April 19, 2007

CS3 cleanup script for Windows available

Adobe has posted a Windows cleanup script (alongside the equivalent Mac version) that removes vestiges of the Photoshop CS3 beta as well as other Adobe pre-release software.  If you’re having trouble installing Photoshop CS3 or other new Adobe apps, this script may help.  You may also want to consult the tech notes on removing the PS beta on Windows XP, Vista, and Mac OS X.

The download page warns of nuclear holocaust, rivers of blood, etc. resulting from the use of the script.  I think the team is just being extremely conservative and cautious, but I believe there is a chance that the script will remove serial number info for Acrobat 8 (meaning you’ll need to re-enter your serial/reactivate).

One specific point: A number of people have asked whether it’s strictly necessary to deactivate the beta prior to uninstalling it and installing the shipping version.  Deactivation is accomplished via the Help menu, so it’s obviously a problem if you’ve already uninstalled the app.  The good news is that although deactivating is a good idea, it doesn’t seem to be necessary prior to installing the shipping version.

All this stuff can be pretty tweaky and system-specific, so please let us know if you run into problems.  Chances are I don’t know the answers myself, but I can route info back to the right people as necessary.

11:07 AM | Permalink | Comments [35]

March 24, 2007

New CS3 videos available

The crew at Lynda.com have now posted a whopping 32 hours of videos covering Photoshop CS3.  Building on the free content Deke McClelland created for the public beta, the new titles go into depth on all aspects of the forthcoming release, addressing features and capabilities both new and old. [Via Myke Ninness]

On a similar but independent note, David Biedny points out Wikivid, "an encyclopedia of informative videos."  Check out the wealth of topics on Photoshop.

1:30 PM | Permalink | Comments [4]

March 21, 2007

Hot damn: Half a million people download Photoshop CS3

I’m pleased to say that as of last Friday, the Photoshop CS3 beta had been downloaded by more than 500,000 individual users.  (For the Rainmen among you, that’s 251,612,564 MB of P-shop goodness.)  Wow… I really hoped people would be into it, but you never know until you try.  Thanks to everyone who has made this effort a success!

9:30 PM | Permalink | Comments [11]

March 07, 2007

Puppies now 30% fluffier with CS3

Workflow, shmerkflow: what we want to know about is how Photoshop can handle cute pet photos, right?

Er, maybe not–but selecting irregular things like hair certainly is important, and it’s a problem that’s bedeviled both users and computer scientists for many years.  CS3 makes some real progress in this regard (hint: check out that mysterious Radius slider in the new Refine Edge dialog), and last week Jon Fortt of Business 2.0 sat down with Adobe engineer Gregg Wilensky to look at the results.  You can see his notes–along with well-fluffed puppies–here.  [For more on how the technology came to be, see "Male-pattern baldness -> Great Photoshop feature."]

3:54 PM | Permalink | Comments [2]

February 07, 2007

Like the Photoshop beta, but miss your cursors?

Photoshop customers seem pretty happy with the CS3 beta (88% satisfied, according to one independent survey), but being a beta, it contains some bugs. One that’s been especially annoying to Intel-based Mac users is the lack of cursors that match the size and shape of your painting tool.
The good news is that we have a fix for this problem, but timing is such that we won’t be able to post another public beta build. That said, we really want to make sure we get this right, so if you’d like to help us test it, we’d really welcome your assistance. More details on how to sign up to test a private build are here. Thanks in advance!

4:30 AM | Permalink | Comments [11]

January 21, 2007

New Bridge CS3 beta available

A revised beta build of Bridge CS3 is available on Adobe Labs, and Bridge PM Gunar Penikis has posted a detailed overview via the Bridge CS3 beta forum.  Highlights include a new flat view (useful for browsing nested folders as if everything were on one level), better multi-monitor support, a fixed memory leak, and loupe tool improvements.   Please let us know whaty you think via the Bridge forum.

8:50 PM | Permalink | Comments [2]

January 11, 2007

Photoshop, Premiere Pro named Best In Show

Hot damn!  The Photoshop CS3 beta, along with the just-announced Premiere Pro for Macintosh, have both been named "Best in Show" at the Macworld Expo.  On behalf of everyone who’s been cranking away on these apps, thanks, guys!

Macworld magazine has posted a video overview of this year’s 11 winners.  Kelly Turner talks about Photoshop at the 4-minute mark ("I love it!"), and Jackie Dove tackles Premiere Pro around 9:30.

Adobe’s Dave Helmly has been demoing some of the new video features at the show and reports "huge crowds & very positive response."  He’ll be back in action today
at 12:15pm and tomorrow at 10:15am.

