Archive for August, 2005

Finding (out about) Photoshop

As an engineer, I don’t necessarily get to use Photoshop every day. I think it’s important for me to try to experience the program as a user as much as possible, and to try and honestly compare it to some of the other software I use from a user perspective as well. To that end, I do try and set up time to put Photoshop to use.

Because that time is not as much as I’d like, I also try to keep tabs on the Photoshop community, to see what buzz there is. If there’s something that people are discovering, I’ll try and use that same part of the program in some way – while I probably know some of the engineering details about a large part of the program, that may not always translate into being able to help people out.

To that end, the site I’m probably most frequently visiting these days is Photoshop News – it’s a nice, concise summary of top issues, with links off to other sites that I probably wouldn’t find on my own. I stick the RSS feed off in my Firefox (what browser did you think I would use? I’m a cross platform kind of guy…) bookmarks toolbar, so I just have to occasionally pull down the menu to see what new stories have made it up there. I also add Rob Galbraith DPI as an RSS feed (what did we ever do without RSS?). And then, of course, the User-to-User forums, when I have time. Unfortunately, that seems less and less these days, though I’m trying to get back there more often now.

I also try and get to a Photoshop user conference whenever I can. I encourage others on the team to do so as well. Nothing is quite so instructive as watching someone demo on a big screen and catching when the ‘oohs’ and ‘ahs’ come out. Or seeing where the glitches in the various demos occur (and writing them down for fixing). But while I wish that being at a Photoshop conference could be a daily activity, it isn’t…

I’m sure I’ve missed some interesting places for Photoshop news. Let me know about them – I probably don’t have time to add too many to my daily routine, but who knows?

-Scott

Saluting General Specific (Canon 20Da)

So, I find this camera fascinating. Not for it’s specific features, but more for what it represents and means. Here is a camera, based on a popular DSLR, that just by tweaking a few things could target the fairly specific needs of an not-very-large target market. Now, if you read the reviews of the camera on the general photography sites, you might not understand how neat this camera is. But if you know someone who does astrophotography as a hobby (like my father), you would know different.

The review here can be helpful in understanding part of why this camera is so interesting. With the capability of taking images nearly as good as sensors costing 4 times as much, it’s quite a bargin. But that’s only the beginning. Because, you see, with those other sensors, you have to have a tethered laptop with you. Not only that, the images are stored in a proprietary file format that has some, well, annoying software that you have to use. I actually tried to help my father with some processing one evening and was tearing my hair out by the end of it. (Though, if you’re lucky, you can get the files into FITS format, in which case the FITS Liberator is your friend). Now, if you are picky enough to know that you just don’t want to deal with Bayer filter geometrical artifacts, those more expensive solutions are probably still for you. But for most, it is a hobby, and like most hobbies, you never get to spend enough time at it, and anything like the 20Da that saves you that much time and lets you have more fun is worth it.

What is interesting to me is that a large company such as Canon would not only stumble into having a general camera such as the 20D that had some nice properties for this hobby, but they would actually listen to their customers and add the now incremental improvements to create the market specific 20Da – and then listen a second time and make the camera available worldwide after a Japan-only initial release.

I think that’s kinda cool.

And so it begins…

Welcome to my blog. In the great traditions of blogs (sorry, there’s no sarcasm tag), this first entry won’t be about much.

Living Photoshop is a purposefully vague title; it lets me fold many different Photoshop related subjects underneath it. It many ways I live Photoshop pretty much every day, and have been doing so for a very long time now. I’m also interested in the ways others live Photoshop every day, because it’s for those people I work so hard at helping to create this beast.

I am currently co-architect of Photoshop (along with Russell Williams) and Senior Lead, but it’s been a long and interesting path getting here. I started at Adobe in 1988, if you can believe that. Straight out of college. I started in the Display PostScript group. I went and helped out on the very first version of Adobe Type Manager (if you can remember that far back), did a printer with ATM in it (had to define an OEM interface for ATM, an interesting experience), did various ports of Display PostScript (including the first 64-bit port to the Dec Alpha – cool system, sigh…), put ATM in as a font server instance in X (wow, getting esoteric there).

I still remember the day I was walking through the halls back to my office and saw the BarneyScan box on a printer in the hall. I asked someone about it, and as I walked back to my office it really struck me what it could mean. As time passed (and it eventually became Photoshop, and then was rewritten in C++), I continuously suggested how I thought getting it onto Unix, where it could compliment Display PostScript, was a really good idea. Someone must have paid attention to the young punk, because I ended up working on that first port of Adobe Photoshop 2.5 to Sun and SGI. Followed that up with a version of Adobe Illustrator, then another of Adobe Photoshop (did some really cool stuff in that one, and we had it up on a 64 processor Sparc system one afternoon just for giggles – didn’t scale all the way up, but not much would). Well, the Unix applications weren’t really going anywhere, so I ended up moving to the core Photoshop team. Been there ever since. Done many features, big and small.

The best thing about working on Photoshop is that it’s never boring. We have a great customer focused team, and we all get excited to see what people do with our product, and we all take it pretty personally when things don’t work right. I’d like to think I’ve helped instill that attitude in those that haven’t been here as long.

So there ya go.