January 12, 2012

New upgrade options for CS3 and CS4 customers

In November Adobe announced Creative Cloud subscriptions, a new combination of CS desktop apps, cloud services, and touch tools. Unfortunately, on the whole we’ve done a poor job of explaining the real benefits to customers, leading to considerable confusion & concern. I’m sorry for the pain that’s resulted.

First, let’s be clear: Adobe does well when you do well.  Subscriptions have to be good for customers, or they’re not going to be good for Adobe–period.

What sucks is that the very real advantages of subscriptions (most notably, faster access to feature improvements) have gotten drowned out by the perceived disadvantages.  The whole story is clumsy because Adobe hasn’t announced a CS6 version, or any real details about pricing, etc.  Now’s not the time for that (sorry–I wish we could share more right now), so I can only ask for your patience.  Subscriptions will be more interesting & attractive than you might think, so please stay tuned.

Meanwhile, I’m pleased to say that Adobe has announced a new introductory upgrade offer for customers using CS3/CS4:

  • The old deal: If you were on CS4 or earlier at the time CS6 shipped, getting a subscription would be the only way to upgrade to CS6.
  • The new deal: If you’re on CS3 or CS4 when CS6 ships, you’ll have until the end of 2012 to upgrade to CS6.  You can of course choose a subscription option, and we think you’ll want to.
  • Bottom line: During 2012, you don’t have to buy CS5 just to buy CS6.

As I say, please do stay tuned, and please let us know what you think.


[Update in response to comments below: If you recently purchased CS 5.5 and have questions/concerns about that order in relation to this upgrade announcement, please contact customer service so that they can assist you.]


6:39 AM | Permalink | Comments [120]

January 04, 2012

New Photoshop GuideGuide panel eases grid-work

Check it out:

Dealing with grids in Photoshop is a pain.

With GuideGuide, it doesn’t have to be. Pixel accurate columns, rows, midpoints, and baselines can be created based on your document or marquee with the click of a button. Frequently used guide sets can be saved for repeat use. Grids can use multiple types of measurements. Best of all it’s free. Honestly, if you haven’t started downloading it by now, you’re probably a masochist. Weirdo…

[Via Gary Greenwald]

10:02 AM | Permalink | Comments [7]

July 20, 2011

Lion: Known Issues with Adobe products

Adobe has posted a tech note, “Known Issues with Adobe products on Mac OS 10.7 Lion,” detailing incompatibilities discovered to date. The only Photoshop-specific issue noted is that droplets don’t work. Please see the document for other product details.

Update: Here’s the Creative Suite FAQ on the subject.

Update 2: I’ve seen mentions of “Licensing has stopped working” errors. These appeared in Snow Leopard as well. Please see this tech doc for details.

10:33 AM | Permalink | Comments [8]

June 14, 2011

25 Awesome Keyboard Shortcuts for Photoshop That You May Not Know

The title pretty well says it all: check out this list, especially the first few (new in CS4/5).

Having written a version of a book covering just Photoshop shortcuts, I pride myself on my knowledge here, and even I picked up a few good tips from this list.

8:42 AM | Permalink | Comments [4]

July 15, 2010

Controlling Adobe apps’ network connections

I know exceedingly well how sensitive people are about their software making connections to the net, and that’s perfectly reasonable.  In Photoshop CS4 & CS5, you can choose Preferences->Plug-Ins, then uncheck “Allow Extensions to Connect to the Internet.” If you’re a system administrator & want more control over how and when Adobe apps can connect, these tech docs may be useful to you:

3:33 PM | Permalink | Comments [1]

May 26, 2010

Security update for Photoshop CS4

The Photoshop CS4 11.0.2 update (download for Mac | Win) addresses a number of critical issues and vulnerabilities discovered after the product shipped. According to the download page,

Critical vulnerabilities have been identified in Photoshop CS4 11.0.1 and earlier for Windows and Macintosh that could allow an attacker who successfully exploits these vulnerabilities to take control of the affected system. A malicious .ASL (swatch), .ABR (brush), or .GRD (gradient) file must be opened in Photoshop CS4 by the user for an attacker to be able to exploit these vulnerabilities. Adobe recommends Photoshop CS4 customers update to Photoshop CS4 11.0.2, which resolves these issues.

These issues do not affect Photoshop CS5.

2:08 PM | Permalink | Comments [13]

Workspace import/export script for Photoshop

I sometimes hear requests for an easier way to migrate one’s settings from one version of Photoshop to another, or to share settings among users. To that end, Photoshop engineer Tai Luxon has whipped up a little script you may find handy:

I wrote a script to enable simple importing and exporting of Photoshop workspaces. This is a side project with limited testing, so the usual disclaimers apply. It should work in both CS4 and CS5 (although it is a little more robust in CS5), so you can use it to migrate workspaces from CS4 to CS5 in addition to using it to enable easier sharing of CS5 workspaces between machines/people. Please let me know of any snags that you run into and if this is useful.

To run the script, choose “File->Scripts->Browse…” from with Photoshop, then browse to the script’s location on disk.
[Update: Tai has revised the script to deal with an issue related to invalid font styles, and I’ve posted the revision at the link above.]

6:53 AM | Permalink | Comments [26]

April 28, 2010

Using a dialog box to edit a Curves adjustment layer

In response to my notes on how we’ve polished the Adjustments panel in Photoshop CS5, I saw a couple of requests for a way to edit adjustments (especially Curves) via a dialog box instead of via a panel. To do so in CS4 you can download and use this panel (screenshot). In CS5 the architecture that supports extension panels has changed, so you need to grab the CS5 version of the panel.
In case you have trouble installing the panel via Extension Manager*, you can download this plain-zipped version (or the CS5 version). Unzip it and drag the resulting “Curves – Dialog” folder into your “Adobe Photoshop CS4/Plug-Ins/Panels” directory.
* If you’re getting permissions errors on Windows Vista or Windows 7, try right-clicking the Extension Manager icon, clicking Properties, selecting the Compatibility tab, and checking the “Run this program as an administrator” checkbox.

3:34 PM | Permalink | Comments [6]

April 20, 2010

Camera Raw 5.7, Lightroom 2.7 now available

Lightroom 2.7 (Mac | Win) and Camera Raw 5.7 (Mac | Win) are now available as final releases on Adobe.com and through the update mechanisms available in Photoshop CS4 and Lightroom 2. These updates include camera support for the following models:

  • CanonEOS 550D (Digital Rebel T2i/ EOS Kiss X4 Digital)
  • Kodak Z981
  • Leaf Aptus-II 8
  • Leaf Aptus-II 10R
  • Mamiya DM40
  • Olympus E-PL1
  • Panasonic G2
  • Panasonic G10
  • Sony A450

Release Notes:

  • Camera Raw 5.7 includes an updated demosaic algorithm designed to provide compatibility with settings applied in Lightroom 3 beta 2.
  • Lightroom 2.7 also includes the same updated demosaic algorithm. The updated demosaic algorithm will appear as a subtle shift in noise characteristics at default values.
  • By default Camera Raw will display the image adjustments exactly as performed in the Lightroom 3 beta 2 develop module. However, at this time Camera Raw 5.7 is unable to support further adjustments to the following settings or tools:
    • Highlight Priority and Color Priority post-crop vignette
    • Enhanced Luminance and Color Noise Reduction
    • Grain effects
    • Process Version

To everyone who provided feedback on our Camera Raw 5.7 and Lightroom 2.7 Release Candidates, thanks.

8:28 PM | Permalink | Comments [1]

February 16, 2010

Now *THAT* is a true Photoshop feathered mask

Inspired by a Photoshop-box-as-mask photo* I posted recently, artist Phillip Valedez worked with Adobe creative director Russell Brown to create a rather terrific “feathered mask,” using only Photoshop CS4 boxes:
(Click for a larger view.)
Feathered selections/masks, incidentally, were one of the killer features of the original Photoshop–released 20 years ago this week!
Here’s a quick time lapse of Phillip at work:

* Sorry that I can’t give the original creator credit, as the photo came to me without attribution.

9:22 AM | Permalink | Comments [7]

December 03, 2009

New panel, scripts let you batch-eliminate “copy” in PS layer names

God bless scripters and the spirt of “Just Do It.” Responding to reader feedback here about the desire to remove “copy” from duplicated layers, scripter Mike Hale used Configurator to create a simple panel (screenshot) that does just that–nuking “copy {#}” from all layers or just the selected layers.

  • The panel for Photoshop CS4 is downloadable from PS-Scripts.com. It’s wrapped as an MXP file, meaning you can simply double click it to install it using Adobe Extension Manager. After installing the panel, relaunch Photoshop and look under Window->Extensions for “RemoveCopy.”
  • Sometimes Extension Manager doesn’t play well with Vista (as I think it requires you to be logged in as an administrator), so I’ve posted the panel in a simple ZIP package as well. You can unzip the contents, then place the panel folder into “Adobe Photoshop CS4/Plug-ins/Panels.”
  • You might want to use the scripts on their own (not via the panel), especially if you like to assign keyboard shortcuts to commands. You might also want to use them in CS3 or older versions of Photoshop. Therefore I’ve posted just the scripts as well. Drag the expanded contents to “Adobe Photoshop CS{whatever}/Presets/Scripts,” then relaunch PS. Once they’re installed, you can choose Edit->Keyboard Shortcuts & assign shortcuts if you’d like.

Thanks to fellow coders Trevor Morris and Jeff Tranberry for their quick help in making this happen. Please give Mike props & speak up if you encounter any problems.

7:02 AM | Permalink | Comments [10]

November 25, 2009

Adobe TV: Triptychs, fashion design, & more

You might find these recent video tutorials interesting:

  • The Russell Brown Show – Painting Patterns

    In this Adobe Photoshop CS4 Extended tutorial, Russell Brown shows you how to create a tiled pattern and apply it to an image so that you can paint with patterns.

  • The Complete Picture with Julieanne Kost – Creating a Triptych

    In this Adobe Photoshop CS4 tutorial, Julieanne Kost shows you how to open 3 images at once in Photoshop and then easily arrange them into a Triptych.

  • Creating Time – Photoshop’s Content-Aware Scaling Helps You Save Time

    Learn how to use the revolutionary Content-Aware Scaling feature to automatically recompose an image as you resize it, smartly preserving vital areas as the image adapts to the new dimensions.

  • Learn Photoshop Elements 8 – Share Albums Online

    Learn how to use a wizard-guided workflow and templates to create a personalized album. Then, learn how to share your album online at Photoshop.com.

  • Photoshop CAFE TV – Converting Video to Smart Object Layers

    Jeff Foster shows you how to convert video layers to Smart Objects and when to use them. If you want to apply a filter or effect to video in Photoshop CS4 Extended, this is a skill you need.

  • Designing Minds – Jose Duran

    In this episode we feature up and coming avant-garde fashion designer Jose Duran. He reveals the inspiration behind his wearable art.

  • 7:15 AM | Permalink | No Comments

    November 10, 2009

    Snow Leopard 10.6.2 fixes problems with Photoshop

    Good news: Apple has released a Snow Leopard update that fixes a number of problems customers have reported. The Photoshop team has been helping Apple test these fixes and can confirm the following improvements:

    Affecting multiple versions of Photoshop:

    • 50654: When opening and saving, applications–including Adobe applications–may sporadically crash
    • 51230: Images don’t open when dragged onto the Adobe program icon in the Dock
    • 51220: Crash or program error occurs when using Menlo font in Photoshop and Premiere CS3 and CS4


    • 51764: Only one image opens when many are dragged onto Photoshop’s icon
    • 51278: Cursors don’t display correctly in Photoshop CS4
    • 51339: Editing in Photoshop CS4 fails from 64-bit Lightroom in Mac OS X 10.6
    • Cannot drag from Safari onto Photoshop icon (and other application icons) in Dock to open file

    If you experience any problems, please let us know.

    6:23 AM | Permalink | Comments [50]

    October 25, 2009

    Creating contact sheets in Bridge CS4

    I still see a fair number of people searching for info about Photoshop’s semi-retired Contact Sheet feature. This 1-minute video shows how it’s been replaced with a better alternative in Bridge CS4:

    7:39 AM | Permalink | Comments [19]

    October 23, 2009

    Share your screen for free, via CS4

    Ever wanted to quickly show an art director or client a work in progress in Photoshop, Illustrator, etc.? Here’s how to do it (1-minute demo):

    Be honest: you had no idea you could do this, right?