9:55 AM | Permalink | Comments [2]

January 04, 2007

CS3 doesn’t install spyware

That’s kind of a weird title, but there have been a few slightly freaked-out posts in the last couple of days suggesting that the Photoshop CS3 beta is installing spyware. The deal is that Photoshop uses Apple’s Bonjour technology to make it easy to connect to Version Cue servers.  For more details, I consulted Thomas DeMeo, Director of Product Management for the team that creates Version Cue.  Here’s what he had to say:

Adobe does not use spyware, period.
Since the inception of the Creative Suite (CS) family, Adobe provided a file collaboration tool with the introduction of Version Cue.  Version Cue is a file management tool that is integrated in Adobe Photoshop, Adobe InDesign, Adobe Acrobat, Adobe Illustrator and other creative applications within the Creative Suite.  It is client/server based.  The clients are integrated into each of the applications and they all communicate with the Version Cue Server.

To make setup and configuration easier, Adobe uses Apple’s Bonjour technology to enable the connectivity to Version Cue servers on a local area network. Bonjour is widely used throughout Mac OS X and Windows in applications like iTunes and popular printers to allow users to set up a network service without any configuration.

From Photoshop or Bridge you can connect to a Version Cue server without having type in a IP address. It does not enable Photoshop or Bridge to do file sharing as this is done by the Version Cue Server. It does not send information over the Internet or to Adobe. When you click on the Version Cue area in the Adobe Dialog, the Bonjour daemon running on the local machine will browse for visible Version Cue servers on your subnet. You can then log in to access the file management capabilities of the Version Cue server.

To request access to the Version Cue beta program, please contact Mike Wallen (mwallen at adobe dot com).  For more info on Bonjour, see also this Apple developer FAQ and the entry on Wikipedia.

[Update 5/11/07: I saw the following info from Timo Naroska of the Version Cue team and thought it would be worth sharing:

Bonjour sends/receives packets to the multicast IP Routers do not forward these packets outside the local network. Furthermore Bonjour pings the local DNS server to check whether it supports service discovery.

No critical information is ever transferred.

The user should usually allow Bonjour to connect the “internet” to seamlessly browse/connect Version Cue Servers in the local network.

If the user decides to block Bonjour internet access, automatic server discovery on the local network and the local machine are hampered. The user will have to connect servers manually by IP/DNS-name.]

6:03 PM | Permalink | Comments [137]

Yes, CS3 can be tested cross-platform

In response to very popular demand (to the tune of 150+ requests on the Labs CS3 forum), I’m happy to say that Adobe is now making it possible for Windows customers of Photoshop CS2 to get a Mac CS3 beta serial number, and vice versa.  To request a number, you can send mail to photoshopcs3beta@adobe.com & include your CS2 serial number.

We made this decision a couple weeks ago, but I didn’t want to publicize it widely until the staff was back at full strength after the holiday break. Please note that this is a manual process on our side right now, and we appreciate your patience as we handle requests.

Related: If you find that you want to switch an Adobe product license from Mac to Windows or vice versa, please contact Adobe Customer Service.  They’ll walk you through the process.

5:45 PM | Permalink | Comments [48]

January 03, 2007

Black & White in CS3

Photoshop engineer Geoff Scott spotted a beautiful black & white image from photographer Moose Peterson, made with the help of Photoshop CS3.  (Too bad the online version isn’t larger.)   Moose writes, "I’ve always loved B&W photography but until recent developments such at the Epson 3800 and 7800 and B&W conversion in Photoshop, B&W was downright painful. With amazing paper like Epson’s UltraSmooth Fine Art and the ease of B&W conversion in CS3, why wouldn’t someone enjoy the amazing old art of B&W photography."

For more info, check out Russell Brown’s 4-minute video intro to the Black & White dialog, where he shows off the ability to click and drag on color regions to adjust them, as well as a technique for hand-tinting the results.  Russell produced some great B&W presets for Camera Raw in CS2, so I’m sure he’ll offer more good info, tips, and settings for the much-improved B&W controls in CS3’s Camera Raw 4.0.  I had fun using the new split toning functions, together with Photoshop’s venerable Lighting Effects dialog, to show my wife contemplating a "Portrait of the Governor as a Young Man" on New Year’s Eve. (It was a weird party. ;-))

11:15 AM | Permalink | Comments [2]

December 31, 2006

Cloning & healing improvements in CS3

Over on PhotoshopNews.com, Martin Evening provides a nice overview of the Photoshop CS3 beta’s new Clone Source palette.  In a nutshell, you can now clone and heal more precisely by using a translucent overlay of your source pixels–either temporarily (hold down Opt/Alt+Shift after setting your source) or persistently (via the "Show Overlay" option on the palette).  Building on what Martin wrote, here are some useful keyboard shortcuts:

  • Opt/Alt + Shift temporarily shows the clone overlay, plus it lets you drag it around and ‘tack’ it down at the desired location.
  • Opt/Alt + Shift + the arrow keys nudges the overlay up, down and side to side.
  • Opt/Alt + Shift + [ or ] rotate the source
  • Opt/Alt + Shift + < or > scale the source

Also, to adjust rotation, position, or scale, you can also use "scrubby sliders": hover over the label on each field (H, W, etc.), then drag left or right.   As with all scrubby sliders, holding Opt/Alt while dragging will make the values change 10X slower, and holding Shift will make them change 10X faster.

