June 30, 2007

More spray, less pray with Lightroom 1.1

I’ll admit that one of the features I never really understood in Lightroom 1.0 was the Keyword Stamper tool.  It seemed vaguely interesting, but I never took the time to grok its ins and outs.

No matter: the tool has now beem morphed into something that looks more powerful and more comprehensible: the metadata-centric Painter tool.  This quick video from Layers magazine demonstrates how to use the tool to paint keywords, develop settings (nice!), or other metadata onto one or more images just by clicking and dragging.  Martin Evening goes into more depth on LightroomNews. [Via]

6:05 PM | Permalink | No Comments

June 29, 2007

Great new Flash galleries for Lightroom

Here’s a little Friday afternoon treat: the Lightroom team has been working with Felix Turner, creator of the excellent Airtight Flash galleries, to integrate support for the galleries.  Lightroom engineer Andy Rahn has posted three gallery templates on the LR team blog, along with installation instructions.  Here are examples I generated using each one:

What’s really sweet is the way the Adobe Flash Player is directly integrated into Lightroom, so that as you adjust the specific parameters for each gallery (image size, colors, number of rows/columns, etc.), you see the results immediately. With other apps you’d need to set parameters, export, review the results in a browser, go back to the authoring tool, tweak, and so on.

I think this is a sign of more good things to come, and if you’re a Flash developer who’s like to integrate with Lightroom, drop me a line.  We’ll work on updating the galleries to run in the new Bridge-based Adobe Media Gallery (which uses the same engine) as well.  To use PostcardViewer directly from Photoshop, see previous.

3:10 PM | Permalink | Comments [8]

June 28, 2007

War, illustrated

  • "Machine gunner turned author" Colby Buzzell has recorded his Iraq war experiences on his blog and elsewhere.  He’s now teamed up with illustrator Christopher Koelle and animators The Law of the Few to produce Men in Black–four and a half gripping minutes of storytelling. [Via]
  • Christopher shares his thoughts & the Photoshop techniques behind the work on his blog.
  • In a related vein, Canadian trooper Richard Johnson’s Kandahar Journal offers an illustrated, soldier’s-eye-view from Afghanistan. [Via]

Side note: I type this from the Denver airport, where I find myself holed up (thanks, lightning).  After showing a CNN ad saying "Get the Facts. Not Fear," CNN Headline News just featured a segment titled–I kid you not–"Watch for underwater terrorists."  I shall, uh, get right on that.  (Apparently Atlanta is where irony goes to die.)

8:04 PM | Permalink | Comments [1]

June 27, 2007

Why Photoshop doesn’t provide secure metadata

Certain feature requests come up over and over, and customers wonder why Adobe doesn’t address them.  In many cases it’s a matter of time, resources, and priorities
(i.e. good idea, we just haven’t gotten there yet).  In other cases, however, there are conceptual issues that make addressing the request impractical or impossible.

One of those cases concerns something that seems simple: letting Photoshop users apply copyright & other info, then lock it so that it can’t be removed.  Photographers in particular request this capability year in and year out.  Unfortunately there are good reasons why things don’t work as desired.  If you’re interested in the details, read on for an explanation from Photoshop architect Russell Williams.

(more…)

9:02 PM | Permalink | Comments [12]

June 26, 2007

Lightroom 1.1 now available

I’m delighted to report that Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 1.1, a free update that adds numerous feature enhancements while squashing bugs, is available for download* from Adobe.com (Mac|Win).  Besides adding the sharpening and clarity controls that debuted in Camera Raw 4.1, Lightroom 1.1 adds a ton of polish around catalog management, keywording, easier metadata synching, and more.

There’s too much to list here, so check out LightroomNews for a run-down of what’s new, or see the product ReadMe file (PDF).  LightroomNews plans an eight-part series covering the update, starting with a terrifically detailed overview of new menu items here.  Lots of other good info will be forthcoming on the Lightroom team blog and elsewhere.  I’ll try to update this post & subsequent ones as resources become available.  In the meantime, you’re welcome to suggest links via the comments.  

*The English update is available now; French, German, and Japanese editions are expected shortly.

9:47 PM | Permalink | Comments [5]

PicLens sweetness upgraded, now does Windows

As I’ve noted a few times, I really dig PicLens, the free browser utility that enables cinematic slideshows for Flickr, Google Images, and other popular image sources.  The great thing is that the capability is totally unobtrusive, appearing only when you roll over images that can be viewed as a slideshow.

