by Kevin Goldsmith


September 23, 2008

Oh, it is sooo nice to be able to use the letters CS4! Finally, I can let the cat out of the bag on some of the stuff that the Adobe Image Foundation team has been working on since CS3 shipped.

First, I’ll cover the stuff that you might already know because we’d announced it before yesterday:

  • Flash 10 supports Pixel Bender bytecode for custom effects, blends, and number crunching. It runs very efficiently multi-threaded thanks to Tinic. You can export Pixel Bender bytecode from the Pixel Bender Toolkit.
  • We will be shipping a free extension for Photoshop CS4 soon that will let you run Pixel Bender filters as well. John Nack demoed this at Photoshop World and blogged about it. These effects run on your computer’s Graphics card for super fast performance if you have a card that supports them (most do).

Now, for the stuff we announced yesterday (in one form or another):

  • After Effects CS4 supports Pixel Bender filters natively. The existing GPU-accelerated filters are Pixel Bender based and AE CS4 will also automatically load any 3rd party Pixel Bender filters that are put into a known directory.
  • The 1.0 version of the Pixel Bender Toolkit will be available to be installed as part of the After Effects and Flash Authoring CS4 installs.

Now, for the stuff that I can now say, but wasn’t in the CS4 announcement:

  • In addition to Pixel Bender Kernels (pbk) and Pixel Bender Bytecode (pbj), there is another Pixel Bender format. Pixel Bender Graphs (pbg). Pixel Bender Graphs are supported directly in After Effects CS4 and the Photoshop Pixel Bender extension. Pixel Bender Graph is an xml-based format that allows you to combine a network of Pixel Bender Kernels into a single effect for WAAAY more powerful filters. We’ll be posting a new version of the toolkit soon that supports the editing of these graphs and we’ll also be posting a specification for them soon on Adobe labs.
  • We’re adding another tool to the Pixel Bender authoring arsenal. There have been a bunch of 3rd party developers who want to create tools that generate Pixel Bender. To make it easier for them, we’ll be releasing a command-line utility that will allow you to compile a Pixel Bender Kernel file into a Pixel Bender Bytecode file. The work on this is complete. Look for this on labs very soon.

Got questions? Ask in the comments or on the Pixel Bender forum