    4:32 PM | Permalink | Comments [15]

    October 22, 2009

    Adobe Windows 7 FAQ

    Adobe has posted an FAQ discussing Creative Suite support for Microsoft Windows 7. For more detailed technical info, see the technote on “Installing and using Windows 7 with Adobe applications.”
    Adobe’s support policy for Windows 7 is the same as it is for Mac OS X Snow Leopard: test and focus on the currently shipping versions of software, while also performing some testing on older versions. Hopefully the wording of this FAQ is clearer than the Snow Leopard version was initially.

    10:22 AM | Permalink | Comments [46]

    October 13, 2009

    Videos: Photoshop, 3D, Web design at MAX

    Last week’s Adobe MAX conference featured some great Photoshop-related sessions. Here are a few picks that might be of interest. (Full-screen viewing is always recommended.)
    Photoshop CS4 Hidden Gems…including Configurator, Pixel Bender, DNG Profile Editor and more with Bryan O’Neil Hughes

    How To Work Creatively With 3D In Photoshop CS4 Extended with Zorana Gee [Actually starts at the 9-minute mark; I don’t know why these things aren’t trimmed at all before they’re posted]

    The Essentials of Image Enhancement for Web & Flash Designers
    with Michael Ninness

    6:57 AM | Permalink | Comments [6]

    September 29, 2009

    Adobe TV: Backup tips, Little-known PS CS4 features, & more

    The reloaded Adobe TV is full of good content. Here are some may be of interest:

    Digital Photos Making Your Hard Drive Sink Like Venice?

    While in Venice, Kush realized what a viewer was going through as photos filled the disk. He talks to Julieanne Kost from The Complete Picture about how to archive and backup those priceless memories.

    Top 10 Little-Known Features in Photoshop CS4

    Join Julienne Kost as she goes over the top 10 little-known features in Photoshop CS4 that can make a huge difference in the way you work.

    Profiles of Creative Pros: The Life of a Photoshop Artist/Model

    Retouching taken to new extremes!

    Designing Minds: Erin Fetherston

    In this episode we feature fashion’s “it” girl, Erin Fetherston. Her romantic and feminine designs are loved by celebrities and critics alike.

    7:19 AM | Permalink | Comments [3]

    September 28, 2009

    CS4-style Flex skins available for panel dev

    Commenters here sometimes slag the use of Flash panels inside Creative Suite apps, saying that Flash leads to poor UI. These comments confuse the technology with how it’s been used. Unfortunately it’s true that some SWF panels (example) have been poorly done.
    Endeavoring to drive more consistency, the Adobe Experience Design & developer support teams have created a set of “Scope Skins” for use in CS4 panels. According to the download page,

    Scope Skins (for Flex Builder 3) were created to skin Adobe Flex apps to provide the same UI as a native Creative Suite panel. This was done with little impact to the functionality of the standard Flex 3 components.

    If you’re creating panels for use in Photoshop and/or other Suite apps, please take a look at these skins and let us know what you think.

    4:42 PM | Permalink | Comments [10]

    September 21, 2009

    Adobe MAX in two weeks; Travel & registration deals available

    If you’re tempted to check out Adobe MAX in LA but haven’t yet pulled the trigger, check out the range of discounts available on attendance, transportation, and lodging. MAX is always an incredible show, and we hope to see you there.
    Update: I forgot to mention that my fellow PMs will be presenting some great sessions on Photoshop. From the session guides:

    • Join Photoshop Product Manager Bryan O’Neil Hughes in a deep dive into the hidden gems of Photoshop CS4. He’ll also reveal many new technologies released since Photoshop CS4, including the Digital Negative (DNG) Profile Editor for customizing camera profiles, Pixel Bender for creating filters and effects, Configurator for producing custom panels in Photoshop, and enhancements to Adobe Camera Raw. Tuesday, October 6, 2009: 4:30 pm – 5:30 pm
    • Join Photoshop Product Manager Zorana Gee as she shares her favorite techniques for working with the incredible Photoshop CS4 Extended 3D features. Learn how to paint directly on 3D models, wrap 2D images around 3D shapes, convert gradient maps to 3D objects, and add depth to layers and text. Monday, October 5, 2009: 5:00 pm – 6:00 pm

    1:06 PM | Permalink | Comments [4]

    September 14, 2009

    Lightroom 2.5 and Camera Raw 5.5 Now Available

    Lightroom 2.5 and Camera Raw 5.5 are now available as final releases on Adobe.com and through the update mechanisms available in Photoshop CS4 and Lightroom 2 (choose Help->Updates). Direct download links are here. These updates include camera support for the following models:

    • Nikon D300s
    • Nikon D3000
    • Olympus E-P1
    • Panasonic DMC-FZ35*
    • Panasonic DMC-GF1

    Release Notes:

    • Camera Raw 5.5 and Lightroom 2.5 include a correction to the demosaic algorithms for Bayer sensor cameras with unequal green response. Olympus, Panasonic and Sony are among the more popular camera manufacturers affected by this change. The demosaic correction provides a subtle visual improvement to the processing of those raw files.
    • Lightroom 2.5 corrects for the following problem in Lightroom 2.4. Lightroom 2.4 on Windows continued to display the import dialog when a memory card was detected regardless of the preference setting “Show import dialog when a memory card is detected.”

    [Via Tom Hogarty/Lightroom Journal]

    * Note that in Europe and Japan this model is marketed as the DMC-FZ38. Unfortunately, due to a metadata difference between these cameras, files from the DMC-FZ38 will not be supported until the next Camera Raw and Lightroom updates.

    8:32 PM | Permalink | Comments [13]

    September 02, 2009

    A few problems found with Photoshop & Snow Leopard

    We’re continuing to work with Apple to diagnose & troubleshoot issues that customers report when running Photoshop CS3 and CS4 on Snow Leopard. At the moment we’re aware of a couple of problems:

    • Switching to the Menlo font (new in Snow Leopard) in Photoshop can cause Photoshop to crash. The simplest option is to avoid selecting and using Menlo in Photoshop.

    • A bug can cause Photoshop & other applications to crash, particularly during Open and Save operations. We think this problem is the root of the instability David Pogue mentioned the other day.

    • Dragging an image from another application (e.g. Safari) window to the Photoshop application icon in the OS X Dock doesn’t open the image.

    Note that the last two problems are not unique to Photoshop or to Adobe applications. We’re working with Apple to get these problems fixed as quickly as possible. Photoshop QE team members Dave Howe & Jeff Tranberry are tweeting info as it becomes available.

    2:26 PM | Permalink | Comments [130]

    August 25, 2009

    Adobe Snow Leopard FAQ

    The Creative Suite team has put together info about Adobe app compatibility with Mac OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard). It should be live on Adobe.com shortly, but in the meantime, here it is in PDF form.
    Apple and Adobe have worked closely together (as always with new OS releases) to test compatibility. As for CS4, everything is good with the exception of auto-updates to Flash panels (which I guarantee you’re not using*) and Adobe Drive/Version Cue (which doesn’t work at the moment on 10.6). CS3 & earlier haven’t been tested. Please see the FAQ for additional info.
    * The auto-update part, I mean
    [Update: No one said anything about CS3 being “not supported” on Snow Leopard. The plan, however, is not to take resources away from other efforts (e.g. porting Photoshop to Cocoa) in order to modify 2.5-year-old software in response to changes Apple makes in the OS foundation.]
    [Update 2: The Photoshop team has tested PS CS3 on Snow Leopard and found no significant problems.]

    10:06 AM | Permalink | Comments [263]

    August 19, 2009

    MythBusters on Adobe Bridge

    Adam Savage digs Bridge CS4:

    Bridge, which Savage calls “crazy useful,” helps him manage the tens of thousands of images on his Mac, both those he’s acquired from other sources to squirrel away for later reference and those he’s shot with his Canon 5D Mark II. He’s up to Adobe CS4 and wouldn’t give up Bridge without a serious fight. “I hated the first version of it, because it was choking up blood on my computer. With 40,000 photos, start asking something to look at them all, it starts dying. The functionality has improved so much since then.”

    Cool! [Via Tom McRae]

    10:23 AM | Permalink | Comments [14]

    August 17, 2009

    Camera Raw updates to continue for CS4 PPC

    Evidently the Creative Suite FAQ addressing Adobe’s plans to discontinue PowerPC support in future versions of the Suite isn’t quite clear enough regarding Camera Raw updates.
    This About.com article states that Adobe will no longer be issuing Camera Raw updates for PowerPC customers, but that’s not the case: updates will continue for all Photoshop CS4 customers during the CS4 life cycle, just as in previous releases.
    Tom Hogarty from the Camera Raw/Lightroom team is touching base with Tom Nelson, the author of the article, to provide clarification. In the meantime, I thought you’d like to know the scoop.

    11:36 PM | Permalink | Comments [3]

    August 11, 2009

    More new PS panels: Sharpening, blending

    Photographer/coder Glenn Mitchell has posted a new set of sharpening actions panels for use with Photoshop CS4. (He’s excited about scripting & panel development for PS: “From a programmer’s point-of-view, Photoshop CS4 offers extraordinary opportunities to modify and extend the user’s experience with Photoshop… Well done!”)

    Elsewhere, Mike Hale took the blending modes panel I mentioned yesterday and upgraded it* to handle multiple selected layers at once. You can download it here (see also Mike’s release notes).

    On a related note, in case it’s useful, here’s a list of blending mode keyboard shortcuts.

    * Potentially interesting explanation: You can use Configurator to open up & remix any Configurator-made panel: just double-click the .GPC file in the exported panel’s folder (Photoshop CS4/Plug-Ins/Panels/{your panel’s name}/). That is, the XML file used by a panel at runtime equals the source code for that panel. Anyway, I suggested that Mike remix the panel by applying his code to the buttons.

    8:05 PM | Permalink | Comments [2]

    August 07, 2009

    10.5.8 addresses Smart Object crash

    The new Mac OS X 10.5.8 update fixes a bug that could cause Photoshop to crash when editing a raw image placed as a Smart Object. The (very brief) Adobe technote on the subject links to the 10.5.8 download locations.

    12:28 PM | Permalink | Comments [6]

    July 28, 2009

    New tutorials from Dr. Woohoo

    Our friend Dr. Woohoo has posted a new set of tutorials on extending Photoshop & Suite apps using Flash, Flex, and scripting. Check ’em out and let me know if/when you create some cool extensions.
    For links to many more tutorials & resources, see the Suite Development category.

    10:18 AM | Permalink | No Comments

    July 21, 2009

    CS4 eSeminar Series for Pro Photographers

    If you’re a pro photographer, check out the CS4: Shortcut to Brilliant eSeminar Series for Professional Photographers, starting this Thursday. Titles & times at a glance:

    • Discover the Timesaving Benefits of Adobe® Photoshop® CS4
      • Thursday, July 23, 2009 10:00 A.M. PDT
    • Accelerate your Workflow with the Combined Power of Adobe®Photoshop® Lightroom® 2 and Adobe® Photoshop® CS4
      • Thursday, July 30, 2009 10:00 A.M. PDT
    • Expand Your Creative Possibilities with Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 2
      • Thursday, August 13, 2009 10:00 A.M. PDT
    • Spend More Time Shooting and Less Time Computing with Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 2
      • Thursday, August 20, 2009 10:00 A.M. PDT

    See the events page for more details.

    8:34 PM | Permalink | No Comments

    The progress of Configurator

    Adobe evangelist Julieanne Kost has worked with Kelby Training to create a video tutorial showing how to assemble custom UI panels using Adobe Configurator. Note that you need to be a KT member to watch more than the intro segments.

    Elsewhere, I see that photographer & author Vincent Versace is using Configurator-made panels to enhance his writings on black & white conversion and selective blur/focus. Way to go, Vincent. I love seeing experts embrace a new way to download their brains right into Photoshop.