I’m therefore happy to pass along a bit of great news: PicLens has been updated to v1.5, and for the first time it’s available on Windows, via Firefox.  Bust a move on over to their site and grab a copy of the new goods.

(And, for the record, I don’t know these guys personally, nor do I get any kickbacks.  It’s hard to do revenue-sharing on "free." ;-))

6:46 AM | Permalink | No Comments

June 25, 2007

Unusual sculptures (Pt. II)

  • "Dusasa I" shines with the light of a thousand discarded soda cans.  It was crafted by Ghanan El Anatsui.
  • Suellen Parker builds clay sculptures, then uses Photoshop to project her digital photos onto their surfaces. The NYT hosts a video showing her process, and you can find more pieces on her site. [Via Erma Noxley]
  • Nathan Sawaya is a master Lego sculptor.  CNN tells his story (via print and video) & features a gallery of his pieces. [Via]  (Speaking of Lego art, peep Lego Starry Night. [Via Maria Brenny])
  • The Underwater Sculpture Garden is Jason Taylor’s project to "create a unique space which highlights environmental processes and celebrates local culture."  Some of the forms remind me of the crazy heads I recently encountered in my rural Illinois hometown. [Via]
  • Joe Pogan builds metal sculptures from found objects.  [Via]
  • Martin Klimas captures sculptures as they shatter. [Via]  (This is the kind of thing we’re often tempted to re-create with truck stop schlock purchased en route to Death Valley.)  [In a semi-related vein, see the previous previously Burning Bulbs.]
  • Oliver Herring turns photos into sculptures. [Via
  • Damien Hirst has sculpted a $100mm diamond skull. [Via] "’That’s when you stop laughing,’ Hirst says. ‘You might have created something that people might die because of. I guess I felt like Oppenheimer or something. What have I done? Because it’s going to need high security all its life.’"  If only there were a pomposity assassin, this dude would be the one needing high security.
8:21 PM | Permalink | Comments [3]

Bleedin’ for the ‘Dobe

Wow–I’ve known a few people to shave/dye an Adobe "A" into their hair, but this is really something else: an Adobe tattoo (not a Photoshop job, I think!).  I must officially throw the Adobe gang sign out of respect. ;-)

Photo GPS nerds might enjoy learning that Angelina Jolie has tattooed the coordinates of her childrens’ births onto her arm.  Is that better or worse than adorning oneself with a Decepticon head? [Via]  In any case, it’s gotta beat getting the Zune logo, no?

7:19 AM | Permalink | Comments [7]

June 23, 2007

A great quote on software

As I’ve been thinking about the future of user interfaces, I stopped by the Web site of noted UI designer Bill Buxton.  There I saw this remark:

A Personal Mantra: Ultimately, we are deluding ourselves if we think that the products that we design are the "things" that we sell, rather than the individual, social and cultural experience that they engender, and the value and impact that they have. Design that ignores this is not worthy of the name.

Right on, sir.  I tell anyone who’ll listen (and many who won’t) about the "Photoshop Nation," the power of connecting people, and the importance of giving a damn and getting things right.

A small number multiplied by a big number is still a big number, and some little improvement* may help only a small percentage of users, but that works out to a large number of people.  The social impact of doing so can be significant.  (It all reminds me of Steve Jobs equating boot time improvements to lives saved.)  It’s about not blocking the light.

Bonus quote, apropos of stirring things up on occasion: "Words ought to be a little wild, for they are the assault of thoughts on
the unthinking." –John Maynard Keynes

* I was pleased to hear a photographer named Brian Price comment this week on the ProDIG list that "[F]or me the clone ‘Ignore Adjustment Layers’ option in CS3 is worth the
upgrade price in itself"–a comment echoed by others.  It’s one of those tweaks that shows up rarely, if ever, in marketing materials, reviews, etc., but that can have a real impact.

12:57 PM | Permalink | Comments [3]

June 22, 2007

After Effects to FLV, plus more tutorials

The Adobe Design Center is back with some updates:

New Dialog Box:

New Think Tank:

New Tutorials:

Also, check out the Adobe links on del.icio.us.  Info on how to contribute links is here.  [Via]

6:54 AM | Permalink | No Comments

June 20, 2007

Multitouch: $2 or $10,000?

