don’t see a downloadable PDF version.)
November 03, 2007
Tasty new automotive 3D animation
- Nissan has launched its Rogue crossover vehicle with the help of a really nicely executed drive through a swiftly tilting city. [Via] They play off the ad via their Web site, featuring more animation & a fistful of Flash games.
- Carmaker Mini has launched their Mini Clubman model via some solid Flash video + interactivity. [Via]
- Joseph Kosinski & Gmunk have teamed up to create the expertly rendered Hummer: Game On. Oh yeah, dude–the environment gets so totally pwned!! (Sorry, had to say it.) [Via]
- Tangentially related: Apparently Joseph will be remaking Tron (PDF). For Honda’s excellent take on Tron, see previous.
September 26, 2007
Adobe’s 3D raytracing in the news
As I’m sure you know, we’re pretty excited to have 3D capabilities inside Photoshop CS3 Extended. That said, we know that what’s there today is really a first step into a pretty big realm.
Giving a glimpse into what the future might hold, the MIT Technology Review talks about Adobe’s research into real-time raytracing. In a nutshell, says principal scientist Gavin Miller, "Adobe’s research goal is to discover the algorithms that enhance ray-tracing performance and make it accessible to consumers in near real-time form."
These techniques scale particularly well on multi-core systems, which is why you tend to see rendering tests show up in high-end machines’ benchmarks. A brief slideshow accompanying the article demonstrates the differences between ray-traced images & those produced by the kind of interactive renderer used in Photoshop CS3. [Via Aravind Krishnaswamy, who works in Gavin's group]
September 18, 2007
"Scanners," minus the exploding heads
Adobe’s own Russell Brown took his 3D head-scanning show (see previous) on the road to Photoshop World in Las Vegas this month. Not only could attendees get their heads scanned & turned into 3D models for use in Photoshop CS3 Extended; they could get the resulting skin texture files printed onto fabric. Scott Kelby volunteered to make sure the apparatus was safe (video), only to have his head printed onto a football that was kicked into the audience. Here’s a quick gallery featuring some deeply disturbing imagery ;-).
August 21, 2007
Killer Veggies From Outer Space, + more 3D
- Most Intimidating. Salad. Ever. Artist Till Nowak has rendered an Alien xenomorph out of vegetables. His behind-the-scenes PDF is worth a look as well, especially if you’re interested in 3D techniques. [Via] In a slightly related vein, the boys at JibJab have posted a collection of substantially friendlier sandwich art. (Not sure who created these; the photo set has been going around as one of those things that gets forwarded by one’s mom.) [Via]
- At the upcoming Photoshop World, Russell Brown will be scanning attendees’ heads & making them into pillows. Seriously. Madness will ensue. :-)
- NVIDIA has produced an eye-popping real-time skin rendering demo. Check out the video. [Via Pete Falco]
- Pepakura Designer is a tool for for 3D papercraft. Pepakura is not a modelling app; rather, it converts 3D models into 2D designs that you can print out, then assemble into papercraft creations. The gallery features some impressive models, such as Cláudio Dias’s paper McLaren. [Via Florian Krüsch]
- Speaking of 3D cars, check out Zerone’s fine renderings. [Via]
- Plushie is "an interactive system that allows nonprofessional users to design their own original plush toys." Check out its novel interface for sculpting blobs–something even kids can use. [Via Nikolai Svakhin]
July 06, 2007
3D cars, in Flash & otherwise
- Carlos Ulloa has made an interactive 3D car in Flash, using Papervision3D. Bitchin’! [Via]
- CG-Cars.com features some kick-ass car modeling. Among all the eye-popping goodness (e.g. this guy), I love that someone modeled and posted a decrepit Yugo. [Via].
- For a counterpoint to the glam whips, see also Wrecked Exotics (which are, unfortunately, quite real). [Via]
- The words of Dylan Thomas instill a perfect lull in this Volkswagen night driving ad.
- Photog John Adams has captured a sweet HDR hot rod. [Via Photoshop Elements engineer Gary Cohen's Flickr Ticker side project.] Elsewhere I came across this HDR 300Z. [Via]
- Dispensing with fluff & booth babes, the EyesOn design show is by car designers, for car designers. [Via]
- I can dig these cars floating on water, along with this train. [Via]
June 20, 2007
Adobe peeps talk 3D at Apple tomorrow
If you’re in the Bay Area and are interested in the technical details of some of Photoshop CS3′s advanced features (3D, auto-alignment, etc.), swing by the Apple campus (De Anza 3, specifically) tomorrow night for a meeting of the Silicon Valley SIGGRAPH chapter. Refreshments roll out at 7:30, and the talk begins at 8pm. It’s five bucks for non-members, free for students. Details below.
