January 31, 2007

Of Birds & Bees

2:45 AM | Permalink | Comments [3]

Useful Photoshop layer-handling scripts

Last week Ralf Berger, co-creator of Photoshop’s Vanishing Point tool (and formerly eng. manager for LiveMotion), asked me whether Photoshop offered a way to clean up files by deleting empty layers.  I knew that the Layers palette fly-out menu contains a command to delete hidden layers, but not one for blowing away those with no pixel content.  After a nudge towards the Photoshop JavaScript guide (installed in the application folder, btw), Ralf whipped up this script for deleting blank layers.  I’m posting it here in case it’s useful. (You may want to right-click/Ctrl-click the link to download the script, then put the file into your Photoshop folder under Presets/Scripts.)

On a related note,
I came across a Trevor Morris’s trove of handy-looking little scripts.  And for more PS scriptiness, including a good discussion forum, check out PS-Scripts.com.

12:44 AM | Permalink | Comments [12]

January 30, 2007

HD Photo format coming to Photoshop

Microsoft & Adobe have been working together on a plug-in that will offer support for HD Photo (née WMP*–Windows Media Photo), the new Microsoft-developed imaging format, in Photoshop.  HD Photo offers advanced compression (both lossless & lossy) and improved dynamic range relative to the standard JPEG format.  Timing won’t permit us to have support into the CS3 box, but we’ll find a way to get it out there.  My manager Kevin Connor noted,

"What’s good about HD Photo is that it was designed specifically for digital photography, with a good understanding of how digital photography usage is evolving," Connor said. "It will certainly take time for HD Photo to be as broadly accessible as JPEG–if it ever is quite that broad–but there can be reasons even today why a consumer might prefer to use HD Photo."

As with JPEG2000, which Photoshop began supporting in 2003, our goal is to ensure that support exists in Adobe apps ahead of customer demand.  That way, as images begin appearing, you’ll be good to go.

*The new name is far nicer, no?

7:38 AM | Permalink | Comments [22]

January 29, 2007

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 1.0 goes primetime

After a tremendously successful beta program that saw more than 1.4 million downloads from Adobe Labs, Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 1.0 has been officially announced.  The press release lists a number of new features and improvements added since the most recent beta drop, and a new product page includes a tour and more details.

Some details:

  • Lightroom 1.0 will be sold for $299 USD.  We recognize the investment users have made in Adobe tools, including the time invested by the more than 500,000 people who downloaded the beta.  To say thanks, Adobe
    will be offering a one time introductory price of $199 that ends April 30th.
  • It will not be bundled or packaged with Photoshop CS3 or the Creative Suite.
  • French and German versions of Lightroom 1.0 will be available at the end
    of February.  Introductory price of 174 Euros until June 28th, after which the standard pricing
    249 Euros.
  • A Japanese version will be available at the end of
    March.  Introductory pricing of 22,000 Yen runs until July 23rd, after which the app costs 32,000 Yen.

Also, Lightroom PM Tom Hogarty reports that the new version includes preliminary support for PhaseOne camera backs.

In conjunction with the release, the NAPP has announced a new Lightroom learning center, and I see that Uwe Steinmueller has posted a review.  I’ll try to link to additional resources as I get time online.  Feel free to list good ones you find via the comments.

3:59 AM | Permalink | Comments [21]

January 28, 2007

Shout-outs for Umlauts

Greetings from snowy Sweden (-9° C & loving it!).  I arrived last night with Caleb Belohlavek, a director on the Suite team, to start a series of visits with the press: nine cities in two weeks (gah!).  I want to keep this blog focused on Photoshop, photography, design, and the like, not making it into "As the Nack Turns."  That said, in case you see posts filed at 3am, or lighter posting until mid-February, you’ll know why. For some personal bits from the trip thus far, read on.

Stockholm is gorgeous ("the Venice of the North," they say), and from the moment we landed I was charmed to see an old Volvo 240 wagon soldiering on down the taxiway.  I’m having fun with the language–because hey, who doesn’t like a nice voiceless dorso-palatal velar fricative, not to mention A’s with stylish headwear?  I especially enjoy the process of inserting the word "kronor" into progressively more absurd contexts ("Oh man, I slept weird on the plane & now my kronor is out of whack…")–but that could be the jetlag talking.  By watching English-language shows with subtitles, I’ve picked up the words "funkinga" (“funky”; thanks, James Brown retrospective), "narko" (“dope,” via Deadwood clip), and "dog" ("dead," via WWII documentary).  Maybe I’ll pick up tips from some local bloggers; er, maybe not.

I got to walk around and take some snaps–at least until my cold camera started throwing an error message.  Not wanting a repeat of last year’s snafu, I stuffed the cam into my jacket, and later at the hotel I let my memory cards warm up at their own pace. Fortunately only one or two shots seem to be MIA, but I continue to doubt the robustness of digital cameras (or at least mine) in the cold.  If you’d like to see the shots (featuring the world’s coldest pizza), they’re here.

Tomorrow is all about work, then off to London and endless city-hopping.  For now, though, take it from me: reindeer is delicious. :-)

6:45 PM | Permalink | Comments [5]

Genuine Fractals Universal beta available

Good news from the plug-in developer front: onOne software has announced that a beta of Geniune Fractals is available in beta form, and that it’s compiled as a universal binary that runs natively inside Photoshop CS3 on both Intel- and PowerPC-based Macs. The beta also works with previous Photoshop and Photoshop Elements versions for Mac and Windows.  To try it out, you need to request access via this form.  Additionally, onOne has announced that they’ll be offering free compatibility updates to their other plug-ins (MaskPro, Intellihance, etc.).

If you’re a developer and want to make your Mac plug-ins Intel-compatible, please check out the CS3 mini-SDK.  And please let us know if you need folks to test your new code; we’ll be happy to spread the word.

