April 06, 2009

Configurator: Punk Rock for Photoshop

Not long ago the folks at Computer Arts featured an article in which illustrator Jason Cook talked about how Adobe Configurator has helped streamline his use work. (“Configurator puts the user many steps closer to making things quicker and easier to use.”)
This inspired me to write a little manifesto on what Configurator means in the big picture–how it’s really about subverting Adobe’s authority (in a good way) over what constitutes “Photoshop.” The article will appear in the magazine’s forthcoming all-Photoshop issue (see cover), but in the meantime, Computer Arts has graciously let me post it here (PDF) in case you’re interested.
To the barricades,

Posted by John Nack at 11:57 AM on April 06, 2009


  • Dan Dill — 11:42 AM on April 06, 2009

    I am getting an invalid color space error on trying to access the PDF.

  • Dr. Woohoo! — 12:39 PM on April 06, 2009


  • Eric — 1:31 PM on April 06, 2009

    Sad to say the Extension Manger 2.1 bug has bitten me, and I can’t use it any more.
    [Configurator is independent of Extension Mgr., and you can distribute the output of Configurator (or its source files, which can then be exported) “loose.” –J.]

  • jimhere — 2:04 PM on April 06, 2009

    Your Configurator-created “Curves in it’s own Window” has saved me lots of time (and mental energy).
    But will Configurator someday allow Configuration of keyboard shortcuts? I still don’t see how making panels of buttons streamlines anything more than keyboard shortcuts already do. I’m not being sarcastic — I really don’t get the “pro” angle on this. How is clicking buttons in a panel quicker (etc) than old fashioned menu surfing?

  • Danya — 3:08 PM on April 06, 2009

    Love the plaid-safety-pins imagery. Power to the users. Great piece.
    [Heh–thanks. –J.]

  • Marky — 3:51 PM on April 06, 2009

    I agree with that in principle jimhere. Although I disagree with one point, and think menu surfing is a much slower way to get around, when you can have keyboard shortcuts and customisable buttons.
    Photoshop has for a long time been very modifiable with customizable keyboard, Actions and a highly customizable interface. I like configurator, but use it mainly to trigger Actions and scripts mainly to get around scrolling through the outdated Actions Panel.
    The most powerful aid towards customizability is still Actions. These are, or should be, an essential part of any professionals work, and make the software limitlessly customizable – they have been around since Photoshop 4 or 5. Please don’t take them away, and continue to make efforts to bring the new tools into full compatibility with Actions. They take countless hours off my work.

  • Thomas — 6:54 PM on April 06, 2009

    i’ve signed out completely of Adobe Forums (After Effects).
    John, could you do me just one favour?
    Could you take a look at the kids at the AE dev-team from time to time?
    That’ll be an awesome.
    Thanks a bunch!
    Live long and prosper.

  • Mike — 11:39 AM on April 07, 2009

    Where will I find the (promised)Configurator panels made available by members of the Photoshop nation?
    Many thanks,
    [A few have been shared, but we’d of course like to see more. My feeling is that people are creating panels for their own use & thus don’t think they’re really worth sharing. I also think that people download Configurator and then realize that defining a good user interface is a little more complex than they’d imagined. –J.]

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