October 31, 2006

Camera Raw 3.6 now available

We’ve released the final, shipping version of Camera Raw 3.6  (previously available in beta form) along with DNG Converter 3.6.  You can grab it for Mac (the converter is Universal, by the way) or Windows.  This release adds support for the following cameras:

  • Canon EOS 400D / Rebel XTi
  • Fuji FinePix S6000fd
  • Fuji FinePix S9100/9600
  • Leica D-LUX3
  • Leica Digilux 3
  • Leica V-LUX 1
  • Nikon D80
  • Olympus E400
  • Olympus SP-510 UZ
  • Panasonic DMC-LX2
  • Pentax K100D
  • Pentax K110D
  • Samsung GX 1L

As always, please take a second to ensure that you install the plug-in into the correct spot:
Mac: /Library/Application Support/Adobe/Plug-ins/CS2/File Formats/…
Win: \Program Files\Common Files\Adobe\Plug-ins\CS2\File Formats\…

The full list of 140+ supported cameras is on the Camera Raw product page.

10:21 PM | Permalink | Comments [3]

I want your skulls…

…and no, I’m not just quoting the pitchfork-wielding villagers now surrounding my office*. ;-)

In honor of Halloween, I thought I’d pass along a couple of snaps from Photoshop engineer Joe Ault, who captured a ghoulish hot rod mod during a recent car show: see the pistoncarb heads and whole car.  Note to self: must get more flavaful ride.

Elsewhere, on Sunday night my wife Margot & I carved pumpkins with our newest Photoshop PM, Bryan O’Neil Hughes & his freshly minted fianceé Alex (double congrats, guys!).  I opted to go with my favorite luchador, while Margot went more Día de los Muertos & Bryan did "Pumpkin Pi."  Here’s the gallery.

In a related vein:

  • Mao Ze Tongue: The SF Chronicle has hired 12 artists to make downloadable last-minute masks.
  • Here’s a great little skull I found on Logopond.
  • If you like the history of the graphic arts, or if you just enjoy slightly weird old imagery, check out Gene Gable’s collection Of Evil Witches and Dancing Pickles.
  • Along those lines , the Today’s Inspiration blog features a whole mess of vintage Halloween-related art.

Happy Halloween,

[ * Speaking of that chaos, thanks for all the feedback. I greatly appreciate the level-headed comments, and I’ve gained some good perspective from them. –J.]

2:26 PM | Permalink | Comments [2]

October 30, 2006

American Tough Guys

  • Held aboard NYC’s USS Intrepid, pro arm wrestling contest The Big Apple Grapple is captured by photographer Clayton James Cubitt. Sadly, no one makes the insane Stallone-face from Over the Top.
  • Scott Pommier features bikers, skaters, and the occasional man-rodent showdown in his portfolio.
  • Backyard wrestling?  Yeah, that’s probably gonna end in tears. [Via]
  • Okay, he’s not American, but this iguana isn’t kidding around.
  • Neither American nor particularly tough, Walking the Cabbage (which is not a euphemism, apparently) challenges ideas of acceptable behavior by, well, walking a cabbage around China.  More info here. [Via]
6:08 PM | Permalink | Comments [1]

October 29, 2006

3D: Sketching in space; Potato gun in PDF; &c.

  • The team at Front Design (see previous) demonstrate in this video how they sketch freely in the air using nothing more than a pen, while a system of cameras captures the strokes in 3D space.  From there a laser solidifies liquid plastic layer by layer.  Ultimately the finished piece of furniture rises from the molten bath T2-style.  Wicked. [Via]
  • The crew at Make Magazine uses the 3D capabilities of Adobe Reader to good effect in their most recent issue, using PDF to display a 3D representation of the "spud gun" they describe building.  (If you haven’t updated Reader in a while, this might be a good time to grab the new version 8.0 [Update–Whoops, not quite yet; but the current 7.0.8 will do the trick].) [Via]
  • The ZScanner 700 describes itself as "the first self-positioning, real-time surfacing, 3D laser scanner."  Translation: for about $40k you can walk around any object, scanning it in real time, sucking the results into your laptop via FireWire. [Via]
11:03 AM | Permalink | Comments [1]

AE+Flash for 3D, more in Design Center

The Adobe Design Center offers a whole pile of new content, as well as new product-specific pages (e.g. Photoshop, Illustrator, Flash, After Effects) that make it easier to find training on particular topics.

New Dialog Box:

New ThinkTank:

New Gallery:

New Tutorials:


7:48 AM | Permalink | No Comments

October 28, 2006

Why no PowerPC support in Soundbooth?

A few days ago Adobe introduced Soundbooth, a free download (in beta form) from Adobe Labs.  Notably, and happily, the app not only supports Mac OS X, but also runs natively on Mactel systems.  More controversial, however, has been the news that the app runs only on Mactel systems, not those using a PowerPC.

"The elimination of PowerPC support in Photobooth [sic] raises major issues," writes Macintouch.  I’m a little puzzled: how is it that people can refer to the "elimination" of something that never existed–namely, PPC code in Soundbooth?

