June 30, 2011

Carousel (Instagram on Mac) gets new features

The beautiful Carousel for browsing/commenting on Instagram feeds ($5 on the Mac App Store) has been updated with a number of new capabilities, including searching, support for gestures, and the ability to see all the images you’ve liked. I highly recommend it.

Also very nice (and free): the Screenstagram screensaver.

4:35 PM | Permalink | No Comments

Google adds “Search by Image”

Ah–I’d been wondering what that little camera icon in the Google Images search field meant. As the company explains,

You might have an old vacation photo, but forgot the name of that beautiful beach. Typing [guy on a rocky path on a cliff with an island behind him] isn’t exactly specific enough to help find your answer. So when words aren’t as descriptive as the image, you can now search using the image itself.

Or, “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” — Arthur C. Clarke

2:08 PM | Permalink | Comments [6]

Video: “Looks That Kill”

Dig this exuberant throwback animation from illustrator Kevin Dart & animator Stephane Coedel. It’s the little didn’t-have-to-do-that touches (reflections, rippling heat behind a jet exhaust, etc.) that nail it for me. Fullscreen viewing recommended.


1:55 PM | Permalink | Comments [2]

June 29, 2011

Help people with disabilities access your PDFs

Check out a live demo/Q&A session this Friday at noon Pacific:

Creating Accessible PDFs using InDesign CS5.5 .  In this session Noha Edell shows how to use new features in InDesign CS5.5 to create PDF documents that people with disabilities can access more effectively.

With InDesign CS5.5, you can:

  • Ensure content flows in the expected order using the new Articles panel
  • More easily add, edit and view alt text attributes that are associated with an image or object
  • Be confident that accessible tables and lists are automatically generated

With Acrobat X Pro, you can:

  • Add finishing touches to the exported PDF to ensure a successful accessibility full check
  • Never forget a step – guided Actions streamline the accessibility verification and checking process
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Video: “Bullet time lightning”

A Tesla coil plus a 10-camera array of custom-programmed Canon cameras = Rob Flickenger’s 70 megapixel bullet time lightning.

More info is here. [Via Iván Cavero Belaunde]

8:24 AM | Permalink | Comments [1]

June 28, 2011

Google Swiffy converts Flash to HTML5

Interesting: Google’s Swiffy project “converts Flash SWF files to HTML5, allowing you to reuse Flash content on devices without a Flash player (such as iPhones and iPads).” The gallery includes some ads & simple games. According to the FAQ,

How is Swiffy different than Wallaby?

Wallaby is an installable tool that converts .fla files, whereas Swiffy is a web-based tool that converts .swf files. Wallaby focuses on reusing parts of a Flash file in HTML, and thus produces code that can be edited by the developer, whereas Swiffy generates an efficient format that is not that easily editable.

What does Adobe think of Swiffy?

Adobe is pleased to see the Flash platform extended to devices which don’t support the Flash player. The result is that anyone creating rich or interactive ads can continue to get all the authoring benefits of Flash Pro and have the flexibility to run the ad in the Flash Player or HTML depending on what’s available on the system. Google and Adobe look forward to close collaboration around efforts like these.

The whole point of what we do remains, as always, solving customer problems; specific formats & runtimes are just means to that end. Onward.

12:08 PM | Permalink | Comments [7]

Paper animations of 3D lettering & more

Bianca Chang animates by cutting sheet after sheet of paper and precisely stacking them.


10:14 AM | Permalink | Comments [2]

June 27, 2011

Notes on Adobe video market share

In April 2010 Adobe shipped new, 64-bit, Cocoa-based versions of Premiere Pro & After Effects (along with, of course, 64-bit Photoshop). Premiere Pro notably included the new Mercury Engine, offering breakthrough performance by tapping into customers’ graphics hardware (GPUs).

How has the market–especially the Mac market–responded? Here’s what I gleaned from a presentation by Adobe VP Jim Guerard:


  • Adobe’s Professional Video business grew 22% year-over-year (compared to Apple’s stated 15% growth in pro video). The video industry on the whole grew on average of 7% year over year.
  • 30% growth of overall unit volume.
  • 45% growth on Mac unit volume; 44% revenue growth on the Mac.
  • Premiere Pro
    • Growth Premiere Pro of over 1.5 million seats to 2.3 million in 2010 (compared to Apple’s stated “just over 2 million” seats of Final Cut Pro).
    • This does not include legacy seats and is not based on upgrades. It’s completely new software seats of Premiere Pro.


If you’re interested in making the switch, check out these videos.