8:22 AM | Permalink | Comments [1]

January 26, 2007

Blowing Smoke

Put this in your burning bulb & smoke it: Graham Jefferey has created a gallery of gorgeous smoke images. (In case you’re wondering, as my wife was, whether it’s possible to buy prints, the answer is yes.)  Graham’s work inspired Myla Kent to create her own lovely experiments with incense.  There’s a whole pool of art smoke images on the Flickr, and now Photocritic features tips & tricks from Graham for creating your own smoke images. [Via]

9:37 AM | Permalink | Comments [5]

Interviews with Photoshop founders

  • The blog since1968.com features an interesting interview with Mark Hamburg (photo), founder and engineering manager of the new Photoshop Lightroom product (not to mention a driving force behind Photoshop itself for more than a decade).  In it Mark discusses the gestation of the product, some of the concepts behind its user interface, reasons they abandoned things like a free-form light table, and more.  I’m looking forward to part 2 of the interview, due to be posted soon on the site.  [For more on the history of Lightroom development, check out Jeff Schewe’s behind-the-scenes overview.  For more interviews with Mark, check out some of the Lightroom podcasts.]
  • CNET has been featuring some of the creative forces at ILM this week, highlighting the work of John Knoll (who co-wrote Photoshop with his older brother Thomas).   Now they’ve posted a 4-minute video in which John discusses those early days.  [For more info, photos, and clips from ILM’s Pirates work, see the mini-site they created. For more on the Knoll brothers & the creation of Photoshop, check out this piece on PhotoshopNews.]

Side note: I love that Hal Hickel, now an effects whiz at ILM, saved the rejection letter he received when, at age 12 in 1978, he proposed a sequel to Star Wars.  It reminds me of the note I got from LEGO 20 years ago, when I proposed camouflage bricks–a notion they rejected as being too war-like.  Yeah, and now they make a Lego Death Star… ;-)

Also, speaking of that “small moon,” how brilliant is this video, re-enacting the Star Wars Death Star battle using ony disembodied hands? [Via]

8:15 AM | Permalink | Comments [1]

January 25, 2007

Mo’ betta tips for Photoshop type

Author & Photoshop TV personality Dave Cross shares a wealth of tips for working with text in Photoshop in a 10-page PDF on CreativePro.com.   The chapter (excerpted from Dave’s book) gives succinct answers to a variety of questions (how to fill type with a texture, how to insert a copyright symbol, when to update type layers, etc.) and should be worth printing out for future reference.

For more tips, see my 12 Tips for Photoshop Text, which Russell Brown demos & expands upon in this video.  For more type bits, see the Typography category of this blog.  And while I’ve got your ear:

  • Veer says, "Next time you have to explain kerning to a layman, you’ll have a live demo just a zip away"–and with the sweater they’re offering, they’re right.   Nice. :-)
  • CreativePro has also launched TypeTalk, a monthly Q&A on typography.  If you wonder things like which direction the apostrophe should face before "’70’s," for example–and yes, I do–the column should be a good read.
11:18 AM | Permalink | Comments [3]

January 24, 2007

Fun with Apple: iHop & icons

Apropos of our friends up the road:

5:03 PM | Permalink | Comments [2]

Night photography: Comets & more

4:35 PM | Permalink | Comments [2]

January 23, 2007

Organized Randomness

(Other than this blog, I mean.)

  • In More Turns, photographer Bill Sullivan has captured New Yorkers as they pass through subway turnstiles.  "I developed a situation," he writes, "so that various subjects could be defined by the constraints of exactly the same mechanical apparatus… At the moment that the subjects passed through the turnstile, unknown to them, I took their picture stationed at a distance of eleven feet."  Besides the images themselves, I really enjoy the quasi-panoramic presentation.  Bill rotates the same approach 90 degrees in his elevator-based Stop Down series, where closing doors do the cropping. [Via]
  • In The Thought Project, Danish photographer Simon Hoegsberg approached 150 strangers on the streets of Copenhagen and NYC, asking them what they were thinking the moment before he stopped them. He recorded their replies and then took their portraits. Thoughts range from truffles to Sheena is a Punk Rocker to IRBMs. [Via]
  • In Le Grand Content, Clemens Kogler pretty much captures how my mind works, depicting connections between hamsters, religious doubt, artificial sweeteners, heavy drinking, and more. [Via]
2:53 PM | Permalink | Comments [1]

65MPx Mother of All Touchscreens

The folks at Virginia Tech’s GigaPixel Project have been busy, creating a 50-monitor display prototype.  Comprised of 21" flat-panel touchscreen monitors (the perfect complement to this stuff?), and driven by a cluster of 25 small PCs, the setup promises a resolution of at least 12,800×5120 (65,536,000 pixels).  To afford the sucker, you could do what David Pogue suggested for that 108" Sharp TV: build a new house with the display as one of the walls (waterproofing recommended).  They’ve also done what any good college students should, rigging up a 24-monitor display wall to play Quake.  [Via Jon Williams]

8:45 AM | Permalink | Comments [1]

January 22, 2007

Russell Brown’s PUG recording now available

In case you couldn’t attend last week’s Photoshop User Group meeting in San Jose–or if you did attend but just don’t want the dream to end*–you can check out the session online (recorded with the help of Acrobat Connect–neé Breeze) here.  After an initial two minutes of futzing around with the technical setup, Dr. Brown’s antics run for an hour or so.  Because of the length of the recording (note to self: next time don’t simply shut the laptop, or you will record 10 hours’ worth of silence), it may take a little time to start streaming.

If you have suggestions or requests for future PUG meetings, feel free to post them here or drop me a line directly.
[* Results may not be typical. No warranties expressed or implied. Your viewing pleasure may vary.]