Here’s the reality: Apple’s migration to Intel chips means that it’s easier to develop for both Mac and Windows, because instead of splitting development resources optimizing for two different chip architectures, you can focus on just one.  That’s all good, and it makes Mac development more attractive. Users benefit from having developers’ efforts go elsewhere (features, performance tuning, etc.), rather that into parallel, duplicate work. In the case of Soundbooth, the team could leverage Adobe’s expertise in building great audio tools for Intel chips (namely Audition) to bring the app to market faster and with a richer feature set.

Now, if you were Adobe and had started developing a new application at exactly the time when Apple told you, "This other chip architecture is dead to us," would you rather put your efforts into developing for that platform, or would you focus elsewhere?

This logic seems lost on a lot of online posters, who leap to some fairly outlandish conclusions.  "Oh my God, next thing you know, Photoshop and the other apps won’t run on PowerPC, and the next thing you know, they’ll kill Mac versions altogether and just tell us to run Windows using Parallels!"  At what point Adobe will burn Snuggle the Fabric Softener Bear in some dark pagan ritual isn’t specified, but that must be the natural next step, right??

Come on.  As regards Photoshop, Flash, Dreamweaver, Illustrator, etc., these apps have been tuned for PowerPC for many versions, and therefore continuing that support is a very different matter than creating support from scratch. To put the freaking out to rest: the next versions of the CS and Studio apps are being built as Universal apps, and they’ll run great on PPC.  Someday Apple, Adobe, and everyone else will stop supporting PPC, as they did with 68k chips, OS 9, etc.–but not anytime soon.

Macintouch writes, "There are 10 or 20 million active PowerPC Macs and no excuse in the world for abandoning them and forcing people to buy new Intel Macs to run applications."  Doesn’t it seem like something would have to exist before it could be abandoned?  "That’s completely contrary to Apple’s whole approach to the Intel migration," they write.  And again, in order to migrate, you have to start somewhere (namely, on the PPC). Soundbooth is a fresh start, not a migration.

If you’re a Mac user, I think it’s important to ask yourself, "Would I rather encourage software developers to bring their titles to the Mac, or would I rather jump down their throats given any opportunity?  If Adobe were to bring other Windows-only apps to the Mac, would I be happy about that, or would I rather give them hell for focusing on features & functionality rather than a discontinued chip architecture?"

I have to ask myself, Why on earth am I devoting part of my weekend to writing all this?  Why not blow it off and get out of the house?  Maybe I should, but as a die-hard Mac user I feel like someone has to speak a little truth to the Mac community–or rather,
to that vocal little group of
zealots and forum trolls. So here’s my message for those folks: You’re hurting the Mac platform. You’re hurting the Mac community. You need to crush a little aluminum foil against those antennae of yours, because you’re hurting everyone concerned. You’re making it harder (and less appealing) for people of goodwill to make the effort to support the Mac.

In economics, Gresham’s law states that when both legitimate money & counterfeit money are in circulation, the bad stuff tends to remain in circulation while the good stuff tends
to be hoarded or exported.  This applies to politics and to online conversations: extreme voices drive out (or at least silence) more moderate, level-headed thinking. I’ve bothered to write this, and to risk catching a lot of slings and arrows, because it’s important that someone stand up and say, "Whoa, hey, simmer down.  Take another look at the situation, and let’s take a second to accentuate the positive."

At the end of the day, instead of supporting only Windows, Adobe is bringing a new app to the Mac.  As a Mac user, I think that’s great news, and I suspect the vast majority of Mac users do, too.

Grabbing the Aerobie and heading out the door,


[Update: Soundbooth PM Hart Schafer shares his perspective on the question of making Soundbooth support PPC. Suffice it to say, it’s not a “flip the checkbox in Xcode and you’re done” kind of thing.]

3:33 PM | Permalink | Comments [103]

Fireworks does MXML, Acrobat does 3D, & more

Wrapping up a packed week at Adobe MAX, on Thursday a number of teams provided glimpses of what they’ve got cooking for the future.  Jen deHaan has provided a great overview, taking notes during the session.  Some highlights:

  • Fireworks is now geared towards rapid prototyping.  Dani Beaumont dragged buttons and other widgets into a Fireworks doc, set JavaScript parameters, exported the results to MXML, and opened it in Flex.  If this trips your trigger, you can sign up for their beta.
  • Adobe is working with Yahoo on integration with the Acrobat Connect (neé Breeze) communication platform. Peter Ryce & Dean Chen showed PDFs being displayed directly through Connect (using the Flash Player).
  • Hart Schafer pointed out spectral view in Soundbooth, where you can visually eliminate unwanted noises using tools much like Photoshop’s Healing Brush.  Played a bahw-tschicka-WAaoow funk groove appropriate to Dirty Vegas.
  • Scott Fegette demoed cross-browser compatibility checking in Dreamweaver, plus a CSS Advisor on Adobe.com that lets users share solutions, add comments, rate articles, etc.
  • Beau Amber of Metaliq showed new Zoomify components written in ActionScript 3.0. Fast and smooth loading of a 1.2GB file through Flash Player. [More thoughtful chin-pulling ensues.]
  • Michael Kaplan displayed an interactive, 3D Razr phone running inside a PDF. A Flash UI inside the PDF caused a 3D hand to appear and dial the phone, which then proceeded to play Flash video on its (virtual) screen.  And at this point, the audience completely lost it.