    Normally I don’t talk about unannounced products, but I’m happy to report that development of the Configurator authoring tool is proceeding nicely. (Didn’t want you to think it was a “one-and-out” kind of endeavor.) Besides addressing key requests from users of v1.0, we’re focusing heavily on plumbing like object containers, auto-layout, and localizability. That’ll let us eat our own proverbial dog food, using Configurator to create Photoshop enhancements that ship in the box. (I expect our ideas here to generate much discussion and maybe even some controversy, but no one ever said that progress was easy. I’ll be asking for your input soon.)

    If you’re using Configurator today, I’d love to hear from you & see examples of your work. Let us know how you use the tool and/or how you’d like to use it.

    7:35 AM | Permalink | Comments [5]

    July 17, 2009

    Buy CS4, save $400 on Adobe MAX

    If you’re thinking of attending Adobe MAX this fall, know that you can save $400 off the price of admission by buying software through the Adobe.com online store. Check out the details.
    [ Note: This discount applies only to purchases made in the US. I know that sucks for folks based elsewhere. From recent experience I can tell you that cross-border pricing, promotions, etc. have a way of becoming nightmarishly complex. ]

    2:30 PM | Permalink | No Comments

    July 07, 2009

    A note about batch printing in CS4

    Photoshop CS4 unfortunately contains a bug that interferes with running batch printing via actions. Fortunately it’s easy to work around the problem via a script, downloadable from Adobe.com. See this tech note for the script & instructions.

    8:48 PM | Permalink | Comments [8]

    June 23, 2009

    A special GridIron event on Monday

    By now you’ve probably heard my enthusiasm about GridIron Flow–a very cool workflow management tool. If you have time & want to see more, come to a special event on Monday (June 29th at 12pm EST; time zone calculator). I’ll be making an appearance* to show off some slick Creative Suite integration the GridIron guys have put together. Hope you can join us.

    * Caveat: If Project El Segundo launches early, all bets are off!

    4:22 PM | Permalink | No Comments

    June 08, 2009

    PS Automator Actions v4.0 Beta now available

    Photographer/author/developer Ben Long has posted a new beta of his Photoshop Automator Actions. He writes,

    This 4.0 collection currently only supports CS4 and has a number of bug fixes, and 6 new actions.

    Like previous versions of the Action Pack, this collection of Automator Actions lets you drive Photoshop from Apple’s Automator. These are not actions that you can run from within Photoshop’s Actions palette. This is a Mac-only product that allows you to build automated workflows that can go beyond what Photoshop’s built-in actions provide.

    Ben is looking for feedback (bugs, etc.) on the new version. For more info on what the Action Pack does, see his earlier post.

    2:36 PM | Permalink | Comments [1]

    May 28, 2009

    Alien Skin rocks out with Configurator, Flash panels

    I’m delighted to see more developers leveraging Flash panel support in Photoshop CS4, delivering new levels of integration and usability. Alien Skin has introduced a pair of panels that drive their cool Snap Art 2 product. They write:

    One of [the panels] lets you start any of the Snap Art filters with a single button press. No more navigating deep into the Filter menu! The other panel uses the Snap Art Pencil Sketch filter to make even more photorealistic portraits.

    Groovy. “Expect panels for some of our other plug-ins in the coming months,” say the Alien Skin guys, and I look forward to sharing more news from other developers soon.

    9:23 AM | Permalink | Comments [1]

    May 14, 2009

    Flash, Fireworks, and InDesign CS4 updated

    In case you’ve missed it, the CS4 versions of Flash, Fireworks, and InDesign have received updates in the last couple of weeks.

    • Flash PM Richard Galvan lists the issues addressed in the Flash release, including performance problems & crashes.
    • InDesign’s 6.0.2 update (download for Mac, Win) includes the cumulative fixes from the 6.0.1 update (posted in February). For a list of fixes, check out its release notes (PDF), plus info on previous updates.
    • Of the Fireworks update, newly minted Fireworks PM Bruce Bowman writes, “This updater fixes the most common bugs that we know about in Fireworks CS4, including numerous text shifting problems, stability issues on Mac and Windows, and bugs related to pasting text from Microsoft Office applications. The team would like to thank you for your patience as we developed this updater.” Here are the full release notes (PDF).
    4:54 PM | Permalink | No Comments

    May 09, 2009

    Le Sens Propre: A new short film shot with RED + CS4

    Working on a commission from Adobe, Brazilian director Cisma* recently created “Le Sens Propre,” rather surreal story about “a dream-like voyage in the universe of a little girl.” Cisma & team used a RED camera followed by an exclusive Adobe CS4 Production Premium workflow (no non-Adobe products touched the film–no 3D software, etc.).

    Adobe’s Scott Morris writes,

    Several high-profile artists have been commissioned by Adobe to do work using the various CS4 toolsets, to really show off what the products can do. Le Sens Proper now joins work from other artists and graphic designers including John Kelly, Nando Costa, Genevieve Gauckler, and Erik Natzke.

    Check out their work on the new AdobeArtists.com. For a Q&A with the director plus production stills, check out this piece from Motionographer.

    * According to the Adobe Artists site, “Cisma” (aka Denis Kamioka) took his name from the Portuguese word for “strong and irrational conviction.” My kind of guy.

    10:30 AM | Permalink | Comments [3]

    May 06, 2009

    Photoshop CS4 color picker updated

    A few months back I mentioned that developer Anastasiy Safari had created a panel-based color picker (screenshot) for Photoshop CS4. He’s updated it a few times, adding features like the ability to specify CMYK values.
    The latest version (1.4) is available for download from his site & adds the ability to hide/show the numerical readout area & squashes some bugs. After downloading the file, unzip it and drag the folder into your Adobe Photoshop CS4/Plug-Ins/Panels folder, then relaunch Photoshop and look under Window->Extensions.

    4:25 PM | Permalink | Comments [8]

    April 29, 2009

    Photoshop gets stuffed, goes Presidential

    • MySuiteStuff.com offers a whole set of Creative Suite-style icons as pillows. “These 12″x12″ stuffed icons are 100% hand-made with love from the softest, fluffiest fleece there is,” they say. Presumably you’re only a Sharpie away from upgrading the CS3 look to CS4. [Via]
    • Tom Hogarty points out that the images posted on Flickr by White House photographer Pete Souza are tagged as having been edited with Photoshop CS4 for Mac. Earlier this year, Pete was using CS3, so we’re happy to see that he’s moved up to CS4. (Back in January we looked into sending him a complementary upgrade, but due to some touchiness about giving gifts to government employees, we had to punt on that idea.)
    5:19 PM | Permalink | Comments [4]

    April 28, 2009

    A few useful reminders about Photoshop CS4

    I’ve previously noted the following points, but as I continue to encounter folks who haven’t found this info, I thought it would be worth repeating:

    1. If you’re using Photoshop CS4 and can’t find Extract, Contact Sheet, Picture Package, Web Photo Gallery, you can download & install them: Mac, Win.
    2. If you want to create/edit a Curves adjustment layer in CS4 via a dialog box, you can use this panel (screenshot)*.
    3. If you don’t like the CS4 changes to keyboard shortcuts for channels, download this plug-in (Mac)/registry entry (Win).
    4. If touching your MacBook Pro trackpad produces unwanted canvas rotation/zooming, you can use this plug-in to disable that feature.
    5. You can drag and drop layers between document tabs in CS4; you just need to start the drag from the document surface, not from the Layers panel. (I know, the latter behavior should work, and we’ll work on improving it in the future.)

    If I might ask a favor of you: if you hear people complaining about any/all of this stuff, please refer them to this URL (or directly to the ones linked above). I greatly appreciate your help in spreading useful info.

    * In case you have trouble installing the panel via Extension Manager, you can download this plain-zipped version, then unzip it and drag the resulting “Curves – Dialog” folder into your “Adobe Photoshop CS4/Plug-Ins/Panels” directory.

    12:17 AM | Permalink | Comments [23]

    April 18, 2009

    Noiseware Pro, RealGrain plugins go 64-bit native

    I’m happy to see that Imagenomic has released 64-bit versions of Noiseware Pro and RealGrain plugins for Photoshop CS4. The upgrades are free for registered users of these products, and are available for download now. As Imagenomic’s David McDonell points out, “This latest release completes the upgrade of Imagenomic’s Pro Plugin Suite to full CS4/64-bit compatibility following the earlier release of the Portraiture 2 Plugin for Photoshop.” [Via Bryan O’Neil Hughes]

    For links to other 64-bit-native Photoshop plug-ins, see previous entry.

    2:52 PM | Permalink | No Comments

    April 14, 2009

    A note about MacBook Pro graphics

    I know this is an incredibly specific thing to blog about, but as it recently affected me, I thought I’d mention it: If you’re using Photoshop CS4 on a new MacBook Pro (as I am; thanks, ‘Dobe), I recommend turning on the beefy GPU (graphics card) you paid for.
    The new MBPs ship with two GPUs, and they default to running the lower-power embedded GPU that’s also in these machines. You have to switch on the faster one by choosing System Preferences->Energy Saver, then setting Graphics to “Higher performance.” Doing so requires logging out of the machine–kind of a drag.
    I made the switch, and I see a noticeable difference in the smoothness of rotating the canvas & zooming. There’s a very large difference when running the Pixel Bender Gallery plug-in. In terms of battery life, I haven’t been able to notice a difference. Apple.com shows the higher-power GPU taking battery life from 8 to 7 hours. I wasn’t getting anything like 8 hours of life using the slower GPU (more typically 3-4 with WiFi on, maybe 5-6 with it off), so I’d read those number in percentage terms (i.e. the faster GPU should cost you something like 12% battery life). Were I taking a cross-country flight, I’d switch off WiFi & revert to using the lower-power GPU.

    9:43 AM | Permalink | Comments [6]

    March 31, 2009

    Adobe eSeminars for photographers

    If you’re interested in learning more about what’s in Photoshop CS4 for photographers (see previous detailed overview) and/or more about Lightroom 2.0, these live online seminars may be up your alley:

    Adobe® Lightroom® 2

    • Thursday, April 9, 2009, 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM US/Pacific

    Adobe® Photoshop® CS4 for photography

    • Thursday, April 23, 2009, 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM US/Pacific

    Adobe® Lightroom® 2

    • Thursday, May 7, 2009, 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM US/Pacific

    Adobe Photoshop CS4 + Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 2 – The pro photo solution

    • Thursday, May 14, 2009, 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM US/Pacific

    This series is designed for professional photographers and photography enthusiasts.

    Check out the site for details & registration info.

    4:45 PM | Permalink | Comments [2]

    March 30, 2009

    CS4 improves pressure sensitivity handling

    In the comments section of my post about the Wacom Intuos4, I noticed an interesting comment from brushing engineer Jerry Harris:

    If you are holding out on that CS4 upgrade, this tablet might entice you to reconsider. The Photoshop code that interacts with tablets had a great deal of elbow grease applied to it. The result is improved quality at the beginning and end of strokes, as well as improved response to pressure. PS now preserves pressure beyond 8-bit throughout the painting code, whereas before CS4, only 256 levels (8-bits) made its way to this code. This should be more evident when working in 16-bit layers where subtle buildup can occur in the buffers used during painting.

    I need to add this point to the list of small-but-important enhancements listed in “CS4: Sweating the Details.”

    8:58 AM | Permalink | Comments [3]

    March 23, 2009

    Polishing the Adjustments panel [Part 3 of 3]

    Bryan has now listed some of the benefits of the Adjustments panel in CS4. That doesn’t mean we think things are perfect, however. As Photoshop moves forward–especially as we do more things non-modally/non-destructively–we need to address any lingering legitimate usability beefs. Here are some possible refinements:

    • Enable an option (via the panel flyout) to have panel adjustment text fields take focus when an adjustment is created. If you pop the dialog form of Levels, you can tab into/among the various fields. You can’t set focus on the panel using just the keyboard. We should fix that, either by putting focus there automatically, and/or by adding a shortcut for the purpose (e.g. Shift-Return).
    • Similarly, add an option to auto-select the eyedropper tool and/or on-canvas adjustment tool when creating/selecting an adjustment layer. This would better fit the modal dialog form, where there’s no need to select a tool.
    • Enable a single-key mechanism for activating the on-canvas adjustment tool. (Ah, but what key? they’re all used).

    Anything else?

