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Custom workflows with Adobe Generator in Photoshop CC

Adobe Generator, part of Photoshop CC, is a platform for accessing Photoshop in powerful new ways. Generator allows plug-ins to access rich information about open documents in real-time. Most people know that you can export web assets through Generator, but it can be used for so much more. Check out the custom Generator plug-in that Adobe employee CJ Gammon built to help automate the creation of an online comic strip for PBS:

In some companies, developers and designers attempt to automate workflows as much as possible, sometimes creating custom tools to streamline the process. But what if developers could tap into the tools their designers are already using? This is where Adobe Generator for Photoshop CC comes in. Generator allows you to access and automate commands and respond to changes in Photoshop.

Word Girl from PBS - Generator in Photoshop CC

We recently tried out Generator in an experiment with PBS Kids to bring one of their children’s comics to the web. They provided us with Word Girl, a comic that follows a child with super powers and a super vocabulary. Our job was to convert it into a web experience incorporating animation.

Because we were given flat artwork, we knew that we would have to break up the frames into separate layers in order to add animation, likely more than one layer for each cell. Ultimately there were over 200 individual images.

Wordgirl for PBS frames - Using Generator in Photoshop CC

As you can imagine, this would be a pretty labor-intensive task with a number of challenges. We knew one challenge would be saving out all of these layers as optimized files with a consistent naming convention. We also knew it would be important to know the position and structure of each layer so that we could lay out the images correctly without manually positioning them. Because we wanted to animate the content within their cell frame, we would also need to mask layers so they would get clipped if they moved outside of the frame. Pulling this data from Photoshop and using it directly in our site would save us the trouble of creating these masks by hand.

The pain points we encountered can be categorized into two basic categories: asset generation and document structure.

  • Asset generation is the ability to turn each layer into an optimized image with naming conventions to fit our needs.
  • Document structure is obtaining key data like position and masks out of the document to use in building the animation.

Using Generator in Photoshop CC

Asset Generation

For asset generation, a lot of the work was done for us already. Photoshop CC ships with the ‘Image Assets’ Generator plug-in which allows you to use your layer name to automate the process of saving out all your layers as optimized web images. This plug-in is published on Github for anyone to tweak or improve.

Using Generator in Photoshop CC

Document Structure

To collect the document structure, we decided to create our own Generator plug-in using the ‘Image Assets’ plug-in as a starting point. Fortunately collecting the document structure is relatively easy. Since Generator runs on node.js, all the code is written in JavaScript and the Generator API provides access to the core PSD structure in JSON.

We were then able to create a method within our plug-in that saves this out to a .json file to be loaded into our website. This file contained not only the layer structure and names, allowing us to easily iterate through them and load the necessary images, but also the position of the layer’s bounds. This gave us the exact position our images needed to be placed at to reflect their position in the PSD.

Using Generator in Photoshop CC

The next step was to collect the clip path, so that images moving outside of their frame would be clipped appropriately. To do this we set up our Photoshop document with all the layers of each cell in groups. Then we created a vector mask on that group to be used as the clip path for the images. The vertices of a vector mask are not available in the document info JSON, but a recently added method in Generator allowed us to query the vector mask of a given layer. We used this to collect the vector mask data and include it with the document info.

Using Generator in Photoshop CC

Simply by running this script we automatically produced the images and a JSON file with the information we needed to reassemble the PSD in HTML. We were then able to go into the website and animate the layers manually (Yes, there are some things we still need to do manually, but maybe one day this will be solved too).

Building this custom solution likely saved weeks of time and frustration. This project is just one small example of how designers and developers can build custom workflows to speed up and simplify the tedious aspects of their job using Adobe Generator in Photoshop CC.

Generator in Photoshop CC



Behind IN MOTION with Aaron Grimes

You may not yet have heard of talented young photographer Aaron Grimes, but you’re about to. Though he’s traveled and worked with our very own Russell Brown, most notably on their short film Bodie – from the Sky, there’s no doubt that Aaron has a talent all his own. On a recent trip to Tokyo, Japan, Aaron captured numerous shots in the Shibuya District and meticulously stacked them together using Photoshop CC to create a unique video inspired by traditional time-lapses.

In Motion from Aaron Grimes on Vimeo.

His talent is a frequent topic of conversation here in the halls of Adobe, so I wanted to sit down and chat with Aaron to give you all a behind-the-scenes look at the process he used and the story behind the video IN MOTION.


Behind the Login

Some of you have noticed the photography shown while logging into Lightroom mobile on the iPad. The Lightroom team includes many passionate photographers and we’ve used some of their photos to welcome you to this new application. Below are the images, the name of the team member, and their role.

Lightroom mobile login screen

Lightroom mobile login screen


Lightroom goes mobile with new iPad solution

On behalf of everyone on the Lightroom team, I am thrilled to announce the immediate availability of Lightroom mobile, an extension of your photography workflow designed specifically for a mobile experience. Beginning today, you can get Lightroom mobile from the iOS app store and seamlessly connect your desktop workflow to your tablet (you will need the Lightroom 5.4 update for Mac or Windows).