The folks at Medallia claim to have devised a multitouch user input device using two dollars’ worth of dye and Ziploc bags.  Hmm–interesting clip, but doesn’t it seem they’ve pretty much mashed up a couple seconds of new footage (producing colored blobs) with chunks of other people’s demos (the chess demo from Tactiva, etc.)?  Beyond the technology, I’m struck by the number of comments below the video that boil down to "hah hah u pwned those fat-cats lolz!!"  Man are there some credulous people in the world. [Via Tom Attix]

Speaking of pwning Microsoft, however, this parody of the recently-announced, $10,000-a-pop Surface project is pretty damn funny.  I can’t wait to get tanked with my friends, using a device the size of a small car. [Via]

11:49 PM | Permalink | Comments [6]

Adobe peeps talk 3D at Apple tomorrow

If you’re in the Bay Area and are interested in the technical details of some of Photoshop CS3′s advanced features (3D, auto-alignment, etc.), swing by the Apple campus (De Anza 3, specifically) tomorrow night for a meeting of the Silicon Valley SIGGRAPH chapter.  Refreshments roll out at 7:30, and the talk begins at 8pm.  It’s five bucks for non-members, free for students.  Details below.

Abstract

Ashley Still and Pete Falco of Adobe will give an overview of some of the new features in Photoshop CS3 Extended, including movie paint, 3D, and automatic alignment and blending of multiple images. In addition to demonstrating these new features, they will provide an overview of the Photoshop 3D Plug-in SDK that can be used to extend the current capabilities. There will be ample time for Q&A.

Speaker Bios

Pete Falco is currently Sr. Computer Scientist for Adobe Photoshop. Pete has been on the Photoshop team since 2005 and is focused on 3D and technology transfer for Photoshop. Prior to joining Adobe, Pete worked as an engineer on QuickTime VR at Apple, as the Director of Engineering at Live Picture and co-founded Zoomify. He holds a BS and ME from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

Ashley Still is currently Sr. Product Manager for Adobe Photoshop. Ashley has been on the Photoshop team since 2004 and is focused on new markets and advanced technologies for Photoshop. Prior to joining Adobe, Ashley worked with an Entrepreneur in Residence at Sutter Hill Ventures developing and evaluating business plans and at eCircles.com, one of the first online sites offering photo-sharing and editing. She holds a BA from Yale University and an MBA from Stanford Graduate School of Business.

10:26 AM | Permalink | No Comments

June 19, 2007

Safari brings color-managed browsing to Windows

Hello, my name is John, and I’m a recovering color management hater… (“Hello, John…”)

Coming from a background in Web design, I spent many years regarding color management–that is, the process of changing an image’s colors on the fly so that the appearance will match across systems (monitors, printers, etc.)–as a royal pain.  I mean, until 1998 things were good–or at least pretty simple.  You’d design on a Mac and make things look a little bit light, or design on Windows and make things look a little bit dark, then check on the other platform (ideally on a bunch of different systems) and call it a day.  Split the difference & everyone seemed happy.  (And printing? Who needed that?)

But then in ’98 Adobe had to get all clever, adding color management in Photoshop 5.0.  Suddenly every image started complaining about not having a color profile, or having the wrong profile, or… something… and it kept asking me (!) to make the right call.  Worse, images no longer looked the same in Photoshop as they did in Web browsers (or even apps like Illustrator, which for various reasons had different default settings).

Things have improved a bit (fewer cryptic messages, consistent defaults in at least some Suite apps), but big problems remain.  Apple’s Safari Web browser respects color management profiles, but others don’t.  Here’s a screenshot of the same image open in Safari & Firefox.  If you spend time in Photoshop or Lightroom massaging an image to look just so, it’s pretty irritating that the colors go all over the map when viewed online.  The lack of reliable color also leads to bad prints, according to Smugmug.

Now, though, there’s an interesting development: Photographer Rob Galbraith reports that Apple’s newly released Safari 3 beta for Windows is color managed–bringing color management to Windows browsers for the first time.  I never thought I’d say it*, but this is great news.  Now there’s a cross-platform way to present accurate color images on the Web.  Check “ICC Profile” in Photoshop’s Save for Web dialog to include the info needed for color management to do its thing.

CNET follows up with more details and reports that Firefox may follow suit in version 3.0, due later this year.  Why Microsoft hasn’t taken the opportunity to lead here, I don’t know, but hopefully they’ll get in the game as well with Internet Explorer.