On a related note, retouchers will be happy to learn that it’s now possible to have cloning/healing ignore adjustment layers.  Let’s say in CS2 you had an image on the background layer, then added a layer above it to do some cloning (so as not to affect the original pixels), and above that you put a Hue/Saturation layer.  If you used the clone tool set to sample all layers & didn’t turn off the Hue/Sat layer, the results would be screwy, as Hue/Sat would be double-applied.  Now via a couple of new options (screenshot), you can elect to make cloning/healing ignore adjustment layers, and/or ignore all layers above the current one.  It’s a really tweaky little change, but it’s one that’s been requested for ages.

11:14 AM | Permalink | Comments [8]

December 30, 2006

32-bit/HDR improvements in Photoshop CS3

Photoshop CS2 introduced the application’s first support for 32-bit high dynamic range (HDR) imaging.  The support was pretty limited, consisting of the Merge to HDR command (for combining bracketed shots into a single image) and some basic imaging functions (cropping, cloning, conversing from 32 to 8 or 16 bits per channel).  Even so, about a year ago examples started popping up of HDR experiments (not solely connected to Photoshop, of course, but helped along by CS2).  In the time since then more good resources on the subject have emerged.

The Photoshop CS3 beta includes some improvements in the HDR realm.  Some more functions (e.g. Levels) are enabled for 32-bit images, and the Merge to HDR command, although superficially similar to the one in CS2, contains a variety of improvements.  It benefits from the new image alignment code; preserves a more complete set of source data; and uses improved algorithms for merging the data.

Trevor Morris has kindly supplied an HDR photo created with the CS3 beta, as well as the source frames.  He says, "I could never get it to work in CS2, but it worked flawlessly in CS3, and I was quite pleased with the results."  He writes,

This photo was shot inside the Christ Church Cathedral, located in Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada.
For this particular shot, I used a tripod and remote to capture 12 exposures, from 1/125s to 20s, with a Nikon D70 @ f/16, ISO 200, FL 18mm. I combined the exposures using Merge to HDR, increased the local contrast, and gave the image a slight saturation boost.

Give it a whirl with your bracketed shots, and please let us know whether it works well for you.

11:03 AM | Permalink | Comments [17]

December 27, 2006

The Secret Life of Smart Filters

Smart Filters–i.e. those that can be adjusted or removed at any time, leaving the underlying pixels unaffected–address what is probably the single longest-standing feature request in Photoshop.  Customers’ response to them has been quite good, but the details of how & why they work as they do may be a little subtle.  For example,

  • Why can’t you paint directly onto a surface that has a Smart Filter applied?
  • Why are you limited to having one filter mask per layer (instead of having one per filter)?
  • Why do Smart Filters add file size?

If you’re interested in the story of how and why Smart Filters came to be as they are, read on.  I find the whole topic of how Photoshop is evolving from a simple "a pixel is a pixel" app into a dramatically more powerful editing pipeline fascinating, but I recognize it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. :-)


5:37 PM | Permalink | Comments [19]

December 26, 2006

What’s the story with Photoshop & multi-core?

Much has been written about the fact that the speed of individual CPU cores isn’t increasing at the rate it did from 1980 through 2004 or so. Instead, chip makers are now turning to multi-core designs to boost performance.  (See this brief primer from Jason Snell at Macworld.) Thus a lot of people have been asking whether Photoshop takes advantage of these new systems.  The short answer is yes, Photoshop has included optimizations for multi-processor machines (of which multi-core systems are a type) for many years.

What may not be obvious to a non-engineer like me, however, is that not all operations can or should be split among multiple cores, as doing so can actually make them slower.  Because memory bandwidth hasn’t kept pace with CPU speed (see Scott Byer’s 64-bit article for more info), the cost of moving data to and from each CPU can be significant.  To borrow a factory metaphor from Photoshop co-architect Russell Williams, "The workers run out of materials & end up standing around."  The memory bottleneck means that multi-core can’t make everything faster, and we’ll need to think about doing new kinds of processing specifically geared towards heavy computing/low memory usage.

Because Russell has forgotten more than I will ever know about this stuff, I’ve asked him to share some info and insights in the extended entry.  Read on for more.


4:48 PM | Permalink | Comments [15]

Male-pattern baldness -> Great Photoshop feature

Sometimes it’s the smallest, weirdest things that drive feature development.  In the case of the new Quick Selection Tool & Refine Edge command*, hair loss played a key role.

