September 20, 2008

New Pixel Bender hotness

At Photoshop World I demonstrated Photoshop running a plug-in that houses Pixel Bender, Adobe’s new cross-platform, cross-application technology for running filters silly fast on GPUs & CPUs.  Because it also runs in the upcoming Flash Player 10 (due in conjunction with CS4) and in After Effects, I expect Pixel Bender to usher in a whole new era for Photoshop filters.  It radically lowers the barrier to entry (all you need is a text editor–which Adobe happens to provide)–and did I mention that it’s fast?


I’m seeing plenty of interesting examples popping up online.  To check them out you need to install the Flash Player 10 beta.



A couple of other notes:


  • Kind of a technicality: Pixel Bender won’t be supported in the box in the next version of Photoshop, but we plan to offer a PB plug-in as a free download when CS4 ships.  Therefore it’s effectively part of the release.
  • I expect the ability to run filter in the Flash Player to have a big impact on what Flash-based RIAs like Photoshop Express can do.
Posted by John Nack at 2:39 PM on September 20, 2008


  • keith — 4:31 PM on September 20, 2008

    Good demo! Glad the PS World clip was made available for show & tell.
    Being able bend those pixels any which way -on the fly- was amazing to see.

  • Peter — 5:06 AM on September 21, 2008

    Pixel Bender won’t be supported in the box in the next version of Photoshop
    Just to clarify: Does that mean that there won’t be any GPU acceleration for the regular filters in Photoshop CS4 and the GPU enhancements are basically limited to the rendering pipeline?
    [That’s correct. It’s an evolution, not an all-out overnight change. –J.]

  • Simon — 4:46 AM on September 22, 2008

    Interesting news! Will PixelBender filters running through the Photoshop CS4 plugin be able to present an interface (sliders?) to the user, and can these settings be recorded in actions and (by extension) in smart filters?
    [Yes, and I believe yes. –J.]
    PS – Although I’m not expecting it, it would be great if a PixelBender filter could determine the current color space – or ask for the RGB data to be delivered in a particular color space.

  • Dennis Radeke — 4:53 AM on September 22, 2008

    Hey John,
    Is ‘silly fast’ a technical term on the Photoshop team? ;-)
    I’ll point out that some of the same GPU goodness is also been applied to the After Effects product.

  • Mr.doob — 6:29 AM on September 22, 2008

    Thanks for the mention John.
    But, I though Petri Leskinen’s Tunnel was mainly using Flash10 drawTriangle and not using Shaders? I’ll have to check the code again.
    [You would know infinitely better than I would! Sorry if I’ve confused the issues. I know that Petri is doing a bunch of PB work and has posted other cool PB examples on the page. –J.]

  • Pixelero — 4:56 AM on September 23, 2008

    … and from me also thanks for the mention John.
    About my tunnel demo, Yes, Mr.doob’s right: my tunnel-demo uses drawTriangles, not pb
    – nevertheless I did spend some plenty of thoughts on how to do that with pb, specially having the tunnel to bend would have been a bit more challenging …
    Anyway, Glad you liked it !

  • Mike — 11:40 PM on September 23, 2008

    I believe John may have been referring to Petri’s TubeView filter. It’s pretty cool. Check it out at:
    TubeView in Labs
    TubeView in Exchange

  • Frank Reitberger — 12:14 AM on September 25, 2008

    …thanks for listing my shaders too, John.
    For my taste, people are a bit too reserved with developing Pixel Bender shaders. I really would like to see more of that stuff coming up in the future.
    For my part, I just released another shader-snippet on Adobe´s PB-Exchange:
    [Nice! It runs beautifully inside Photoshop. –J.]

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