3:51 PM | Permalink | Comments [5]

Burning bulbs

Yesterday I happened across a rather cool photo gallery from Lightroom engineer Kevin Tieskoetter, in which he captures the moments just after shattering lightbulbs.  Kevin writes,

I was inspired by a similar image I saw on photo.net and thought it would be fun to give it a try. I went through probably 50-100 bulbs, and discovered I had the most luck with the candle-flame-shaped frosted bulbs, mostly because they have a more interesting design to their elements, they’re dirt cheap, and I can break the bulb with a pair of pliers. If I break just the tip off, I can then use a needle-nose pliers to break off additional chunks until I have just the amount of glass remaining that I want (although I found it was usually more interesting without any glass showing). Traditional lightbulbs turn out to actually be very hard to break, especially without destroying the filament in the process. Also, the filament is so simple that the flame pattern isn’t as interesting.

I borrowed a Nikon D2hs and a Canon 1D Mk II to do the shots: high pixel count wasn’t particularly important, but a high frames per second was critical. Once I lit the bulb, it would burn for 1-2 seconds, but the only interesting shots were generally at the very start of the process as the mushroom cloud was rising. An 8fps camera makes a big difference here.

The images were backlit using a standard flash on an extension cord. I set it to manual mode at 1/64 power (I think; I did a lot of experimenting here to find the right settings). Lenses used were a 50mm macro (at 1.5x magnification) and 150mm macro (at no magnification).

Kevin took additional photos of the process & hopes to do a how-to page at some point.  First, though, there’s the small matter of shipping Lightroom. :-)

9:33 AM | Permalink | Comments [4]

January 21, 2007

New Bridge CS3 beta available

A revised beta build of Bridge CS3 is available on Adobe Labs, and Bridge PM Gunar Penikis has posted a detailed overview via the Bridge CS3 beta forum.  Highlights include a new flat view (useful for browsing nested folders as if everything were on one level), better multi-monitor support, a fixed memory leak, and loupe tool improvements.   Please let us know whaty you think via the Bridge forum.

8:50 PM | Permalink | Comments [2]

Single-pixel camera

The megapixel wars are so overrated–at least according to a team of researchers at Rice University. By focusing light on a single-pixel sensor, they promise reduced power consumption & consequently greater battery life in digital cameras.  The digital micromirror device, says the BBC, "consists of a million or more tiny mirrors each the size of a bacterium."  As the light passes through the device, the millions of tiny mirrors are turned on and off at random in rapid succession. 

Photoshop engineer Zalman Stern points out the researchers’ info on compressive imaging & writes,

The design uses a micromirror array and a lens to perform a pseudorandom
weighting of the image. The result is
sampled using a single photo detector. The image presented to the
micromirror array is from a standard lens system of some sort.

The interesting part is the math underlying the reconstruction from the
samples. There is recent theory work that determines how good a
reconstruction you can get for a given amount of sampling reduction.
That is, one takes significantly fewer samples than the number of pixels
in the output image and gets a moderately acceptable rendition of the
original scene. One way they have of looking at this is that image
compression is done during sampling, rather than digitally afterwards.

The device is currently the size of a suitcase, so getting it into practical applications is likely to take some time. [Via Kevin Tieskoetter]

* For those interested in these things: Zalman was on the Photoshop team way back in the day (doing the port to PowerPC, as well as the ye olde GIF
89a Export plug-in).  After that he left, joined Macromedia, then left and started a company, then found his way back to Macromedia, and thus to Adobe. (Kind of a nice pallindrome…) Now he’s contributing code to Camera Raw that’s "rockin’ like Dokken." He was a creator of Contribute, which I’m using to type this now. It’s a small world, after all.

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January 19, 2007

Friday photography

6:29 PM | Permalink | Comments [1]

January 18, 2007

Multi-touch UI: New video & interview

Jefferson Han is the NYU researcher whose research into multi-touch interfaces–and accompanying super-cool video–exploded onto the Web this time last year.   He’s been on many folks’ brains since last week, when Apple demoed multi-touch features on the forthcoming iPhone.  Now Fast Company has posted a feature on Jeff, along with an new video.  The profile is just a tad breathless ("The scope of the projects he’s involved in is a testament to the sheer wattage of his brain" makes me think there’s a Trapper Keeper with "I [Heart] JH!!!" on it), but it’s fun to learn about a very bright dude with a huge passion for just getting it done.  (Hey, how many 12-year-olds build a laser?)

3:37 PM | Permalink | Comments [5]

Rock n’ Pshop

  • Put down the gat, pick up a brush: Rappers now battle with Photoshop, not guns.  (More Healing Brush than Slice Tool–I can dig it.)
  • Liberty rocks on in this statue-remixing contest on Worth1000.com [Via]
  • The Hard Rock Cafe had a similar, if slightly edgier, idea.
  • Speaking of remixing, Pioneer has introduced the DVJ-1000, a turntable that lets DJs scratch with video DVDs just as they would with music on vinyl.  "Digital video scratches, loops and instant cues are all possible," they proclaim. I’d love to see a video demo of this thing in action. (Maybe it’ll pop up at a future Flashforward or the like.) [Via Jody Rodgers]
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January 17, 2007

Take photos, not a beating

Will snapping a photo get you popped in the nose, legally or literally? The latter’s a good bet in a biker bar, but what guidance exists for other situations–especially in a climate of heightened security? "Since I’ve heard various people ask (or debate) these questions from time to time," writes Photoshop engineer Russell Williams, "here are some references you might find useful:"

And engineer Dave Polaschek adds, "There’s also The Photographer’s Right,
which is a single sheet that you can toss into your camera bag for reference
should you happen to get harassed by private security or cops when legally
taking pictures."

[Update: See additional good links in the comments below.]

