November 30, 2011

Alfred for Mac hits 1.0

The brilliant little utility Alfred has reached v1 status after a couple of years of public testing.  For me it’s an invaluable way to launch apps & start Web searches quickly (in my case I hit Opt-space from any app, then start typing a name or query) and to get multi-clipboard functionality.  For some reason I could never get into the command-line Quicksilver or other multi-clipboard tools, but Alfred hits a sweet spot.

The app is free, but the paid Powerpack (which enables multi-clipboard support and numerous other features) is well worth the £12 price.

2:28 PM | Permalink | Comments [3]

“Photoshopped or Not? A Tool to Tell”

My longtime boss Kevin Connor left Adobe earlier this year to launch a startup, Fourandsix, aimed at “revealing the truth behind every photograph.” Now his co-founder (and Adobe collaborator) Hany Farid has published some interesting research:

Dr. Farid and Eric Kee, a Ph.D. student in computer science at Dartmouth, are proposing a software tool for measuring how much fashion and beauty photos have been altered, a 1-to-5 scale that distinguishes the infinitesimal from the fantastic. Their research is being published this week in a scholarly journal, The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Check out the interactive presentation of before & after images. Details are on the NY Times.

8:12 AM | Permalink | Comments [4]

November 29, 2011

Cameras + Choppers

Small, ubiquitous video capture & aviation make a potent combo. The NY Times features a story about amateur video helping in air crash investigations. Elsewhere, clashes in the streets of Warsaw have been captured by small, remote helicopter:

I find the effect both exciting and unnerving. “Sunlight is the best disinfectant,” and capturing misbehavior begets exposure, outrage, and action. Or does it? I wonder whether the aerial footage introduces a “cinemification” element, a sense that real life is simply more TV, more entertainment. I don’t know; I’m not complaining, just wondering aloud a bit. [Via]

8:01 AM | Permalink | Comments [5]

Hands-on time with Photoshop Touch, Sunday in SF

Sally Cox of the Adobe Creative Suite User Group of San Jose passed along the following info:

Dickens Fair Photowalk with Adobe Touch Tools demo

Sally will be demoing the new Adobe Touch tools on an Android tablet (iOS coming in the near future) during the event
We will have an extra tablet on hand so everyone can try them!

Sunday, December 4, 2011
Cow Palace: 2600 Geneva Avenue, Daly City, CA
11 am – We will meet outside the event
Please click here to join our group (it’s free) and get group pricing.

1:39 AM | Permalink | Comments [1]

November 27, 2011

Blow Up 3 comes to Lightroom

Alien Skin’s new up-rezing technology adds support for Lightroom while continuing to work with Photoshop:

10:40 PM | Permalink | Comments [7]

November 25, 2011

A year-long time lapse of the sky

Another time lapse, really?? But check it out–Ken Murphy has created a really novel piece:

A camera installed on the roof of the Exploratorium museum in San Francisco captured an image of the sky every 10 seconds. From these images, I created a mosaic of time-lapse movies, each showing a single day. The days are arranged in chronological order. My intent was to reveal the patterns of light and weather over the course of a year.

Here’s more info on how it was done, the rig used, and more. [Via]

8:03 AM | Permalink | No Comments

November 24, 2011

The future of advertising? Cat videos.

(Come on, it’s Thanksgiving; you weren’t working anyway, were you? Oh, and Happy Thanksgiving!)

[Via Sebastian Marketsmueller]

9:07 AM | Permalink | Comments [4]

November 23, 2011

Photo-realistic painting in Adobe Ideas

Want to annoy a photographer? Just say, “Great image! What camera did you use?” (“Telling a photographer that his camera takes great pictures is like telling a chef that his oven makes great meals,” notes Terry White.) We do well to focus more on artists than their media.

Kyle Lambert shows how far one can take even very simple tools. Kyle is a fine artist based in the UK and was formally trained as an oil painter. He currently freelances and specializes in painting, illustration and animation. He’s becoming well known for his striking character portraits and was the first artist to create photo-realistic work using Adobe Ideas. Check it out:

8:07 AM | Permalink | Comments [4]

November 22, 2011

Midnight Sun

“For 17 days,” writes Joe Capra, “I travelled solo around the entire island shooting almost 24 hours, sleeping in the car, and eating whenever I had the time. During my days shooting this film I shot 38,000 images, travelled some 2900 miles, and saw some of the most amazing, beautiful, and indescribable landscapes on the planet.”