You know, Adobe (the old, pre-Macromedia Adobe) had great technology for years, but in my experience the company was often a little shy and unassuming about promoting it. When the Adobe-Macromedia deal was announced, a designer remarked, "Adobe will make Macromedia grow up a little bit, but Macromedia will take Adobe out clubbing."  I see that now happening, and I’m getting visions of Michael rocking out to The System Is Down. :-)

3:04 PM | Permalink | Comments [1]

Paint blows up real good

The Sony Bravia "Paint" ad (also available in high res–requires QT7) looks like someone doused the Bellagio fountains with a tanker full of Punky Colour.  The spot took 10 days and 250 people to film, not to mention 5 days and 60 people just to clean up.  (Putting your eco-worries to rest, they say, "A special kind of non-toxic paint was used that is safe enough to drink.")  [Via Paul Ramsbottom]

Meanwhile Turkish film studio Imago New Media has created OÏO, featuring paint "catapulted into the air, filmed by a high-speed camera and then composited with other catapulted paint footage."  Here’s a clip.  (The soundtrack has "deservedly obscure James Bond score" written all over it.) [Via]

See also the first Bravia spot (high res), featuring colored balls cavorting around SF.

10:20 AM | Permalink | Comments [2]

October 26, 2006

Remembering our friend Hans

It’s with enormous sadness that we learned this week of the passing of Hans Grande, a dear friend to many, many Adobeans; a stellar product manager; and an all-around excellent fella.  There’s a huge lump in all our throats, but at the wise suggestion of his wife, I’d like to take a moment to remember and celebrate his life.

Hans joined Adobe in 2002 as a PM on the Creative Suite team. Although we worked in different teams & disciplines, our paths would cross periodically, and I remember thinking, "Man, I’m not sure I understood all that MBA science he just laid on me, but I’m glad to have that guy on our side!"  When the Macromedia deal was announced last year, Hans took the reins on leading the planning activities.  Once again, although he was in the "clean room" and thus couldn’t talk much to the rest of us about the plans, I remember thinking, "Well, whatever he’s doing in there, I think those Macromedia folks are going to be impressed."  I couldn’t think of a better rep for that tricky assignment, and I knew he’d do Adobe proud.

Both Hans and I got married last year, and as we each dealt with the planning details, we’d compare notes.  I told him, "Oh man, this whole business of marrying a project manager is great–highly recommended, if you have the means!" He laughed and replied, "Yeah, but I’m marrying another product manager, and you know how that’s going to go: we’ll have all kinds of brilliant ideas for the wedding, and none of them will ever get implemented!"  I knew, though, that somewhere between driving the next great Adobe business initiative & going for long training rides with other Adobe cyclists (a real underachiever, this guy), he’d get it all put together.

I wish I’d gotten to know Hans better.  I wish we’d acted on more of those tossed-off oh-hey-let’s-grab-lunch suggestions.  I’m grateful that he came into the Adobe world for a while, and for the wonderful influence he exerted on so many folks here.  Maybe we can best honor him by picking up the phone & actually having that lunch, making that connection.  I know it would make Hans smile.

8:49 PM | Permalink | Comments [3]

Introducing Adobe Soundbooth, now on Labs

Sneak-previewed on Tuesday at the Adobe MAX show, the new audio-editing application Adobe Soundbooth is available in beta form on the Labs Web site.  "Built in the spirit of Sound Edit 16" (my trusty, lightweight sidekick for many years), Soundbooth is geared towards:

  • Editing audio quickly
  • Cleaning up noisy audio
  • Visually identifying and removing unwanted sounds
  • Recording and polishing voiceovers
  • Adding effects and filters
  • Easily creating customized music—without musical expertise

It’s a professional application, but it’s simpler and more streamlined than Audition, Adobe’s tool for audio professionals. In other words, it’s the kind of thing a Flash developer can grab and start using immediately.  Soundbooth PM Hart Shafer has posted his intro, and there’s also a press release.

By the way, note that in addition to supporting Windows, it runs on the Mac.  Intel-natively.  (And so does Flex Builder, for that matter.) In fact, given that it’s brand new, the app is Mactel-only.  I’m a little disappointed that I can’t run it on my PowerBook, but I understand why the team has decided to focus entirely on the future.

6:48 AM | Permalink | Comments [17]

October 25, 2006

Photoshop mobile authoring sneak, more

At risk of swamping you with MAX coverage, I wanted to pass along a bit more info.  Jen deHaan has posted in-depth coverage of the Day 2 keynote, and Matt Woodward offers complementary coverage (PDF). Jen’s notes mention some new hooks for doing mobile authoring from Photoshop:

  • Using Photoshop.next, Bill has Café Townsend open. Before he hands it over to the developer, he wants to make sure the design looks correct.
  • In Photoshop, he selects "Save for Web and Devices."
  • He clicks the button at bottom to preview content, and it opens mobile emulator — a newer version of mobile emulator that we’re working on. Making sure that image size, display, alignment is OK for the designer. Can check that it works on a variety of devices. You can change things like brightness, make sure that the contrast is OK when the phone is indoors, outdoors, etc.