5:08 PM | Permalink | Comments [6]

Little Fluffy Clouds

10:45 AM | Permalink | Comments [1]

January 15, 2007

A new Contact Sheet script for Photoshop

Photoshop’s Contact Sheet plug-in is, to be charitable, a little long in the tooth.  Therefore scripter X Bytor has stepped into the breach with ContactSheetX, a script that’s freely downloadable from SourceForge & that works in CS2/3.  Among other things, the script supports page numbering, more flexible font selection, and the ability to use templates. Features, screenshots, and other details are in this PDF, and there’s a forum for asking questions & requesting enhancements. X thanks the photographers at The Icon and Warner Bros. for support and funding of this project.

5:54 PM | Permalink | Comments [5]

Genetic mutation named after Photoshop

Psst–read any good overviews of the Functions of the Nonsense-Mediated mRNA Decay Pathway in Drosophila Development lately?  (Yeah, who hasn’t, I know…)  I mention it because a mutant phenotype (specifically, a fluorescent protein in fruit flies) has now been nicknamed "photoshop" by researchers Mark Metzstein & Mark Krasnow.  ["Shouldn’t that be Adobe® Photoshop® software?" murmur a dozen voices in Adobe Legal. ;-) ]  They write, "We named this the ‘photoshop’ phenotype because it increased visualization of clones like that achieved by digital enhancement with Photoshop software (Adobe, http://www.adobe.com)."  [Ah, says Legal.]  As a highly nonsense-mediated individual, I say very cool, guys!

Surfing the Nodes of Ranvier,

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Russell Brown to show CS3 Tues. night at Adobe

Fresh off his jam-packed presentations at Macworld last week, Adobe’s own Russell Brown will be presenting the Photoshop CS3 beta tomorrow night, Jan. 16, at Adobe (map). As usual with these Photoshop User Group meetings, Pizza and drinks kick off at 6:30pm, and the presentation is due to start at 7pm.

If you plan to attend, please shoot an RSVP mail to Dan Clark (dan at weinberg-clark com) so that we can order the right amount of chow.
To park
underneath the Adobe building, use the Almaden Avenue entrance, under
the East Tower. If the security guard at the parking entrance asks for
an Adobe contact, use my name. Hope to see you there!

2:17 PM | Permalink | No Comments

January 14, 2007

More fascinating 3D face bits

Wow–Friday’s face-finds were pretty cool, but this technology takes things in a whole new direction.  Volker Blanz and his collaborators have analyzed hundreds of human faces, then built a representative mesh that can be adjusted along various axes (male to female, young to old, gaunt to fleshy, etc.).  The model can then be mapped to a photo in order to reshape a face (e.g. open a mouth, add a smile), change its orientation in space, or even replace it altogether.  This
5-minute video is well worth a watch, and you can find additional bits on Volker’s site.  I can imagine tons of potential applications.  [Via Gregg Wilensky]

Speaking of mixing 2D & 3D, at Macworld Google demoed a new version of SketchUp, the simple-to-use 3D package they acquired last year.  It features tools that in some ways resemble Photoshop’s Vanishing Point, allowing users to attach planes & other shapes to a photo, then generate 3D artwork; check out this demo video.  (Careful: On #3 the demo artist’s frenetic zooming is a little nausea-inducing. ;-)) Whereas VP is geared towards painting/cloning/healing in perspective, SketchUp is geared toward building full 3D models.  Nifty stuff.  [Via]

10:41 AM | Permalink | Comments [2]

January 12, 2007

Chemical Romance, Daahk Mattah, & More

  • Apple.com features the work of Harvard/MIT researcher Felice Frankel, showing how she uses Photoshop to depict the beauty in a chemical reaction (see animation).
  • In their continuing quest to blow my little Arts & Legos mind, scientists have unveiled a 3D map of dark matter (see larger image). [Via]  I had to smile on this one, remembering that the Photoshop CS1 was codenamed "Dark Matter."  In one of the early go/no go meetings, Adobe CEO Bruce Chizen–who is from Brooklyn & very much has the accent to prove it–joked, "I’d really like to thank you for picking a name with two ‘R’s in it.  Daahk Mattah…"
  • It’s not imaging-related, but the Celestron Sky Scout has been a huge hit at the Nack compound.  (I have it on good authority that I was recently hitched, but you wouldn’t know it on these cold, clear nights: la esposa keeps bailing on me to learn about the heavens courtesy of the Sky Scout!)
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Funky Faces of Flash

  • Monoface lets you mash up a design team’s faces, changing noses, eyes, etc.  The image sources are nicely edited, making for smoothly blended results. [Via]
  • Pictaps is a fun little Flash app that lets you sketch out a character, then make the tiny dude (or rather, an army of them) dance around like mad in a 3D world.  Dig the use of Flash 8 effects like blurring to add a sense of depth. [Via]
  • Roxik features Pictaps creator Masayuki Kido’s mug floating in 3D space, thoroughly creeping out my wife.
8:10 AM | Permalink | Comments [4]

January 11, 2007

Design bits: 3D sketching, Airswitches, & more


  • "To what question is the answer a £68,000 Volkswagen?," quipped British journalist Jeremy Clarkson.  I have similar thoughts about the Mathmos Airswitch–a light that can be turned on/off and dimmed/brightened by the proximity of your hand.  Then again, it’s kind of cool for its own sake. [Via]
  • Designed by the same folks at two create, the 3D drawing pad looks pretty fly (tough to tell without using it, of course).
  • Nanda’s Clocky is an alarm clock that not only rings, but also runs and hides to force you to get up. [Via]
  • Forget Dogs Playing Poker; how about fish playing horns?   (And apparently someone decided that a fish does need a bicycle.)
  • Ten bucks gets you a set of plastic spoons that change color in your microwave when your food reaches 120F–kinda great, although Gizmodo foresees dire results. [Via]   The invention made me think of that unfortunate Genera Hypercolor clothing from the ’80s; Googling for it led me to discover temperature-sensitive Eclipse wall paint. (How does $349 per gallon grab you?)
  • Geostationary Banana Over Texas is, if nothing else, aptly named. The site’s navigation sucks, so here’s a photo.  (Speaking of bananas, how great are these Japanese juice boxes?) A bit closer to earth, if only in terms of practicality, C|NET talks about proposals for flying power generators; see images.