As for Adobe, I’m not sure what will happen with the Flash Player.  Right now it’s not color-managed, and most Web designers wouldn’t know an ICC profile if it bit them on the calibration puck–hence they’re not asking.  They do know, however, how much it sucks that colors shift when going between Photoshop and Flash, and they’d like a solution.  I’m hopeful that we can make the right thing happen.

* Coincidence that this is blog entry #666 for me?  With JN cheering for color management, the End must be near… >;-)

[Update: In response to requests for a tutorial on the subject, Adobe forum-wrangler John Cornicello recommends this set from Gary Ballard.]

8:01 PM | Permalink | Comments [30]

CS3 news: "Summer of Adobe" & more

Here’s a quick round-up of good Photoshop, Bridge, and Lightroom-related info I’ve seen lately:

  • Photographer & author Martin Evening has shared a wealth of content from his new book, Photoshop CS3 for Photographers.
  • Dingbat Magazine offers a deep dive across the whole CS3 line in their Summer of Adobe feature.
  • Ben Long talks about a subtle, but useful, new feature of Bridge CS3: the ability to create and edit metadata templates easily, then apply these to your images.
  • Dave Story and Kevin Connor, the guys who head up Photoshop engineering and product management respectively (and thus who cut my checks), sat down with Derrick Story to talk about Photoshop & Lightroom development in a pair of podcasts.
  • The folks at Total Training have been making great video content for years.  They’re now moving their library online.
  • To streamline your photo importing, check out Julieanne Kost’s video on how to optimize the process using Lightroom.
7:32 PM | Permalink | No Comments

Slick search-driven Flash UI

Given that discovering the graphical UI (specifically, MacPaint) was a life-changing event for me, it’s a little funny that I find myself so interested in search as a UI tool.  But as we’ve said many times now, categorization goes only so far.  Once you get beyond a certain number of things (pictures, emails, menu items, etc.), you need some form of type-to-find.

Photoshop UI designer Andrew Lin points out the site for design firm S-W-H, which features a slick, easy-to-use search function (including auto-complete).  Coupled with the blazing fast transition animations*, it gives you a sense of flying through a large body of work.  Bonus: Typing “foo” (and lots of other things) treats you to the sounds of people excitedly going off in Dutch.

For a counterpoint, check out the frankly terrible interface for HBO’s John From Cincinnati site (too bad, as I’m digging the new show’s tripped-out profane-cowboy-meets-longboard lingo).  The site loads by promising a carousel of content, but it then immediately hides said content, making you guess about search terms (kind of hard if you’re new to the show, eh?).

Tangentially related bits:

  • Inquisitor beautifully integrates predictive searching into Safari.  Trust me, you want this (just like PicLens… and Saft).
  • Apropos of time lapses (see recent), Andrew made quite a number during his tenure with a certain fruit company.  Hypnotic, but burning cars & tail lights make me remember why I traded commutes on 280 for a 10-minute bike ride.

* With animation effects in general I’m reminded of a quote  from Alan Cooper: “No matter how beautiful, no matter how cool your interface, it would be better if there were less of it.” A little goes a very long way.

PS–If you know of other cool, powerful search UIs (Flash or otherwise), please share ‘em.

11:26 AM | Permalink | Comments [5]

June 17, 2007

New design contests, sponsored by Adobe

  • San Francisco radio station KFOG is raising money for area food banks with their "Live from the Archives" CD compilation.  They need a cover design, and the grand prize winner gets $1000 and the Creative Suite 3 Design Premium.  There’s also a Suite up for grabs for whoever displays the best use of Adobe software in his or her entry.  If you’re game, check out the contest details.
  • The Cut&Paste Digital Design Tournament pits designers against one another in live, on-stage showdowns around the country. "Over the course of several fast-paced, single-elimination rounds," they write, "eight designers using the latest tools will be whittled down to one champion. now accepting entries for its 2007 series."  All contestants receive CS3 Design Premium (!).  Other loot includes a Wacom Cintiq tablet/monitor and the CS3 Master Collection (truck for hauling it not included). [Via Terry Hemphill]
10:11 AM | Permalink | Comments [5]

June 16, 2007

Photoshop+Matlab=Art

One of the sleeper features making its debut in Photoshop CS3 Extended is its ability to interface with MATLAB, the number-crunching toolkit from Mathworks.  The capability was added for developers & technical users, but now it’s been turned to art.  Dr. Woohoo (aka Drew Trujillo) has created Color Combinatorics, integrating the two apps in pursuit of beautiful color harmonies.  He writes,

For me, it simply means that we can now ‘drive’ Photoshop by writing code in MATLAB while taking advantage of a *very* powerful engine with a superior supporting set of libraries (called ToolBoxes). Think of MATLAB as giving you the ability to write your own plug-ins for Photoshop.