    9:47 AM | Permalink | Comments [20]

    The design of Adjustments in CS4 [Part 2 of 3]

    On Thursday I talked a bit about how the Adjustments panel introduced in Photoshop CS4 fits in with the team’s larger vision for the product. Now I’ve asked my fellow Photoshop PM, Bryan O’Neil Hughes, to elaborate on some of the design goals that informed the effort. Bryan drove the development of this feature, so I thought you’d like to hear his perspective (in this post’s extended entry).


    8:29 AM | Permalink | Comments [19]

    March 20, 2009

    Scott Kelby’s blog comes to Photoshop

    I’m very happy to see that you can now read Scott Kelby’s Photoshop Insider blog right within PS CS4. Check out Scott’s post for more info & the download link. The panel was created with the help of Configurator. (For similar panels that let you read Julieanne Kost’s blog and mine inside PS, see previous.) [Via Bryan O’Neil Hughes]

    11:39 AM | Permalink | Comments [3]

    March 19, 2009

    Adjustments & the future of the Photoshop UI

    The new Adjustments panel in Photoshop CS4 is a polarizing feature. Some people love it; others, not so much. My job is to help improve things as we move forward, so I want to hear your feedback.

    Just asking for comments in a vacuum, however, isn’t going to produce useful results. Therefore I’m planning to publish three related posts:

    1. The bigger picture of where we’re going with the Photoshop interface, and why
    2. An overview of the advantages Adjustments provides right now
    3. Some ideas on how to improve it in the future

    As for feedback on this post, for now please focus on the big picture. The subsequent posts will provide a chance to gather specific, actionable feedback about the current & future versions of the panel. Preamble aside, please read on in this post’s extended entry.


    6:52 AM | Permalink | Comments [50]

    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):

    9:51 AM | Permalink | Comments [7]

    February 25, 2009

    Optional plug-in disables trackpad rotation

    During the CS4 development cycle, the Photoshop and Bridge teams worked closely with Apple* to support the multitouch gestures supported on MacBook Air and newer MacBook Pro systems.  As a result you can zoom and rotate documents using three-finger combinations.


    The rub is that especially on the latest systems (with the enormous trackpads), it can be too easy to zoom or rotate accidentally.  Unfortunately Photoshop doesn’t ship with a preference that would govern the behavior.  Therefore we’ve released an optional plug-in that will disable zooming and rotating via the keyboard if you’d like.  Just drop it into your Plug-Ins folder, restart Photoshop, and you’ll be set.


    * Next time you hear someone start in with a bunch of “Adobe doesn’t care about the Mac” crap, I’d like you to think of this.  People here go the extra mile because they do care.  Deeply.

    2:47 PM | Permalink | Comments [36]

    February 24, 2009

    Photoshop CS4 update now available

    Adobe has released an update for Photoshop CS4 (Mac|Win). You can also get the update by choosing Help->Updates from within Photoshop. From the download page:


    • A number of issues that could cause slow performance have been addressed.
    • Pen barrel rotation with Wacom tablets now works correctly.
    • Photoshop now correctly recognizes 3D textures edited by a plug-in.
    • The quality of the results of Auto-Blend Layers (Stack Images) has been improved.
    • A problem that could result in a crash when pasting formatted text has been fixed.
    • A crash that could result from a corrupt font no longer occurs.


    I’m sorry that these problems got past us in testing, and the team thanks everyone who helped bang on the fixes before the update was released.


    [On a related note, InDesign CS4 has also been updated (Mac|Win); see the download pages for details.]

    10:06 PM | Permalink | Comments [68]

    February 23, 2009

    GridMaker panel released for Photoshop CS4

    I’m pleased to see that Andrew Ingram has released Gridmaker For Photoshop CS4. This panel helps build column-based layouts by setting guides at specified intervals; here’s a screenshot. Andrew notes that he hasn’t had time to polish various rough edges or to make a nicer looking UI, but I think the panel is useful even in its current form. Thanks to Andrew for his efforts to tune Photoshop for designers. For more info on why to use guides, plus a link to GridMaker for Fireworks, see previous.

    11:09 AM | Permalink | Comments [5]

    “Everyday Timesavers” now on Adobe TV

    If you hand over cash for CS4, what payoff will you see? Right now everyone’s got ROI on the brain. With that in mind, the Adobe evangelists are posting a series of short, to-the-point videos called “Everyday Timesavers.” New vids are due to go up every week.

    10:09 AM | Permalink | Comments [1]

    February 14, 2009

    Julieanne blogs, right inside Photoshop

    Adobe evangelist Julieanne Kost has started a blog in which she’s sharing all sorts of good miscellaneous tips. It’s already chock full of useful info, with lots more to come.

    Just for the heck of it, Jeff Tranberry & I fooled around with Configurator a bit and created a panel (see screenshot) that displays the RSS feed from Julieanne’s blog right inside Photoshop. Download the panel from her site, double click it to install, restart Photoshop, and then look under Window->Extensions for “Daily_PS_Tip.”

    And if you’d like to follow my blog from within Photoshop, well, why not? Here’s the download.

    All of this is more proof-of-concept right now than anything, but I believe that over time it’ll be possible to knit community & desktop together in some really interesting ways. For more thoughts on that subject, see my previous post about P2P notes inside PS.

    [Update: I’ve posted a new version of the panel for my blog. If you had problems installing the original version, you may want to try again.]

    8:45 AM | Permalink | Comments [8]

    February 11, 2009

    Bryan Hughes shares ideas, tips

    My fellow Photoshop PM/Best Man/unindicted co-conspirator* Bryan O’Neil Hughes has posted a guest entry on Scott Kelby’s blog.  In it Bryan talks about some of his favorite photographic enhancements in Photoshop CS4, and he shows off some new ideas for using the new Auto-Blend Layers options to combine flash/no-flash images.


    *And, any minute now, father.  Something is in the water, with Photoshop PM babies a go-go (four due in the next five months, Miles H. being first in the queue).  You know we’re doing it just for the cute test files...

    10:44 AM | Permalink | Comments [2]

    February 02, 2009

    Save ducats buying PS, Lightroom together

    You can knock 30% off the price of Lightroom 2 (upgrade or full unit) when purchasing it together with Photoshop CS4 (upgrade or full, standalone or in a Suite).  You can also save 50% on popular plug-ins when buying them together with Photoshop.  Check out the special offer page for full details. [Via]

    9:59 PM | Permalink | Comments [5]

    January 22, 2009

    Notes on a Flash CS4 update

    In response to my mention of a pending update for Photoshop CS4, I got a few reports of problems that have turned up in Flash CS4.  I forwarded them to Richard Galvan, the Flash PM, and he’s now posted some info on his blog.  If you’re a Flash user and have questions or comments on this subject, you may want to read Richard’s notes.

    9:27 AM | Permalink | Comments [2]

    January 19, 2009

    Photoshop CS4 update in development

    [Feb. 24: The update is now available.]

    In the time since Photoshop CS4 shipped, we’ve heard from some customers about various things not working as designed.  In particular, various Windows XP configurations can exhibit slowdowns.  A number of problems can be traced back to problems with video card drivers, but there are changes that Photoshop needs to make to improve the situation, and we’re working on an update that’ll be released soon.


    Photoshop performance QE lead Adam Jerugim writes,


    In an effort
    to ensure that this change addresses the issues we hope it does, we’ve
    created a small pre-release program that we’re opening to public volunteers.


    So if you’re a CS4 user who is experiencing performance issues and would
    like to help us test a potential fix, please email me @ adam dot jerugim at adobe dot com.


    Thanks for your patience with this and understand that we’re working as fast
    as possible to deliver a solution.


    The Photoshop Engineering Team



    I’m sorry we weren’t able to catch and fix all the issues that people have encountered.  If you’ve experienced problems and have some time to help bang on the fixes, we’d greatly appreciate your help.

    2:00 PM | Permalink | Comments [93]

    January 14, 2009

    What, exactly, does CS4 offer photographers & others?


    • Scott Kelby writes, "We were kind of surprised, but again on my blog last week, people are still asking the same questions, ‘What’s in CS4? Should I upgrade? Is it worth the upgrade? etc.,’ so we went into the studio to put together a comprehensive discussion on all of CS4’s new features."  Check out the crew’s video discussions on the subject.
    • Do you know about (and use) Bird’s-Eye View in Photoshop, or the Targeted Adjustment Tool in Camera Raw?  If not, give Derrick Story’s Five Adobe CS4 goodies for photographers a quick review.
    • Anita Dennis has pulled together an excellent list of Bridge CS4 tutorials.
    7:45 AM | Permalink | Comments [33]

    January 06, 2009

    Airtight Flash galleries come to PSCS4

    Felix Turner’s excellent Flash galleries (SimpleViewer, PostcardViewer, AutoViewer, and TiltViewer) have been integrated with Photoshop for some time.  Now with a little assist from PS scripter Jeff Tranberry, the processing module is compatible with CS4.  You can download the CS4 versions (self-installing via Extension Manager) as well as the CS3 versions from Felix’s Airtight Interactive site.

    7:13 PM | Permalink | Comments [11]

    January 05, 2009

    New tutorials: Masking in CS4, Bridge CS4

    Russell Brown is presenting some new techniques at Macworld on Wednesday, and he’ll be handing out a CD containing all his latest tips and tricks.  In the meantime he’s posted a pair of new videos:



    Fellow evangelists Terry White, Julianne Kost, and others will be on hand as well, so check out the theater schedule for complete details.

    4:27 PM | Permalink | Comments [4]

    December 30, 2008

    Extending Photoshop via SWF Panels: Tutorials

    If you’ve got some JavaScript/Flash/Flex chops and are looking for a mental exercise over the little holiday, heads up: Our friend Dr. Woohoo has been busily creating a large series of tutorials on how to develop AIR applications and Flash panels that can communicate with and drive Photoshop and Illustrator CS4.  The first two tutorials are online now.  Drew (the doc) writes:


    Enhanced Hello World
    Follow along with this tutorial to create a Hello World Flash panel for Photoshop. In this exercise, you will create a Flash plug-in within a Flex Builder MXML project. When you run the Flash panel within Photoshop, it will send code to Photoshop that, when executed, will display an alert dialog box with a message.

    Integrating your ExtendScripts
    In order to communicate to the host application (Photoshop or Illustrator CS4) using the CSXSLibrary SWC, our code is sent as a string message via BridgeTalk, which will then be evaluated once it reaches the host application. Not a big deal if we’re only sending a few lines of code at max, but when our ExtendScript code is lengthy, we would either have to manually wrap each line of code up as a string or use the work-around process we will use in this tutorial to simplify our life.


    On a related note, Drew recently appeared on Inside Digital Design Radio & TV, talking about how he uses programming to do things like design custom kimonos:


    Drew Trujillo, Designer–better known as Dr. Woohoo!–joins hosts Scott Sheppard and Gene Gable this week to share his background and an inside look at his amazing design work. Fusing the best of art, technology, and design Dr. Woohoo’s technical and programming background help him to bring his visions to life.

    2:56 PM | Permalink | Comments [1]

    December 28, 2008

    “Star Wars, nothing but Staaar Waaars…”

    Now that Flash CS4 offers “postcards in space”-style 3D transformations, you can do all sorts of simple, interesting things. On CreativePro.com Jeremy Schultz has posted a tutorial on creating a Star Wars-style text crawl using the new app.


    Photoshop CS4 offers a couple of interesting new ways to do something similar. First, because Smart Objects in CS4 now support perspective transformations, you can create some text, then transform it non-destructively while keeping everything editable. Here’s a quick recipe:



    1. Create your text. I suggest clicking & dragging out a rectangle using the text tool, then pasting in your text.
    2. Choose Layers->Smart Object->Convert to Smart Object.
    3. Hit Cmd-T/Ctrl-T to enter Free Transform mode.
    4. While hovering over one corner of the transform rectangle, hold Cmd-Opt-Shift/Ctrl-Alt-Shift, then start dragging. Hit Enter/Return when done.
    5. To change the perspective effect applied to the Smart Object, just hit Cmd-T/Ctrl-T again and you’ll be right back where you were. To edit the text, double click the SO layer to edit the original content in its own window.