New After Effects PM Steve Forde is candid in writing about how he didn’t like Premiere & ignored it before coming to Adobe. Adobe’s commitment shown in the CS5 rewrite, however, and the results it yielded were part of what drew him to join the company.

“To all those asking me for comment on the launch of [Final Cut Pro X],” Steve writes, “I have none. What right do I have to publicly comment on the hard work any vendor does in creating software and bringing it to market?” I’d simply add that moving a large, powerful application to a completely different foundation is a major challenge. While moving Photoshop from Carbon to Cocoa, we always figured that if anyone could empathize, it was the Final Cut team.  Hats off to anyone who scales that mountain, wherever they happen to work.

3:24 PM | Permalink | Comments [13]

(rt) Design: Daft Coke, Frozen Steve, & more

6:59 AM | Permalink | No Comments

June 25, 2011

(rt) Photography: Blackbirds & cursing & migrants, oh my

8:14 AM | Permalink | Comments [1]

June 24, 2011

(rt) Illustration: Retro “Cars” & more

9:16 AM | Permalink | Comments [4]

June 23, 2011

Illustration: Music vid hand-animated via iPad

Animator Shawn Harris painstakingly drew some 7,000 strokes using the iPad app Brushes, then combined them into a full-length music video. Check out the making-of:


1:21 PM | Permalink | Comments [4]

CS5/CS5.5 Printing Guide now available

Printers & production artists, this one’s for you:

The CS5 / CS5.5 Printing Guide (PDF) is an in-depth technical reference guide designed especially for printers and production artists to help them learn the best ways of handling and preparing CS5 and CS5.5 files for print.

8:14 AM | Permalink | Comments [5]

June 22, 2011

Preview: Adobe’s HTML5 animation tool

A preview of Adobe’s HTML5 animation tool, codenamed Edge, will soon be available for download from Adobe Labs. In the meantime, PM Doug Winnie gives a quick tour of some upcoming features.

Doug & colleagues will be speaking at the aforementioned HTML5 camp at Adobe. From Labs you can sign up to be notified when Edge is ready for download.

8:08 AM | Permalink | Comments [17]

Come attend the Adobe HTML5 Camp

Adobe’s hosting a free HTML5 Camp July 22nd in San Francisco:

  • 5:00 pm – 5:45 pm Food and Drink
  • 5:45 pm – 6:00 pm Welcome & Opening Remarks
  • 6:00 pm – 6:45 pm The State of the Web — Dion Almaer and Ben Galbraith from Ajaxian
  • 6:45 pm – 7:30 pm Adobe Dreamweaver CS5.5 and HTML5 & jQuery Mobile — Greg Rewis
  • 7:30 pm – 7:45 pm Break
  • 7:45 pm – 8:15 pm Google Chrome Evangelist Topic Q&A
  • 8:15 pm – 9:00 pm Adobe Edge Demo and Open Discussion — Mark Anders and Doug Winnie
  • 9:00 pm – 9:45 pm Deconstructing an HTML5 Project start to finish — Big Spaceship Web Designer
  • 9:45 pm – 10:00 pm Wrap-up & Closing
According to the registration site, subsequent events are planned for in August 4th in Tokyo, August 5th in New York, and mid-October in Berlin.
7:48 AM | Permalink | Comments [2]

June 21, 2011

Instagallery enhanced

Our friend Troy Gaul has revised his excellent Instagallery iPad app with a host of improvements. For v1.2:

In short: Grid. AirPlay. AirPrint. Liked photos. Twitter. Facebook. Open in Safari. Open in Instagram. Email, save, and copy yours. Video out. Favorite sets. Recent sets. Better comments. Easy tagging. Entire caption. Filter display. Unnamed locations. Tap to advance. TextExpander. Faster. Bugs fixed.

Check out the App Store page for more details.

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A tour of Earth from space

Dr. Justin Wilkinson from NASA provides a beautifully unhurried tour of Earth from above, as shot by astronauts in orbit.


8:00 AM | Permalink | Comments [1]

June 20, 2011

Great Photoshop cloning tips you probably don’t know

You’ve cloned & healed things in Photoshop, right? And you had no idea that you could scale, rotate, and flip the clone source before applying it, right? (Well, being the kind of weirdo who’d actually read this blog, maybe you did, but 99% of people seem not to.) If you spend any amount of time cloning or healing but haven’t used the Clone Source panel, do yourself a favor and spend 4 minutes with Brian Wood‘s overview:

3:38 PM | Permalink | Comments [7]

Tape as art

Chris Hosmer makes amazing illustrations, including murals, using humble electrical tape. Check out his site, and if nothing else, this short clip of him in action:

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June 19, 2011

Stitching moments together

Photographer Peter Langenhahn combines hundreds of photos into huge, hundred-gigabyte monsters that show numerous moments at once–for example, depicting all the fouls in a soccer match. Here’s a brief piece (light on technical details, I’m afraid) on how he does it:

Kottke also points out the Peter Funch’s New York composites (mentioned previously).