You can check out a finished piece (9,261 sets of 3 colors) on Flickr, along with other interesting pieces.  Drew has written up a whole pile of notes on integrating Photoshop & MATLAB, so stop by his site to learn more.

Elsewhere in the world of interesting generative graphics:

  • Drew’s In The Mod project analyzes the works of famous painters, and it now lets you download color swatches in the Adobe Swatch Exchange format (compatible with Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign). [Via]
  • Robert Hodgin and the Barbarian Group, creators of the beautiful Magnetosphere, have turned it into a visualizer for iTunes.  It’s freely downloadable from their site.
  • Leon Hong has made some groovy bits using Processing.
5:28 PM | Permalink | Comments [3]

Pirates play with fire

I recently came to the sad realization that fully two thirds of my blog traffic is drawn not by my incisive wit or fascinating Web finds (is any? ;-)), but by geniuses looking for free CS3 serial numbers.  Somehow I became Google’s top hit for "cs3 serial," and my stats reflect it.  Lame.

Now I see that attempts to steal Photoshop can result in machines turned into spam-spraying zombies.  So, not only are people sticking it to software inventors; they’re sticking it to everyone else (and themselves) by coughing more pollution into the Net.  How’s that for a crummy little cherry on top? Additional info. [Via John Dowdell]

2:03 PM | Permalink | Comments [39]

June 15, 2007

Friday Design: Booze, kids, and cutlery


5:56 PM | Permalink | No Comments

June 14, 2007

New Adobe Magazine available today

A new issue of Adobe Magazine, the company’s quarterly PDF for designers, photographers, and other creative folks, is available for download.  Designed by London-based Precursor, this issue includes:

  • Reverie & Technology: Artistic dreaming and digital imaging
  • The New Collaborators: The audience speaks—and creates
  • The Games People Play: Addictive, sticky online fun
  • Shades of Green: Print gets eco-friendly and eco-mean

Featured artists and contributors include Jean-Francois Rauzier, Maggie Taylor, Brad Johnson of Second Story, and many others.  You can sign up to receive future updates via email, and editions translated into French and German will be available soon.

12:18 PM | Permalink | Comments [2]

June 12, 2007

Tilt-shift photography, DIY tripods, and more

3:28 PM | Permalink | Comments [3]

June 11, 2007

Commenting broken on Adobe blogs – now fixed

The blogging admin folks report that a new CAPTCHA plug-in is causing some havoc, making it impossible to submit comments.

Okay, things now seem to be working correctly.  If you run into problems commenting, please drop me a line (jnack at adobe).

6:27 PM | Permalink | Comments [1]

How should Photoshop play with Flash/Flex?

Now that we’ve gotten CS3 out the door & made a big leap getting Photoshop files into Flash, we can turn more fully to the future.  So, where do we go from here?

It’s not that we don’t have ideas, mind you; on the contrary, we have so many ideas that we need to stage a battle royale, then make ‘em fight it out.  I have some pretty aggressive ideas, but I don’t want to “lead the witness” by sharing them before asking for your thoughts.

In my mind our goals fall into two areas:

  • Speed up the visual design of Flash and Flex projects/components
  • Smooth out the hand-off from design to development

Or, to put it even more simply, “Design quickly, transfer smoothly.”

What do you think?  As you’re working with Photoshop and Flash and/or Flex, where do you run into snags, lose time?  In your ideal world, how would everything work?  I’m looking forward to hearing your thoughts.

Thanks,
J.

[Commenting was broken earlier due to a problem with the server, but it's now working again. Sorry for the delay.  --J.]

