December 30, 2010

What if you mounted a video camera on a sword tip?

“Super dizzying,” our man Finn might say–though oddly less so than you’d expect:


7:59 AM | Permalink | Comments [12]

December 29, 2010

Learn to make iPad magazines: Recording available

A number of folks asked whether the recent demo/Q&A session on using InDesign to create tablet publications would be recorded for later viewing. The answer: yep, here it is. [Via Jennifer Kremer]

1:13 PM | Permalink | Comments [15]

(rt) Photos of the year, lost wookies, & more

8:27 AM | Permalink | Comments [3]

December 28, 2010

Video: Tricks to make progress bars seem to move faster

I remain a fan of the old time-killing Photoshop demo joke: “You know, if you grab the bar with your mouse and pull, it’ll move faster…”


12:53 PM | Permalink | Comments [2]

(rt) Illustrations: Best of 2010, Gatsby letterpress, & more

8:42 AM | Permalink | No Comments

December 27, 2010

Video: Blizzard timelapse

This one goes out to all the East Coast peeps:


1:32 PM | Permalink | Comments [6]

December 24, 2010

Not a creature is stirring…

With Adobe taking a break for the rest of the year, I’m going to lay low for a few days, squire around a couple of rowdy tots, and generally enjoy Christmas with the family.  Thanks as always for reading the blog and for giving me the chance to work on interesting projects here.  I wish you and yours all the best for a peaceful, blessed holiday season.  I’ll soon return to pepper your consciousness with silly, bullet-listed ephemera. :-)  Until then…


8:31 AM | Permalink | Comments [10]

December 23, 2010

Photography: Flying liquids, stuck in time

Shinchi Maruyama creates amazing “sculptures” (see photo gallery) by tossing water & capturing the results with a high-speed camera:


8:42 AM | Permalink | Comments [3]

December 22, 2010

Four new Adobe font families added to Typekit

Adobe & Typekit have announced the addition of four new Adobe font families–six face each for Caslon and Warnock Pro, and five each for Jensen and Arno Pro–to the Adobe Web Font collection.  Check out the type team’s blog for more info. [Via]

3:51 PM | Permalink | No Comments

(rt) Great recent posters: Star Wars, games, & more

10:18 AM | Permalink | Comments [1]

Video: It’s a bird, it’s a multi-plane airplane

Oh, now this just doesn’t look safe:

If you like the technique, see also Nike’s “Human Chain” ad:


7:08 AM | Permalink | Comments [2]

December 21, 2010

(rt) Entirely random design bits

3:00 PM | Permalink | Comments [1]

December 20, 2010

A tiny tip on Illustrator anti-aliasing

A reader today wrote, “Can anyone tell me if it’s possible to drag a one-pixel-width diagonal line in Illustrator without it forcing anti-aliasing?”

My suggestion: Try choosing Effect->Rasterize, then choosing 72PPI and no anti-aliasing.  If you often need this technique, you can create a graphical style & then easily apply the look to multiple paths.  You can also get some funky lo-fi pixel-art looks by cranking the PPI setting way down.

Fortunately it’s largely unnecessary to think about this stuff now that Illustrator CS5 has excellent pixel chops (at last).

5:53 PM | Permalink | Comments [1]

Christmas iPad Choreography

Rather delightful:

11:02 AM | Permalink | Comments [5]

December 19, 2010

Magic Shutter enables light painting with an iPhone

What’s an “epoch-making creative iPhone camera”? One that lets you do long exposure & paint with light, apparently. Magic Shutter looks pretty cool:

[Via Nic Couillard]

9:06 AM | Permalink | Comments [6]

December 18, 2010

Clever “Elf Cam” photography app

Of the new app Elf Cam, Mark Frauenfelder writes, “It allows you to set up your camera on Christmas Eve to record Santa coming out of your fireplace (or walking into room if you don’t have a fireplace), so you can show it to your child in order to prove that Santa Claus is real.”

12:58 PM | Permalink | Comments [1]

Photoshop 12.0.3 update for CS5 Windows now available

In addition to containing the fixes that were part of the recent 12.0.2 update, the 12.0.3 update for Photoshop CS5 for Windows fixes a tooltip problem that was introduced by 12.0.2, as well as a security vulnerability.  Photoshop CS5 for Mac doesn’t have these problems, so there’s no equivalent update for Mac.