[* Non-Adobe. Some folks like the non-Adobe-heavy bits I post here, while others couldn’t care less.  Others, you’ll certainly want to skip this one. :-) For the record, I do think this stuff is relevant for this blog, as I view design+technology as inherently Adobe-related.]

8:59 PM | Permalink | Comments [2]

Photoshop, Premiere Pro named Best In Show

Hot damn!  The Photoshop CS3 beta, along with the just-announced Premiere Pro for Macintosh, have both been named "Best in Show" at the Macworld Expo.  On behalf of everyone who’s been cranking away on these apps, thanks, guys!

Macworld magazine has posted a video overview of this year’s 11 winners.  Kelly Turner talks about Photoshop at the 4-minute mark ("I love it!"), and Jackie Dove tackles Premiere Pro around 9:30.

Adobe’s Dave Helmly has been demoing some of the new video features at the show and reports "huge crowds & very positive response."  He’ll be back in action today
at 12:15pm and tomorrow at 10:15am.

9:55 AM | Permalink | Comments [2]

January 10, 2007

iPhone quip o’ the day, plus more from Macworld

From Victor Allen at Juxt Interactive: "I’m going to wait for the iPhone Shuffle. You just clip it to your ear and call people at random."  Hah!

Hopefully I’ll get to walk the floor at Macworld today. I’m excited that the new AirPort base station can hook up to a hard drive to enable wireless backup, though I’m annoyed that it evidently doesn’t support the Apple-developed (and JNack-purchased) Firewire standard. Adobe-wise at the show,

  • Russell Brown is showing good bits from Photoshop CS3 in the Adobe theater
  • Tim Brook notes that the company is now shipping Flex Builder for the Mac
  • Chad Siegel and I will be showing Photoshop CS3 beta and giving an InDesign CS3 sneak at the Apple store at 3pm today
  • Finally, I don’t know what all will be shown from the upcoming video Production Studio, but I caught a 20-minute demo from Bob Donlon yesterday, and I can tell you hands-down it was stupid cool. Apparently there will be some demos at the Adobe booth; I’ll try to post details on timing if possible. If you care about digital video at all, or just about beautifully integrated Mac software, you’ll want to check ’em out.
9:39 AM | Permalink | Comments [5]

Local Boy Does Good: Geoff’s image in PopPhoto

One of the nice things about working on Photoshop is that many people on the team enjoy using the software outside of work, especially for digital photography.  The hallways & office doors of West Tower 10 are filled with beautiful prints from folks in engineering, QE, localization, etc., and using the app as a customer provides great perspective while building it. 

Anyway, an image from Photoshop engineer Geoff Scott now appears in this month’s Popular Photography.  He explains, "Last May I went on a trip that’s put together by American Photo and Popular Photography magazines. The trips are called Mentor Series, because pro photographer come along to offer tips, critiques, and general goofiness." The organizers liked
one so much that they’re using it for the ads for the trip this year, and you can check it out here (cars streaking through Times Square).  Congrats, Geoff.

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January 09, 2007

Dare to Daguerre

Today is the 168th anniversary of the daguerrotype‘s introduction to the world.  Interestingly enough, this archaic form of photography remains a powerful, if seldom used, artistic medium: since 1999 painter Chuck Close has been using the process to create some interesting portraits, including an unvarnished Kate Moss.  If this kind of thing is up your alley, check out Neatorama’s World of Early Photography.

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January 08, 2007

Fluid Photography: Foam, Ice, Air, Flood

  • From Russia with Foam: John Peterson passed along this gallery showing the hiterto unknown art of drawing on top of coffee. (I think Jerry Uelsmann might dig this one. ;-)) And later I found a video of the techniques in action.
  • Only slightly more permanent, the sparkling sculptures in the Harbin international ice and snow festival are built to chill. [Via] China Daily features photos from the opening ceremonies.
  • Elsewhere in cold China, check out this frozen waterfall. [Via]
  • The Musée d’Orsay features the work of Etienne-Jules Marey, who did pioneering work photographing air at the start of the 20th century, using imaging plus one of the first wind tunnels to reveal previously unseen details of air’s fluid dynamics. [Via]
  • Whereas those vintage photos are presented in frustatingly small form, the Paris School of Mines features large images of the city during the 1910 flood [Via]

[For more snowy goodness, see previous.]

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3D printing becomes more ubiquitous

Wow: When an object shows up at Sears, you know it’s getting kind of mainstream–especially when it’s priced in the range of a decent laptop.  The company is now selling the CompuCarve Woodworking Machine, an $1800 device for "printing" 3D designs in wood. [Via]   Elsewhere, John Dowdell links to Bathsheba Grossman’s lovely metal sculptures, created using "a metallic deposition printer with laser binding before the final baking and a bath in molten bronze."  And AKI International offers laser-cut 3D mannequins and packaging. [For more on 3D input & scuplture, see previous entries.]