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June 18, 2011

Amazing first-person skiing/parachuting/avalanche video

Completely tremendous. Give it the two minutes, and in full screen. [Via]


Offbeat bonus first-person vid: Eli Stonberg’s “Extremities” straps multiple cameras to skater Aryeh Kraus, then shows the results simultaneously. [Via]

8:17 AM | Permalink | Comments [3]

June 17, 2011

Video: A clever use of 3D + text in Photoshop

Now *this* you don’t see every day: Check out Scott Valentine’s quick use of a 3D preset in Photoshop Extended to create a novel text effect:

7:58 AM | Permalink | Comments [16]

June 16, 2011

“Ask a CS Pro” recordings available

It’s great to attend Adobe’s “Ask a CS Pro” sessions live, so you can ask questions of the presenters. The recordings remain valuable, however, and in case they’re of interest, I’ve linked to a whole stack that cover everything from Photoshop & Illustrator to Web & digital publishing to video workflows & optimization.

Read on for the full list. (more…)

1:55 PM | Permalink | Comments [1]

Props for the After Effects Warp Stabilizer

Well-known cinematographer Vincent Laforet has some kind words for the new tool in AE CS5.5:

What truly inspired me was the ability to shoot handheld footage at a high resolution, knowing full well that I could later stabilize it with technology such as Adobe CS 5.5′s Warp Stabilizer… Warp Stabilizer is truly AMAZING – and I’m not exaggerating here. This technology has the potential to change the way many of us shoot – allowing us to rely less on complex stabilization devices – and more on smaller less complex camera support platforms. This will allow filmmakers to shoot with a bit more freedom – which is exciting.

Vincent promises to share more details soon. In the meantime, enjoy the work he’s been capturing with the RED Epic 5K camera, bits of which were stabilized in AE:

7:47 AM | Permalink | Comments [1]

June 15, 2011

Ask a Pro: InDesign Explorations in Typography

Check out a live demo/Q&A session this Friday at noon Pacific time:

Join Carolina de Bartolo for Ask a CS Pro and learn how to take command of your text type and set it legibly, hierarchically and beautifully. Carolina will share some of the common and not-so-common ways to indicate paragraphs from her recent book, Explorations in Typography: Mastering the Art of Fine Typesetting.

Please RSVP here.

[Update: The recording is now available.]

8:48 AM | Permalink | Comments [1]

Video: A DIY Space Balloon

Luke Geissbühler & his kids sent their homemade weather balloon & camera rig (packed inside a foam take-out container!) up 100,000 feet, right to the edge of space. It makes for some surprisingly captivating filmmaking.


8:07 AM | Permalink | Comments [5]

June 14, 2011

Photoshop CS5 iPad companions get new features

The three companion apps have been enhanced, and for a limited time the price of Adobe Eazel has been reduced to $2.99. Details:

  • Adobe Eazel (watercolor painting) – You now have easy access to the paintings you create with the new Eazel image gallery, and you’re able to save and open artwork within the app.
  • Adobe Color Lava (color mixing) – Using the iPad 2’s built-in camera, you can now capture images from within Color Lava, then pick color inspiration from captured images to dab, swirl and mix into custom color themes.
  • Adobe Nav (tool & document control) – You can now transfer images directly from your iPad photo library into Photoshop CS5 for editing, designing and retouching.


Please let us know what you think.

9:59 AM | Permalink | Comments [7]

25 Awesome Keyboard Shortcuts for Photoshop That You May Not Know

The title pretty well says it all: check out this list, especially the first few (new in CS4/5).

Having written a version of a book covering just Photoshop shortcuts, I pride myself on my knowledge here, and even I picked up a few good tips from this list.

8:42 AM | Permalink | Comments [4]

Dutch stamps add augmented reality

Popping 3D architectural data out of a postage stamp? Crafty, to say the least:

Check out the project site for more info. [Via]

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June 13, 2011

Sign up for Adobe MAX

Registration is now open to attend Adobe MAX, set to happen October 1-5 in Los Angeles. I’ll be there and… well, you’ll see. Hope you can join us.