1:15 AM | Permalink | Comments [17]

December 17, 2010

Video: Holiday wishes from Adobe XD

Heh: a little stop-motion fun from the design team in SF:

Update: How could I omit the making-of vids? Thanks to Kim Pimmel (the guy in purple) for the pointer:

7:55 AM | Permalink | Comments [8]

December 16, 2010

Video: Modern Times

According to PetaPixel, Modern Times “is a low/no budget film created entirely against a green screen with friends as actors.”

As often happens, I find the making-of video more fascinating than the more polished outcome:

[Via Mark Coleran]

10:34 AM | Permalink | Comments [1]

Learn to make iPad magazines, tomorrow at noon

If using InDesign to publish to tablets is up your alley, check out this live demo/Q&A session:

Upcoming Ask a CS Pro: Friday, Dec 17th,  12pm PST: Producing publications with Digital Publishing Suite! Learn how to use the tools and viewer technology of Adobe Digital Publishing Suite to produce publications for the iPad and other tablet devices.  Join Chris Converse from Codify Design to learn how to use the designer-friendly Digital Publishing Suite tools now available on Adobe Labs to create compelling content that combine the richness of print design with the interactivity of digital.

Dave Dickson and other members of the Digital Publishing team will be fielding questions alongside Chris. [Update: the recording is now online.]

9:29 AM | Permalink | Comments [3]

December 15, 2010

Photoshop CS5 wins Macworld Editors’ Choice Award

“From its new 64-bit capability on the Mac to details like drag-and-drop file integration,” writes Jackie Dove, “the CS5 upgrade is the most significant and impressive since the Creative Suite started shipping in 2003.”  Thanks, guys! [full article]

11:12 AM | Permalink | Comments [5]

Flash video gets dramatically more efficient

Flash Player didn’t start out trying to become the world’s most popular video player, but life takes some interesting turns.  Instead of just playing linear media files, Flash makes video part of a flexible rendering pipeline. Engineer Mike Melanson posted an excellent summary earlier this year:

In addition to decoding the data, [Flash] has to convert YUV data to the RGB colorspace and combine the image with other Flash elements. Then it has to cooperate with another application (web browser) to present the video to the user… It plays linear media files from start to finish while combining the video with a wide array of graphical and interactive elements (buttons, bitmaps, vector graphics, filters), as well as providing network, webcam, and microphone facilities, all programmable via a full-featured scripting language.

Good news, though: the new Flash Player 10.2 (download the beta) offers a new, video-playback-optimized mode called Stage Video.  Building on top of the GPU acceleration added earlier this year, Stage Video can

leverage complete hardware acceleration of the video rendering pipeline, from video decoding to scaling/blitting, enabling best-in-class playback performance. Stage Video can dramatically decrease processor usage and enables higher frame rates, reduced memory usage, and greater pixel fidelity and quality.

Here’s a demo* showing a 10X reduction (!) in CPU usage:

Stage Video requires Flash developers to update the code in video players, so simply updating to the new player won’t automatically improve CPU usage on all sites, but YouTube has already updates its player & others will follow. If you’re a Flash developer and want to start experimenting, check out this tutorial from Lee Brimelow.

* For some reason the audio/video sync in the footage is slightly screwed up. That’s a problem with the source video file, not with Flash Player.

8:16 AM | Permalink | Comments [54]

December 14, 2010

Feedback, please: 3D in Photoshop

The Photoshop team is running a quick survey on 3D tools & applications. It would be great to get your take on the state of the tools & what their future should hold. Thanks.

[Previously: “Photoshop 3D is not about 3D.”]

10:38 AM | Permalink | Comments [17]

Video: Lego Antikythera Mechanism

Apple software engineer Andrew Carol pieced 1,500 Lego Technic blocks together to recreate a Greek computer that laid lost on a sea floor for 2,000 years:

[Via Deb D’Andrea]

7:21 AM | Permalink | Comments [6]

December 13, 2010

Urban Dictionary: PHOBAR


PHOBAR: -adjective, Acronym for ‘PHOtoshopped* Beyond All Recognition.’ A play on the the more popular acronym FUBAR: ‘F’d Up Beyond All Recognition,’ PHOBAR** refers to an image, usually a photo of a person, that has been retouched and airbrushed with digital image manipulation software on a computer so significantly, that the person in the photo is barely recognizable.