Ashley Still and Pete Falco of Adobe will give an overview of some of the new features in Photoshop CS3 Extended, including movie paint, 3D, and automatic alignment and blending of multiple images. In addition to demonstrating these new features, they will provide an overview of the Photoshop 3D Plug-in SDK that can be used to extend the current capabilities. There will be ample time for Q&A.
Pete Falco is currently Sr. Computer Scientist for Adobe Photoshop. Pete has been on the Photoshop team since 2005 and is focused on 3D and technology transfer for Photoshop. Prior to joining Adobe, Pete worked as an engineer on QuickTime VR at Apple, as the Director of Engineering at Live Picture and co-founded Zoomify. He holds a BS and ME from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
Ashley Still is currently Sr. Product Manager for Adobe Photoshop. Ashley has been on the Photoshop team since 2004 and is focused on new markets and advanced technologies for Photoshop. Prior to joining Adobe, Ashley worked with an Entrepreneur in Residence at Sutter Hill Ventures developing and evaluating business plans and at eCircles.com, one of the first online sites offering photo-sharing and editing. She holds a BA from Yale University and an MBA from Stanford Graduate School of Business.
May 31, 2007
Adobe+Google for Photoshop 3D
I’m pleased to report that Adobe has teamed up with Google on 3D, enabling Photoshop CS3 Extended to browse the Google 3D Warehouse, then download 3D models right into Photoshop. The upshot is that Photoshop users now have direct access to a large & growing repository of free, community-driven 3D content.
The plug-in and more info are available on Adobe Labs. (Note: The team is working to fix a bug found in the Windows version at the last minute. Therefore the Mac plug-in is up now, and the Windows version should be up tomorrow.)
May 02, 2007
Software Pirates of the Caribbean
Salty sea-dog Russell Brown has teamed up with friend & FX pro John McConnell to create a new Photoshop Films production, Software Pirates of the Caribbean. Despite Russell’s Malkovich-style multiplicity (playing a dozen characters, including the odd parrot), the credits swear that "No Russell Browns were harmed in the making of this feature." Heh–most excellent stuff, and I do believe I caught some ace usage of the Wilhelm Scream :-). A little advice to Russell: just don’t try to transport that mustache across state lines.
In related news, you can see the same 3D ship used in the movie get attacked by a sea monster, all inside Photoshop CS3 Extended, in Russell’s new tutorial. The good folks at Daz3D, creators of the sea monster, are making the file downloadable for free for use in Photoshop. And elsewhere Terri Stone shares some piratical photos from the just-wrapped ADIM Conference, where attendees had their heads scanned & turned into action figures. More on that soon!
April 11, 2007
Great 3D add-ons for Photoshop
No sooner did Adobe announce Photoshop CS3 Extended than we started seeing developers pop up with interesting new solutions. Among those just announced:
- Strata has announced three new plug-ins for Photohop Extended, all demonstrated in this four-minute video.
- Strata Design lets you drop 3D objects into 2D photos, matching perspective and lighting. The trick is that it leverages Vanishing Point’s new ability to export perspective planes as 3D objects. From there the plug-in can drop in models, move them around, and do a high-quality rendering pass to make the models fit the scene.
- Strata Photo can transform a series of photos (taken of an object sitting on a specially printed piece of paper) into a 3D model for use in Photoshop.
- Strata Live connects Photoshop with Acrobat, exporting 3D models for viewing inside PDFs. (Did you know that Acrobat does 3D?)
- 3Dconnexion (a part of Logitech) has announced that their SpaceNavigator for Photoshop. Here’s a video demonstration in which marketing mgr. Tad Shelby shows the device controlling a 3D model in Photoshop Extended. At less than a hundred bucks, it seems like a steal for any serious 3D user (and it works for 2D, too).