    Photoshop CS4 Extended offers another cool option as well: turning the layer into a 3D postcard. Try this:


    1. Create the initial text layer as described above.
    2. Choose 3D->New 3D Postcard From Layer.
    3. Hit K on the keyboard to select the 3D Rotate Tool.
    4. Click and drag on the layer to rotate it in 3D space. Try holding Shift, then clicking and dragging vertically.
    5. Alternatively, use the on-canvas 3D manipulation widget and/or the other object/camera manipulation tools to rotate the 3D postcard layer.
    6. To edit the text, double click the name of the text layer listed in the Layers panel beneath Textures-Diffuse.



    Is one method better than the other? Not necessarily. Going the Smart Object route, you can use regular Photoshop transformation options & directly apply filters non-destructively. (Plus, of course, you’re not required to own Photoshop Extended.) The 3D postcard method offers much richer ways to manipulate the object using real 3D effects–for example, changing the focal length of the camera that’s viewing the text. It also lets you apply 3D lights, etc.
    One other thing: After Effects has supported postcards in space for many years, and the Adobe Exchange features a downloadable template for AE that makes the Star Wars effect easy.

    Thanks to Bill Murray for the title inspiration.

    1:50 PM | Permalink | Comments [1]

    December 17, 2008

    Supporting colorblind accesibility in CS4

    One of the sleeper features in Photoshop CS4 is new support for simulating color
    blindness.  My fellow PM Bryan O’Neil Hughes managed the development of the feature, so I invited him to share more info in a guest blog post. Read on for details.  –J.


    9:10 PM | Permalink | Comments [8]

    CS4 color picker now does CMYK

    Responding to reader feedback, developer Anastasiy Safari has added CMYK support and other tweaks (e.g. resizability) to the color picker panel I mentioned the other day.  Way to go, Anastasiy!


    You can download the panel here, unzip the file, and then drag the contents of the file into your "Adobe Photoshop CS4/Plug-Ins/Panels" directory.  (Don’t forget to delete the old one if you installed it earlier.)  After you relaunch Photoshop CS4, the panel will appear under Window->Extensions.


    Oh, and–indulging my inner 8-year-old for a second–to all those folks who were spraying bile at the idea of Flash panels not so long ago: "You like apples?  Well how do you like them apples?". ;-)

    7:30 AM | Permalink | Comments [19]

    December 15, 2008

    64-bit plug-ins now arriving

    I’ve recently fielded a few questions about if/when various popular plug-ins will be updated to run inside Photoshop CS4 when running in 64-bit mode.  (On 64-bit Windows OSes, you can install both 32- and 64-bit flavors of CS4 in parallel.  Existing plug-ins will run just fine in the 32-bit version, but to run in the 64-bit one they need to be updated.)


    Good news: the following developers have already updated their plug-ins:


    • Imagenomic’s Portraiture “eliminates the tedious manual labor of selective masking and pixel-by- pixel treatments to help you achieve excellence in portrait retouching.”
    • Alien Skin’s Bokeh “provides many techniques for realistic blurring and altering the mood of a scene, from changing the depth of field to placing a radial sweet spot and adding a vignette.”  and Meanwhile up-sizing tool BlowUp 2 “uses an innovative algorithm that temporarily converts pixels to a vector representation which results in perfectly smooth, crisp edges”.
    • Digital Anarchy’s Toon It is “a reliable, easy way to give photographs, still images and video frames that sought-after cartoon look. Turn your image into cartoon shading and outlines while preserving the details in human faces and figures.”  The company has also updated Knoll Light Factory 3.0, the lens flare-making toolkit “originally designed by Photoshop co-creator John Knoll to generate Photon Torpedoes in the Star Trek movies.”
    • ABSoft’s noise-reducing Neat Image is”indispensable in low-light (indoors, night, no-flash, astro) and high-speed (sport, action, children) photography.”
    • PixelGenius’s PhotoKit is “a photographer’s Plug-in toolkit comprising effects that offer accurate digital replications of analog photographic effects.”  Their PhotoKit Sharpener is a “Photoshop Plug-in that provides a complete Sharpening Workflow – capture to creative to output sharpening.”  The 64-bit versions are in beta.
    • Topaz Adjust “makes it easy to creatively adjust photo exposure, detail, and color for photo correction and effects.”
    • HDRSoft’s tone-mapping Photomatix lets you “reveal highlight and shadow details in an HDR image created from multiple exposures.”
    • Artlandia has updated their product line for CS4. SymmetryShop 2 lets you “easily make more sophisticated patterns, from a greater variety of objects, faster than ever before.”
    • PictureCode’s Noise Ninja is “a must-have tool for anyone shooting in low-light or fast-action situations — including news, sports, wedding, and event coverage.” The 64-bit version is in beta and can be downloaded from their site, and you can contact the developers if you’d like to know when the update has been officially released.


    Developer onOne is working on 64-bit versions, and Nik Software says they’re investigating support.  The list above is just what I’ve happened across so far, so please pass along other examples. [Via Bryan O’Neil Hughes, Carol Steele, Robert Frost, Philip Brown, and Ellie Kennard]

    8:14 AM | Permalink | Comments [9]

    December 14, 2008

    Deke’s new Configurator-made panel

    I’m delighted to see super Photoshop ninja Deke McClelland grabbing Adobe Configurator and using it to streamline the app for use with his forthcoming book:


    Interested as I am in all things Photoshop, I decided to put Configurator and Flash panels through their paces. So very late in the creation of Photoshop CS4 Channels & Masks One-on-One, I created a custom palette (screenshot) to provide access to common selection and masking features from one convenient (but tall) location. The book should be out in a month, but members of dekeOnline can download the palette today, for free, and install it in about a minute.

    Solid!  The panel is among the first of what I hope are many, many interesting remixes of the Photoshop UI, tailoring the work environment to specific needs & helping flow knowledge to right where it’s needed.

    11:24 PM | Permalink | Comments [4]

    December 10, 2008

    New scripts extend Bridge CS4

    Ever wanted to convert just about any file to JPEG from Bridge, or to attach browsed files to email?  Photographer/scripter/Bridge quality engineer David Franzen has your back, having posted a set of great scripts to the Adobe Exchange.  He writes:


    * Bridge E-Mailer Extension — Lets you e-mail files directly from Bridge.


    * Bridge Export to JPEG Extension — Create JPEG files quickly using the cached previews and thumbnails already in Bridge’s cache. This is a major update the the script I posted during CS3. Some examples of new features:


    • You can add the sRGB ICC profile
    • File naming options matching Batch Rename’s
    • Reusable export presets
    • Better UI for configuring options
    • Metadata options based on the new options in Save for Web.
    • FTP and E-mail

    * Preview Latest File — Enables and “auto preview” mode in a Bridge window that selects the latest file in the folder. This is designed to help users doing tethered shooting.


    10:53 PM | Permalink | Comments [16]

    December 06, 2008

    Photoshop gets a new color picker panel

    When painting in Photoshop, I’ve always found the little color ramp area on the Color panel (screenshot) pretty cramped.  At just 190×15 pixels, it occupies a princely 0.16% of the screen real estate on a 17″ monitor (or 0.07% on 30-incher!), and yet you’re supposed to use it to choose among 16.7 million colors.  The main Photoshop color picker is of course much larger and more powerful, but using it requires trips into a modal dialog box.


    Though we’ve yet to offer the color picker dialog in panel form, developer Anastasiy has created a SWF panel form of the picker (screenshot) that you can download for free.  Very cool!


    I’ve written to Anastasiy to suggest a few tweaks, and I hope this is the first of many alternate color pickers for Photoshop. (We’re also talking to Viktor Goltvyanitsa about bringing his ColorPalette panel–now part of Fireworks CS4–to PSCS4.)  Lastly, we’ll work to make sure these components can be dropped into Configurator panels.


    PS–A note on installation: Drop the contents of the ZIP file into your "Adobe Photoshop CS4/Plug-Ins/Panels" directory, then look under Window->Extensions.  All SWF files you drop into Panels or its subfolders appear under the Extensions submenu.

    9:55 AM | Permalink | Comments [26]

    November 30, 2008

    Details on Camera Raw 5.2 enhancements

    Photographer & author Shangara Singh points out some helpful links to Adobe documentation on the new features in Camera Raw 5.2:



    Side note: I love that it’s now possible to add one’s own notes to help entries. The Targeted Adjustment Tool entry refers repeatedly to the “TAT Tool,” which is as annoying as saying “SAT test” or “PIN number.” I’ve added a comment correcting the terminology. Pedants rejoice. ;-)

    10:22 AM | Permalink | Comments [18]

    November 26, 2008

    More Configurator info, ideas

    The Configurator team has put together a rather comprehensive user guide that features screenshots and guidance on using the application.  The app is designed to be very straightforward to use, but the guide can help answer questions as you start using Configurator more intensively.  The team has also provided a list of known issues–rough edges & their workarounds.


    Don’t be shy about letting us know how you’d like to see the tool evolve.  We’d like to make it both broader (supporting more Suite apps) and deeper (offering richer functionality and more refinements).  A few ideas we’re kicking around:


    • Support containers (sub-tabs, accordions, etc.) that would make it easy to provide more content within a single panel
    • Offer better localization/auto-layout (so that a tab could be switched from English to German to Japanese on the fly; this is essential if we’re to use Configurator to create content that ships in the box)
    • Include more widgets that can be dragged in (e.g. a foreground/background color indicator/selector like the one at the bottom of the PS toolbar)
    11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments [11]

    Bridge CS4 Output module updated

    A new update to the Bridge CS4 output module adds the much-requested ability to specify header and/or footer text in PDF files (screenshot), and it reduces the size of the Web galleries it produces.  (JPEG quality is now set at 9;  previously it was maxed out, which produced excessive size without offering a visible advantage.)  You can download the update for Mac and Windows from Adobe.com.

    7:09 AM | Permalink | Comments [18]

    November 17, 2008

    Pixel Bender arrives in Photoshop

    I’m delighted to announce that the Pixel Bender Gallery plug-in for Photoshop CS4 is now available for download from Adobe Labs.  Key points:


    • It runs filters really, really fast on your graphics card (GPU)
    • The plug-in is not one filter, but rather a harness into which you can drop Pixel Bender files (.PBK and .PBG)
    • Pixel Bender also runs cross-platform in After Effects CS4 & Flash Player 10
    • The filters people write for Flash will also work in Photoshop
    • We should therefore see an explosion in the number of new Photoshop filters becoming available


    I recorded a quick (1 minute) demo movie of the plug-in in action.  The package includes great sample filters from developers Joa Ebert, Petri Leskinen, Frank Reitberger, Jerry Lin, and Allen Chou (thanks again, guys), and you can grab new ones from the Adobe Exchange & other developer blogs.  Simply drop the tiny PBK text files into the "Pixel Bender Files" folder that’s created in your Photoshop CS4 folder, open the filter (Filters->Pixel Bender->Pixel Bender Gallery), and go to town.


    Miscellaneous notes:


    • The Pixel Bender plug-in has the same GPU requirements as Photoshop CS4.  The more memory on your card, the larger the images you can process with it.
    • This being a Labs release, it’s a little less polished & a little more utilitarian than what you’d expect from a filter that’s installed by default.  (For example, you can’t click onto the filter preview to manipulate parameters directly.)  Even so, we expect it to work well.
    • A couple of commenters have given me grief about Photoshop’s old-school Radial Blur & Mosaic filters (the former for not having a live preview, the latter for not offering independent height/width controls).  Both requests are addressed by filters included in this download.  (The radial blur option does spin only, but you can grab Ryan Phelan’s Zoom Blur sample to do zooming.)
    • Adobe has released various PB developer tools as well.  Engineering manager Kevin Goldsmith provides details on his blog.


    Fundamentally, Pixel Bender demonstrates that Adobe’s significant architectural investments are delivering a faster, more interactive, much more easily extensible Photoshop & Creative Suite, now and in the future.



    7:06 AM | Permalink | Comments [16]

    November 11, 2008

    CS4 tryouts ready for download

    Photoshop CS4, Bridge CS4, and the other Adobe CS4 products are now available for download from Adobe.com.  Enjoy!

    5:32 PM | Permalink | Comments [23]

    All PSCS4 menu items & their scripts

    Descend with me, won’t you, into the deepest nerd-mines…


    In order to support Configurator, we needed to create a rather gigantic spreadsheet ("The Big List") that included the text string for nearly every menu item in Photoshop, along with the JavaScript (ExtendScript) equivalent of each.  We also filled in descriptions for many of the items, and Configurator uses these when displaying tooltips. 