As of this past summer, Photoshop engineers Jeff Chien and Gregg Wilensky had been cranking away on these tools for a while & had them working well for hard-edge selections.  As luck would have it, Jeff’s mane is a little thin on top, and Gregg is more folliclularly challenged.  So, when Jeff returned from vacation to Taiwan, he was rather unhappy to find that Quick Selection was selecting only his head, missing the wispy bits of hair on top.  As he proclaimed while making a quick whiteboard self portrait, "I need to keep all the hair I’ve got!"

The desire to do a better job with irregular edges like hair got the guys thinking about new solutions, resulting in new algorithms we’ve been calling TrueEdge.  You can see the kind of refinement possible via the Radius & Contrast controls in this screenshot. Pretty cool, eh?  Viva Mother Nature (sorry, guys!). ;-)

*For a video intro to the tools, you can consult Deke McClelland or Dave Cross.

11:02 AM | Permalink | Comments [5]

Mobile authoring in Photoshop CS3

Bill Perry, who manages global developer relations for mobile and devices at Adobe, has posted a quick walk-through of creating & previewing artwork using the Photoshop CS3 beta together with the new Adobe Device Central.  ADC lets you browse among device profiles*, then preview your artwork on the devices while simulating screen glare, changes to backlighting, and more.

I have to say, I’m really glad to see mobile authoring get some love and attention at Adobe.  It’s not that the company didn’t have ideas and tools prior to the Macromedia integration; in fact, GoLive included a variety of mobile emulators & authoring tools.  It’s just that we could not, for the life of us, adequately get customers’ attention. I always envied Macromedia’s resolve to make its work known & would rant to fellow PMs: "Look at these guys: they’re giving away a plasma TV to whoever creates the best content with their tools.  What do we offer–an ’82 Dodge Rampage and half a can of Schlitz?"

Now, however, we have a chance to bring the tools together to form an end-to-end solution.  I’m very curious to see what people will create, and where we can take these tools going forward.

*A short list during the beta, but that’s temporary

9:49 AM | Permalink | Comments [2]

December 23, 2006

Flash runs inside Photoshop CS3!

Psst… Wanna watch "PhotoshopTV" clips inside Photoshop itself?  How about making a script that can access the network, upload/download data*, and control Photoshop?

Sorry if I’m a bit worked up, but I love reporting that the Photoshop CS3 beta supports running Flash SWF files as script interfaces. Whereas in CS2 scripts can feature fairly simple UIs (e.g. the Image Processor), in CS3 they’ll be able to take advantage of all the richness of Flash and Flex.  To see it in action, download this sample** (with MXML source), unzip it, and put the contents into "Adobe Photoshop CS3/Presets/Scripts."  You’ll be able to use it to run other scripts and even watch streaming video.  For immediate gratification, here are a couple of screenshots.

So, why do I think this is a big deal?  For starters, we have to make developing for Photoshop radically easier and faster.  If you want to make a new component for Yahoo Widgets (neé Konfabulator), you simply run a script in Photoshop; compare that to the task of building a Photoshop plug-in.  Photoshop will grow inexorably larger and more powerful, and to keep it usable we need to make it trivial to tune the app to particular needs/tastes.  That means easy extensibility & customization (up-level what you need, get rid of what you don’t).  It’s here that Flash & Flex can play a great role, enabling fast, rich, lightweight, cross-platform development.

Supporting SWFs in scripts is just one step, but it’s a big one.  Displaying a video stream might seem odd, but I’ve got some big designs on ways we can connect people through the apps, make learning immediate, and more.  Embedding the Flash Player across the Adobe product line gives us a way to enable rich widgets that run across applications & platforms.  Exciting times ahead.

* With your permission, of course.
** Note that there’s a bug with display of dynamic data on Intel Macs

5:16 PM | Permalink | Comments [18]

December 22, 2006

Props for Auto-Align/Blend in CS3

Panorama photographer Hans Nyberg has posted an overview comparing the new Photoshop Auto-Align Layers/Auto-Blend Layers functionality to other tools. "This is a real ‘Christmas Gift’ to us panorama photographers," he writes.  "Incredibly fast and with very intelligent blending which outperforms all the blenders we have used until now."

Regarding the Load Files Into Stack script I posted earlier this week, I forgot to point out that choosing File->Automate-> Photomerge does the same process in one shot.  Engineer John Peterson writes,

Now, if you want to click ‘n drag ‘n re-arrange, the bottom left side of the Photomerge file section dialog has an "interactive" option for the familiar Photomerge interactive dialog. But really, the new alignment algorithm is generally good enough that you’ll rarely need it.

And about the "Advanced Blending" checkbox? If it’s on (the default) you’ll get the seamless blending and exposure matching Edit > Auto-blend does. If it’s off, you’ll get simple rectangular blend masks (that you can easily modify or remove) and pixels left as-is, ready to re-touch by hand if you so choose.