10:27 PM | Permalink | Comments [5]

Decoding scrambled pixels

Removing data from a digital file is sometimes easier said than done. Redacting PDFs has sometimes proven tricky (something the Acrobat team has worked to address), and now a research report notes methods for unscrambling numbers or text that have been obscured via simple Photoshop tricks. [Via]

I asked a few Photoshop engieneers for comments & got some useful nuggets:

  • Gregg Wilensky says, "The ability to recover text that is blurred is limited by the amount of
    noise in the image (and knowledge of the blurring function). So, adding
    a bunch of noise to the image is better, but still not foolproof. I
    would suggest completely replacing the text with noise and blurring that
    (for aesthetics)."
  • Jerry Harris notes, "Having a known set of limited targets, OCR numbers in his example, makes the
    reconstruction task a bit more realistic in terms of useful results than
  • And Todor Georgiev writes, "Using a known set of blur kernels (those in Photoshop!),
    and a known set of targets, limits the set of possible outcomes
    and makes this technique work. But slightly change lighting
    and/or use custom blur filter, and your data is safe."
12:30 PM | Permalink | No Comments

Come say hey at Macworld, Apple Store this week

If you’ll be in San Francisco this week, we’d love to see you at the Adobe booth at Macworld (starting tomorrow).  I’ll be booth-babing Thursday and Friday afternoons 1-4pm ("Does this tradeshow shirt make my app look big?"), and on Wednesday afternoon from 3-4pm I’ll be presenting the Photoshop CS3 beta at the Apple Store in SF.  I’ll be joined by InDesign PM Chad Siegel, who just may have some Intel-native page-layout kickassery to show.  (Okay, it’s more than "may.")  Hope to see you one place or the other.

[Update: Whether at home or in person, you can play the Macworld Drinking Game.]

11:05 AM | Permalink | Comments [4]

January 07, 2007

Lightroom Podcast #26: Jerry Uelsmann & Maggie Taylor

“There is an inherent believability that photography has, and we’ve been conditioned from a very youthful age to believe in images. So there is a wonderful sort of psychological dissonance that occurs when you’re seeing these images where all the detail is there, but the mystery remains, and that’s what I personally find attractive,” says groundbreaking photographer Jerry Uelsmann.   “I feel that I have a greater appreciation now because of the digital revolution that has occurred. Manipulated images are far more readily accepted as a viable form.”

Jerry and his wife, artist Maggie Taylor, sat down for a chat with George Jardine just before Chirstmas in their Gainesville, FL home.  George writes,

We talk about the ways in which their work is similar, how it differs, and how fantasy, dreams and technique all play a role in their creative pursuits. In the process, we touch on their sources of inspiration, and the thinking behind their choices of materials and technique. “The subject matter I’m interested in is just everyday life," says Maggie. "Things that you encounter everyday, whether these are outdoors when you’re working in the garden, or something you see on the TV everyday. That becomes are a part of our subject matter for both of us. You’re just working from your own everyday emotional interaction with things."

The podcast is available as an MP3 file via George’s iDisk (under "1220 Podcast – Maggie Taylor and Jerry Uelsmann"). It’ll also be available via the Lightroom podcasts RSS feed, and by searching for "Lightroom" in iTunes.  A brief bio of Jerry is on Wikipedia.

5:47 PM | Permalink | Comments [3]

January 06, 2007

New Lightroom magazine to launch

The National Association of Photoshop Professionals (the folks behind the excellent Photoshop User Magazine, Photoshop TV, and more) have announced Darkroom Magazine, a new title focusing on Adobe Photoshop Lightroom.  Darkroom is due to be published 8 times a year, and editor Scott Kelby writes, "Here’s the best news: As a NAPP member, you’ll get each issue of this new magazine for free along with your regular Photoshop User magazine. The public will be able to buy a subscription to Darkroom, but only the downloadable online version—not the printed version."  I can’t wait to check it out.

5:30 PM | Permalink | Comments [2]

A tribute site for Bruce Fraser

Photographer Stephen Johnson has created BruceFraserLegacy.com, a Web site for gathering info about our departed friend.  Bruce’s wife Angela writes, "This site is a work in progress, so keep checking for new additions. If you feel you’d like to add something, please let Steve know (steve at sjphoto dot com)."  The site links to numerous photos, including some sparkling eclipses that Bruce captured.

If you happen to be attending MacWorld this week, you’re invited to attend a celebration Bruce’s legacy at an upbeat, inspirational multimedia event on Wednesday Jan. 10 (full details at PhotoshopNews.com).  Graham Nash and single-malt Scotch will be on hand.  I think Bruce would raise a glass in approval. :-)

4:44 PM | Permalink | No Comments

Microsoft gets stony; Kodak goes berserk

It’s alternately funny, sad, or both when companies struggle to play against type & redefine their brands.  During my first month at Adobe, I got a horrible sunburn as I stood for hours on a pier in San Francisco, passing out Razor scooters and "Splatterpunk" temporary tats to 13-year-olds at the X Games.  "And this will help LiveMotion succeed… how, exactly??," I thought as I slowly carbonized like a pig on a spit.  While Macromedia was releasing killer ads, Adobe was buying magazine spreads featuring a dude snowboarding down a volcano. Yeesh

Microsoft is now making some interesting efforts to redefine its image.  Last year saw the hilarious and dead-on "Microsoft iPod" self-parody video, and now they’re getting way out there with Clearification, a site chiefly featuring the brilliantly stony ramblings of Demitri Martin. Somehow, on some level, the site is theoretically related to Vista.  Somehow.  Anyway… [Via]  Elsewhere they’ve posted the slightly incomprehensible MsDewey.com (hey, the world loves attractive women) [Via], not to mention an online comic book about Office. [Via]

And now Kodak–evidently mad as hell & not going to take it anymore–has released "Winds of Change." In it a distinguished looking gentleman proceeds to flip out Howard Beale-style, going off about how the company isn’t "playing grab-ass anymore."  It’s kind of great, and judging from the number of times I’ve seen the link sent around this week, it’s doing that whole viral thing.
[Via Ben Long, Katrin Eismann, and others]

Slightly related: Slate ad critic Seth Stevenson slags the Intel Core 2 Duo ads: "[They] feature perhaps the least-hip hipsters I’ve ever seen. What are these people wearing? Denim culottes? Green velvet suit vests? A snap-brim hat with a feather in the band? They look like they’re in a high school ska band. Word of advice, Intel: Do not attempt to make computer processing chips cool. It’s a losing battle." (Hey now; you just need some toasted bunny suits…)