1:59 PM | Permalink | Comments [13]

June 10, 2007

Photoshop, AE go to war in "300"

I’ve got movies on the brain, having just returned from a couple days spent with the amazing folks at Disney Feature Animation.  (Seriously, I throw around “great” and “amazing” as much as the next guy, but these artists are laughably talented.  It’s the sort of place where you’ll hear a guy saying, “Well, I’m not a painter…” as you look around and see his lovingly painted artwork on every wall.  I had to interrupt, saying, “Man, maybe you’re not officially ‘that guy’ here, but trust me, you’re *That Guy* everywhere else!”)  I took notes furiously, and maybe at some point I’ll be able to share bits here.  (I just want to make sure that I don’t inadvertently “give up the gag,” as the Disney folks would say.)

In the spirit of peeking behind the scenes, I enjoyed learning on Adobe.com how Photoshop and After Effects were used in the making of 300.  From roughing out storyboards to painting backdrops in Photoshop, “crushing” the colors, adding dust in AE, and compositing layers in HDR, Adobe apps are used throughout the filmmaking process.

The article reminds me of a previous Adobe.com profile, one discussing how Photoshop and AE were used in the making of The Aviator.  Favorite insight:

Scorsese wanted The Aviator’s color palette to reflect the look of movies from the period being portrayed onscreen. Hence, when the action is set in the years 1927-1937, the film emulates Technicolor’s two-color dye transfer; for the period 1937-1947, the film’s look changes to Technicolor’s three-color dye transfer system…

After consulting with one of the oldest color timing experts at Technicolor, Legato was able to “previz” the palettes by scanning black-and-white stills and using Photoshop to digitally overlay cyan, magenta, and yellow filters, digitally emulating historic Technicolor color processes.

Adobe’s own Mike Kanfer won an Oscar for his work on Titanic and is helping keep the ideas flowing back and forth.  We’ll try to gather more info to share soon.

PS–One other cinematic mention: New Yorker/Lightroom PM Tom Hogarty recommends Celluloid Skyline: New York and the Movies. Author/architect/curator
James Sanders gives Photoshop a shout-out for its role in the interactive & documentary efforts.

1:19 PM | Permalink | No Comments

June 09, 2007

Weekend photography

9:41 PM | Permalink | Comments [6]

Flash gets kuler: RIA in a panel

Ah, I love how all this is shaping up: After debuting on the web, and followed by appearances in Dashboard and Apollo, Adobe’s kuler rich internet app is now available as a panel inside Flash CS3.  Thanks to the efforts of the crew at Pixelfumes, you can now view & search feeds of color harmonies generated using the online tool, then use them inside Flash.  I made a quick little demo video to show the panel in action.  Great work, guys!

This is a great example of how opening a door to online community can enrich the desktop experience.  If you know of other cool, usefully connected desktop apps (via Flash panels or any other method), please share ‘em.  It’s very handy to have these on hand as we plan the future.

1:23 PM | Permalink | Comments [2]

June 08, 2007

Printing in CS3: The inside scoop

Hang around the Photoshop booth at a trade show for 20 minutes and you’ll get a very clear message: the task of simply printing a photo to a desktop printer, getting just the results you saw on screen, is much harder than it should be.  After you’ve heard the hundredth question about setting up color management, then getting Photoshop and one’s printer driver to play well together, you’ll really want to get this situation sorted out.

The good news is that we’ve been thinking about these problems for quite a while; the less-good news is that solving them takes time and coordination.  Adobe has been working with the printer vendors, as well as the Apple & Microsoft operating system teams, on plans to improve the printing experience.  [Update: Please see this follow-up post.]

For the CS3 cycle we brought on a new printing expert, Dave Polaschek, to buff up Photoshop’s printing code.  He’s been able to make some visible improvements (e.g. a print preview that’s color managed), and to do quite a bit more behind the scenes.  In response to some questions about how PSCS3 prints (especially on Windows), I’ve asked Dave to contribute a guest blog post. Read on to hear his thoughts.

(more…)

1:46 PM | Permalink | Comments [217]

June 07, 2007

New tutorials: Smart Filters, DVDs, & more

The Adobe Design Center returns with new tutorials:

And, as always, don’t forget to check out the Adobe links on del.icio.us.  Info on how to contribute links is here.  [Via Luanne Seymour]

9:28 AM | Permalink | Comments [2]

June 06, 2007

My life as a CS3 icon

Well, it was probably bound to happen: after getting irradiated with 500+ comments on the CS3 icons late last year, I have now turned into a series of Adobe icons myself!

