November 22, 2008

Lego together Pixel Bender filters

Like the idea of creating ultra-fast image filters for Photoshop, Flash, and After Effects, but prefer visual authoring to coding/math?  Check out Conduit for Pixel Bender, a node-based editing tool for creating and tweaking PB files (see screenshot).  I’ve taken it for a spin, and even a math-stooge like me can snap together some interesting stuff.


Conduit for PB is presently in beta testing & can be pre-ordered for €50.  It exports PBJ files for use in Flash Player 10 but doesn’t yet generate PBK files or use in Photoshop.  Hopefully that support will appear shortly.  Meanwhile you can test drive Conduit Live, the free version of the authoring tool, snapping together filters to run on low-res image or video.


See also the free Pixel Bender Toolkit for writing & exporting PB files. [Via]

Posted by John Nack at 9:15 AM on November 22, 2008


  • Rob Warren — 12:16 PM on November 22, 2008

    This product is what Pixel Bender should have been.
    [I think you’re referring specifically to the Pixel Bender Toolkit–i.e. the code-writing tool that’s on Labs, for those who haven’t seen it. –J.]
    Adobe should have created a visual programming model for Pixel Bender. I’m impressed with Conduit. Too bad Adobe gave us another ugly code editor for pixel bender. I’m a programmer but a nice graphical node based editor would have been so much better for a lot of people.
    [Well sure, of course! We had to start somewhere, though, and the team focused on the thing that only they can do–namely, making the language and runtimes strong. No question there are opportunities to make better tooling that manipulates the language, and I’d be shocked if we didn’t see a bunch of clever independent developers whipping up good parameterization UIs. That’s the great thing about a technology that can tap into the Flash ecosystem. –J.]

  • rich — 1:51 PM on November 22, 2008

    It would be great if Conduit for PB could export more than Flash pbj.
    If A were to buy this technology, there could be help to make this happen. I guess this depends on which users Pixel Bender is really for.
    Something like this could also come in handy for developing Actions and Scripts in several products, as well as UI metaphors in others.

  • Alex Kent — 6:40 AM on November 24, 2008

    Conduit is a really interesting piece of software.
    the idea of making it able to generate PBK files for photoshop is great, but kind of strange in a meta way.
    i mean, Conduit itself is already available for photoshop as a plugin!
    So making a version which is able to use the pixelblender engine to generate plugins for Photoshop… whilst interesting, is just duplicating functions which you can already do with actual Conduit plugin for Photoshop.
    [Not quite. My understanding is that the existing Conduit tool lets you build filters that run in its own filter in PS, etc. That’s great, but it doesn’t work with Flash. My fervent hope is to harness the Flash development community to make Photoshop better. That’s one reason that PB is key. –J.]
    In fact this rather mirrors the whole plugins vs. pixelblender issue; give someone a plugin which will produce the effect they want or a toolkit to produce any effect… different approaches will suite different users and usage’s.
    as a side note, i guess we’re expecting Ps CS5 to feature PixelBlender rewrites of the entire Filters menu (and not before time!).
    [Ah, echoes of Core Image… :-) Pixel Bender is great for a lot of things, but it’s not a panacea. Getting into the details requires more time and space than I’ve got right here. –J.]

  • Alex Kent — 9:41 AM on November 24, 2008

    interesting points,
    you are correct that you’d have to buy the actual Conduit Photoshop plugin to be able to run it’s own filters, whereas using Conduit For Pixel Blender would allow you generate pixelblender plugins that you could distribute to other people, who could run these filters without the need for buying the Conduit Suite.
    bringing the Flash developer community into Photoshopland is of course very exciting. i am now spending my evenings and weekends updating my Actionscript chops so i can start writing panels for PS to make my retouching easier!
    re: the filters menu
    i had exactly seen PixelBlender as ‘echos of CoreImage’, except this time around it is Adobe’s own and (more importantly) cross platform, and (hopefully) better at juggling resources for Big images. i look forward to hearing more about this.

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