Also, engineer Jeff Chien would like to point out that after running Auto-Blend Layers you may observe some visible seams when zoomed way out, but that these are just a redraw artifact; i.e. at 100% magnification they disappear.

On related notes:

  • LiveScience reports that Australian scientist Piers Barnes has calculated the number of photos that need to be taken to ensure at least one blink-free photo: "For groups of less than 20 people, divide the number of people in the group by 3 if the light is good or by 2 if the light is bad.  Take that number of shots and you will have a better than 95 percent chance of getting at least one good one."  Hmm–sounds like the new tools could help here. [Via]
  • John P. points out the interesting photo project "Lignières: Then and Now,"
    an effort to overlay current images of a small Swiss village with those from the 19th century. The current process is painstaking and manual, and it would be fun to see how Auto-Align might be able to help arrange & transform images to fit.
9:42 PM | Permalink | Comments [3]

Photoshop CS3 mini-SDK released

It’s critical that Adobe help developers get up to speed in updating their plug-ins to run natively on Intel-based Macs, so we’ve posted a Photoshop CS3 mini-SDK that contains the needed info.  The SDK, along with the CS and CS2 versions, is a free download once you fill out a simple form.

We’ve been working with many developers for several months, and some plug-ins (e.g. Noise Ninja) have aready been updated to run natively.  Hopefully the wide exposure of the public beta will help the needed info reach the developers we haven’t already been able to contact.

On a related note, developers may want to update their plug-ins to be able run as non-destructive Smart Filters in CS3.  The docs are a bit scarce on this point since we wanted to focus on the Mac/Intel issues, but the Dissolve example in the SDK includes the Smart Filter flag.

[Update: Developers can discuss the SDK and related work on the CS3 Labs forum or via the sdk@adobe.com mailing list.]

1:22 PM | Permalink | Comments [5]

December 20, 2006

Handy new script for Photoshop CS3

By now you’ve probably seen how the Photoshop CS3 beta’s Auto-Align Layers command can snap images together.  If not, check out my 90-second overview, or this somewhat more in-depth version from Russell Brown. 

The command relies on selecting multiple layers to align, so it’s handy to suck multiple images into Photoshop & stack them up as layers in a PSD file.  To accomplish that easily, we created a Load Files Into Stack script, but time didn’t permit it to get into the beta.  So, if you’re interested in pulling in multiple files as layers, you can grab the script here (zipped to avoid any server weirdness).  Unzip the file and stick it into the "Adobe Photoshop CS3/Presets/Scripts" folder to make it appear under File->Scripts when you launch Photoshop, or just browse to it via File->Scripts->Browse.

To try it yourself, do the following:

  1. Grab this set of four images and unzip it.
  2. From within Photoshop, select File->Scripts->Load Files into Stack, then load up the four images.
  3. Leave the alignment & Smart Object options unchecked, then hit OK.
  4. Choose Select->All Layers, then choose Edit->Auto-Align Layers.
  5. Click the Cylindrical option, then hit OK.  You should wind up with an image like this.
  6. So, okay, Photoshop has done a reasonable job aligning and warping the layers, but obvious color and alignment problems remain. To address these, now choose Edit->Auto-Blend Layers.  You’ll wind up with an image like this–much more nicely stitched together.
  7. Notice that the Auto-Blend command still leaves your layers as layers, but they now have layer masks that you can further tweak by hand if you’d like.

The upshot is that the Load Files Into Stack script sets you up nicely for all kinds of alignment & blending tasks, or for any work that requires multiple files to be pulled into a single layered document.

On a marginally related note, a customer on the Labs forum was asking about getting a native version of Photoshop’s JPEG 2000 plug-in, which isn’t installed by default.  So, here you go (Mac and Windows bundled into one ZIP, since they’re small).

10:38 PM | Permalink | Comments [21]

Is Photoshop CS3 a 64-bit app?

First, ask yourself:

  • What is a "64-bit application"?
  • What advantages does such an application offer?
  • What are the disadvantages?

In talking to lots of customers, I find that most are unable to answer these questions.  (There’s nothing inherently wrong with that.  As I’ve said, I myself am just a simple unfrozen caveman Web designer, and like most non-engineers I don’t presume to grok the intricacies of complex software design.)  Yet despite the lack of widespread understanding, "64 bit" is one of those buzzwords (a la "Cocoa" and many others) that sounds cool, eliciting a lot of "arewethereyet, arewethereyet??" that may or may not be warranted.

Photoshop co-architect Scott Byer has posted a lucid, readable overview of 64-bit computing & where Photoshop stands relative to this transition.  Given a great number of factors, we elected not to make the change in this cycle.  That said, Photoshop does take advantage of some aspects of 64-bit chips, and as Scott notes, "It’s a when, not an if" we’ll make the move.  His info should help cut through some of the hype & set reasonable expectations about the future.

