December 30, 2008

Extending Photoshop via SWF Panels: Tutorials

If you’ve got some JavaScript/Flash/Flex chops and are looking for a mental exercise over the little holiday, heads up: Our friend Dr. Woohoo has been busily creating a large series of tutorials on how to develop AIR applications and Flash panels that can communicate with and drive Photoshop and Illustrator CS4.  The first two tutorials are online now.  Drew (the doc) writes:


Enhanced Hello World
Follow along with this tutorial to create a Hello World Flash panel for Photoshop. In this exercise, you will create a Flash plug-in within a Flex Builder MXML project. When you run the Flash panel within Photoshop, it will send code to Photoshop that, when executed, will display an alert dialog box with a message.

Integrating your ExtendScripts
In order to communicate to the host application (Photoshop or Illustrator CS4) using the CSXSLibrary SWC, our code is sent as a string message via BridgeTalk, which will then be evaluated once it reaches the host application. Not a big deal if we’re only sending a few lines of code at max, but when our ExtendScript code is lengthy, we would either have to manually wrap each line of code up as a string or use the work-around process we will use in this tutorial to simplify our life.


On a related note, Drew recently appeared on Inside Digital Design Radio & TV, talking about how he uses programming to do things like design custom kimonos:


Drew Trujillo, Designer–better known as Dr. Woohoo!–joins hosts Scott Sheppard and Gene Gable this week to share his background and an inside look at his amazing design work. Fusing the best of art, technology, and design Dr. Woohoo’s technical and programming background help him to bring his visions to life.

2:56 PM | Permalink | Comments [1]

Photoshop & hidden menu items

David Pogue asked a good question the other day:


Is there any way to make CS4 stop hiding menu
commands it doesn’t think I want?  Or is every menu selection an additional
click now…?


I knew what had happened.  By default Photoshop doesn’t hide menu items.  If you use the workspace switcher (screenshot) in the upper-right corner of the app, however, you may end up changing more than panel (palette) locations.  You may apply a menu configuration that hides certain menu items.


In CS4 the "Basics" workspace hides some of the more advanced/esoteric menu items.  The idea, of course, is to slim down the application so that it’s less overwhelming to new users.  Once you’ve applied this workspace, menus will be shorter & will feature an entry for "Show All Menu Items" at the end.  Photoshop does pop a dialog box asking whether you want to apply a workspace that changes menus and/or shortcuts, but I think it’s one of those dialogs that makes people say, "Uhhhh… I don’t really want to think about this… so, ‘Yes’?"


Long story short, to get things back to normal, just choose the "Essentials" workspace (which is the default).  Photoshop will reset panel, menu, and keyboard shortcut settings.


Frankly this area of PS remains a work in progress.  We’ve been slowly building up ways to customize your work environment (workspaces, editable keyboard shorcuts & menu configurations, and now Configurator), but I don’t feel we’ve really "tied the room together" yet.  I’d like to see Photoshop (and other Suite apps) ship with workspaces that truly present "everything you need, nothing you don’t" on a moment-by-moment, task-by-task basis.  Lightroom takes this approach with its modules, but I think we can go much farther.  (And let me add, lest anyone freak out, that I imagine all of this being optional.  No one wants to compromise the very general, highly flexible work environments the CS apps present today.)

9:53 AM | Permalink | Comments [27]
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