August 25, 2005

Network Publishing, Flickr-style

John Watson has crafted a very cool magazine cover generator that combines photos from Flickr with text you enter. Give it a spin, or check out some examples. [Link via MAKE Magazine]
I have a special affinitiy for this kind of thing. I managed to talk my way into AGENCY.COM as a designer, but having no formal training, I often found myself slinging GIFs in menial graphics production. Having determined that creating the same graphical text 200 times in a row does, indeed, kind of suck, I built a graphics engine using Macromedia Generator. It let teammates or even clients themselves enter text into an HTML form, then get back a GIF. Upshot: Let the creative folks spend their time creating, instead of being a bottleneck for production. That’s the idea behind the new Variables feature in Photoshop CS2, as well as Adobe Graphics Server and Adobe InDesign Server.

4:05 PM | Permalink | Comments [1]

August 24, 2005

DNG Update, Part II

Thomas Knoll, co-creator of Photoshop and author of Camera Raw, arrived in Japan today with a small team from Adobe. They’ll be talking more with camera manufacturers about how we can work together to improve digital workflow. So, there’s no additional news to report yet, but talks are ongoing.
The DNG standard is a relative newborn, having been announced less than a year ago, but we’ve already made more progress than we expected. Support has been widely and quickly implemented on the software side (Capture One, iView MediaPro, Extensis Portfolio, Mac OS X 10.4, etc.). Adding support in hardware takes more time, given that manufacturers were already on established paths with proprietary formats. It’s exciting to see the Hasselblad announcement today. We’ll post more news as it becomes available.
[See also: Jeff Schewe is keeping a list of good articles on DNG, including his own guides to building a DNG workflow.]

1:21 PM | Permalink | No Comments

Hasselblad adds new cameras, DNG support

Hasselblad has announced new cameras, the H2 and H2D, as well as new camera backs. The press release included the following info of interest to those eager to see a common standard adopted for digital raw capture:

Open standards – redefining the way professional photographers work

Hasselblad has partnered closely with Adobe to make its new products fully compatible with Adobe’s raw image format DNG (‘Digital Negative’), bringing this new technology standard to the professional photographer for the first time. The DNG file format enables raw, compressed image files to be opened directly in Adobe Photoshop CS. This allows photographers to operate quickly and efficiently, reducing the “downtime” taken to process image data and enabling final images to reach the customer more quickly. Hasselblad image files now carry a full set of metadata, including capture conditions, keywords and copyright, facilitating work with image asset management solutions. For specialist commercial photographers the full productivity and creative freedom offered by Hasselblad’s FlexColor workflow software is also available via importing the DNG file. The new FlexColor now allows the photographer to manipulate color temperature and compare image details across multiple images for precise image selection.

11:47 AM | Permalink | No Comments

The Killing’s Gotta Stop

Has anyone else had enough of these “Microsoft Acrylic is the [Photoshop/Flash/Illustrator/FreeHand/Fireworks/etc.] Killer!” articles? Is the technology press so bored that they have to invent conflicts?

If I were Microsoft, I’d be deflecting these assertions like crazy. Why? Because they set unrealistic, misleading expectations that end up reflecting poorly on new products.

Background: When InDesign 1.0 was in development, it got dubbed by some Adobe’s “Quark Killer.” (This was before my time here, so I don’t know the origin of the phrase, but I do know that I’ve never heard anyone here use it.) When the 1.0 product shipped and didn’t “kill” an app that had been established for more than a decade, it was assumed to be a failure. Well, 5+ years later, InDesign is doing just fine, thanks.

It’s also false to assume that new apps need or want to kill others. I was a Flash developer in the late ’90s, so when Adobe offered me the chance to work on LiveMotion, I jumped at the chance. Did I want to “kill” Flash? Of course not! I enjoyed working with the format enough that I wanted to make the ecosystem of authoring tools bigger and better. But hey, sure enough, LiveMotion got dubbed the “Flash Killer,” setting up conflict and disappointment. (And now, that unfortunate moniker has now passed to another unreleased product.)