More good stuff is on the way as well:
- NewTek has announced LightWave Rendition for Adobe Photoshop, bringing LightWave’s lighting and rendering tools to Photoshop (I’ll link to more details when they make ‘em live);
- eFrontier, the folks behind Poser, plan to release a free exporter to make their models compatible with Photoshop;
- Daz 3D is cooking up some great stuff as well;
- And various other parties have irons in the fire as well (more details to come).
All in all, it’s really exciting to see developers already building upon the 3D story in Photoshop Extended.
February 23, 2007
Amazing 3D-rendered woman
I’m no expert on 3D modeling & rendering, and for all I know this kind of imaging may now be common. In any case I was blown away by the lifelike quality of Max Edwin Wahyudi’s rendering of South Korean actress Song Hye Kyo (make sure to check out the full-res version). [Via Mark Maguire] For a far less aesthetically pleasing 3D portrait, check out my Britney moment. Awful…!
January 14, 2007
More fascinating 3D face bits
Wow–Friday’s face-finds were pretty cool, but this technology takes things in a whole new direction. Volker Blanz and his collaborators have analyzed hundreds of human faces, then built a representative mesh that can be adjusted along various axes (male to female, young to old, gaunt to fleshy, etc.). The model can then be mapped to a photo in order to reshape a face (e.g. open a mouth, add a smile), change its orientation in space, or even replace it altogether. This
5-minute video is well worth a watch, and you can find additional bits on Volker’s site. I can imagine tons of potential applications. [Via Gregg Wilensky]
Speaking of mixing 2D & 3D, at Macworld Google demoed a new version of SketchUp, the simple-to-use 3D package they acquired last year. It features tools that in some ways resemble Photoshop’s Vanishing Point, allowing users to attach planes & other shapes to a photo, then generate 3D artwork; check out this demo video. (Careful: On #3 the demo artist’s frenetic zooming is a little nausea-inducing. ;-)) Whereas VP is geared towards painting/cloning/healing in perspective, SketchUp is geared toward building full 3D models. Nifty stuff. [Via]
January 08, 2007
3D printing becomes more ubiquitous
Wow: When an object shows up at Sears, you know it’s getting kind of mainstream–especially when it’s priced in the range of a decent laptop. The company is now selling the CompuCarve Woodworking Machine, an $1800 device for "printing" 3D designs in wood. [Via] Elsewhere, John Dowdell links to Bathsheba Grossman’s lovely metal sculptures, created using "a metallic deposition printer with laser binding before the final baking and a bath in molten bronze." And AKI International offers laser-cut 3D mannequins and packaging. [For more on 3D input & scuplture, see previous entries.]
November 28, 2006
Sonic Tinkertoys + other funky new input devices
Sure, the Nintendo Wii is getting lots of attention for its motion-sensitive controllers, but several other input projects have popped up recently:
- The Reactable is a "state-of-the-art multi-user electro-acoustic music instrument with a tabletop tangible user interface." That is, you can drag objects around a flat-screen surface, twisting and aligning them to produce sound (I’ll stop short of saying "music"*). Check out the very cool videos. [Via]
- Tai-Chi is a series of acoustic sensors that turn any surface into a touch-sensitive computer interface. Here you can see it tracking a finger, among other objects. [Via]
- The Onomy Tilty Table is a large display that can rock back and forth, moving the image on screen as you move the table. This makes it quick for cruising across large images, from geographic imagery to the AIDS Quilt. Check it out in action. The latest version will enable twisting to aid navigation. [Via]
- SandScape lets users interact with a landscape model made of sand, watching interpretations of the results projected back onto the sand. So you could, for example, sculpt a new form in the sand, then see water flow patterns projected onto the surface. It’s easier to see it in action than to describe. More info is here. [Via]
- 3D Connexion (corporate cousins of the Logitech guys behind the NuLOOQ "Adobe mouse") have introduced the SpaceNavigator, a $49 puck optimized for navigating 3D spaces (e.g. Google Earth).
- Robert Hodgin (of Flight404 fame) created a large interactive video wall in conjunction with Saturn’s hybrid vehicle launch. Grass and text ripple as users walk by; more photos and here.
October 29, 2006
3D: Sketching in space; Potato gun in PDF; &c.