Ah, well; no one gets out alive. :-)  At the end of the day, at least none of us have assaulted U2 in the name of celebrating banking services.  (Excuse me while I go wash my brain…)

11:30 AM | Permalink | Comments [7]

January 05, 2007

Lightroom Podcast #25: Mark Hamburg & Phil Clevenger

“We started from a supposition of content being king, and we wanted to move the interface out of the way of the content. And that was a real rallying point when we all found a model for the UI, where we could dedicate up to 95% of the screen to image content and have the UI politely get out of the way, or be invoked as needed.” So says Phil Clevenger,
user interface designer on Lightroom. George Jardine chatted recently with Phil & engineering manager Mark Hamburg:

Phil and Mark sit down with George to talk about Phil’s role on the team and the user interface that he’s designed for Lightroom. The conversation quickly begins to wander and turn (as these conversations frequently do take on a life of their own…) to some of the broader questions surrounding Lightroom, and ends up touching on the core story and original vision for the project. This podcast also includes a description by Mark of some of his original thinking behind Lightroom’s modular design.

The podcast is available as an MP3 file via George’s iDisk (under "1127 Podcast – Phil Clevenger and Mark Hamburg"). It’s also be available via the Lightroom podcasts RSS feed, and by searching for "Lightroom" in iTunes.

4:51 PM | Permalink | Comments [1]

Photorealistic painting; Make your own "Cars"; more

  • Artist Cali Rezo creates some beautiful, photorealistic paintings in Photoshop, as well as more stylized pieces.  She shares some behind-the-scenes snapshots, as well as a step-by-step animation of a piece coming together. [Via]
  • I Met The Walrus is an Jerry Levitan’s story of how, as a 14-year-old in 1969, he snuck into John Lennon’s hotel room & recorded an interview.  The trailer (or is it the whole film?) features some great illustrated animation.  (More on the story is here.) [Via]
  • Make your car resemble those in "Cars" by following this tutorial.  Appropriately, a Pontiac Aztek gets a goofy, gap-toothed grin & actually looks better as a result. [Via]
  • Weirdly, I encountered the same topic on Autoblog just the next day.  They’ve posted some great examples, and now their collection of images is growing.

For more automotive rendering bits, see previous.

10:17 AM | Permalink | Comments [2]

Microscopic photography; Shattered rocket

Two scientific/technical imaging entries today:

9:25 AM | Permalink | Comments [1]

January 04, 2007

CS3 doesn’t install spyware

That’s kind of a weird title, but there have been a few slightly freaked-out posts in the last couple of days suggesting that the Photoshop CS3 beta is installing spyware. The deal is that Photoshop uses Apple’s Bonjour technology to make it easy to connect to Version Cue servers.  For more details, I consulted Thomas DeMeo, Director of Product Management for the team that creates Version Cue.  Here’s what he had to say:

Adobe does not use spyware, period.
Since the inception of the Creative Suite (CS) family, Adobe provided a file collaboration tool with the introduction of Version Cue.  Version Cue is a file management tool that is integrated in Adobe Photoshop, Adobe InDesign, Adobe Acrobat, Adobe Illustrator and other creative applications within the Creative Suite.  It is client/server based.  The clients are integrated into each of the applications and they all communicate with the Version Cue Server.

To make setup and configuration easier, Adobe uses Apple’s Bonjour technology to enable the connectivity to Version Cue servers on a local area network. Bonjour is widely used throughout Mac OS X and Windows in applications like iTunes and popular printers to allow users to set up a network service without any configuration.

From Photoshop or Bridge you can connect to a Version Cue server without having type in a IP address. It does not enable Photoshop or Bridge to do file sharing as this is done by the Version Cue Server. It does not send information over the Internet or to Adobe. When you click on the Version Cue area in the Adobe Dialog, the Bonjour daemon running on the local machine will browse for visible Version Cue servers on your subnet. You can then log in to access the file management capabilities of the Version Cue server.

To request access to the Version Cue beta program, please contact Mike Wallen (mwallen at adobe dot com).  For more info on Bonjour, see also this Apple developer FAQ and the entry on Wikipedia.

[Update 5/11/07: I saw the following info from Timo Naroska of the Version Cue team and thought it would be worth sharing:

Bonjour sends/receives packets to the multicast IP Routers do not forward these packets outside the local network. Furthermore Bonjour pings the local DNS server to check whether it supports service discovery.

No critical information is ever transferred.

The user should usually allow Bonjour to connect the “internet” to seamlessly browse/connect Version Cue Servers in the local network.

If the user decides to block Bonjour internet access, automatic server discovery on the local network and the local machine are hampered. The user will have to connect servers manually by IP/DNS-name.]

6:03 PM | Permalink | Comments [137]

Yes, CS3 can be tested cross-platform

In response to very popular demand (to the tune of 150+ requests on the Labs CS3 forum), I’m happy to say that Adobe is now making it possible for Windows customers of Photoshop CS2 to get a Mac CS3 beta serial number, and vice versa.  To request a number, you can send mail to photoshopcs3beta@adobe.com & include your CS2 serial number.

We made this decision a couple weeks ago, but I didn’t want to publicize it widely until the staff was back at full strength after the holiday break. Please note that this is a manual process on our side right now, and we appreciate your patience as we handle requests.

Related: If you find that you want to switch an Adobe product license from Mac to Windows or vice versa, please contact Adobe Customer Service.  They’ll walk you through the process.

5:45 PM | Permalink | Comments [48]

January 03, 2007

Adobe video apps: Back to the Mac

Excellent news: Last fall’s debut of the cross-platform Adobe Soundbooth beta was a sign of good things to come, and the company has just announced that the next version of the Adobe Production Studio will be available on both Macintosh & Windows. Specifics of features, pricing, and schedule aren’t being discussed right now; rather, this announcement is a heads-up that signals the direction for this tightly integrated suite of products, including a greatly increased commitment to the Mac platform.

