December 20, 2006

Handy new script for Photoshop CS3

By now you’ve probably seen how the Photoshop CS3 beta’s Auto-Align Layers command can snap images together.  If not, check out my 90-second overview, or this somewhat more in-depth version from Russell Brown. 

The command relies on selecting multiple layers to align, so it’s handy to suck multiple images into Photoshop & stack them up as layers in a PSD file.  To accomplish that easily, we created a Load Files Into Stack script, but time didn’t permit it to get into the beta.  So, if you’re interested in pulling in multiple files as layers, you can grab the script here (zipped to avoid any server weirdness).  Unzip the file and stick it into the "Adobe Photoshop CS3/Presets/Scripts" folder to make it appear under File->Scripts when you launch Photoshop, or just browse to it via File->Scripts->Browse.

To try it yourself, do the following:

  1. Grab this set of four images and unzip it.
  2. From within Photoshop, select File->Scripts->Load Files into Stack, then load up the four images.
  3. Leave the alignment & Smart Object options unchecked, then hit OK.
  4. Choose Select->All Layers, then choose Edit->Auto-Align Layers.
  5. Click the Cylindrical option, then hit OK.  You should wind up with an image like this.
  6. So, okay, Photoshop has done a reasonable job aligning and warping the layers, but obvious color and alignment problems remain. To address these, now choose Edit->Auto-Blend Layers.  You’ll wind up with an image like this–much more nicely stitched together.
  7. Notice that the Auto-Blend command still leaves your layers as layers, but they now have layer masks that you can further tweak by hand if you’d like.

The upshot is that the Load Files Into Stack script sets you up nicely for all kinds of alignment & blending tasks, or for any work that requires multiple files to be pulled into a single layered document.

On a marginally related note, a customer on the Labs forum was asking about getting a native version of Photoshop’s JPEG 2000 plug-in, which isn’t installed by default.  So, here you go (Mac and Windows bundled into one ZIP, since they’re small).

10:38 PM | Permalink | Comments [21]

Is Photoshop CS3 a 64-bit app?

First, ask yourself:

  • What is a "64-bit application"?
  • What advantages does such an application offer?
  • What are the disadvantages?

In talking to lots of customers, I find that most are unable to answer these questions.  (There’s nothing inherently wrong with that.  As I’ve said, I myself am just a simple unfrozen caveman Web designer, and like most non-engineers I don’t presume to grok the intricacies of complex software design.)  Yet despite the lack of widespread understanding, "64 bit" is one of those buzzwords (a la "Cocoa" and many others) that sounds cool, eliciting a lot of "arewethereyet, arewethereyet??" that may or may not be warranted.

Photoshop co-architect Scott Byer has posted a lucid, readable overview of 64-bit computing & where Photoshop stands relative to this transition.  Given a great number of factors, we elected not to make the change in this cycle.  That said, Photoshop does take advantage of some aspects of 64-bit chips, and as Scott notes, "It’s a when, not an if" we’ll make the move.  His info should help cut through some of the hype & set reasonable expectations about the future.

5:01 PM | Permalink | Comments [19]

Now showing: The rest of the CS3 icons

Some folks have expressed curiosity about the other icons planned for the CS3 generation of Adobe applications, especially given our goal of having them work well as a complete system. So, with the blessing of Michael Gough, Adobe’s VP of Product Experience*, here they are.
[ *Not to be confused with Alfred from Batman ]
[ Update: Some commentary: Jason Santa Maria hates ’em; Veerle Pieters likes ’em, and has more commentary from Adobe designer Ryan Hicks.

Update 2: Lee at The Flash Blog has created a 3D carousel of the icons. And Terri Stone pointed out her story on the genesis of the CS2 icons.]

11:29 AM | Permalink | Comments [395]
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