- The team at Front Design (see previous) demonstrate in this video how they sketch freely in the air using nothing more than a pen, while a system of cameras captures the strokes in 3D space. From there a laser solidifies liquid plastic layer by layer. Ultimately the finished piece of furniture rises from the molten bath T2-style. Wicked. [Via]
- The crew at Make Magazine uses the 3D capabilities of Adobe Reader to good effect in their most recent issue, using PDF to display a 3D representation of the "spud gun" they describe building. (If you haven’t updated Reader in a while, this might be a good time to grab the new version
8.0[Update--Whoops, not quite yet; but the current 7.0.8 will do the trick].) [Via]
- The ZScanner 700 describes itself as "the first self-positioning, real-time surfacing, 3D laser scanner." Translation: for about $40k you can walk around any object, scanning it in real time, sucking the results into your laptop via FireWire. [Via]
AE+Flash for 3D, more in Design Center
The Adobe Design Center offers a whole pile of new content, as well as new product-specific pages (e.g. Photoshop, Illustrator, Flash, After Effects) that make it easier to find training on particular topics.
New Dialog Box:
- More is better: Address multiple learning styles by Luanne Seymour
- Creating lens flares using Fireworks by Alan Musselman
- Seeing is believing: Information visualization and the debate over global warming by David Womack
- Form in Motion: An interview with filmmaker Matt Hanson by Andrea Codrington
- Spin objects in 3D space using Flash and After Effects by Tom Green and Jordan Chilcott
- Create a PostScript file for conversion to PDF in Acrobat by Garrick Chow
- Asset creation and general setup in Adobe Creative Suite 2 from Adobe Creative Suite 2 Classroom in a Book
- Managing dictionaries in InCopy CS2 by Adam Pratt and Mike Richman
- Acquire Audio using the Extract Audio From CD command in Adobe Audition by Bruce Williams
- Turn internal styles into an external style sheet in Dreamweaver by Garrick Chow
- Working with tools of mass distortion by Mordy Golding
- Learning curves in Photoshop CS2 by Steve Caplin
- Integrate Adobe Premiere Pro with After Effects using Dynamic Link by Jeff Schell
- From GoLive CS2 Classroom in a Book:
October 28, 2006
Fireworks does MXML, Acrobat does 3D, & more
Wrapping up a packed week at Adobe MAX, on Thursday a number of teams provided glimpses of what they’ve got cooking for the future. Jen deHaan has provided a great overview, taking notes during the session. Some highlights:
- Adobe is working with Yahoo on integration with the Acrobat Connect (neé Breeze) communication platform. Peter Ryce & Dean Chen showed PDFs being displayed directly through Connect (using the Flash Player).
- Hart Schafer pointed out spectral view in Soundbooth, where you can visually eliminate unwanted noises using tools much like Photoshop’s Healing Brush. Played a bahw-tschicka-WAaoow funk groove appropriate to Dirty Vegas.
- Scott Fegette demoed cross-browser compatibility checking in Dreamweaver, plus a CSS Advisor on Adobe.com that lets users share solutions, add comments, rate articles, etc.
- Beau Amber of Metaliq showed new Zoomify components written in ActionScript 3.0. Fast and smooth loading of a 1.2GB file through Flash Player. [More thoughtful chin-pulling ensues.]
- Michael Kaplan displayed an interactive, 3D Razr phone running inside a PDF. A Flash UI inside the PDF caused a 3D hand to appear and dial the phone, which then proceeded to play Flash video on its (virtual) screen. And at this point, the audience completely lost it.
You know, Adobe (the old, pre-Macromedia Adobe) had great technology for years, but in my experience the company was often a little shy and unassuming about promoting it. When the Adobe-Macromedia deal was announced, a designer remarked, "Adobe will make Macromedia grow up a little bit, but Macromedia will take Adobe out clubbing." I see that now happening, and I’m getting visions of Michael rocking out to The System Is Down. :-)
October 19, 2006
Tasty 3D business
- HP has posted some behind-the-scenes footage from the making of the "Hands" commercials I love the way 3D has grown ubiquitous to the point where it can completely disappear into the storytelling. [Via Maria Brenny]
- Teddy is a Java-based tool that enables freeform sketching to create 3D shapes, turning simple strokes into tubes, boxes, and more.
- Conjuring visions of high school physics, a developer has made it possible to sketch and create 2D physics simulations.
- In Shinybinary, Nik Ainley combines 2D and 3D techniques to produce some lovely (and anything-but-lovely) creations.