This, like the Photoshop/Dreamweaver and Photoshop/Flash integration shown yesterday, elicited spontaneous applause from the crowd–always music to a product manager’s ears. :-)

3:03 PM | Permalink | Comments [1]

New Photoshop-Dreamweaver integration previewed

During yesterday’s MAX keynote, Flash evangelist Greg Rewis gave a sneak preview of some integration we’re planning between Photoshop and Dreamweaver.

In numerous visits to Web shops, designers made it clear that instead of always exporting a whole Photoshop file to the Web, they’d often like to grab just a chunk of it and drop it into an HTML composition.  Greg showed that in a future version of Dreamweaver, it’ll be possible to copy a chunk of data from Photoshop, paste it into Dreamweaver, and have the built-in Fireworks optimization engine pop up with compression options.  Better still, Photoshop passed along enough info that DW knows the location of the source PSD & can tell PS to re-open that file.

Jen deHaan has posted an excellent, detailed write-up of the keynote, including info on Fireworks improvements (e.g. the much requested better PSD import); the After Effects "puppeting" demo; the new Soundbooth application (more on that soon); and much more. Flashmagazine offers good coverage with photos. [Via]

9:47 AM | Permalink | No Comments

$100,000,000 in seed money for Apollo developers

During a packed keynote address at Adobe MAX yesterday, the company made a rather interesting announcement: according to (and buried in) the press release, "Adobe also plans to invest approximately $100 million in venture capital over the next 3-5 years in companies leveraging Adobe platform technologies, particularly companies delivering applications via Apollo, as part of Adobe’s commitment to building an ecosystem for the Adobe® Engagement Platform."

Tschka-tschka-ehWHAT?  As they say in Congress, "$100M here, $100M there–pretty soon you’re talking about real money."  I wasn’t hired for my math skills (at heart, I remain a simple unfrozen caveman Web designer), but this kind of money strikes me as a huge vote of confidence in the platform & the developer community around it.

8:18 AM | Permalink | Comments [5]

My podcast on Apple-Adobe relations, more

Last week a group of Mac developers–Rich Siegel of Bare Bones, Jayson Adams of Circus Ponies, and  Paul Kafasis of Rogue Amoeba, and I–sat down (virtually) with Chuck Joiner of MacVoices.  We discussed the state of software development on the Mac, as well as the future of the platform, hosted apps, and more.  You can hear the hour-long podcast here.  (For the impatient: my comments largely boil down to "Lots of work is ongoing, but on the whole, things are all good.")

[On a slightly related note, Apple announced these fire-breathing bad boys yesterday. My 17″ is on its way! (Laptop-induced scoliosis, schmoliosis. Come to JNack…)]

7:54 AM | Permalink | No Comments

October 24, 2006

Flash-based RIAs for cartographers

Here’s a pair of interesting examples of using Flash technology to build hosted applications for a very specialized market: 

  • Developed at Penn State, ColorBrewer is designed to facilitate selecting good color schemes for maps. To that end it makes it easy to test drive various options using a sample map.  The warning icons, indicating whether a particular scheme works well for  colorblind users, monochrome copiers, etc., are a nice touch.
  • UW Madison’s TypeBrewer, meanwhile, is "an online map design tool that lets mapmakers explore typography in a semi-structured environment."  It can preview more than 300 unique combos of typeface options; check your machine to see whether you have the fonts being previewed; and even generate a downloadable Illustrator template from the results.

From my perspective it’s cool to see the rise of highly focused, easy-to-use complements to larger design apps, developed in a way that makes them accessible to anyone with a computer, regardless of platform. [Via Colin Fleming]

[Update: If this kind of thing is up your alley, you might also want to check out Digital Vector Maps, purveyors of fine stock maps for Illustrator. [Via]]

7:45 AM | Permalink | Comments [2]

October 22, 2006

Microsoft "Mimesweeper"

Microsoft UX dude Dave Vronay has a great sense of humor about his company’s occasional struggles to make Windows elegant and usable. In his mock-apologetic list of features that didn’t make the cut for Vista, he mentions "Mimesweeper," a more politically sensitive version of the venerable Minesweeper game. "Just like wandering around Paris, the goal is to figure out where all of the mimes are without actually encountering one."  Sadly, he reports, the game came to naught, as did the, ah, highly discoverable "Safe Delete" feature.  [Via]  [For more tech parody see previous.]

8:30 PM | Permalink | No Comments

Splice Music: Flash-based networking for DJs

Splice Music is an interesting example of using Flash-based tools to build a social network.  Aimed at aspiring DJs, the site echoes the spirit of JumpCut, the video mash-up service that Yahoo! recently acquired, and the Flash-based sequencer offers some fairly sophisticated audio tools.  It’s cool to see a site embracing rich internet app technology to bring creative folks together.

an example
song sequencer interface (press play button to hear and drag clips around).  The site enables users to:

    • Remix existing songs by other DJs
    • Drag and drop sound clips
    • Embed remixes in a blog or web page with an HTML snippet they provide (similar to YouTube)  
    • Rate songs as well as sounds that compose a song, and search a database of community-rated sounds
    • Record new sounds directly within the UI
    • Browse existing sounds via tags
    • Click on a sound in the sequence to see metadata about that song (BPM, community rating, length, tags, etc)
    • Create detailed artist profiles
    • Add friends

[Via Rob Christensen]

5:39 PM | Permalink | No Comments

October 21, 2006

Colossal images through Photoshop & Flash

  • Jean-François Rauzier has developed techniques for creating "Hyperphotos"–panoramas that can be printed some 30′ x 10′. "When looking at a Hyperphoto," says his press release, "at first you think you’re
    looking at an enlargement of a panoramic photograph.
    Not quite. Look more closely and you absorb a strange
    atmosphere that distances the viewer from the real world
    and sucks you into a universe of dizzying amplitude.
    Each Hyperphoto is a gigantic hyper-realist puzzle,
    created by assembling hundreds of close-up shots
    taken with a telephoto lens." 