Joe used Lightroom (with an assist from LRTimelapse) and the new After Effects Warp Stabilizer to create this piece. For more info on the project, check out this interview with Michael Levy Studio.


8:19 AM | Permalink | Comments [6]

November 21, 2011

Gone fishing (for turkey)

I’m taking the week off to squire young dudes around chilly Illinois, but I’ve scheduled some blog posts to auto-publish over the course of the week. I mention it because I’ve seen a few comments asking questions or requesting feedback, and I didn’t want you to think that I was working normally & blowing off replying.

4:19 PM | Permalink | Comments [2]

A man, a plan, a flashlight… Photoshop Touch

If Russell Brown isn’t the MacGyver of creative tools, I don’t know who is. Check out this crazy little hack of his, featuring a flashlight and Photoshop Touch’s unique Camera Fill feature:

9:10 AM | Permalink | Comments [12]

November 20, 2011

Demo: Publish Blurb books via Lightroom

Jerry Courvoisier of introduces Blurb’s bookmaking plug-ins for Lightroom and explains what they can bring to your bookmaking experience. “Learn the key differences between the plug-ins for BookSmart and Bookify,” he writes, “and find out which one will work best for your project.”

10:04 AM | Permalink | Comments [2]

November 19, 2011

Video: Flying Rhinos

Filmmakers Green Renaissance created this beautiful, inspiring short piece. Our 2- and 3-year-old boys watch it obsessively and now know the “characters” by name (“There’s Cathy in the green hat! There’s old Jacques!”).

8:56 AM | Permalink | Comments [1]

November 18, 2011

Adobe Carousel surpasses a million downloads

“On October 27th we launched Adobe Carousel,” writes PM Sumner Paine, “and within a few short weeks we’ve already surpassed 1,000,000 downloads! We’re happy to see such a tremendous response — and want to thank everyone who jumped on board and downloaded the app on their iPhones, iPads and Macs.”

Though the team isn’t yet ready to talk in detail about future plans, check out Sumner’s post to hear about some areas they’re considering.

11:53 AM | Permalink | Comments [4]

Photoshop CS5 hidden gem: Mini Bridge

Browse visually from within Photoshop (and InDesign), run batch actions, start full-screen slideshows, and more; Hughes explains:

7:32 AM | Permalink | Comments [2]

November 17, 2011

Photoshop Touch: Top-grossing photo app on the Android Market

And that list includes all apps (phone and tablet) in the market, not just those for tablets. Not bad for a tablet-only app that’s been on the market for less than 72 hours, eh? :-)

Top Grossing Photography – Android Market. [Via Ignacio Barrientos]

2:59 PM | Permalink | Comments [6]

Photoshop Touch: Create textures using Camera Fill

Russell Brown shows a clever technique, using a live camera feed to create textures on Photoshop Touch layers:

9:22 AM | Permalink | No Comments

November 16, 2011

Video: Make HTML5 animations interactive in Edge

Check out this brief tour, then grab yourself a copy of Edge.

12:31 PM | Permalink | No Comments

Google: “Flash developers: Export to HTML5 with new Swiffy extension”

Like the idea of turning Flash Professional projects into HTML5, but don’t want to wait for a new version of Flash to ship?  Try Google’s new Swiffy plug-in for Flash CS4 or higher. Developer Esteban de la Canal writes,

The extension enables you to convert your animation to HTML5 with one click (or keyboard shortcut). The extension is available for both Mac and Windows, and it uses Swiffy as a web service, so you’ll always get our latest and greatest conversion. Information about the conversion process is shown within Flash Professional.

By the way, a number of comments on my related post Monday highlighted current challenges and shortcomings with HTML5 work (portability, file size, etc.). It strikes me that the only way forward is to improve the standards and the browsers.  If you think something sucks, jump in and contribute ideas and code, like Adobe’s doing. [Via]

12:29 PM | Permalink | Comments [2]

Time lapse: Earth from above

Michael König edited together beautiful imagery captured by the crew aboard the International Space Station (see the Vimeo page for more details):

8:12 AM | Permalink | No Comments

November 15, 2011

What’s Creative Cloud & why should you care?

