Monthly Archives: September 2005

New Photoshop Elements 4 announced; what about Mac?

We’ve just announced the new Adobe Photoshop Elements 4.0. As you’d expect, it offers numerous crafty new features, and in early reviews people seem impressed.
So, what about the Mac version? In short, we’ve said that it’s in development (e.g. see the last line in the first paragraph here). We haven’t been any more specific than that, largely because as a public company Adobe has to be very careful about forward-looking statements. (Technically speaking, if you asked me whether we were going to start selling garden gnomes tomorrow, I don’t think I could say yes or no.)
And so, fellow Mac users, please don’t jump to any conclusions. We don’t have a new Mac version to announce, nor can we provide details on when we might have one or what it would contain. That said, Elements Mac development continues, and in the meantime the great Photoshop Elements 3.0 for Mac is available now.

Frogoshopping, Tennis, and Smackdowns (oh my)

The always-entertaining Worth1000.com features a great frog-modification contest. I’m humbled by these folks’ skills.
These contests remind me of the Photoshop tennis matches that people started playing a few years ago (tossing a PSD back and forth, adding layers to riff on your partner’s work). The original site is taking a break, but many fun matches are documented in the rather generically named Photoshop: Secrets of the Pros.
Along similar lines, Adobe and Aquent are sponsoring Studio Smackdown 2, which puts designers head to head using Flash and the Creative Suite. Should be good.

Your type can look better

As things get easier and faster, do they have to get crummier? No, but if we’re not careful, it’s easy to sacrifice depth and craft for breadth.
Ten years ago, print designers couldn’t understand why I couldn’t replicate their leading and kerning in HTML. Ten years later, I wonder how many designers bother to kern at all.
But beyond resurrecting these fundamentals, new technology lets us do better. OpenType technology allows for much richer character sets, and numerous faces in the Adobe Type Library support this new functionality. Access to alternate characters can help put an end to the kind of blunder I saw in a national magazine several weeks back, where supposedly handwritten parchment featured three identical “g”‘s in a single word.
To see the benefits in action, check out this tutorial from Russell Brown, and this one from Deke McClelland.
(On related fronts, the new Flash Player features much improved text display. Also, Typetester is a little online utility for comparing screen fonts [link via Newsight]. And Linotype has released FontExplorer X, with an iTunes-like ability to organize, preview, and purchase fonts.)

Two in the hand

Wow–now this you don’t see every day. A small company called Tactiva has unveiled a rather eye-popping demo of a device that lets you use both hands while working in design software.
The appeal of using two hands at once (instead of essentially pointing with a stick and grunting, as is done with a mouse) isn’t new; the latest Wacom tablets feature touch strips for non-dominant hand work, and Logitech and others sell a variety of pucks and other devices for the same purpose. But the Tactiva device takes things to a new level by displaying a ghosted image of your actual hands overlaid on the UI, as well as providing force feedback when you interact with on-screen objects.
The device faces plenty of obstacles to adoption (no manufacturers yet, potential $1000 price point, need for support in applications that assume a single input control). Yet I keep thinking about it.
What do you think? Just a neat parlor trick, or the future of computing, or something in between?

The Illuminated Continent

Think you’ve got a lot of digital photos to manage? National Geographic photographer Mike Fay & crew flew some 60,000 miles at low levels over Africa, snapping a high-res digital photo every 20 seconds. The tiny Cessna contained more than 2 terabytes of storage for capturing the GPS-stamped data. You can read more here and check out the interactive features, including Flash videos and a high-res PDF map. And if you happen to be on Windows, you can check out the way this content has been
integrated into Google Earth.

Photography events this week and next

Speaking of National Geographic, if you happen to be in the Bay Area next week, the Aurora Forum is presenting what looks to be an interesting panel discussion on documentary photography and democratic ideals. The panel includes photojournalist Chris Rainier, whom I was privileged to have assisted (a very small bit) in the launch of Cultures on the Edge.
And if you happen to be in LA this week or DC next, check out the film festival for All Roads, “a National Geographic initiative supporting films by and about indigenous groups and under-represented minority culture filmmakers.”

The elevator supports Undo!

Okay, you know you’re spending too much time at work, or on computers, or both when you get excited about something like this. I discovered this morning that the elevators in the new Adobe tower support undo. That is, if you’ve pressed a floor button by mistake, you can press it again to deselect the floor. Who knew? This reminds me of Photoshop quality engineer Pete du Fosse realizing that he was working too much when he found himself holding a hand over his microwave’s keypad, getting frustrated when no tool tip appeared.
[This is probably also the time when my bosses question the value of letting me blog on work hours. ;-)]

Stop motion & SLRs

Editors Guild Magazine features an interesting article about the new movie “Corpse Bride” being shot with a digital SLR, the Canon EOS-1D Mark II. “[P]erhaps most significantly, it’s the first movie to choose digital cameras over film cameras based on the criterion of image quality.” [link via Rob Galbraith DPI]
This reminds me of the much lower budget but also clever “Between You and Me”, shot entirely with a Canon 20D. Dig the creative misuse of shiny technology.
[Update: On a related note, check out the stop motion used in the video for Sia’s haunting “Breathe.” A similar technique was used for Sam Bisbee’s “You Are Here.” [links via Kottke.org.]]

Stop motion & SLRs

Editors Guild Magazine features an interesting article about the new movie “Corpse Bride” being shot with a digital SLR, the Canon EOS-1D Mark II. “[P]erhaps most significantly, it’s the first movie to choose digital cameras over film cameras based on the criterion of image quality.” [link via Rob Galbraith DPI]
This reminds me of the much lower budget but also clever “Between You and Me”, shot entirely with a Canon 20D. Dig the creative misuse of shiny technology.
[Update: On a related note, check out the stop motion used in the video for Sia’s haunting “Breathe.” A similar technique was used for Sam Bisbee’s “You Are Here.” [links via Kottke.org.]]