February 07, 2014

I’ve Got My Ticket For the Long Way ‘Round…

From discovering Adobe my first week in college & sending away $10 for an ATM Light floppy disk, to teaching Photoshop in college & starting a Web design career, to joining the company itself in 2000, I’ve had a very special relationship with this place. It has enabled & enlivened my creativity on so many levels, from making beautiful images & animations to learning how to develop great products.

Our little sons were just asking the meaning of BIFURC8 (“Bifurcate”), as seen on our license plate. I explained that it’s about splitting into two pieces. If I could somehow bifurcate myself, I’d joyfully work at both Adobe & Google. Until we get that tech, though, I must step away.

It was real; it was fun; it was often real fun. I don’t want to get all Rutger Hauer, tears-in-the-rain on you (jeez, dramatic much?), so I’ll just say so long, and thanks for all the pixels. See you at my new digs, I hope.


PS—Quick housekeeping note: I’ve asked the blog admin to disable commenting site-wide soon, lest spam creep in, people feel their questions are being ignored, etc. I believe the rest of the blog will remain intact for the foreseeable future.

4:42 PM | Permalink | No Comments

The Blog Is Dead. Long Live the Blog!

(No, this isn’t quite my last post here. I think I’ve got one more left in me.)

I’m so pleased that many folks have asked that I keep blogging after leaving Adobe. I’ve therefore set up an embryonic new blog at—wait for it—jnack.com.


Yes, the design is a work in progress! (Tips & WordPress expertise are all most welcome.)

I plan to point out interesting news about Adobe products when I see news, useful tips, and so forth. (My primary interest has always been in creative people and the work they do, not to any particular company or product.) I won’t, of course, speak on Adobe behalf (not, technically, that I ever did) or disclose anything non-public.

And what about Google and its products? We shall see. Amazing as this sounds, I didn’t start blogging about Adobe until I’d worked here for more than 5 years. By then I clearly knew the lay of the land, knew what was okay to say & what wasn’t, etc. I’d never want to speak out of turn at the new shop, so I expect to take a pretty restrained approach for the foreseeable future.

Thus I can promise you an ongoing stream of the photography, videos, illustration, and other work that I find inspiring. If that’s up your alley, please join me at the new digs. (Here’s the RSS feed address.)

12:05 PM | Permalink | Comments [5]

A few of my favorite posts

Non-exhaustive, if perhaps exhausting, here’s a list of some posts that I think have held up:

11:21 AM | Permalink | No Comments

Come to ADIM 2014

If not for this man & this conference, I wouldn’t be here today.

Samurai Russ

In 2002 Adobe was poised to lay me off. I’d poured 12 hours per day for two years into LiveMotion, but it just wasn’t gonna succeed, and the project was canceled. We were given 30 days to find something new, and my attempts to create a role as Illustrator evangelist fell flat. Thus I’d resigned myself to leaving—but before I went, I figured, “Screw it, if these guys want to put me up in Monterey for a few days at the end [to demo at Russell Brown’s ADIM conference], why not? (And can I expense the kayaking?)”

I pulled out all the stops for what was to be my final demo, impressing Russell. Learning of my imminent demise, he reached out to the brass and said, “Really, we’re getting rid of this guy?” A day or two later on Friday—what was to be my very last day—as I sat in the Microsoft recruiting building I got a call from big cheese Bryan Lamkin saying, “How would you like to work on Photoshop? How about you come down here on Monday?” Three weeks later I’d flown back to Boston, packed up my cat & my crap, and leisurely driven across the country to start a new life in California.

Well, I can’t promise you that big a life change as a result of attending ADIM this year (March 9-12th in Boulder, CO), but I can promise you’ll have a ball & learn a ton:

Join art directors, designers, illustrators, photographers, and our own Russell Brown for ADIM14! You’ll learn advanced imaging techniques using the tools and services found in the Adobe Creative Cloud. This will be Russell’s final edition of the ADIM conference as he transforms into yet another creative character in the near future. If you’ve never been to an ADIM, then this is your final chance. It is not to be missed.

Register now to get $250 off and a one-year Creative Cloud membership.

Go forth & enjoy.

9:03 AM | Permalink | Comments [4]

You wanted Photoshop faster, more efficient? You got it.

What if all we did was make apps faster?” I asked a few weeks back. I’m pleased to say that the latest update to Photoshop CC makes the app faster in two notable ways:

  • Sharpen images 5 to 20 times faster.
  • Make PSDs far lighter weight.

In the first case, an absolutely fundamental capability of the app—sharpening images—has been accelerated thanks to OpenCL. 

For example, using a test image on a machine featuring an NVIDIA GTX480, processing time went from 11.297 seconds to 0.693 seconds. Using the same image with an ATI Radeon HD7950, processing time fell from 12.529s to 0.419s*.

In the second case, linked Smart Objects can make your PSDs much lighter weight—and therefore faster to open, save, and manipulate. I just did a quick test, creating a 10-layer PSD that I then inserted into two other PSDs—one linked, one embedded. The parent containing linked SOs is 4.7MB, whereas the one with embedded SOs is 9MB (2x the size). Personally I’d make link-vs.-embed decisions more according to workflow & collaboration preferences, but it’s nice to know there are size & performance savings to be had, too.

* The PS performance guys note, “Performance times will vary on machines based on both CPU and GPU performance. For OCL-enabled GPUs with +512MB of VRAM, the results are always faster than CPU. Summary: Discrete GPU configurations show average performance gains of 5X to 20X faster. Newer-generation integrated graphics (Intel 5000 series and higher, AMD’s Trinity APU series) with OCL support show gains of at least 2X.”

7:59 AM | Permalink | Comments [2]
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