    Jean-François reports that although he tried other software, Photoshop was the only tool capable of handling his 30-40GB images.  He displays them on his site using Flash, though for sheer scale I’d love to see one in person.   More info (in French) on his process is here and here.

  • Rob Galbraith has the story of HAL9000, an Italian team that has created a whopping 8.6 gigapixel stitched photograph of an Italian fresco.  They won’t go into the details of how they stitched 1,145 Nikon D2X frames into a 96,679 x 89,000 behemoth, but it looks like they use the excellent Zoomify technology to make the results visible (a la Google Maps) via Flash.  Check out the results on their site.

Hmm–using Photoshop and Flash together to make sharing high-res imagery a snap; seems like something the Grand Unified Adobe might want to consider… [pulling chin thoughtfully]

2:30 PM | Permalink | Comments [7]

Hidden Illustrator<->Photoshop integration

Illustrator and Photoshop have been quietly growing tighter, and you may have discovered that it’s possible to export a very editable PSD file from Illustrator (preserving nested layers, masks, editable text along a path, etc.).  But what about going the other way–turning a layered PSD into a layered Illustrator composition?  It’s easy to do, though not at first glance.

Background: The compositing model (i.e. the layer blending modes & options) used by Illustrator, InDesign, and Acrobat is different than the one used by Photoshop. Therefore some blending options in Photoshop (for example, complex "Blend If" settings) can’t be replicated in Illustrator. As a result, when you place a PSD file into Illustrator, the blending is isolated.  That is, the PSD is treated as things a little world unto itself, and the blending modes within it don’t interact with anything else in the Illustrator document.  Objects like drop shadows (set to Multiply mode) only multiply against other things inside the PSD.

But here’s the trick: if you place the PSD and embed it in your Illustrator file (by unchecking the Link option in the import dialog), you can tell Illustrator to convert each layer into a separate Illustrator object. In that case the blending options should come through largely intact. Even things like text & vector layers (including text on a path & text in a shape) will be converted to the native Illustrator versions.

This is quite powerful but, ah, shall we say, non-obvious.  I don’t have a perfect solution in mind for making this capability more discoverable, but we’ll give it some thought.

10:34 AM | Permalink | Comments [9]

October 20, 2006

Contribute rocks for blogging

I know I’m not an unbiased source, given that I work for Adobe, but I have to take a second to plug the new Contribute 4, released earlier this month.  Until now I’d never used any flavor of Contribute, though having been a Web designer I’ve always liked the idea of a tool that let clients do their own updates/grunt work.  I grabbed the release build of v4.0 ("C4"? Hmm–too explosive) on the weekend and, after taking a couple of days to switch gears, have been on a tear with it ever since.  Being able to compose blog entries offline in a WYSIWYG editor, then publish them in one click, just crushes my previous approach (typing raw text in a Movable Type interface).

By the way, on a blogging-related note, Adobe’s acquisition of Serious Magic brings with it Vlog It!, an app designed to make video blogging similarly easy.  The built-in Teleprompter & green-screen capabilities sound particularly sweet. I don’t have any inside info on Adobe’s plans here, but a combo of MacBook Pro + built-in iSight cam + some green construction paper mean you may be seeing more of me here soon.  (Wait, don’t unsubscribe that feed already…!)

6:13 PM | Permalink | Comments [1]

October 19, 2006

Show your photos in NYC via Lightroom

Adobe is showcasing photographers’ work via the Lightroom Tell Your Story page. Galleries created using the Lightroom beta will be on display at the PhotoPlus Expo show in New York in early November, so if you’re interested in showing your work, feel free to jump in. [Via]

By the way, the team released Lightroom Beta 4.1 today.  According to Tom Hogarty, the Lightroom Product Manager, this small update:

  • Resolves external editor conflict
  • Corrects export orientation for constrained portrait images
  • Resolves missing image error with large web galleries
  • Provides Photo Binder platform compatibility on optical media

Please see the release notes for a full list of updates and corrections.