5:01 PM | Permalink | Comments [19]

Now showing: The rest of the CS3 icons

Some folks have expressed curiosity about the other icons planned for the CS3 generation of Adobe applications, especially given our goal of having them work well as a complete system. So, with the blessing of Michael Gough, Adobe’s VP of Product Experience*, here they are.
[ *Not to be confused with Alfred from Batman ]
[ Update: Some commentary: Jason Santa Maria hates ’em; Veerle Pieters likes ’em, and has more commentary from Adobe designer Ryan Hicks.

Update 2: Lee at The Flash Blog has created a 3D carousel of the icons. And Terri Stone pointed out her story on the genesis of the CS2 icons.]

11:29 AM | Permalink | Comments [395]

December 19, 2006

What’s up with the new Photoshop icon & branding?

"Taken in isolation, the individual icons are in no way spectacular – that was never their role," writes Ryan Hicks, Sr. Experience Designer at Adobe.  "Their elegance comes from how the entire desktop brand system works as a whole. The more Adobe apps you have, the better the system works. Adobe’s icons stand out instantly in the visually-dense world of user desktops because of their simplicity; complexity ≠ information."

The crisp, simple imagery of the Photoshop CS3 Beta icon and splash screen has drawn both rants and raves on the Labs forum, so I thought I’d invite the folks behind this effort to share their perspective here.  Ryan’s thoughts follow.   –J.
[Update: See also the other CS3 icons.]


1:26 PM | Permalink | Comments [88]

Photoshop CS3 serial number update

[Update June 2, 2007: If you’re here because you’re trying to rip me off by somehow stealing Photoshop (via serial number, keygen, crack, etc.), you’re a thieving putz, and you’ll get no satisfaction here. May someone steal your hard work as you try to steal ours. Adios. –J.]

We continue to receive inquiries about Photoshop CS3 beta serial numbers.  There are a number of issues here:

  1. On Friday we discovered that a small percentage of the more than 3,000 product combinations that include Photoshop weren’t in the authentication list.  Unfortunately this bit quite a few people trying to obtain CS3 serials. We fixed that issue on Friday afternoon.
  2. Licensing customers have been in bit of a bind: even though they’re authorized to use a CS2 serial on multiple machines, the beta site is configured to issue serials that can be activated on only two machines.  If you’re a licensing customer, please send mail to photoshopcs3beta@adobe.com so that we can follow up with you (see details below).
  3. Some people are typing in the 20-digit serial number that’s visible in the CS2 About box. That makes total sense, except that the serial number is actually 24 digits long!  That is, you need to get your serial number from your product materials (tips here). Again, we’re working to make this clear on the serial number acquisition page.
  4. A lot of people aren’t reading the instructions on the Labs site.  Many are typing their CS2 numbers into CS3, then complaining that it doesn’t work.  We’re working to make the instructions harder to miss.

If you’re still having problems with serial numbers and CS3, please send mail to photoshopcs3beta@adobe.com. Important: in order to handle the process efficiently, your email needs to contain the following info (I suggest copy/paste):

    • Email address in the subject line (a weird eRoom quirk, but without it we can’t reach you)
    • First and last name:
    • Issue statement:
    • CS2 serial number (24-digits long):
    • CS3 serial number (if applicable):
    • Are you a CS2 single or volume license customer? (Y or N):
    • If volume license, approximately how many CS2 licenses do you own?:
    • Daytime phone number with area code:
    • Daytime e-mail address:

Customer service says they’ll turn things around in 48-72 hours.  (There’s no need to call them, as phone support is not available for the beta.)

I know that it’s frustrating to hit any delays, and we greatly appreciate your patience.  We’re just four days into a huge, never-been-done-here effort, but we’re making good progress.


11:50 AM | Permalink | Comments [67]

December 18, 2006

Photoshop CS3: 100,000 downloads & counting

[Cue the Dire Straits: "I waant… my… Cee… Ess… Three…"]

Wow… We figured people would be interested in the Photoshop CS3 beta, but the response has been overwhelming: well over 100,000 downloads in the first 72 hours.  (And that’s just from Adobe Labs, not sites like Download.com that are hosting the bits.)  Amazing!  Thanks to everyone who’s been participating.  As always, you can download the software here, get a beta serial number here [Update: fixed link], and discuss the beta here.

In honor of the occasion–and really, what else could one do?–I felt compelled to create & throw up an Adobe gang sign. Word. :-)

[Update: As of Thursday afternoon (roughly six days into the beta), the number was somewhere north of 180,000 downloads. And that’s unique Adobe IDs, which should map pretty closely to individual customers. Wild!]