[Via Greg Geisler]

*Sorry as always, Adobe Legal.
**Not to be confused with a Vietnamese eatery, or CATOBAR, about which I was reading this morning

11:15 AM | Permalink | Comments [3]

(rt) Entirely random interestingness

2:24 AM | Permalink | No Comments

December 11, 2010

Problems found in the Photoshop 12.0.2 update

The Photoshop team has discovered a couple of issues that affect Windows users who installed the 12.0.2 update for CS5 that was released on December 6th, 2010.

  • Tooltips no longer display on Windows XP.
  • Photoshop reports that a .dll file is missing on start up or when accessing TWAIN/scanner device on Windows operating systems.

We’re aware of the issues and are working to address the issues in the very near future.  I’m sorry these got past us, and we appreciate your patience.

3:55 PM | Permalink | Comments [23]

Video: “We Got More”

Gondrian! Escheresque! Inceptionoid!

I can’t help but think of Michel Gondry’s brilliant vid for “Come Into My World,” which you should see if you haven’t. (Give it a minute to get rolling.)

9:29 AM | Permalink | Comments [3]

December 10, 2010

Infographic video: 200 countries over 200 years

In “The Joy of Stats,” Hans Rosling “tells the story of the world in 200 countries over 200 years using 120,000 numbers… plotting life expectancy against income for every country since 1810.” Cool.

7:50 AM | Permalink | Comments [5]

December 09, 2010

(rt) Illustration: Cool vans, Weezer raveled, & more

  • “Would it be cooler as a van?” What a fantastic illustration concept: Famous movie cars made “Cooler as a Van.” (Resident car guy Hughes wants to give famous vans the opposite treatment: “What wouldn’t be cooler not being a van?” Mystery Gremlin, maybe?) [Via]
  • Check out Tom Whalen’s dynamite Art Deco-styled Batman poster. [Via]
  • Li’l Elvis and his Bad Hair” concerns “a young boy and his bad, but *well intentioned*, talking hair.” (For ten years I have been, you would have no way of knowing, You’re welcome, spam bots.)
  • Weezer Dry Cleaning: “We Won’t Destroy Your Sweater.”
9:29 AM | Permalink | No Comments

Design students: Win a trip to Taipei

The Adobe Design Achievement Awards

celebrate student and faculty achievement. The competition showcases individual and group projects & honors the most talented and promising student graphic designers, photographers, illustrators, animators, digital filmmakers, developers and computer artists.

Prizes include a trip to Taipei, cash, copies of CS5 Master Collection, and more.  Check out the site to see details (FAQ) and to submit your entry.  (You actually have a while–’til June 24, 2011–but if you’ve got good stuff now, why wait?)

4:30 AM | Permalink | Comments [1]

December 08, 2010

Video: Shop Vac

My first thought: Eh, more of the tired “kinetic typography” thing.
Subsequent thought: I like the subtle wit in the type, illustrations, & lyrics.

Creator Jarrett Heather writes, “This was created using Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, After Effects, Premiere and Toon Boom Animate. I worked on this sporadically, so it’s difficult to estimate how much time went into it. Somewhere between 500-1000 hours, but it was a labor of love.”

4:18 PM | Permalink | Comments [8]

Video: Lovely Aurora Borealis timelapse

Tor Even Mathisen rocks it:


6:16 AM | Permalink | Comments [2]

December 06, 2010

Photoshop CS5 update (12.0.2) now available

The Adobe Photoshop 12.0.2 update (Mac|Win) speeds up painting performance and fixes a number of problems discovered after Photoshop CS5 was released.  The most significant fixes in the update include the following:

  • A number of potential security vulnerabilities have been addressed
  • Crashing bugs related to typography & fonts have been addressed
  • Performance of various features has been improved
  • Crashes related to opening 3D layers, sharpening, color management, and scanning via TWAIN devices have been fixed
  • Problems with brush cursors, the histogram progress bar, the display of selection boundaries (“marching ants”), scrolling while using the shift key, and the use of action droplets have been addressed
  • Intermittent file format problems have been addressed
  • Metadata-related bugs related to focus distance and Orphea Studio JPEGs have been fixed


In addition you can download a TWAIN plug-in update that includes fixes for multiple document scanning, and a that fixes a crash that could occur when attempting a second scan.