10:27 PM | Permalink | No Comments

Photoshop shortcut o’ the day

Heh–you know you’re working on a mature application when you start running out of keyboard shortcut combos.  Earlier today we were discussing shortcuts that would work for something that’s in development.  We settled on a four-key combo (one of those Shift-Opt-Cmd-Letter deals), which let to this exchange:

  • Bryan O’Neil Hughes: "Ugh, it beats no shortcut at all…but it isn’t too far removed from just
    banging one’s head against the keyboard."
  • Joe Ault: "BangHeadAgainstKeyboard is already taken, but I think
    Ctrl-Shift-BangHeadAgainstKeyboard is available…"

We will henceforth work on a forehead-USB interface. ;-)

2:15 PM | Permalink | Comments [3]

Liquid Sculpture, Touchdown Jesus, & more

  • Martin Waugh produces gorgeous images of fluids in motion–something he calls Liquid Sculpture.  As you’d expect, creating the images depends on high-speed photography.  Related: Marc Pawliger points out the 10-nanosecond exposures needed to capture nuclear fireballs.
  • ¿Donde esta la biblioteca? Right here, in a series of beautiful photos.[Via]  Some of the shots could have benefitted from HDR, and it’s too bad they don’t include pix of the rad new Seattle Public Library (or maybe ND’s Touchdown Jesus). Still, it’s a great collection.
  • "This seems more like a John Nack item…" writes John Dowdell, and so it is, but I’ve been delayed in posting it (dang actual job slowing me down): Little People is "a tiny street art project" that leaves tiny figures around London. [Via]  It makes me think of the miniature food sculptures of French pastry chef/photographer team Akiko Ida and Pierre Javelle.  For my part, I used to carry around a GI Joe head that I’d photograph in all kinds of situations (say, the middle of Death Valley).  I named him Sgt. Goldbug, after the little Richard Scarry creation who’d hide somewhere on every page.
  • Speaking of food, Worth1000 features some deeply unappetizing Photoshop food mash-ups.  (Of course, these are not quite as nauseating as that McDLT ad with Jason Alexander.)
9:10 AM | Permalink | Comments [2]

Turning Japanese: Lightroom gets localized

Some months back, an enthusiastic Lightroom user couldn’t wait for Adobe to create a localized version of the application, so he or she did the translations him- or herself.  Admirable as the effort was, I’m happy to report that there’s now an official Japanese build of Lightroom available for download, and the Adobe Japan team has posted a wealth of screenshots and overviews.

In other Lightroom-related news, Ben Long has posted a great intro for getting started in Lightroom.  Grab the latest beta (if you haven’t already) to follow along.

8:15 AM | Permalink | No Comments

Tasty 3D business

6:26 AM | Permalink | No Comments

October 15, 2006

The "Adobe Mouse": half price, now does Windows

Earlier this year Logitech announced the NuLOOQ Navigator (crazy name, cool device), a button/dial combo that’s designed to sit in your non-dominant hand (i.e. the one you aren’t mousing/drawing with) and provide quick access to tools, zooming, panning, and more.  There are some brief video overviews on the product site, showing how you can bring up a little on-screen tool dial that’s context-aware (displaying options relevant to the app & tool you’re using at the moment).

Now they’ve made the product much more affordable (chopping the price to $79.99) and made the product compatible with Windows while adding support for a number of additional apps (iTunes, iMovie, etc.). These moves make the device much more of an impulse buy, and I hope it sells like hotcakes (er, Krispy Kremes, or Tickle Me Senseless Elmo, or whatever people are buying like mad these days).

10:25 AM | Permalink | No Comments

Win a Photoshop User Award, fly to Rome

Want a free trip to Rome?  If you win Best in Show in the Photoshop User Awards, the National Association of Photoshop Professionals will send you on just that.  According to site, "The Best of Show winner will go on assignment for Photoshop User magazine to Rome, Italy to create a cover image for the magazine. Photoshop User will provide round-trip airfare for the winner, and an assistant of their choice, along with hotel accommodations, hotel transfers, and daily expenses. The cover they create will be used on the cover of Photoshop User magazine."  Other good loot goes to winners of the 11 categories.

Sweetness.  Check out the full details (categories, rules, etc.) in the press release.

9:41 AM | Permalink | No Comments

October 14, 2006

Beautiful scientific imagery

  • The Cassini space probe has produced a stunning image of Saturn and its rings.  The panoramic view was created by combining a total of 165 images taken by the Cassini wide-angle camera over nearly three hours. Color in the view was created by digitally compositing ultraviolet, infrared and clear filter images and was then adjusted to resemble natural color.  Check it out in high res.  [Via]
  • Elsewhere in space, Wikipedia features a great shot of a sunset on Mars (in no way to be confused with Breakfast on Pluto).   And in case you missed it earlier, check out that shot of the space shuttle in front of the sun.  As a celebutante would say, "That hot."
  • Slightly closer to Earth, the NYT has a story and slide show of backyard rocket builders in the desert. Their creations–some able to fly to 94,000 feet–are a bit more impressive than my old DIY constructions (paper towel tube, "D" rocket engine, and as many Black Cats as I could cram in). Yeah, but mine blowed up real good.
  • And much, much closer to earth, the NYT shows the entomological images of Dr. Thomas Eisner. This bombardier beetle is out of hand, though the shell constructions seem a little close to the rogue taxidermy of MART.
8:11 PM | Permalink | No Comments

October 13, 2006

PUG Life this Tuesday: Wicked painting technology & more

The Bay Area Photoshop User Group is meeting this Tuesday, Oct. 17, at the Adobe San Jose office (map). Pizza and drinks kick off at 6:30pm.
Computer scientist Nelson Chu is visiting from Hong Kong and plans to demo his badass painting technology (scroll down for videos). We’re also planning to present an overview and demo of Lightroom Beta 4, as well as a tour of the new Acrobat 8 and the collaboration tools in Acrobat Connect (formerly Breeze).
Hope to see you there,