11:15 AM | Permalink | Comments [2]

June 12, 2011

Adventures with mini cams

Planting a GoPro camera inside a hula hoop produces oddly watchable results:


On a much less stable front, the $60 Hot Wheels Video Racer shoots at up to 60 frames per second, creating what Autoblog calls “nausea-inducing fun”:

11:10 PM | Permalink | Comments [2]

June 11, 2011

Beautiful Kinect Graffiti

Jean-Christophe Naour uses the motion-sensing gaming platform to paint with light, using his whole body:


I’ve had a somewhat similar idea: use the gyroscope a smartphone (or multiple phones) to capture a person’s gestures in space, then use the resulting paths to do 3D painting & animation. That work could happen on the phone itself, or the paths could be imported into After Effects & other apps (think MotionSketch.next.), or even run interactively in Flash, WebGL, etc. Maybe the idea’s too esoteric to have legs, but I’d love to see it tried.

8:08 AM | Permalink | Comments [1]

June 10, 2011

Bizarre cartoon mashups: Peanutweeter & more

Having a real love of both the absurd & illustration, this stuff is right up my alley:

  • @Peanutweeter combines Peanuts cartoons with tweets. [Via]
  • The Nietzsche Family Circus “pairs a randomized Family Circus cartoon with a randomized Friedrich Nietzsche quote.” (I used to inject little Nietzsche bits into my designs–e.g. a non-sequitur pull quote in my résumé’s cover letter. I figured it would turn off most employers but help me find My People. And it did.) [Via]
  • TechCrunch Comments as New Yorker Cartoons is, well, what you’d think–and funny.
12:05 PM | Permalink | Comments [1]

A new Photoshop-driving iPad mag ships

Philip Andrews & co. have again created iPad-based training content that not only describes Photoshop techniques, but that actually performs them:

DI Direct ProSharp contains everything you need to know about sharpening your digital images, from the Unsharp Mask and Smart Sharpen filters to a non-filter-based technique the professionals have been keeping a secret for years.

As usual, you’ll be able to tap the step entry on the iPad and see the technqiue performed instantly in Photoshop – it’s all part of our Read It–Tap It–Do It approach.


8:19 AM | Permalink | Comments [3]

June 09, 2011

Infographics: Losing your time (here included) & more

8:25 AM | Permalink | Comments [1]

June 08, 2011

Ask a Pro: Illustrator color techniques on Friday

On Friday at noon Pacific time, Illustrator PM Brenda Sutherland will provide a tour of useful color tips & techniques. She’ll cover how to:

  • Easily swap colors in any type of vector art, including gradients and patterns
  • Create new color combinations and experiment with different color harmonies
  • Save, organize and access your colors through libraries
  • Share color groups with Adobe Kuler, and learn about other amazing but little-known ways of working with color in Illustrator.

You can sign up here.

    9:58 AM | Permalink | No Comments

    Time lapse: Manhattan in Motion

    Lovely work from Josh Owens:


    7:53 AM | Permalink | Comments [3]

    June 07, 2011

    How to collapse/expand Photoshop layer groups (folders) at once

    Designer Erica Schoonmaker tweeted the other day,

    I wish there was a shortcut to collapse all layer folders in Photoshop.

    There is! Thanks to Jeff Tranberry, I can now point out the following*:

    • Open/close all layer groups (folders) at the current level of hierarchy: Cmd-click the arrow next to the group
      • This is handy when you want to open/close, say, all the top-level groups without disturbing the open/closed state of any groups nested within them.
    • Open/close all layer groups nested within the current one: Opt-click the arrow next to the group
      • This is nice when you want to open/shut a bunch of nested groups, without affecting any that lie outside the target group.
    • Open/close all layer groups, period: Cmd-Opt-click the arrow next to a group


    So, to keep things simple: when in doubt, Cmd-Opt-click a group’s arrow and you’ll collapse/expand all groups.

    *On Windows please substitutes Ctrl for Cmd and Alt for Opt.

    8:34 AM | Permalink | Comments [4]

    June 06, 2011

    CNET: Adobe’s Web design work lands in WebKit browser

    I mentioned last month Adobe’s endeavors to make HTML more suitable for magazine-style layouts via the CSS Regions spec. Now I’m happy to see the code making its way into WebKit proper. Hopefully we’ll next see it appear on tablets & phones, giving designers & publishers efficient new layout power. Onward.

    3:09 PM | Permalink | Comments [1]

    What I’m hoping for most in iOS 5

    Why do apps get bloated & inconsistent*, and what can we do about it?

    I asked myself these questions a million times working on Photoshop, often aloud. I’ve proposed choosing dramatically better integration over ever-greater depth, but with established apps the progress is slow, for many reasons**.