11:28 PM | Permalink | Comments [21]

Lightroom 3.3, Camera Raw 6.3 now available

Lightroom 3.3 (Mac|Win) and Camera Raw 6.3 (Mac|Win) for CS5 are now available as final releases on and through the update mechanisms available in Photoshop CS5 and Lightroom 3.  These updates include bug fixes, new camera support and new lens profiles. Cameras added:

  • Canon         PowerShot G12
  • Canon         PowerShot S95
  • Nikon          D7000
  • Nikon          Coolpix P7000
  • Nikon          D3100
  • Olympus     E-5
  • Panasonic  DMC-GF2
  • Panasonic  DMC-GH2
  • Pentax        K-5
  • Pentax        K-r
  • Ricoh          GXR, GR LENS A12 28mm F2.5
  • Samsung    NX100
  • Samsung    TL350 (WB2000)
  • Sony           A560
  • Sony           A580

For a complete list of lens profiles added & bugs fixed, please see Tom Hogarty’s post on the Lightroom Journal.

Remember that if you’re using an older version (Lightroom 2.x, Photoshop CS4, etc.), you can use the free DNG Converter (Mac|Win) to save disk space (losslessly compressing your proprietary camera files) while making images compatible with your app.

11:21 PM | Permalink | Comments [4]

VueScan 9 goes 64-bit

I haven’t tried it & haven’t seen user feedback, but the new VueScan 9 scanning app promises 64-bit compatibility and the ability to create very large scans.  If you take it for a spin with Photoshop CS5, you’re welcome to post your impressions here. [Via Jeff Tranberry]

3:35 PM | Permalink | Comments [2]

(rt) Photography: Ansel does iPad, Mon Calamari, & more

7:09 AM | Permalink | No Comments

December 05, 2010

(rt) Brilliant NatGeo photos, painterly fashion photos, & more

7:42 AM | Permalink | Comments [1]

December 04, 2010

I Am Fake Hillary

These days I’m reminded of a Saturday Night Live bit from the ’08 campaign, featuring an exchange between Sarah Palin & Hillary Clinton:

Palin: It’s truly amazing, and I think women everywhere can agree, that no matter your politics, it’s time for a woman to make it to the White House!

Clinton: No-o-o-o!! Mine!! It’s supposed to be mine!! I’m sorry, I need to say something. I didn’t want a woman to be President! I wanted to be President, and I just happen to be a woman!

I used to joke that I was largely unemployable, that my skills and ambitions are so specific that I could work at only a handful of companies, on a handful of projects*.  Sometimes there’s not much joke to it.

I didn’t come to Adobe because I wanted to “develop software,” or “work in high tech,” or “do product management.”  I came here to make Web design software suck less.  Everything else–the working in marketing, the moving coast-to-coast three times in two years, the blogging, the whole up-at-dawn pride-swallowing siege–is just a means to that end.

Why do I mention this now? It’s a note to myself as much as anything.  I’m not working on mobile software now because I want to work on mobile software per se, or to be trendy or whatever.  I’m working on it to solve real, specific problems, and to enable myself & people I care about to express themselves in particular ways.

Would it be better to be broad rather than deep, to be an MBA who’s interested in expanding markets, vertical integration, and “the art of the deal,” instead of an unfrozen caveman Web designer with an obsessive interest in graphics software?  I don’t know; maybe I never will.

“To thine own self be true.” I’m working on it.

* The night before a big demo few years ago, I had an anxiety dream in which I was being really obnoxious to my boss. Terribly disappointed in me, she said, “Wow, you were doing so well, and now… I could make one call, and you’d be product managing FrameMaker!” It was an illuminating moment: the deep threat isn’t losing my job, it’s working on something for which I lack passion.

12:40 PM | Permalink | Comments [7]

December 03, 2010

A “Pointless, action-free and totally mesmerising” video

Graeme Taylor pointed his inexpensive, high-speed Casio Exilim FH20 out a train window, then slowed down the results:

He writes,

The ‘trick’ is the camera collects images at a rate of 210 per second – but the film is played back at 30 frames per second. So, every seven seconds of footage that you watch corresponds to 1 real second. At least at the start, one real second is plenty of time for someone to move into, then out of, the camera’s field of view, but isn’t enough time for them to really do much: hence, the frozen effect. It breaks down towards the end not because I’m doing something clever with the frame rates (captured or replayed), but simply because the train was stopping!


1:56 PM | Permalink | Comments [5]

Illustrator iPad Sketch Elements

The guys at Teehan+Lax, the creators of the popular iPad GUI PSD, have created a complementary set of vector-based iPad Sketch Elements.  The widgets are deliberately visually rougher, meant to facilitate faster & looser comping.  Cool; thanks, guys.