3:38 PM | Permalink | Comments [1]

Photoshop gets NASCAR’d out

Heh–hot on the heels of the Uncyclopedia Photoshop gag, the wisenheimers at Coloribus have announced that to combat piracy in emerging markets, Adobe will release a version of Photoshop slathered in corporate sponsorship. Hmm, yeeeah, this just might work… I’m imagining integrating the Flash Player into Photoshop to power interstitial ads. “The Brush Tool–but first, Will and Grace weeknights at 6 on Action 13!!” Or, maybe not. ;-) [Via Russell Brady]

8:18 AM | Permalink | Comments [1]

October 12, 2006

Honda goes Tron + more good motion graphics

Some nice motion graphics work to share:

  • The ad campaign for the new Honda Civic features a rad homage to the movie Tron; check it out in high or low res. [Via]
  • Meanwhile the campaign for Honda’s new CR-V features some beautiful, understated 3D work from design shop Superfad. I really like Coffee and Popcorn spots. More here.
  • Director Michel Gondry does amazing work*, and now his video for the White Stripes’ The Hardest Button to Button has been honored with a terrific Simpsons spoof. [Via Russell Williams]
  • And speaking of bands, album covers come alive (and are quickly killed off) in this ultra-(cartoonishly)violent battle of the bands. [Via]

* [Seriously, if you like this stuff at all, treat yourself to this little collection of his work. It’ll be the best $15 you’ve spent all week.]

9:44 PM | Permalink | No Comments

October 10, 2006

Fresh typographic action

  • The Urban Typography Project features limited edition
    letterpress prints depicting some of Salt Lake City’s vintage signs.
  • The Tiffin Directory looks fresh and contemporary–not bad for a catalog from 1922.
  • Fiodor Sumkin is back with more good action.
  • Buffet Script is just lovely (and a guy can’t use Zapfino all the time). [Via]
  • James Clar makes 3D Display Cubes that each use 1000 LEDs to create 3D forms and animations. Each one runs a cool $3,000, but they sure are pretty, and the site offers a tutorial for designing 3D content in Photoshop. [Via]
  • LOST is a typographical triptych, moving letterforms meant to be played across three adjacent monitors. [Via]
11:23 PM | Permalink | No Comments

October 06, 2006

“Aperture war”? Gimme a break.

To dignify or not to dignify, that is the question…
Normally I prefer to let random piles o’ nonsense pass by unremarked, but this one has been Dugg, and the resulting traffic makes me feel like saying something.
So, an anonymous article says that an unnamed Adobe exec “vented ire and shock* ” at an unspecified company meeting. Very racy!
For what it’s worth, I don’t recall anything like this happening, and other folks don’t, either. That said, it’s hard to prove a negative, especially without names, quotes, etc. In any case, it would have been nice if someone–anyone–had approached Adobe for confirmation or comment, instead of taking the story at face value.
Here are a couple of tips for any self-styled business news source:

  • Include bylines (y’know, so we know who’s saying what).
  • Feature actual quotes and sources (ditto).
  • Don’t suggest that big, publicly owned, successful companies would do manifestly stupid, self-defeating things like “dropping or delaying support for Apple’s new Intel platform products with the upcoming version of Adobe Photoshop CS3.” Mactel nativeness is expected to motivate a lot of folks to upgrade, and if Adobe could flip a switch and make it happen tomorrow, we would–Aperture and anything else notwithstanding.**

Now, does the Lightroom team want to kick Aperture’s butt? You bet! And can we safely guess that the Aperture team wants to wipe the floor with Lightroom? Hell yeah! And is this all good for customers? Absolutely. I know both companies to be full of bright, passionate, ethical people, and some healthy competition benefits everyone.
So listen, my Mac brethren: We’re working like mad on this Mactel thing (with Apple’s excellent ongoing help) because it’s the right thing to do for customers. Everyone knows that, and assertions that Adobe would do something petty and stupid just to irk Apple–well, they’re not worth the pixels they’re printed on. (It was a pitch in the dirt, but I felt I had to set the record straight.)
Oh, and one more thing: news we share over the next weeks and months is going to confound a lot of critics. Stay tuned.
And now, back to work.
* Incidentally, Aperture wasn’t a surprise to Adobe. As I said at the beginning, it’s something we’d expected for a long time. Apple had likewise anticipated Lightroom.
** Not convinced? Here’s a little history: When the PowerPC first came to the Mac, Adobe released a free plug-in for Photoshop 2.5. And when the G5 was released, Adobe released a free update for Photoshop 7, despite the fact that CS1 was roughly six weeks away. We spent time this year trying to do the same for CS2, but it wasn’t in the cards.

2:02 PM | Permalink | Comments [13]

Lightning photographer narrowly escapes crisping

Non-carbonized British photographer Kane Quinnell is lucky to be alive after snapping this rather spectacular photo of lightning near his home. He tells the Daily Mail about being launched several feet into the air as lightning connected with the house next door. [Via] For his trouble he’ll be featured in an Australian weather calendar.
Elsewhere in the Daily Mail you can find an extremely cool shot of the International Space Station and shuttle Atlantis silhouetted against the sun. Be sure to click the image to see the shapes in more detail.
[For more lightning photography, see previous.]