    Since moving over to building mobile apps, I’ve been thinking more intensely about “small pieces loosely joined,” about the eternal appeal of small, well-crafted bits of functionality being assembled as needed to fit any workflow. Remember the promise of OpenDoc? Despite all its well documented faults, I still love the idea of assembling a dream team of little parts, each the best in its class for doing what I need.

    In many ways this is what the app store model encourages.  Photographers in particular often assemble dozens of apps (e.g. several for filtering, one for selective coloring, one for tilt-shift, one for social sharing, etc.), then bounce among them to achieve desired results.

    It’s great that we can do this, but the workflow often kind of sucks: Why should I have to keep saving a file, switching apps, navigating back to the same file (or rather, a new derivative copy), opening, adjusting, saving, switching… Plus you can forget about exchanging interesting data like layers & selections: everything’s dumbed down to a flat bitmap.

    Poor integration leads to bloated apps: if jumping among apps/modules is slow, customers gravitate towards all-in-one tools that offer more overall efficiency, even if the individual pieces are lacking.

    Here’s an example: Do you use Instagram? If so, would you say it’s the best filtering app on your phone? It’s the simplest, maybe, but certainly not the most powerful, flexible, or expressive. Yet how often do you take the time to jump to other apps, apply filters, save them, then go to Instagram to share the results? Most people would prefer to skip all the jumping around, so there’s inevitable pressure on Instagram to add more features***–wrecking its simplicity & getting into an arms race with thousands of other apps.

    What if instead you could jump from the Instagram filters list into any app that registered as a filtering tool? And, rather than this feeling like a jarring app switch, what if it felt like entering a mode of the host app? Upon completing the filter (or canceling), you’d pop right back to where you were in Instagram.

    Why did Photoshop 1.0 succeed? It offered excellent (and focused) core functionality, plus a simple extensibility system that enabled efficient flexibility (running a filter brought no need to save, navigate, re-open, etc.). The core app could remain relatively simple while aftermarket tuners tailored it to specific customer needs.

    Even such a humble system can still offer a way out of the current impasse. Android offers “intents” by which developers can register & call functionality (e.g. “I’m an image editor; pass me some pixels & I’ll pass you back new ones”).  That’s a solid start, and I’m hoping the OSes one-up each other with their integration hooks.

    * Hint: It’s not “Adobe sucks” or “developers suck” or “marketers rule”; it’s that all of us users demand just one more “wafer-thin feature” feature in each app, because having it there beats jumping among apps.
    **Taking great care not to blow up customer workflows being key among them.
    ***I see you there, me-too tilt-shift generator.

    5:47 AM | Permalink | Comments [6]

    June 05, 2011

    Illustration: Beautiful birds, clever signs, & more

    4:15 PM | Permalink | No Comments

    June 04, 2011

    “Lightroom Tips and Tricks” next Thursday in SF

    Photographers, if you’ll be in San Francisco on Thursday evening, this session might be up your alley:

    Join Lightroom product manager Tom Hogarty for a session on Lightroom tips and tricks. Learn important methods for speeding your workflow, getting the most out of your images and extending Lightroom with key plug-ins.  Tom will focus on real world workflows and will and share tips from his experience as the Lightroom product manager since 2005.

    9:33 AM | Permalink | No Comments

    Breakfast, interrupted, at 1,000fps

    Bruton Stroube captured high-speed mayhem using a Phantom HD Gold shooting at 1000fps:

    The making-of video makes the shoot look like some messy fun. [Via]

    8:10 AM | Permalink | Comments [5]

    June 03, 2011

    (rt) Typography: Classic chrome, strange meals

    8:15 AM | Permalink | Comments [3]

    June 02, 2011

    A nifty twist on time lapse videos

    You spin me right ’round, baby, right ’round like the earth, baby…


    9:02 PM | Permalink | No Comments

    June 01, 2011

    ColorPicker panel for Photoshop improved

    I’m pleased to see that developer Anastasiy Safari has enhanced his popular MagicPicker panel for Photoshop.  Of the improvements he writes,

    1) Switchable Color Schemes: Mono, Complement, Triad, Tetrad, Analogic. Accented Analogic with easy switching – artist may now choose a color for his work that depends on the main color and quickly switch them – and it’s all inside MagicPicker UI.

    2) Attach other panels to MagicPicker and use them together in Compact Mode. It’s very useful in Compact Mode where you have a small portion of the panel visible and it expands very fast to the full state when mouse is over it.

    I also improved speed and fixed issues with keyboard focus on Photoshop CS5 and CS5.1. And the panel is now astonishingly faster.

    12:59 PM | Permalink | Comments [10]
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