View PSD layers, Illustrator artboards, and InDesign spreads on the Web; share files with teammates; and more. Here’s a 1-minute tour of the new Creative Cloud:

9:45 PM | Permalink | Comments [4]

Photoshop Touch arrives on Android!

I’m delighted to announced that Adobe Photoshop Touch is available for download from the Android Market. For a quick summary of the app, let’s turn to… me:

PS Touch and the other newly released Adobe touch apps (Proto, Ideas, Kuler, Debut, and Collage) require using an 8.9″ or larger tablet running Android 3.1 or above. As for iPad availability, the plan is to announce more in early 2012.

Check out the user forum to ask questions and provide feedback. And please join us Friday at noon Pacific for a demo/Q&A covering PS Touch and the other newly released Adobe touch apps. I’ll be presenting alongside Ideas PM David Macy.

As I say, we can’t wait to see what you create!

7:16 AM | Permalink | Comments [19]

November 14, 2011

Check out Flash Pro generating HTML5

Let’s get a lot more people making animated HTML5 content. To do that, we need to lower the barriers to entry.  That means making content run reliably across browsers, and letting the hundreds of thousands of people with Flash skills apply those skills to a new output format.

Because HTML is so broadly useful (Web pages, mobile apps, magazines, etc.), there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. In this 10-minute demo, Adobe VP Paul Gubbay shows:

  • Animating in the new Adobe Edge app (download it from Labs)
  • Turning that output into an app using PhoneGap [jump]
  • Using Flash Professional to export animation as HTML [jump]
  • Running CSS Shaders in WebKit [jump]
  • Enabling “liquid layout” from InDesign [jump]



I find the Flash Pro HTML export demo especially exciting, because it helps you reach your audience across configurations (e.g. letting an ad run with or without Flash installed), and it helps migrate content from Flash into HTML.

I should emphasize that this technology remains a work in progress, but here’s some of what I’ve learned:

  • This path will be most useful for relatively simple pieces–think ads, microsites, & other animated branded experiences, not complex games.
  • Output will be editable in Edge where it can be choreographed with other Edge motion content and where you can add interactivity in JavaScript. Flash Pro can play to its strengths, such as frame-by-frame character animations, feeding these into Edge.
  • The Flash Pro team is experimenting with converting ActionScript to JavaScript, again with ads being a key use case.
  • Sprite sheet export (see separate demo) will be useful across a variety of tools & runtimes (CSS, Canvas, Starling, and more).

I find all this extremely exciting. What’s your take? Anything else Adobe should be doing here?


PS–This demo was excerpted from last week’s Adobe financial analysts meeting. You might find some of the complete recordings & slide decks interesting. (Paul spoke during the David Wadhwani segment.)

11:34 AM | Permalink | Comments [18]

November 13, 2011

A beautifully animated ode to spaceflight

Check out this gem from Celine Desrumaux (fullscreen, of course):


11:46 PM | Permalink | Comments [2]

November 12, 2011

Video: Bullet-time surfing

Rip Curl and Time-Slice Films used GoPro HD cams to build a “’30 camera Array’–a line of cameras firing consistently as surfers ride towards and past it.”

The same team erected an in-water scaffolding in Malaysia’s Sunway Lagoon Hotel to mount 52 full-sized DSLR cameras:

Core77 features more details & photos of the rigs, along with behind-the-scenes videos.


8:32 AM | Permalink | Comments [1]

November 11, 2011

Happy Nigel Tufnel Day


[Via Adam Jerugim]

4:13 PM | Permalink | Comments [3]

Happy Veterans Day from some Adobe vets

A few years ago I was giving some boo-hoo rant about my job’s frustrations to a co-worker when I noticed a little Abrams tank model on his desk. When I inquired he casually answered that he’d been a tank commander in Bosnia, modestly mentioning some of the responsibilities he’d shouldered in his early 20’s. Way to put my challenges in perspective, sir.

In this brief clip, veterans now working at Adobe share thoughts on how their military service experiences have helped shape their careers.

10:18 AM | Permalink | Comments [4]

November 10, 2011

Mike Chambers on Flash Professional & the Future

Veteran Flash developer & evangelist Mike Chambers has posted a note addressing the future of Adobe’s Flash Professional product:

The rumor is that the entire Flash Authoring team was laid off and that we are no longer developing Flash Professional.