11:32 AM | Permalink | Comments [1]

Camera Raw 3.6 beta now available

As promised, the next rev to Adobe Camera Raw & the DNG Converter has been on an accelerated development schedule, and now beta releases of both have been posted for Mac (Universal) and Windows. New (preliminary) support in this release includes the following cameras:

  • Canon EOS 400D / Rebel XTi
  • Leica D-LUX3
  • Leica Digilux 3
  • Nikon D80
  • Panasonic DMC-LX2
  • Pentax K100D

    These join the cameras just added in ACR 3.5:
  • Kodak EasyShare P712
  • Nikon D2Xs
  • Panasonic DMC-FZ50
  • Panasonic DMC-L1
  • Sony A100

As always, please take a second to ensure that you install the plug-in into the correct spot:
Mac: /Library/Application Support/Adobe/Plug-ins/CS2/File Formats/…
Win: \Program Files\Common Files\Adobe\Plug-ins\CS2\File Formats\…
The full list of 140 or so supported cameras is on the Camera Raw product page.

10:20 AM | Permalink | Comments [4]

October 05, 2006

The best printer since on sliced bread

First you could print on paper, then on clothes, mugs, stamps, then on furniture… and now comes printing on food. The Zuse Toast Printer claims to pump imagery right onto your morning carbs. Hmm, I wonder how you’d color-manage toast out of Photoshop… At least the consumables (!) would be cheaper than regular inkjet paper, and if the printer shipped with a clipart gallery of famous faces, you could probably make a bundle selling the output on eBay.
I wonder, do elephants eat toast? If so, maybe you could recycle the Zuse output into a different sort of paper (not one I’d care to see color managed). [Via]

3:21 PM | Permalink | No Comments

New vids: After Effects 7 + Flash 8 Integration

There’s huge interest in ways to integrate After Effects with Flash, and the the good folks at Lynda.com are happy to oblige with video training. Lee Brimelow tackles AE 7 + Flash 8 integration, touching on AE’s auto-trace vectorization, FLV export, Dr. Woohoo’s tools, and more. [Via]

12:02 AM | Permalink | Comments [2]

October 04, 2006

Lucha Loco; Bomber Boneyards

  • What blanco niño doesn’t like to to don a rasslin’ mask and live the life of a luchador? (Call me El Tryptophan, master of the sleeper hold.) Er, maybe it’s a Jack Black/Jack Nack thing. In any case, Lucha Loco is a set of more than 120 portraits of masked Mexican wrestlers, complete with biographical bits. (“I teach Tae Kwan-Do. I’m black-belt. And I’m also in sales,” says Dr. Muerte. See also Super Porky and others in the gallery.) [Via]

    For more lucha goodness, check out these pix from the Golden Age of Mexican cinema (viva El Santo!).
  • Night photographer Troy Paiva (aka Lost America) has posted a beautiful gallery of shots taken at an airplane boneyard at El Mirage Dry Lake. Joe Reifer has another good set from the same spot.
    Meanwhile TerraServer hosts a satellite photo of the place the AMARC boneyard. [Via] And Flickr features a photoset of a derelict communication outpost, remnants of the Cold War DEW Line. [Via]
  • Okay, this has nothing to do with anything besides pointy metal things flying through the air, but FYI in case you’re planning to judge any javelin competitions: you may want to wear some sturdy insteps.
8:10 PM | Permalink | Comments [1]

lol i can yoose photoshop

What’s more fun and (amazingly) even less productive than screwing around in Wikipedia all day? Screwing around in Uncyclopedia! This parody of Wikipedia has an excellent take on “Photoshop or, as they want you to call it, Adobe® Photoshop® Image® Enhancement® Creation® Software®” (gah!). Among the bits:

A huge advantage was the simplistic and easy-to-grasp feature set — essentially, anything you would ever want to do graphically is about a single mouse-click away. You could easily undertake even the most challenging task and your workflow would be so smooth and processes so intuitive that you would actually *gain* time at the end of your project!

>;-) And do mind those Murphy’s Laws of Photoshop Phoniness. [Via Mark Hamburg]

8:35 AM | Permalink | Comments [1]

October 02, 2006

Bert Monroy video talks FX painting in Photoshop

Master digital painter Bert Monroy (he of 15,000-layer PSD fame) is featured in the inaugural episode of Pixel Perfect, a new show on Revision3. Bert shows how to create “lightning, sparkles, and a mystical vortex the same way professional effects and movie matte artists do.” [Via]

2:25 PM | Permalink | Comments [4]

Lightroom Library module in depth

On the heels of his excellent overview of the Lightroom Develop module, author/photographer Martin Evening has posted an in-depth reveiw of the Library module. He discusses optimizing image libraries for performance and file size; exchanging shoots via the new concept of “photo binders”; renaming files; converting to DNG; and more. (By the way, Martin’s Lightroom book is due from Peachpit around the end of the year.)

1:44 PM | Permalink | Comments [1]
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