With the explosion of smart phone and tablet adoption, and the addition of new devices and platforms every day, we recognize that your workflows are increasingly fragmented. Smart phones have become a very popular camera choice when a DSLR is not handy, and the experience of relaxing on a couch with an iPad is much more comfortable than hunching over a desktop computer. We developed Lightroom mobile to leverage the convenience, mobility, and connected nature of smartphones and tablets for your photography workflow. Take a look at this short video explaining the concept:

In Lightroom mobile you can:

  • Edit and organize images anywhere, anytime on your iPad*
  • Enhance everything from smartphone photos to raw images from DLSRs using powerful and familiar tools
  • Automatically sync all of your mobile edits with Lightroom 5 on your desktop
  • Easily share your photos

Our team is looking forward to hearing your feedback on how you use Lightroom mobile to unlock your photography from the traditional desktop. This is just our first step; as we’ve done with all previous Lightroom releases, we’re looking to our customers to help shape the future.

You can try Lightroom mobile free for 30 days or purchase it by subscribing to the Photoshop Photography Program for $9.99/month. This program includes Lightroom 5, Photoshop CC, Lightroom mobile and a Behance ProSite. If you’re already a Creative Cloud member or Photoshop Photography Program subscriber, you can get started now! For more details and the FAQ please visit the Lightroom Journal blog.

*iPhone version is coming soon.


Photoshop: Spring Cleaning

With each release of Photoshop, our development team needs to do some architectural spring-cleaning. As we modernize our code and add cool new features, we sometimes have to make tough decisions to cull existing features from the herd.

With that said, the following features will be removed from the next revision of Photoshop.


What it’s Like to Be a World Tour Photographer at Coca-Cola

Conceptual portrait photographer Joel Robison has been on an adventure, living what many photographers would describe as their dream job. What began as a gig moderating Coca-Cola’s Flickr community is now a full-time role as photographer and voice of the Coca-Cola FIFA World Cup Tour. Joel tells us his story and shares advice for other photographers looking to work with prestigious brands.

Can you tell us a little about yourself?
My name is Joel Robison, I’m a 29-year-old conceptual portrait photographer from Cranbrook, British Columbia. I’ve been pursuing photography for the last 5 years but only recently decided to try and make it my full-time focus. I love running and specifically racing in long-distance events. Being alone outdoors inspires me and gives me time to come up with new ideas.

Air Traffic - Joel Robison

Air Traffic – Joel Robison


Introducing the All New Photoshop Express for Android

Today’s a big day for Adobe’s consumer team, as we’re announcing a significant update to one of our most popular apps – Photoshop Express for Android.

What you’ll love about this release:

  • This version was rebuilt completely from the ground up for Android and is KitKat compatible. We have made every effort to fine-tune the app for Android. As an example, Android users will appreciate accessing and processing images saved on the SD card faster than before.
  • We’ve focused on making the app easy-to-use by bringing the most popular features to the top. ‘Looks’ (our word for filters), cropping, red eye reduction, and auto-correct are now all easy-to-discover.
  • Our more savvy users will appreciate the Corrections menu with slider controls to fine-tune exposure, contrast, highlights, shadows, temperature, tint, etc.
  • Under the hood, this release is powered by Adobe’s latest image rendering engine, coming to Android for the first time. This engine greatly improves performance and enables handling of large file sizes.
  • It’s still free.

Introducing New Features in Photoshop CC (14.2)

Today we’re announcing the immediate availability of new Photoshop CC features for Creative Cloud members. This update to Photoshop CC (version 14.2) includes many new features, including Perspective Warp for manipulating multiple perspectives in an image, and linked Smart Objects for easier reuse of design elements. We are also delighted to deliver support for 3D printing in Photoshop CC. Now you can design, edit and print in 3D using the world’s best imaging tool.

We want everyone to have a chance to try out these new features, as well as other features like Adobe Generator, which was introduced last September with the release of Photoshop CC version 14.1, and those released in the first version of Photoshop CC (version 14). We are excited to announce that we are resetting the trial clock for everyone today. Even if you have previously tried Photoshop CC and your trial has expired, now you can try the latest version of Photoshop CC for an additional 30 days and test-drive these awesome new features.

For a quick overview of the new features, take a look at the videos below:


Photoshop CC Gets Physical: 3D Printing in Just One Click

Dragonflies with translucent wings, cross sections of conch shells, layered ginkgo leaves or graceful koi with flowing tails…these are the things that Paul Liaw dreams up when he’s not at work.

Paul Liaw

Paul Liaw

By day, Liaw is a character sculptor in New York, creating models that are animated for film or commercial purposes. After hours, Liaw takes his passion for sculpture and funnels it into his jewelry design. He’s created a series of cuff bracelets in various metals with great detail and texture that he sells via the online 3D printing community and marketplace, Shapeways. He plans out his designs in Photoshop CC and until now has used a collection of other 3D software to print out 3D prototypes. These 3D printed prototypes help him further refine his designs and understand how they will look in their final form.

Paul Liaw

Paul Liaw

To date, Liaw has struggled with the process of taking what he painstakingly designed and turning it into a physical object. He has run into issues with scale or with the prototype printing out too thin and brittle. Iterations can be one of the biggest bottlenecks in his design process.

Just Click ‘Print’
For the past three decades, Adobe has been at the forefront of several publishing revolutions, enabling creatives to easily produce their creations in desktop publishing, web publishing, and digital media and photography. Today, as we announce some exciting new 3D printing capabilities, Photoshop CC revolutionizes 3D printing by radically simplifying the 3D print process for creatives. With this new release, it is no longer difficult to create and print a beautiful, physical object. As part of a major update to Adobe Creative Cloud, the new 3D printing capabilities available in Photoshop CC enable Creative Cloud members to easily and reliably build, refine, preview, prepare and print 3D designs. All you have to do is click “Print.”