11:57 PM | Permalink | Comments [7]

Exploring the new Photoshop interface

The newly refined user interface in the Photoshop CS3 beta represents a bit of a departure from the past several versions of the application. I’ve created a quick, 45-second video overview, and you can see it in much more detail elsewhere (e.g. Deke McClelland’s video, which was viewed some 28,000 times in its first day on YouTube). To provide some more detail on the new UI and insight into the thinking behind it, I asked Ken Moore (Sr. Interaction Designer, Creative Suite) and Mike Talvensaari (Product Manager, Creative Suite User Experience), to provide a guest entry. Their Q&A follows in the extended entry. –J.


11:05 PM | Permalink | Comments [30]

What does the new Auto Enhance option do?

Author Ben Long recently asked what, exactly, the Auto Enhance option does when enabled for Photoshop CS3’s new Quick Selection tool.  Gregg Wilensky, one of the engineers behind the tool, kindly provided some details:

Auto Enhance enables Quick Selection to generate better quality edges. Without Auto Enhance, the resultant selections are somewhat rough. The focus is on getting a decent selection quickly. However, doing things quickly results in less-than-perfect edges. The edges can be slightly off the mark. Blocky artifacts can arise and are especially apparent where edges are weak. And the selection edges may be sharp even though the actual image edge is soft or vice versa.

With Auto Enhance, we start with the imperfect edges and do several things to improve them. First we flow the imperfect selection mask towards the image edges. It’s kind of like trying to snap to the edges in the image in order to get closer to their true locations. This can correct some of the blockiness.

We also smooth the edge, with a special smoothing which attempts to preserve edge contours. This is the same smoothing that is used in Refine Edge’s Smooth control.

Finally, we capture a more faithful, truer edge profile using the same technology that underlies the Radius slider in Refine Edge. The Radius determines the extent around the edges over which we extract more faithful opacity values for the selection mask based on the image colors and how they change locally near the edges.

The result of all these steps is to produce a much improved selection mask that provides a truer representation of what’s going on in the image. The resultant selection mask follows the image edges better and captures a bit of the color transitions near the edges as opacity variations in the selection mask.

Note that while scrubbing with the mouse, the rough selection is shown; but, when the mouse is let up, the improved results are shown. The difference between making a selection with or without Auto Enhance is usually apparent if you go into Refine Edge and magnify an edge using the Mask preview mode.

So, to paraphrase for my little Arts & Leisures primate brain: turn on Auto Enhance unless you find that it’s taking too long for your images (a function of resolution and complexity vs. processing grunt).

Gregg’s collaborator Jeff Chien says that you might want to work with the option off for high-res files, but that "Once the selection
is done or almost done, you can then enable the option to trigger the edge
smoothing at the mouse up of the next stroke. In case that you have done
with the selection, you can simply paint inside the selected area to trigger
the operation."  The results won’t be quite as precise as if you left the option on the whole time, but it’s one way to trade off performance vs. accuracy.

7:39 AM | Permalink | Comments [1]

December 15, 2006

Mo’ betta Photoshop CS3 resources

To the list of excellent content posted Thursday night, I’m pleased to add the following:

  • Author Deke McClelland has posted some 80 minutes of detailed videos (with exercise files) in Lynda.com’s Photoshop CS3 Beta One-on-One Preview.
  • Photographic workflow expert Peter Krogh has updated his excellent RapidFixer extension for Bridge & offers a new 20-minute video on how to integrate it into production.
  • CreativePro.com offers a detailed, 2,000-word intro from AGI‘s Christopher & Jennifer Smith.
  • Ben Long is a busy man, posting a hands-on overview at Digit Online and a First Look for Macworld.
  • Photographer Uwe Steinmuller posts his CS3 intro, paying particular attention to the new Camera Raw & taking Zoomify for a spin.
  • Author/videoographer Richard Harrington says his CS3 podcast hit #1 in the iTunes software category today.  He hopes to update it every day, and his RSS feed is here.
  • Photographer Mark Galer has posted his first video podcast about CS3, with plans for more to come.
  • Amadou Diallo is posting his own set of videos to his photography blog.

I apologize if I’ve missed anyone (nothing personal at all–just tough to juggle in all the excitement!). As always, feel free to list your own finds in the comments.

10:09 PM | Permalink | Comments [6]

Photoshop CS3 Beta now live on Labs

Okay, folks–the Photoshop CS3 beta is now live on Adobe Labs, so have at it! Please note, however, that we’re experiencing some problems [see below] with the online serial number tool.  Our engineers are cranking away on it, but in the meantime some valid CS2 serials are not being accepted.  (We believe that the bulk of numbers are working correctly, but some clearly are not).

Sorry about the glitch, and thanks for your patience.  We hope to have it resolved soon, and in the meantime you can run the beta in tryout mode if you’d like.  I’m now headed over to the new CS3 beta forum on Labs to try to answer questions. 