Both of these rumors are false.

We are actively working on the next version of Flash Professional and have a long term commitment to its continued development.

Mike goes on to mention some of the features being built, including HTML5 export. (I hope to share more details on that one shortly.) Please see his post for details & to ask any questions.

5:56 PM | Permalink | Comments [16]

GroundBot, a self-propelled ball camera

Another from the “Ah, What Could Go Wrong?” Files:

It denies any family connection to Imperial interrogation droids, but I’m not sure I buy its story. [Via]

3:42 PM | Permalink | Comments [2]

November 09, 2011

Check out Mixel: Social collaging for everyone

I’m delighted to see that Khoi Vinh & Scott Ostler have launched Mixel, a free & intriguing iPad app for creating, sharing, and remixing artwork. Check it:

I had the pleasure of color-commenting a Layer Tennis match in which Khoi parried with Nicholas Felton last year. Afterwards we chatted a bit about whether & how the fun of “Photoshop tennis” could be brought to a radically wider audience. I’ve been eagerly awaiting the arrival of this new project, and I got to kick the tires while swinging through New York a few weeks back.

Two bits of interesting sauce:

  • Like Instagram, Mixel lets one follow & be followed, and it can import your existing connections.
  • The app keeps all pieces separate, making it easy to find artwork, see what’s trending, etc.

Khoi’s shown remarkable restraint in crafting the editing environment. Forget about things like complex layer blending: there’s no adding text* or even simple brush strokes. That’s by design: You’re meant to communicate visually rather than verbally, and drawing skills can’t be a prerequisite. Anyone should be able to jump in & participate immediately. It’s 180 degrees from most Adobe apps (which trade simplicity for power), and I find that refreshing.

It’ll be fascinating to see who tries the app, who sticks with it, what they make, and why. Will the rough aesthetic have legs, or will the app be drawn towards refinement & complexity? How might it grow to serve particular audiences (e.g. designers wanting to brainstorm/moodboard together in small groups)? We shall see.

In any case, congrats to these guys on the launch. What do you think of Mixel?

[See also: Khoi’s philosophy on the app’s mission is well worth reading.]

* One can add images that include text, but you can’t whip out a text tool and start laying down captions. No lolcats for you!

11:32 PM | Permalink | Comments [1]

SF Photoshop User Group meets tomorrow evening

Come hear photographer Mark Lindsay talk about “Inspired Compositing and Masking” starting at 6:30pm at Adobe San Francisco. Check out the MeetUp page for details & to vote on topics that Mark should cover in depth.

5:45 PM | Permalink | No Comments

Lightroom 3.6, Camera Raw 6.6 available on Adobe Labs

Lightroom 3.6 and Camera Raw 6.6 are now available as Release Candidates on Adobe Labs.  The ‘release candidate’ label indicates that this update is well tested but would benefit from additional community testing before it is distributed automatically to all of our customers.

New camera support in these releases:

  • Canon PowerShot S100
  • Nikon 1 J1
  • Nikon 1 V1
  • Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX1
  • Samsung NX5

In addition, the releases add support for numerous lens profiles while squashing a number of bugs. Please see the Lightroom Journal for details.

9:02 AM | Permalink | Comments [1]

“Flash to Focus on PC/Mac Browsing & Mobile Apps; Adobe to More Aggressively Contribute to HTML5”

Adobe VP Danny Winokur has published an official piece on how Adobe is pushing hard on HTML5 for mobile Web browsing, discontinuing work on Flash Player for mobile. I’m not an official Adobe spokesperson, and I don’t work on Flash, so please direct any comments to Danny’s post.

8:32 AM | Permalink | Comments [1]

November 08, 2011

Thought of the day

“When the oak is felled the whole forest echoes with its fall, but a hundred acorns are sown in silence by an unnoticed breeze.” -Thomas Carlyle, historian and essayist (1795-1881)

One hopes, anyway.

6:15 PM | Permalink | Comments [11]

Check out image warping in Photoshop Touch

Russell Brown shows how to perform perspective distortions, and apply arcs, pinches, stretches, and more:

8:05 AM | Permalink | Comments [5]

November 07, 2011

Mobile facial recognition promises clever new apps

Check it out:

Petapixel writes,

The video at the top of this post is a Polar Rose demo of an app called “Recognizr”, which recognizes people’s faces and provides you with links to their social media accounts.