So, back to the subject at hand. I think Macromedia’s John Dowdell said it well: of course Microsoft will create tools to target its next-gen OS; it’s not a zero-sum game; and different strokes serve different folks.

As Max Fischer would say, “The killin’s gotta stop, ese.”

9:41 AM | Permalink | Comments [11]

August 19, 2005

Up From Obscurity: Adobe Proxy

Big company, big products–something’s bound to get lost in the shuffle. With that in mind, I’m going to try creating an “Up From Obscurity” category to shed light on features, resources, and techniques that deserve more prominence.
First up: Adobe Proxy. Anybody remember the late Adobe Magazine? Well, it’s born again (sort of) in Adobe Proxy, a glossy quarterly focused on All Things Design (profiles of design shops, links to actions on Adobe Exchange–another great/totally obscure resource–etc.). Check it out at
[Edited 3:15pm per comments below]

1:30 PM | Permalink | Comments [8]

August 18, 2005

Better bitmaps in Flash

Great news for anyone wanting to integrate Photoshop and other imagery into Flash (and judging from the crowds drawn by my old boss, Myke Ninness, when he lectures on this at conferences, that’s a lot of people): Macromedia engineer Tinic Uro reports that they’ve made some solid improvements in how bitmaps are drawn in the recently announced Flash 8. This should provide smoother, faster drawing of images, such as those displayed in Photoshop CS2’s new Flash Web Photo Gallery templates (example | download).
This reminds me a bit of when we launched Photoshop 7. The eye-popping Healing Brush got the big wows, but the feature battling it for applause was the simplest thing in the world: when you’d rename a layer, you could now type right into the layers palette, rather than into a dialog box. Sure, it would save you just a couple of seconds, but multiply that by number of layers, across days, weeks, months… It’s a simple lesson but one that’s easy to forget: to really make the experience better, spare some cycles for the spit and polish. It’s cool to see the Flash team doing the little things that make a big difference.
[Disclaimer: Adobe and Macromedia have announced their intention to join forces, but until that’s a done deal, we’re required to operate as separate entities. So, just to be clear, I’ll point out that I’m simply relaying publicly available information.]

5:34 PM | Permalink | Comments [4]

Adobe Photographers Directory now in Bridge

With all the action surrounding the launch of Creative Suite 2, it was easy to overlook what I think is a very cool new service: the Adobe Photographers Directory. The Directory is designed to put clients in touch with the right photographer for a task (say, fine art in Chicago).
I mention it now because the new Adobe Stock Photos 1.0.3 update has just been released (check “Updates” from the Help menu in Photoshop or Bridge), and it adds a link to the Directory to the Bridge Favorites panel. For now the link launches an external browser, though in the future we plan to display the directory directly inside Bridge, as shown here. (Speaking of which, Photoshop News has created its own little installer for ading a PS News link to the same area; see story.)

2:47 PM | Permalink | Comments [1]

August 15, 2005

Good Evening, Mr. and Mrs. America & All the Ships at Sea…

So, it’s time I stepped up and got this blog of mine rolling. First, a basic intro: I’m John Nack & am insanely lucky to work as a product manager for Adobe Photoshop. (If I wake up to find I’m actually still slinging breadsticks at the Olive Garden in South Bend, Indiana, well, it was fun while it lasted.) Prior to joining the ‘Dobe five years ago to work on LiveMotion 2, I was a Flash and graphic designer at AGENCY.COM New York.

What’s my plan? I’ll blog as often as seems useful on things relating to Photoshop, imaging, and the Suite. I aim to be brief and keep things interesting (All Killer, No Filler). Updates are likely to be erratic for a while at least, so subscribing to the RSS feed seems like a good idea.

Being new to all this, I’d be grateful for your input on what you’d like to see in this space. Comments should be up and running, or you can drop me a note: jnack {at}

Now, let’s begin.

11:16 PM | Permalink | Comments [21]
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