    In case this stuff is useful to you (e.g. you’re a scripter and just want to know the brute-force way to execute some menu item), I’ve posted the XLS and CSV flavors of the list for download.  (I say "brute force" because these strings were generated by the Scripting Listener plug-in & in many cases aren’t as elegant as what one could write by hand.)

    1:07 PM | Permalink | Comments [3]

    November 08, 2008

    CS4 desktops, screensavers now available

    Adobe evangelist Terry White has posted some CS4 logo desktop images plus screensavers for Mac & Windows. (Just to spare you any suspense, the screensavers are pretty minimal; here’s a screenshot.)

    10:51 AM | Permalink | Comments [6]

    November 07, 2008

    A bit more metadata geekery

    • The File Info interface in Photoshop, Bridge, and the other CS4 products can be extended by creating panels using Adobe Flex.  Not everyone uses Flex or aspires to learn ActionScript, however.  Fortunately photographer John Beardsworth has found it fairly simple to migrate CS3-style panels to the CS4 architecture using a simple text editor.  He shares some tips on his blog.
    • Adobe metadata PM Gunar Penikis documents the ins & outs of importing and exporting metadata in CS4.  If you’re using metadata templates, especially in Bridge, please note how the various options intersect with Camera Raw settings.  Short tip: to avoid possible conflicts, the best practice is to create templates from a blank file.
    • Gunar also points out the updated XMP SDKs & XMP Toolkit now posted on the Adobe XMP Developer Center.
    11:37 AM | Permalink | No Comments

    November 02, 2008

    CS4: What’s in it for Photographers?

    I thought photographers might like to have a single, consolidated list of all the enhancements in Photoshop CS4 & Bridge CS4 that can help improve their productivity.  Photographer/author/fellow Photoshop PM Bryan O’Neil Hughes kindly stepped up with a guest blog entry, below.  It’s a long list, so I’ve put it into this post’s extended entry.  Read on for the good 411…  –J.


    8:58 AM | Permalink | Comments [47]

    October 31, 2008

    PSCS4 shortcuts available

    Just a quick note: Photographer Trevor Morris has posted a comprehensive list of Photoshop CS4 keyboard shortcuts, building on his previous entries for Bridge, Camera Raw, and earlier versions of Photoshop.  He’s also posted a custom shortcuts file that adds and tweaks some keystrokes.  Thanks for the great resources, Trevor.


    [Related/previous: Shortcuts changed in CS4]

    8:32 AM | Permalink | Comments [4]

    October 29, 2008

    Lenticular adventures in CS4

    One of the subtleties of Photoshop CS4 Extended‘s 3D support is the
    way it facilitates creation of images for use in lenticular printing.   According to Wikipedia,


    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.

    2:16 PM | Permalink | Comments [13]

    October 28, 2008

    Get better color online through Flash Player 10

    Let’s not mince words: Presenting your images through Flash is now the best way to preserve the fidelity of their color online.


    Support for color management is in Web browsers is rare (only Safari supports it by default, and the IE team is apparently missing in action).  Color management thus can’t be counted on from browsers, and images display differently in different browsers. Flash Player, on the other hand, is ubiquitous, consistent, and reliable–and now in Flash Player 10 it offers basic color management support.  It’ll take a little while for the new FP10 to proliferate, but this is a huge step forward.  Color mgmt. in Flash will finally put an end to colors shifting when you move from PS to Flash.


    I’ve asked Adobe color management expert Peter Constable to provide further details.  For those, read on.  For my take on why Web designers should give a damn about this stuff, see previous.


    10:27 PM | Permalink | Comments [30]

    October 26, 2008

    Feelin’ a little love

    We never stop looking for ways to make Photoshop better, but every so often it’s nice to take a deep breath and reflect on how far the app has come. Here are some nice props I’ve seen in the last few days about CS4:


    • On CreativePro.com Ben Long says, “This is what a must-have upgrade looks like:
      • New features you’ll use regularly
      • Fixes to old features
      • Performance and stability enhancements
      • Interface improvements (that don’t interfere with the stuff you already like).

    Tick off every one of those points and you get Photoshop CS4.”

    • Talking about the 64-bit version of CS4, customer Jeff Holmes writes, “This is the product of the century. The only thing I’m waiting for is the plugins to catch up. I do the plugin work in the 32-bit version and design work in 64-bit, but it’s worth the hassle. In my opinion this release is worth far more than it costs. Photoshop on steroids. It helps to have as much hardware as you can afford, too, but my jaw is still hanging after a week of playing.” [Via Adam Jerugim]
    • Scott Kelby reports from Photo Plus East that ”Adobe’s booth was a madhouse. Lots of buzz around Lightroom 2 and CS4, with back-to-back sessions going all day. The crowd was 10 deep.”
    • Writing for MacWorld, Lesa Snider King says, “Bridge got a makeover, a speed boost, and a new Review Mode that’ll make photographers squeal with joy… With the workspace overhaul and speed increase, Bridge is a real joy to use.” (Here’s a complete list, with video demo, of what’s new in Bridge CS4.)


    Thanks for the kind words, guys!

    10:19 AM | Permalink | Comments [11]

    October 24, 2008

    Tutorial: Creating Flash panels for Photoshop

    Matthew Keefe has posted a brief tutorial on how to create your first Flash panel for Photoshop CS4. To load any SWF in Photoshop as a panel, just drop it into the Adobe Photoshop CS4/Plug-Ins/Panels directory, then launch PS and look under Window->Extensions. To make a SWF communicate with Photoshop via scripting, however, a bit more work is required, and that’s where Matthew’s tutorial comes in. If you create something cool, or if you see interesting SWF panels popping up, please let us know.


    9:34 AM | Permalink | Comments [2]

    Pixel Bender + Your Photos

    I’m a big fan of Todd Dominey’s SlideShowPro component for Lightroom (using it pretty much incessantly), so I’m extremely pleased to see Todd adding support for Adobe’s new Pixel Bender imaging technology. PB is a way of running fast filter code in Flash Player 10, After Effects CS4, and–very shortly–Photoshop CS4. In this example (which you’ll need FP10 to see properly), color images are being converted to B&W on the fly, and the gallery is running a blur effect as the transition.

    On-the-fly filtering opens up all kinds of possibilities for altering images non-destructively, from adding custom vignettes to applying sharpening (example). At a more humble (but arguably even more important level), the same graphics architecture enables color management support in Flash for the first time. Look for a more detailed post on that subject soon.

    Pixel Bender support isn’t yet in the Lightroom version of SlideShowPro, but I’m looking forward to it. As for Photoshop, we decided to give the PB plug-in for CS4 a couple more weeks to bake, so look for it on Adobe Labs in early November. (In the meantime, just to be annoying, let me mention that being able to cruise over to the Pixel Bender Exchange, download filters (e.g. a fast zoom blur with preview), drop them into PS, and have added super-fast filters without restarting the app doesn’t suck at all.)

    9:10 AM | Permalink | Comments [1]

    October 22, 2008

    Per-layer metadata comes to Photoshop

    Fair warning: this is likely to be a pretty nerd-tastic blog entry, and it’s the kind of thing most people will never know or care about.  Unless, that is, someone leverages it to do extremely cool, useful things.  Right now it’s kind of a toss-up.


    In summary, Photoshop’s scripting system can read and write parameters (keywords, descriptions, etc.) for each layer, meaning you can more richly tag layers with info–something that’s highly valuable when moving PSDs downstream into other apps.  Adobe hasn’t yet leveraged this support to enable new features, but the support is in place for developers.  Read on for the details.


    11:35 PM | Permalink | Comments [16]

    October 19, 2008

    Making progress on metadata

    Although it’s not especially glamorous, metadata–information about files–is vital.  Without metadata, files are like unlabeled cans on a shelf: you’d have to open up each one to find out what it contains.  Adobe has been making some notable progress with metadata lately:


    • The company has recently teamed up with Apple, Canon, Microsoft, Nokia, and Sony to form the Metadata Working Group.  The group aims to drive standards & best practices that’ll enable better compatibility now & in the future.  Metadata PM Gunar Penikis shares more details on his blog.


    • Save for Web has been enhanced in CS4 to help photographers preserve copyright and contact info without adding unnecessary bloat to Web-ready images.  A new menu (screenshot) enables fine-grained control over exactly what metadata goes out in a file.  Special thanks go to Richard Anderson and the ASMP/UPDIG folks, with whom we worked closely in defining the implementation, for their guidance & for keeping us on our toes.


    • File Info in Photoshop, Bridge, and the other CS4 apps is now Flash-based.  Most people may not know or care (that is, you don’t have to do anything different/weird because of this architectural change), but the door is now open to building network-aware metadata components.  A newspaper, for example, could have File Info pull a keyword list from a central server, ensuring that everyone uses the same controlled vocabulary. Here’s a screenshot of an experimental panel the metadata team whipped up with Yahoo, offering related terms for each keyword.  I look forward to sharing a mapping/geotagging example, hopefully soon.


    • You can also use a Flash UI to read/write metadata from a panel (palette).  A developer could, for example, create a panel that reads license terms from the image, determines whether you still have rights to use it, and displays the photographer’s contact info.


    • XMPScript, the XMP ExtendScript API, offers JavaScript access to the Adobe XMP Core and XMP Files
      libraries.  This support makes it easier to get, modify, and write metadata.  Details can be found in the JavaScript Tools Guide installed with the ExtendScript Toolkit (under Utilities).


    • Layer-based metadata makes it possible to associate information with individual layers.  This one deserves its own post.
    2:21 PM | Permalink | Comments [11]

    October 17, 2008

    Where did Extract & others features go?

    We’ve been doing a great deal of architectural rework in Photoshop to make good things possible now and in the future (64-bit, a new GPU architecture, better localization support, etc.).  That means we have to comb through older features and determine whether it’s worth investing in modernizing them, or whether the time would be better spent elsewhere.


    In CS4 we made some hard calls and retired a number of features.  Some of these can be added back into CS4 (see Mac & Windows downloads) while others are gone for good.


    • Our plan is to replace the Extract plug-in with improved versions of its constituent pieces, built directly into Photoshop.  Some of these pieces (e.g. Refine Edge) are in place now while others are still in development.  In the meantime Extract remains available as an optional download.
    • Picture Package, Contact Sheet, Web Photo Gallery, and PDF Presentation have been replaced by the new Output module in Bridge CS4.  Of these the first three are in the optional download package, while PDF Presentation no longer works in CS4.
    • Photomerge remains part of PSCS4, but the interactive dialog (where you can drag photos around instead of just letting Photoshop do the work automatically) has been moved to the optional downloads package.  (Thanks for the feedback on that subject.)
    • The Mac TWAIN plug-in is quite long in the tooth and has been moved into the optional downloads, as has the Pattern Maker plug-in.
    • The download also contains optional plug-ins (Bigger Tiles) and content (Textures for Texturizer, WPG presets) that used to ship on the product disc.


    As noted earlier, it’s never fun removing/retiring functionality lest we break an existing workflow.  Having said that, we need to prune the app to reduce redundancy and to make sure effort goes into the most valuable tools.  Hopefully we’re striking a good balance.

    3:55 PM | Permalink | Comments [91]

    October 16, 2008

    Shortcut changes in PSCS4

    By and large, keyboard shortcut changes suck.  Mature tools are like musical instruments, and you don’t go moving the piano keys or cello strings without a great need to do so.  It’s painful.  We know.


    Sometimes, though, a little pain enables much better things.  In the CS4 release, we have made some improvements that result in a few shortcuts needing to change.  First, the improvements:


    1. Photoshop is now consistent with both Mac & Windows shortcuts for switching among open documents.  The Mac-standard Cmd-~ (technically Cmd-`) now cycles from one open document to the next.  Adding Shift cycles in reverse order.  These shortcuts work on both Mac & Windows.  In addition, Photoshop continues to support Ctrl-Tab/Shift-Ctrl-Tab on both platforms, just as it always has, for the same function.
    2. The app is now consistent with other Suite tools (Illustrator, InDesign, Flash) in setting the zoom level to 100% via Cmd-1/Ctrl-1. (PS will continue to support the existing Cmd-Opt-0 as a duplicate shortcut.)
    3. You can drag-resize any brush cursor by holding down Ctrl-Opt (Mac)/Alt-right click (Win), then dragging.  Add Cmd (Mac)/Shift (Win) to the combo to adjust brush hardness instead of size.
    4. People doing video work in Photoshop strongly requested single-key shortcuts for moving among frames.  You can switch these on/off via the "Enable Timeline Shortcut Keys" command that lives in the Animation panel fly-out menu.
    5. Photoshop supports what we call spring-loaded shortcuts, enabling you to jump from any tool to any other temporarily.