7:26 AM | Permalink | No Comments

December 02, 2010

A “No Color Management” print utility for Photoshop

For many years Photoshop supported a “No Color Management” printing mode.  Unfortunately the option caused user confusion, and it was difficult for Adobe & Apple to continue supporting.  In the course of modernizing Photoshop’s foundations (moving to Cocoa, 64-bit, Quartz, etc.) in CS5, we dropped this feature.

There are, however, people who need to print without color management. They print color targets which are then used to generate printer profiles for new printer/paper/ink combinations. These users range from printer manufactures to third-party ink suppliers to power users like Andrew Rodney who supply their own high quality profiles.

Therefore we’ve created the Adobe Color Print Utility, a simple app designed solely to enable printing without color management.  This way we’ve been able to simplify the Photoshop printing pipeline (both in terms of user experience & code maintenance) while offering power users a needed tool.  Please see the tech note for more application details.

6:15 PM | Permalink | Comments [33]

What if Dropbox offered time tracking, versioning, & more?

Answer: You’d have something like the just-released GridIron Flow 2.0.  It can save your butt, for free. Why would you not start using it immediately?

The company has radically redefined what was already a unique & very powerful piece of software, enabling file sync & collaboration on top of automatic versioning.  Oh, and instead of costing a couple of hundred bucks per seat, it’s now free (!), with paid upgrades if you need more capabilities.  Read on for details.

I praised Flow 1.0 as being like an airbag, staying out of your way until it saves your bacon–by automatically versioning your files (think realtime Time Machine, with beautiful Adobe integration).  Trouble is, because the app is so unique, it’s sometimes hard for people to wrap their heads around & pay for up front.

The barrier to entry, however, is now zero.

The free product, Flow Essentials, tracks all files in a creative project and displays them in a visual map. You can now define projects and identify teams of people that will be part of the workflow. Flow 2 Essentials enables realtime collaboration, enabling users to add notes to nodes on the map, and to send emails (linking recipient to the node on that map) to the team or a subset of the group. The map allows you to see who worked on each asset, the size of the asset, and any attached notes.

This is all provided, along with 4GB of online Overflow storage (the Dropbox-style part), for free.  Unlike Dropbox (of which I’m a fan, by the way), Flow doesn’t require moving assets into specific folders; you can move and rename them while staying synced.

They also offer three premium services, each for $10/month per user, or $20/mo./user for all three (no contract required):

  1. Time Manager allows you to review the time you have invested on each asset, and provides a control feature to allow amortizing total time across multiple projects. It also displays percentage of time spent in each creative application and offers a manual entry mechanism that allows you to include time that is not file based (e.g. design & client meetings, phone calls, etc.).
  2. Versioning enables automatic file versioning & allows you to lock, delete, branch or drill down on any specific version. Versions are saved locally by default.
  3. Overflow shares not only the asset but versions of that asset as well. The premium service adds 50GB to the 4GB of storage provided for in Essentials.

Why am I promoting this app?  Do I or Adobe get some kind of kickback for sales? Nope. It’s just that having been a Web designer in a big agency, I know the pain of lost/overwritten files & the drag of filling out timesheet.  What’s it worth to help fix those problems?  More than the cost of a few coffees a month, I’m guessing.

If you take Flow for a spin, please share your impressions via the comments.

9:35 AM | Permalink | Comments [11]

December 01, 2010

Sweet animation software, c. 1990

One, I can’t tell you how badly I wanted to do computer animation in my youth.  An Apple IIgs ad featuring a rocket blasting off nearly made my head blast off.  Two, it’s hard to imagine that the app below predated Flash by just five years (FutureSplash by less).


On a related note, I was struck by David Pogue noting today, “Think of all the commonplace tech that didn’t even exist 10 years ago: HDTV, Blu-ray, GPS, Wi-Fi, Gmail, YouTube, iPod, iPhone, Kindle, Xbox, Wii, Facebook, Twitter, Android, online music stores, streaming movies and on and on.”

Previously: Old-school imaging: Warhol on the Amiga.

11:58 AM | Permalink | Comments [10]

Video: Animated paper makes a “Train of Thought”

Leo Bridle & Ben Thomas labored for 9 months to create their all-analog “Train of Thought“:

As often happens, I found the making-of video (in this case involving some Photoshop plus what one imagines were a heck of a lot of papercuts) even more interesting:

6:31 AM | Permalink | Comments [3]
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