- The NYT made excellent use of 3D animation in Flash to illustrate last week’s Manhattan plane crash. The quality and completeness of the work they could produce in less than a day’s time is pretty amazing. [Via]
- Auryn Inc. makes software that gives 3D models a painterly look (a la Monet or Van Gogh).
October 12, 2006
Honda goes Tron + more good motion graphics
Some nice motion graphics work to share:
- The ad campaign for the new Honda Civic features a rad homage to the movie Tron; check it out in high or low res. [Via]
- Meanwhile the campaign for Honda’s new CR-V features some beautiful, understated 3D work from design shop Superfad. I really like Coffee and Popcorn spots. More here.
- Director Michel Gondry does amazing work*, and now his video for the White Stripes’ The Hardest Button to Button has been honored with a terrific Simpsons spoof. [Via Russell Williams]
- And speaking of bands, album covers come alive (and are quickly killed off) in this ultra-(cartoonishly)violent battle of the bands. [Via]
* [Seriously, if you like this stuff at all, treat yourself to this little collection of his work. It'll be the best $15 you've spent all week.]
August 06, 2006
3D data capture takes a leap
Veteran engineer Steve Perlman has unveiled Contour, a system for capturing facial details in 3D space. The system goes beyond traditional motion capture methods by covering actors’ faces in phosphorescent powder, then recording their movements from multiple angles. The NYT story features a quick video of the results, and Studio Daily’s got more background on these developments.
Speaking of 3D capture,
- Human Eyes offers photographers a system for creating 3D data using off-the-shelf equipment; here’s an example of the output.
- Capture devices continue to decrease in size and price. Next Engine’s 3D desktop scanner costs $2,495 and is about the size of a cereal box. [Via]
- Microsoft researchers this week unveiled Photosynth, a system for analyzing a large number of 2D photos to generate a 3D fly-through. They depict related research in this video.
- Hardware makers continue to step up and deliver hilariously large amounts of processing power, as with this 80 billion pixel-per-second Nvidia expansion unit. (Somewhat of a bummer, the $17k box is not equipped with actual tank treads or a smokestack.)
Developments like these, combined with tools like Acrobat 3D driving proliferation, mean we’ll be seeing more & more approachable, practical 3D implementations. Interesting times ahead.
PS–On a more analog 3D tip, check out Richard Sweeney’s beautiful paper sculptures. [Via]
June 26, 2006
Bumpin’ 3D desktop interface
BumpTop brings some fresh thinking to the 20+ year old metaphor of desktop organization. Check out this video to see how it combines 3D, physics, pie menus, and pen savvy to improve file handling.
Cool as it is, however, I was struck by what Merlin Mann has already written up: namely, that the future belongs to file management based on searching. It just isn’t possible for a traditional file system metaphor, no matter how slick, to keep pace with an explosion of data. We see this again and again:
- Google cruised past Yahoo (i.e. Yet Another Hierarchical Officious Oracle) when categorization couldn’t scale.
- Smart folders (i.e. saved searches) in email take over when you can’t keep switching among your zillion mailboxes.
- Desktop-level searching like Spotlight, Google Desktop Search, and Vista’s built-in engine become essential when your number of files overwhelms your ability to categorize them meaningfully.
Maybe, then, the future belongs to slick, forward-thinking UIs that rest atop great search plumbing. This, I think, is where Adobe could make a difference. Why not enable developers to create powerful, lightweight interfaces as they do in Flash (e.g. Felix Turner’s Flickr Related Tag Browser) and use those on the desktop in tools like Bridge? Flickr has thrived by becoming skinnable in interesting ways. There’s no reason that local file management should be less innovative.
For more info on BumpTop, see also the personal site of researcher Bill Buxton. [Thanks to Joel Bryant of Wacom for the link.]
May 23, 2006
More visual trickery
[See also previous examples]
February 10, 2006
Optical illusions in space & on the street
The work of two artists is opposite & complementary, creating flatness in space & depth in flatness:
- Felice Varini creates 2D images in 3D space, producing the appearance of flat shapes when seen from a particular spot. Samples of his work are collected here and here, and an animation on his own site depicts how the illusions emerge & disintegrate based on one’s perspective.
- Kurt Wenner rightly calls himself a “Master Street Painter,” producing amazing images that create the illusion of depth on asphalt, concrete, and stone. On his site he discusses the impermanence of his medium, comparing fragile chalk renderings to music & calling their creation a performance.