After Effects PM Steve Kilisky has posted some background on the history & evolution of platform support in DV apps.  The short story: Adobe Premiere needed a rewrite from the ground up, so the team had to focus its efforts on a single platform, with the hope and intention of returning to the Mac after building momentum on Windows.  That’s exactly what they’re now doing, alongside Encore DVD and Soundbooth.

I know that there’s plenty of really emotional history here, and I’m posting the news just to help spread the word.  I expect that Steve, along with DV PMs Bob Donlon & Hart Shafer, will have more to say via their blogs in the weeks and months ahead.  So, I’ll leave comments open on this post, but it would probably be most useful to channel feedback to those guys directly.

[Update: Macworld has posted news and analysis of this development. I’m really pleased to see all the positive and supportive reader comments. Elsewhere, Orphanage founder Stu Maschwitz posted some brief positive notes about switching from FCP to Premiere. I love the “Voltron” comparison. :-)]

11:23 PM | Permalink | Comments [7]

Typography laid bare

  • PingMag discusses the origins, history, and state of Iranian typography & provides numerous beautiful examples.  I dig these two in particular.
  • Taylor Lane has created a series of typographic pinups (fair warning: there’s some glyph-heavy nekkidness). [Via Marc Pawliger]
  • In an inverse vein (not pictures made from letters, but letters from pictures), Giornale Nuovo offers a brief history of figurative alphabets. [Via]
  • Joshua Smith has posted a gallery of cool type treatments (including his own logotype) on Hydro74.  The rest of his site is worth a visit for dynamite illustrations & more. [Via]
  • Type for you is a new typography blog, containing links to useful resources like Typies’ 15 tips to choose a good text type. [Via]
10:45 PM | Permalink | Comments [2]

Mobile Flash Art: cell phone as artistic platform

Tokyo’s always interesting PingMag has posted a story discussing the way Flash Lite (the mobile device version of the Flash Player)
is enabling new kinds of pocket-sized expressiveness.  Lightweight, interactive vector art = lots o’ creative possibilities.

Necessity is the mother of invention, and designing for a small screen, low bandwidth/processor, etc. can be a fun challenge.  Some of my own favorite Web development projects involved marathon efforts to squeeze the last half-KB out of a Web banner and still have it work well (here’s a humble, 9-year-old piece for British Airways, from the pre-ImageReady/Fireworks days of DeBabelizer & GIF Builder).  The Photoshop beta includes mobile authoring hooks, and I look forward to seeing what people create with it.

Interesting (albeit unsourced) factoid from the article: "The average high-school girl in Japan spends around 15 000 yen per month for mobile content (about 99 Euro or 127 Dollars)."  So, there’s real money to be made in this market, at least in Japan.  We’ve met with designers at Disney creating mobile content for the US market, and it’ll be interesting to see how things develop here & elsewhere.

2:08 PM | Permalink | Comments [1]

Black & White in CS3

Photoshop engineer Geoff Scott spotted a beautiful black & white image from photographer Moose Peterson, made with the help of Photoshop CS3.  (Too bad the online version isn’t larger.)   Moose writes, "I’ve always loved B&W photography but until recent developments such at the Epson 3800 and 7800 and B&W conversion in Photoshop, B&W was downright painful. With amazing paper like Epson’s UltraSmooth Fine Art and the ease of B&W conversion in CS3, why wouldn’t someone enjoy the amazing old art of B&W photography."

For more info, check out Russell Brown’s 4-minute video intro to the Black & White dialog, where he shows off the ability to click and drag on color regions to adjust them, as well as a technique for hand-tinting the results.  Russell produced some great B&W presets for Camera Raw in CS2, so I’m sure he’ll offer more good info, tips, and settings for the much-improved B&W controls in CS3’s Camera Raw 4.0.  I had fun using the new split toning functions, together with Photoshop’s venerable Lighting Effects dialog, to show my wife contemplating a "Portrait of the Governor as a Young Man" on New Year’s Eve. (It was a weird party. ;-))

11:15 AM | Permalink | Comments [2]

January 01, 2007

Photography to welcome a new year

  • Milk’shroom: From Germany comes a terrific image of milk dropping into coffee. [Via]
  • Like perhaps millions of others, I’ve seen some of Steve McCurry‘s famous and arresting images, but like many I didn’t know his name.  I know it now, as the always-excellent blog The Online Photographer highlighted the arrival of Looking East, a book of Steve’s portraiture. Do be careful, though: his site contains a rich portfolio and could well suck you in for ages (and it did me). [Via]
  • Through T.O.P. I was reminded of the work of Jill Greenberg, whom they’ve named Photographer of the Year.  Her crying tots aren’t my cup of tea, but for whatever reason I really groove on her monkey portraits. See more of them here.
  • My own amateurish bits suffer by proximity, but the windy CA weather dropped a few groovy branches in our yard last night, and with a macro lens borrowed from the ‘Dobe, I had fun creating a few shots.  I’ve posted them (1, 2) via Zoomify, exported from CS3, as well so you can see the details. [Note: We’ll fix that "zoomed way out by default" bug soon, I promise.]
  • Someday, I’m afraid, you’ll read that I crashed and burned on Hwy 101 while transfixed by the comings & goings at Moffett Field, former home of the Navy’s lighter-than-air fleet.  In the meantime, the NYT is selling a beautiful print of a Zeppelin over Manhattan. On a related note, "Personal Blimp" refers not just to a product mgr. stuffed with HoneyBaked Ham (it was delicious) , but also to a small new airship being designed in Massachusetts. [Via]

Oh, and by the way, Happy New Year! :-)

11:54 PM | Permalink | Comments [3]
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