This portrait was created by the talented and innovative Greek illustrator Charis Tsevis (profile, portfolio).  I mentioned his work in January & was delighted to receive this image in return.  It’s now hanging on the Photoshop floor and is being creatively desecrated by passersby (devil horns, soul patch, and probably more added by now).  Charis creates photomosaics using Photoshop (tutorial in Greek, but worth scrolling through) and Synthetik Studio Artist.

Speaking of the CS3 icons, at least they didn’t cause epileptic seizures (so far as I know) or draw the kind of scorn reserved for the new London 2012 Olympic logo: "[V]ariously derided as an uninspiring emblem, a puerile mess, an artistic flop…
the emblem was likened to a ‘broken swastika’ and a ‘toileting monkey.’" Jeez–maybe they should have gone with a two-letter mnemonic ("LO?" "OG?") and drawn less of a beating. [Via Thorsten Wulff]

8:09 PM | Permalink | Comments [14]

June 05, 2007

Getting Punchy (or, What’s in a name?)

Sometimes finding the right words for a feature is a bit of a challenge.  "Unsharp Mask," for instance, is a perfect example: a classically trained photographer may immediately get the reference, while other users are left saying, "Sooo… To sharpen something, I choose ‘Unsharp…?’"  Working vocabularies vary by user.

We ran into a one of these cases with the local contrast enhancement control added to the just-released Camera Raw 4.1.  Figuring that "local contrast enhancement control" was a tad wordy, the team went looking for alternatives.  One candidate was "Acutance"–a term familiar to some photographers, but far from universally understood.  The candidate I really favored was "Punch": the slider tends to make an image look punchier.  Unfortunately, the prospect of translating this idiosyncratic term into French, German, Japanese, etc. made it lose ground.  The simpler "Clarity" ultimately prevailed.

In the course of the conversation, Camera Raw engineer Zalman Stern offered some good quips. "We could always translate "punch" to "Umami" in Japanese…," he wrote.  And later: "I was mostly joking in suggesting ‘Punch.’ But to take it to the next
level of impossible-to-translate, we obviously need two sliders, ‘l337′ and ‘Teh Suck.’ The latter only has negative values of course. The
documentation can link to urbandictionary.com." :-)

Bonus, unrelated Zalman quote, apropos of something totally different: "Writing a compiler in Visual Basic seems more the sort of thing one does to impress Jodie Foster than a sound technical decision…"

8:25 AM | Permalink | Comments [12]

June 04, 2007

Share your SWFs, help Adobe, get a reward

Adobe now makes quite a few tools that create Flash content in one form or another.  One size certainly doesn’t fit all, and as you’d imagine the company is always trying to craft the right mix of tools.  To that end, the research team is gathering examples of SWF projects of all shapes and sizes.  By submitting examples, you can help Adobe teams get a better sense of what is (and isn’t) being built & therefore what tools are needed.  To say thanks, participants get entered into a drawing for Amazon.com gift cards.  If all this sounds interesting to you, please read on for details from Customer Research.  –J.


Adobe’s customer research team is collecting an assortment of SWF content. We are looking to get a wide range of content for a variety of purposes so that we can better understand the types of projects people are working on, and better support those projects that are not always posted on the web. We are especially interested in uses of SWF beyond web sites and advertising – such as (but not limited to) presentations, e-learning, character animation, prototypes, games, rich internet applications, etc. We’d also like to get representation of a variety of skill levels, so feel free to submit your project even if you are not an ActionScript user.
 
For every 50 submissions we receive, we will select one at random to receive an Amazon.com gift card for $50 (US dollars). You can submit as many projects as you like!
 
For each submission, please send the following to flashresearch@adobe.com by July 6, 2007:

  • Your SWF or a link to your project or a screenshot of the project
  • A brief description (3 to 4 sentences) describing the audience and purpose of the project
  • Descriptive tags to categorize the project’s content and purpose – Use as many or as few tags as you like, and feel free to make up your own. Some examples tags are included below.
  • Percent of all your projects that are SWFs
  • Percentage of time you spend writing ActionScript
  • Percentage of time you spend using the timeline
  • Your name
  • Your job title and company
  • Your phone number (so a member of the Adobe’s customer research team can contact you for a quick 15 minute phone call if they need more information)

Please feel free to forward this message to others who might be interested or post it on your blog.
 
We are looking forward to hearing from you!
 