Imagine a world where every person on the street can be identified by simply pointing your phone at their face. Curious about a stranger? Point your camera at them to pull up their Facebook profile. People who had concerns over facial recognition in Facebook photos are going to have a fit about this one…

I remain eager to see what developers can do in terms of building photography & design apps. If you see anything cool, give a shout.

10:56 AM | Permalink | Comments [6]

November 06, 2011

Video: A love letter to NYC

Andrew Clancy’s “A Year in New York” is just lovely. Go Irish.

The song ‘We Don’t Eat’ by James Vincent McMorrow is available as a free download from Amazon. [Via Laine Fast]

8:08 AM | Permalink | Comments [2]

November 05, 2011

Demo: Microsoft’s 3D “Holodesk”

This project leverages a Kinect sensor to let you manipulate 3D virtual objects with your hands:


8:19 AM | Permalink | Comments [2]

November 04, 2011

Adobe Muse Beta 4 ready for download

Adobe’s new visual HTML authoring tool, Muse, has been downloaded by more than 330,000 designers (!) since it debuted in August. Now it’s been revved to version 4. Key features:

  • Over 40 product enhancements and bug fixes, driven by Muse user community feedback
  • Support for 5 additional languages: French, German, Spanish, Swedish, and Dutch

Check out the team blog for a full list of improvements & bug fixes.

3:42 PM | Permalink | Comments [7]

Props for Photoshop Touch

“Adobe’s Photoshop Touch destroys the claim that tablets are no good for content creation, as well as being the first tablet adaptation of major desktop software that doesn’t suck.” — Tony Sarno, APC

Nice! Check out the rest of the article for more details & perspective (although, being the kind of weirdo who’d read my blog, you’re probably already up to speed here ;-)).

9:18 AM | Permalink | Comments [3]

Video: Collision study

A lovely little somethin’ somethin’ for a rainy Friday morning:

8:29 AM | Permalink | No Comments

November 03, 2011

Sneak peek: Adobe image recognition technology

Researcher Jon Brandt demos a potential new feature for searching through a large library of images by identifying images that contain the same people, backgrounds, landmarks, etc.:

11:11 AM | Permalink | Comments [5]

Brian Yap on Adobe Ideas

Boxing Clever‘s Brian Yap creates amazing artwork using Adobe Ideas (for example, this portrait of Talib Kweli). Here he talks about what the app means to him:

10:09 AM | Permalink | No Comments

November 02, 2011

Eye candy: Motion FX for OS X

I can’t claim I find this slick, free app from Autodesk useful, per se–but hey, who hasn’t wanted to spew fire from his eye sockets from time to time?

4:31 PM | Permalink | No Comments

Amazing 3D map technology

These are the days of miracles & wonder:

The technology is said to have been purchased by Apple. Check out 9to5 Mac for more details.

3:20 PM | Permalink | Comments [2]

Dave Malouf on Adobe Collage

I had to pleasure of meeting Dave Malouf, design professor at Savannah College of Art & Design, at Adobe MAX and moderating an interesting panel discussion with him. In this brief clip he talks about using Adobe Collage to express & share ideas quickly:

11:58 AM | Permalink | No Comments

November 01, 2011

Clarity vs. Obfuscation: Steve Jobs & Occupy Wall Street

I have no intention of making this blog a political one, but I did find interesting Frank Rich’s insight into the phenomenon of Occupy Wall Street protesters mourning Steve Jobs, a multi-billionaire:

Yet those demonstrators who celebrated Jobs were not necessarily hypocrites… Jobs’s genius… was his ability “to strip away the excess layers of business, design, and innovation until only the simple, elegant reality remained.” The supposed genius of modern Wall Street is the exact reverse, piling on excess layers of business and innovation on ever thinner and more exotic creations until simple reality is distorted and obscured.

Just food for thought. (Oh, and if you haven’t read Michael Lewis’s The Big Short, you’re missing out. I’m halfway through his follow-up, Boomerang, and it’s similarly compelling.)

4:54 PM | Permalink | Comments [8]

Font games

9:37 AM | Permalink | Comments [3]
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