    Some of these enhancements necessitate some other changes.  This all gets pretty esoteric, so I’m putting the nerdery into this post’s extended entry.  Read on for that.


    12:21 PM | Permalink | Comments [67]

    October 15, 2008

    PSCS4 extensibility: Flash, 64-bit

    Now that Photoshop CS4 is shipping, let’s talk extensibility.




    • By and large, your existing plug-ins should work just fine with CS4.  Photoshop PM Bryan O’Neil Hughes reports that when it comes to PS on the Mac and PS on Windows running in 32-bit mode, "Our in-house testing proved early on that with very rare exceptions, ‘if it worked in CS3, it works in CS4.’" Developers like onOne and Digital Anarchy have already issued statements of CS4 compatibility, and I expect more to follow.
    • If you’re running Photoshop in 64-bit mode on Windows (Vista 64 or XP64), you’ll need updated, 64-bit-native versions of your plug-ins.  (The 64-bit version of Photoshop can’t host 32-bit processes, and vice versa.)  We’ve been providing documentation to plug-in vendors for many months, and the 64-bit-savvy CS4 SDK is publicly available for download.  I expect vendors to be trying to gauge the level of interest in 64-bit versions of their tools, so if you’re in that camp, you might want to give them some friendly encouragement.
    • Photoshop on Windows consists of two binaries (one 32-bit, one 64-bit) which can be installed in parallel as completely separate applications.  This means you can use the 32-bit version to run older plug-ins while waiting for them to go 64-bit-native.


    Flash Panels:


    • Support for running SWFs as panels represents a development renaissance for Photoshop & the Creative Suite.  It’s never been possible to create panels for Photoshop in the past*, and developing for other apps meant learning different APIs and writing different code for each.  Now you can create cross-platform, cross-application, non-modal, vector-based, network-aware extensions using Flash or Flex.  This is going to kick serious ass, and the Photoshop Developer Center now features the Photoshop Panel Developer’s Guide.  Look for more examples and documentation soon.


    If you’re a developer and have questions, feel free to drop Bryan a line so that he can point you in the right direction.

    *Unless you were a really clever developer like the guys at Nik Software–and they’re the first to say “Oh yeah, that was awful”; now it’s possible in an easy, reliable way.

    10:13 PM | Permalink | Comments [12]

    Quick notes on Camera Raw 5

    Tom Hogarty has posted some brief notes about Camera Raw 5, now shipping as part of Photoshop CS4.  He writes,


    One important note is that the new camera support added in the last Camera Raw update for CS3 is not currently available in Camera Raw 5.0. We’ll be providing a Camera Raw 5.1 update next week that will include additional camera support.

    Camera Raw 5 offers:


    • Local adjustment brush
    • Graduated Filter
    • "Post Crop" Vignetting
    • Opacity for the cloning/healing tool
    • Improved Auto Adjustment
    • Support for the new Camera Profiles that are still in beta form


    Oh, and Thomas Knoll & co. just might have a couple of additional tricks up their sleeves–things one might see in an update due soon.  (I’m not sayin’, I’m just sayin’…)

    8:38 AM | Permalink | Comments [5]

    CS4 is out the door!

    Happy Ides of October: I’m delighted to say that Adobe Photoshop CS4 and Photoshop CS4 Extended, along with the whole Creative Suite 4, are now shipping.  The product tryouts haven’t yet been posted to Adobe.com, but you can sign up to be notified when they’re available.  In the meantime you can grab the new Flash Player 10 to enable all kinds of good new stuff (Pixel Bender, 3D, etc.).

    7:08 AM | Permalink | Comments [22]

    October 08, 2008

    Introducing Adobe Configurator

    By now you’ve probably heard me talk many times about our desire to better manage the complexity and power of Photoshop.  The very general interface that Photoshop presents is incredibly flexible, but it can be overwhelming, and it doesn’t do much to show you just what you need when you need it.  We can do better.


    It should be possible to:


    • Make Photoshop “everything you need, nothing you don’t”
    • Navigate Photoshop as task-based pieces (think workspaces on steroids), each showing only what you need for the task at hand
    • Let anyone remix the Photoshop UI to fit their needs
    • Make it drop-dead easy to share these remixes


    Adobe Configurator (screenshots 1, 2), a new utility that’s due to ship on Adobe Labs around the end of the month, is a key part of our strategy.  Configurator makes it easy to snap together your own Photoshop panels (a.k.a. palettes).  Think of Configurator as a box of Legos–an app that lets you drag and drop all the tools and menu items in Photoshop, call actions & scripts, and add widgets (images, videos, other SWFs, etc.).  I’ve posted a 10-minute demo on Russell Brown’s site.  (If you don’t have QuickTime installed, you can watch it on YouTube as well, though the compression quality there is pretty abysmal.)


    We’ve shown a beta of Configurator to members of the press & have been getting great responses:


    • Imaging Resource: “Dead easy. But we expected it to be easy. What we didn’t expect was just how useful the little panel we built would actually be.”
    • TG Daily: “[I]t is very intuitive to use and enables users to integrate virtually any function of Photoshop in a custom panel.”

    • Outback Photo: “We personally love the new Adobe Configurator 1.0… Using the new Configurator is as easy as gets.”


    We’re putting the finishing touches on Configurator right now, so look for it on Labs in the next few weeks.  [Update: It’s live now!] (I’ll of course post news about it here.)  We look forward to hearing your thoughts & using your feedback to move the tool forward.


    [Updates: Sorry, I forgot to mention that Configurator requires Photoshop CS4.  It’s building on top of the Flash panel extensibility system that’s new to CS4.  We wanted to make sure people could create for that system without having to be coders.  If you do write ActionScript, however, you can go much further using Flash and/or Flex.  You can create independent SWF panels, and you can incorporate your SWFs into Configurator-made panels via drag and drop, just as easily as I added an image in the demo.]


    PS–If you’d like to be able to configure other applications (Illustrator, InDesign, Flash, Fireworks, etc.) via Configurator, please make a little noise.  We’ve designed the tool such that the other apps just need to supply an XML file that lists their menu items plus the associated scripting commands, as well as PNGs for their tools.  Hearing your interest would help the PMs of other apps raise the priority of supplying those assets & testing Configurator.

    12:59 PM | Permalink | Comments [77]

    September 30, 2008

    Julieanne talks Camera Raw, CS4

    In addition to the Bridge resources mentioned yesterday, Julieanne Kost has posted some detailed overviews of Camera Raw 5.0 and the rest of Photoshop CS4:


    • ADOBE TV The Complete Picture – Episode 08
      Let Julieanne show you the power behind the new features in Camera Raw 5. Discover how to make non-destructive localized corrections as well as create special effects using the Adjustment Brush, Graduated Filter, Post Cropping Vignettes and more!




    These entries join the wealth of info already posted on her site.

    9:12 AM | Permalink | No Comments

    September 29, 2008

    What’s new in Bridge CS4?

    In this cycle our goal was to unlock the power of Bridge.  Bridge was already a highly capable, feature-rich application, so instead of slathering it with new features, our first task was to get more people to discover and use what’s there.  That meant changing the bang for the buck: raising the discoverability & usability of existing features while lowering the barriers to use (speed, launch time, memory usage).  We also wanted to add some key features that would help photographers while broadening the appeal of Bridge for all creative professionals–things like Web gallery creation & upload, and PDF contact sheet creation.


    Adobe evangelist Julieanne Kost hast posted a great 30-minute tour of the new version:


    A higher-res version is available on the Adobe TV site, and Julieanne has posted an excellent 5-page PDF overview that covers the details.  If you’re looking for a quicker bulleted list, read on.


    9:59 PM | Permalink | Comments [21]

    Photoshop Extended upgrade options

    A couple of folks have written to ask whether it’s possible to upgrade from Photoshop CS3 Extended to Photoshop CS4 (the non-Extended version), or whether once you’ve bought Extended once you can only buy Extended in the future.  The short story is that you have a choice.


    It turns out there’s an oversight in our pricing and upgrade mechanisms, and CS4 pricing materials don’t list a way to go CS3 Extended->CS4 standard.  We’re working to get that corrected now.  You’ll need to call Customer Service if you’d like to go down this route, but you might want to wait a few days for them to get the details squared away.


    Ultimately, if you choose to buy Photoshop Extended, we want it to be because it’s the version that you’ve determined best fits your needs–not because you don’t have options.

    4:07 PM | Permalink | Comments [36]

    September 26, 2008

    Dreams Un-deferred



    • My wife: “What’s the hardest part of your job?”
    • Me, instantly: “Waiting.”


    Edison’s bit about genius–maybe now we’d say innovation–being “1% inspiration and 99% perspiration” is as true now as when he coined the phrase.  Put simply, it sometimes takes a hell of a long time to get things done.  Whatever the reasons, it’s worth celebrating when you’ve finally sweated your way to victory.


    Flash Panels for All

    Eight years, man.  Eight freakin’ years it took me to get Flash panels into a mainstream app.  In summer 2000 we cloned the Flash Player, then used it to let scripters extend the LiveMotion authoring environment (dropping in new panels that could build animations, draw shapes, etc.).  Two weeks after becoming the first app to ship such support, however, we got cancelled.  (Flash and other Macromedia apps introduced their own support soon after.)


    I put the vision on ice until 2005, when we learned Adobe was acquiring Macromedia.  A few days later I met Macromedia CTO Kevin Lynch at an event and said, “I know we can’t discuss anything non-public yet, but do you guys offer any documentation about embedding the Flash Player?”  Since then I’ve ranted, cajoled, browbeat, and wheedled to bring this support to Photoshop and the rest of the Suite.  It got to the point where PS engineers said I’d have to put five bucks in a swear jar each time I brought up “the F word.”


    You may be skeptical about the impact and merit of Flash panels, but I predict you won’t be for long.  No one will care about it as a feature per se.  They’ll care when we start using it to do really interesting things–making the Suite UI dramatically more flexible, tying community and collaboration into the apps, delivering better features faster through shared code, and more.


    The Photoshop Nation, Inside Photoshop

    Once you have a lightweight way to make an application skin network-aware, all kinds of interesting things can happen.  I’ve always wondered why, when there are millions of active Photoshop users, you’re on your own inside the app.  Why can’t we make it ridiculously easy to add your knowledge to the tools, and to benefit from others’ wisdom?  We’re at the threshold of making that a reality.


    Flash & After Effects Love Each Other

    Back in 1999, long before I came to work here, I started lobbying my contacts at Macromedia and Adobe to create something I called the “Flash Interchange Format”–some XML representation of at least the basics of an animation (object name, position, scale, etc.) so that I could use Flash and After Effects together. Unfortunately Flash remained locked to the inscrutable FLA format.


    Now Flash is moving to XFL (no, not the one with pro wrestlers playing football).  By dusting off some code we wrote in ’01 (I know, I know–move on already), AE has enabled XFL export for Flash to import.  InDesign also exports XFL, and the format should enable much greater integration with Photoshop and third-party apps in the future.  Vindication.


    Flash Gets a Real Timeline, More

    Suffice it to say I’m very, very pleased to see Flash CS4 to add a more After Effects-style approach to animation, complete with editable automatic motion paths, animation presets, control over individual parameters, and much more.  I always believed Web animators deserved these things, and now they’ll get ’em.  Check out Lee Brimelow’s video demo for a great run-through. [19-minutes]



    It’s a long road sometimes, and it never ends.  I’ve planted seeds over the last ~30 months that’ll still take years to bear fruit.  (Cue Cake’s The Distance)  But dammit, I’m not just whistling Dixie, and we’re going to make things happen come hell or high water. Always outnumbered, never outgunned.


    Never surrender.