[Update: We believe we’ve addressed the issue, so if you ran into a snag earlier today, please try again.  If you continue to experience problems, please let us know via the forum.  –Thanks, J.]

11:47 AM | Permalink | Comments [61]

Is the CS3b download ready? Not just yet.

I awoke to discover that people have been poking around Adobe servers and are now complaining that the site isn’t accepting their CS2 serial numbers.  There’s a reason for that: the site isn’t ready to go just yet, and we’ll post an announcement when it is. So, while the interest in downloading the new beta is encouraging, I hope people can chill for a little while.

For the record, yes, we do intend to accept education serial numbers. Pretty much any copy of Photoshop CS2 (whether stand-alone or in a Suite, full or upgrade, education or retail, English or non-English, volume licensing or otherwise) will qualify. We don’t want to leave anyone out.

I’ll post an upate when the beta really is ready for download. [Update: The site is now live, but please see above for info on the serial number problem we’re currently experiencing.]

7:34 AM | Permalink | Comments [15]

December 14, 2006

Great Photoshop CS3 beta resources

All kinds of excellent resources are popping up with details, videos, and more coverage of the Photoshop CS3 beta. I plan to keep updating this list as I find good bits.  I’ve also created a new "Photoshop CS3 Beta" category that should help you track related info.

  • The crew at Photoshop User have really knocked themselves out with the PSCS3 Beta Preview Learning Center.  The site includes Scott Kelby’s 10 Favorite Features; videos for the Bridge loupe tool & stacks; an interview with yours truly; and much more.
  • Adobe’s resident mad scientist Russell Brown has taken the wraps off his first set of new videos.
  • At PhotoshopNews.com I chat at some length with Jeff Schewe about all things CS3 (what’s new in Bridge, what’s new in the Photoshop UI, and etc.). Jeff has also posted the official FAQ in HTML form.
  • Macworld.com provides excellent coverage: Jim Dalrymple’s got an intro, and in this video* I talk to Jason Snell about what’s new in CS3, after which Jason demonstrates Quick Selection, Smart Filters, Zoomify export, and more.  Elsewhere on the site, Philip Michaels presents a podcast in which he talks to editors Ben Long, Kelly Turner, and Jackie Dove about performance on Intel-based Macs & much more. [Update: Ben’s first look is here.]
  • Martin Evening has updated his popular Photoshop for Photographers with a 21-page PDF that covers the new release from a pro photographer’s point of view.
  • The link may not yet be live, but Lynda.com plans to unleash a torrent of training videos shortly.
  • At Ars Technica Dave Girard posts an intro in which he says, "Despite its beta status, it has heaping portions of snappy." (We’re bringin’ Snappyback, yeaah.)
  • Photoshop co-architect Scott Byer shares his perspective.  Regarding making PS a Universal Binary he says, "It really did take that much effort, and it really wasn’t ready until recently." [Via]
  • Former Illustrator PM/full-time vector mensch Mordy Golding covers the release in a special edition of his PEN podcast.
  • Adobe’s Technical Resources Manager Terry White provides a first look for Layers Magazine, demonstrating the new Vanishing Point, among other features.
  • Colin Smith goes into all kinds of detail at PhotoshopCafe.

I’m sure I’m missing some good stuff (it’s flowing fast and furious!), so please feel free to pass along additional links via the comments. [Update: See also Round 2.]

*Sick of me yet?? I feel like I’m becoming the Rachel Ray of PMs: chatty and overexposed... ;-)

10:21 PM | Permalink | Comments [15]

Announcing the Photoshop CS3 Beta

"Be bold, and mighty forces will come to your aid." – Goethe

I could not be more delighted to announce that Adobe is making the beta release of Photoshop CS3 available for download via Adobe Labs.  (In fact, I’ve been bouncing off the walls since 4am, waiting to share the news.)  This has been a major effort for a lot of folks at Adobe, but we felt passionately that it’s the right thing to do for our customers.  By the time this is posted, details should be available in the Adobe press room, along with the official FAQ.

In a nutshell, the beta of Photoshop CS3 will be posted on Labs & made available for download in the next 24 hours.  It’s for Mac and Windows, and it runs (er, screams) natively on the latest Intel hardware. I’ll be posting plenty of details & videos over the days and weeks ahead.

As luck would have it, I’m meeting with the press in LA today and won’t be online until this evening.  In the meantime, I expect tons of good info to be available from PhotoshopUser.com, PhotoshopNews, CreativePro.com, Macworld, and many other outlets. (I’ll update links as they appear.)

Anyway, I hope you’re even half as excited as we are.  This is a big day for Adobe & a big first in the way we handle our flagship applications, but extraordinary times called for extraordinary measures.

[Update: If you’re having serial number-related problems, please read this post.]

1:21 PM | Permalink | Comments [46]
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