Adobe Customer Research Team

11:39 AM | Permalink | Comments [2]

June 03, 2007

Typography: Tats, comics, & more

  • On Slate, famous authors discuss their favorite fonts.  As expected, they can wax entertainly rhapsodic about typefaces.  But Courier?  Yes, well, I guess it’s not distracting anyone with its raw beauty.
  • Thomas Phinney has posted tons of info from the recent TypoTechnica conference, including Adobe’s presentations at the show.
  • Body Type catalogs "intimate messages etched in flesh." [Via]
  • The latest installment of TypeTalk offers useful tips on word spacing, unit differences between Quark & InDesign, and more.
  • Kerrang! Dig a whole site’s worth of Comic Book Fonts. [Via]
  • Ever wonder what typeface a particular company uses?  Here’s a handy list.  One addition from personal experience: British Airways uses Mylius.  (Of course, the list being a Wiki, I should probably just add that…) [Via]
11:33 PM | Permalink | Comments [2]

June 02, 2007

A momentary lapse in time

6:36 PM | Permalink | Comments [5]

Use Core Image inside InDesign, Illustrator

The peeps at RogueSheep have unveiled Magma Effects, a $50 InDesign plug-in that leverages Apple’s Core Image technology.  The result is that you can stack up fast, non-destructive image effects (blurs, glass, etc.); here’s a screenshot. [Via]  They’re also developing a version for Illustrator, downloadable now in beta form.  It would be cool to see these guys package up the filters for Photoshop (something we’ve wanted to do, but which hasn’t yet fit into a release cycle).    [Previous/related: Use Photoshop effects inside InDesign CS3.]

5:05 PM | Permalink | Comments [2]

CS3 screensavers available

If you like the colorful packaging of the Creative Suite 3 applications but find the desktop wallpaper versions a little too static, check out the new CS3 screensavers, ready for download from Terry White’s blog.  I found the preview display a little jerky on my Mac, but the problem disappeared once I enabled Flash inside QuickTime (via System Preferences). [Via Jane Brady]

4:03 PM | Permalink | Comments [1]

June 01, 2007

New Flash, HTML gallery engine for Bridge

Feeling overwhelmed by Adobe updates yet? <:-)

Okay, just one more for now, but I think it’ll be worth your while: the new Adobe Media Gallery engine adds Flash and HTML gallery creation capabilities to Adobe Bridge CS3.  By leveraging the Flash- and JavaScript-based extensibility of the Bridge platform, we’ve been able to build a powerful little engine for cranking out both Flash-based and HTML-based Web galleries (here’s a screenshot, as well as Jeff Tranberry’s 4-minute video demo).  Any file that Bridge can preview (which is just about everything in the Suite–JPEGs, PSDs, raw files, PDFs, Illustrator and InDesign docs, etc.) can be included in a gallery.  Finished galleries can be uploaded directly from Bridge via FTP.

To get cranking with AMG, make sure you first update to Bridge 2.1, then download the installer from Adobe Labs.  The site includes a quick start guide, list of known issues, and more.  Developers interested in building on Bridge can view and reuse the code that’s in AMG (e.g. FTP upload).

Thanks to the team at Quality Process for all their efforts in bringing AMG to the world, and to the crew at Blue Fire for making the SWF templates (which have now been open-sourced).  Great work, guys!

See also previous, related posts:

6:54 PM | Permalink | Comments [8]

Bridge CS3 update (2.1) adds features, fixes

Adobe Bridge CS3 has been updated to version 2.1 (download for Mac | Win) .  In addition to squashing late-breaking bugs, this release includes a number of enhancements (quoting from the Read Me):

Multilevel Keywords

Organized your keywords into groups and subgroups as deep a hierarchy as you want by using the multilevel support in the keywords panel. Bridge now includes keyboard shortcuts for applying single keywords or parent keywords. Advanced options allow for storing hierarchy into the file metadata. Easily import and export keywords using tab-delimited file formats.

Improved Cache Management

Control the size of the Bridge cache of thumbnail and metadata information to better improve responsiveness. The cache can also be compacted to improve performance.

General Improvements

  • Preference control over video and audio file previews
  • Improved scrolling and renaming performance
  • Usability improvements to custom workspaces
  • Improved overall stability

These updates can be found via the Help > Updates menu from within Photoshop and other CS3 apps.  The automatic update system has been serving up a record load (seven different updates this week), so you may want to try using the Web links above if you hit any snags.

11:14 AM | Permalink | Comments [42]
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