    Postscript: I hope the text above doesn’t come off sounding too self-congratulatory.  I’m sure that plenty of other people thought of and requested the same things I’ve wanted, which is why we’re now seeing these features become reality.  And just as Flash is doing things that LiveMotion introduced years ago, Photoshop is introducing some features that have long been in Fireworks, Painter, etc.  The key thing, of course, is that the features get to the customers who need them, by hook or by crook.  That, at the end of the day, is the whole reason I came to Adobe.

    12:17 PM | Permalink | Comments [13]

    September 25, 2008

    Illustrator CS4 goodness

    Among the comments on my list of details polished in Photoshop CS4, a number of people wished for a similar list for Illustrator & suggested that the Illustrator team start a blog.  As it happens, my friend & former Illustrator PM Mordy Golding runs the great Real World Illustrator blog, and he’s posted some illuminating resources:



    In the past I’ve said "I swear because I care," and caring a lot about Illustrator, I’ve directed some well-intentioned swearing in their direction over the years.  I distinctly remember sitting at my desk at Agency.com some nine years ago and hearing a (long since departed) Illustrator PM dismiss my request by saying, "Oh, customers don’t want multiple pages."  (At that point I started wondering, "Now, is it still murder if it wasn’t premeditated, and can I claim temporary insanity…?")  That’s why I’m delighted that they’ve both addressed some eternal requests (yay, multiple pages–er, artboards!) and have polished lots of existing functionality.  As Mordy writes,


    In the past, Illustrator had a reputation of adding new features, but never really going back to refine them in subsequent versions (i.e.,gradient mesh, 3D, brushes, graphs). With an improved Appearance panel, more capable graphic styles, a revamped gradient feature, better clipping mask behavior, isolation mode, and Smart Guides in CS4, it’s refreshing to see the team adding much needed polish to some of these "older" features.


    The more I’ve played with the new Illustrator, the more I’ve found the "little" changes to have a big impact.  I think you will, too.

    12:00 PM | Permalink | Comments [9]

    September 24, 2008

    OS X Widgets in CS4

    A few comments I’ve received from curious readers (plus the occasional enraged wingnut ;-)) indicate a small point of confusion: some Mac users believe that document windows in CS4 on OS X use non-standard red/yellow/green “gumdrop” widgets for closing, minimizing, and maximizing documents.  They do not.  I just used Snapz Pro to compare the widgets in Photoshop to those in iTunes, NetNewsWire, and other apps; they are identical.  Just thought we should clear that up.


    Tangentially related:

    • Deke McClelland has posted an overview of the tabbed document UI at Lynda.com.
    • The Adobe XD (Experience Design) team plans to launch a new blog next week, and they tell me they’ll be offering more details about how the CS4 UI came to be.
    10:33 AM | Permalink | Comments [7]

    September 23, 2008

    Photoshop CS4 videos from Adobe

    Adobe’s own Russell Preston Brown has posted a number of new video tutorials demonstrating features in Photoshop CS4.  He’s taken a particular shine to the 3D features in Extended.  Russell writes,


      • Content-Aware Scale: Once you learn about this new, intelligent, scaling technology in Adobe Photoshop CS4, you’ll be tempted to never use the standard Transform tools again.  Russell Brown says, “This new feature is down right amazing!”. Check it out!
      • Spherical Panorama: Learn about one of the new 3D features in Adobe Photoshop CS4 Extended. In this tutorial you will discover how to wrap any image around the inside of a sphere, to create a panorama. Then simply step into this digital space and use some of the new CS4 tools to look around your new world.
      • 3D Quick Look: Get ready for an incredible 3D experience, as you view this quick-look at some of the new 3D features in Adobe Photoshop CS4.  This tutorial will take you through some of Russell Brown’s favorite new tools for working, and experimenting, with 3D objects.
      • 3D Mesh from Grayscale: Bring 2D images back to life with this new Adobe Photoshop CS4 Extended technique for converting grayscale images into 3D objects.  This tutorial will also demonstrate how to generate 3D depth maps directly from the image itself.
      • 3D Eclipse Animation: Learn about some of the advanced features in Adobe Photoshop CS4 Extended for animating 3D objects. In this project we will create a solar eclipse simulation from 2D images of the earth and moon.


    Meanwhile my fellow Photoshop PMs Bryan O’Neil Hughes & Zorana Gee offer some solid overviews of CS4 via Adobe TV.  Bryan gives a 10-minute quick tour of the meat & potatoes features, while Zorana focuses on what’s new in Extended, including direct painting onto 3D objects.

    9:54 PM | Permalink | Comments [24]

    September 22, 2008

    CS4: Sweating the Details

    I’m a perfectionist, and I deeply, viscerally want to smooth & polish every aspect of Photoshop.  Doing it all in any one cycle is impossible, but I’m proud to say we’ve put a ton of effort into sweating the details in CS4. 

    You’re going to see tons of flashier features in other write-ups, and of course I’ll cover them here, but for this cycle I want to lead with the little stuff–things you might not read about otherwise, but which can make a big difference while working. Read on for the details.


    11:54 PM | Permalink | Comments [161]

    (CS)4 On The Floor!

    I’m delighted to say that Photoshop CS4 and Photoshop CS4 Extended, along with the entire Creative Suite 4 lineup, have been officially announced!  I’ll have a ton to share over the days and weeks ahead, to be grouped under the new CS4 category, and the big product webcast is due shortly; there’s still time to sign up to watch.  In the meantime, tons of good resources are going live as I type:



    I’ll keep updating this list as I see new links appear (and feel free to suggest good ones via the comments).

    11:15 PM | Permalink | Comments [39]

    September 04, 2008

    CS4: Nearing the door

    The cat is officially clawing its way through the bag: Adobe has announced that the next version of the Creative Suite will be announced* just three weeks from now, on September 23rd.  The company plans to host a webcast (for which you can register here) covering the new product line-up at 1pm Eastern time Tuesday the 23rd.  Meanwhile we plan to show off a few more bits tomorrow morning at Photoshop World, so perhaps some interesting info will make its way online.


    *Announcing an announcement–getting very meta, eh?

    12:46 AM | Permalink | Comments [43]

    June 05, 2008

    Future Photoshop UI changes

    So, what’s Adobe up to interface-wise in the next versions of Creative Suite applications?


    We’ve been working hard to make the interfaces of the various apps more consistent.  Because the Adobe Fireworks and Dreamweaver betas are available on Adobe Labs, you can now see some of the interface changes that will appear in the next version of Photoshop as well.  I’d like to address some of the concerns and questions I hear bubbling up.  In particular, I hope to put Mac users’ minds at ease about a few things.


    First, I want to lay my Mac bona fides on the table.  I’ve been using the platform since Sept. 1984, and I really sweat the little details and conventions.  (That’s one reason I’ve raved about NetNewsWire, Panic’s Transmit, and other great Mac apps.)  I use Safari instead of Firefox in part because FF’s use of Windows-style buttons & form elements feels alien on my system.  So yeah, I care deeply about this stuff.


    As the CS3 product cycle was wrapping up, Adobe’s user interface designers started showing their ideas for subsequent releases.  Lots of things (tabbed documents, improved panel management, more usable workspaces, etc.) seemed like slam dunks.  On the other hand, the designs all featured a prominent "application frame"–a window containing both UI elements & documents–on both Mac and Windows.


    I think my initial reaction can be boiled down to three letters: "WTF?"


    "Are you telling me," I asked, "that we’re going to put a huge, battleship-gray box into the background on the Mac, as it is on Windows?  Why would we do that?"


    The designers pointed out that the app frame has a number of advantages:


    • It facilitates N-up (2-up, 3-up, etc.) document layouts that adapt as you adjust the interface.  Think "live window tiling"–great for comparing, compositing, etc.
    • It makes it easier to move the entire application and its contents, including from one monitor to another.
    • It prevents documents from getting obscured by panels (palettes).
    • It blocks out the contents of the desktop, minimizing visual clutter.  (A number of Mac users have requested this option for many years.  I’ve known quite a few people who open a small blank document, hit F to put it into full-screen mode, and then put it into the background to hide the desktop.  Willingness to live with that kind of hack demonstrates some genuine desire for a real fix.)


    On the Mac (unlike on Windows, where an app frame has always been present), using the app frame is optional.  It’s a one-click enable/disable via Window->Application Frame.  On either platform you can also float documents above the app frame, mixing them with docked windows if you’d like.  Whether on Mac or Windows, you can resize application windows by dragging any side, not just the lower-right corner.


    I’ve recorded a quick demo that shows the app frame enabled & disabled; documents in & out of tabs; and some of the N-up layout options available with or without the app frame enabled:


    After I’d used the app frame for a little while–well, what do you know?  I like it, and not because they pay me to say so.  It’s easy to flip the frame on and off, but I find that I like the way it reduces distractions.  Your mileage may vary, and that’s why we made using it an option.


    The app frame has brought to light the questions of what is & is not considered "Mac-like."  This inspired me to do a little investigation into the state of Mac software.


    It’s interesting to note that showpiece Mac apps like Scrivener and NetNewsWire feature the ability to run in full-screen mode, blocking out the desktop and other distractions.  Panic’s Coda Web development tool is among those combining interface and content into a single window.


    What about Apple’s own applications, as they would be presumably be the definition of Mac-like, right?  I noticed a couple of things:


    • The pro video apps (Final Cut Pro, Motion, Color, DVD Studio Pro) configure their windows/panels to take over one’s screen completely.
    • Aperture and iPhoto put all the UI into a window & optionally take over the screen in a dedicated full-screen mode.
    • The iLife and iWork apps (Keynote, Pages, iWeb) all feature a UI approach that marries together content & interface in a single window.  (For reference, here’s a little gallery of all these apps.)


    And so, I’d argue, putting UI + content into a single, manageable window (as the CS4 app frame does) isn’t "un-Mac-like" at all.  Despite my initial freak-out (the one being echoed by others when seeing an application frame in Fireworks), you could argue that the application frame makes Adobe tools more Mac-like–if "Mac-like" means "Apple application-like."


    I’ve also heard comments about the new Adobe apps’ custom interface elements and their ability to resize windows by dragging them from any side, not just from the lower-right corner (as required in most Mac apps).  On Daring Fireball John Gruber characterized this capability as "just like in Windows."  Digging a bit more, I fired up Final Cut Pro 6.0 and made some discoveries:


    • You can drag-resize panels and document windows from any side, not just from the lower-right corner.
    • The close/minimize/zoom buttons are extremely small; they always appear monochrome (instead of respecting the OS appearance preference of Blue vs. Graphite); and they don’t show a dot in the close box of files with unsaved changes.
    • The UI is full of unique elements that don’t appear elsewhere in the OS–e.g., custom scrollbars sitting next to OS-standard ones.


    I then took a look at Motion.  Again scrollbars are custom (though different from Final Cut’s), remaining monochrome regardless of OS appearance preference.  Application windows can be resized individually and together from any side, though with more apparent limitations than in FCP.  Things are similar in DVD Studio Pro, where you can resize what amounts to an app frame from any side.


    Instead of "just like in Windows," "just like in Apple’s own apps" might be a better way to put it.  In any case, whether the convention exists elsewhere is beside the point.  The point is, Is it useful?


    As I wrote earlier, I believe Adobe teams need to work hard to make their products feel like polished, native citizens on each OS.  Deviation from the norm for its own sake is unhelpful.  Having said that, OS conventions should support innovation, not stifle it.  If we can improve functionality (e.g. enabling more flexible document resizing) without imposing any burden (extra UI chrome, etc.), why shouldn’t we?


    Our job is about functionality, not ideology.  Whatever works best, wins.  Obviously the Apple development teams feel free to depart from strict adherence to the baseline OS when they feel that doing so would benefit their customers.  I’d argue that Adobe teams should have similar latitude.

    Now, at the end of the day, will we ship with the application frame visible by default on the Mac?  I don’t know; maybe not.  We want people to feel invited–not forced–to use the new functionality.  No matter how much I write here–and thanks for reading this far–some Mac users are going to have the "WTF" reaction to the application frame.  Hopefully they, and you, will keep an open mind until you’ve gotten to try it out.  I think you’ll find–as I did–that there’s a lot to like.

    4:42 PM | Permalink | Comments [223]
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