Monthly Archives: November 2005

The DAM Book now shipping

Photographer Peter Krogh has just published The DAM Book: Digital Asset Management for Photographers. I haven’t seen a finished copy yet, but I’ve attended Peter’s lectures & can vouch for his insight into how new technologies like DNG facilitate open workflows (e.g. batch-adjusting color in Camera Raw, then passing DNGs with embedded previews and metadata to iView Media Pro).
[See also: Peter’s related and the publisher’s site for the book.]

Non-destructive raw editing with Smart Objects

Sometimes in the course of development, you find that a feature design can flex to accomodate things you didn’t plan at the start. We devised Smart Objects to enable a new level of Suite integration (letting Illustrator data stay live and editable inside Photoshop (see demo)), to allow non-destructive scaling/rotation/warping of layers, and to enable parent-child relationships (edit one, update many). We knew the design had legs, but we didn’t know if we’d have time to extend it to raw camera data in CS2.
Fortunately Chris Cox and Thomas Knoll were able to make it possible to place a raw file into Photoshop, and the technique is becoming a sleeper hit. When placed as a Smart Object, the raw file is embedded behind the scenes. The upshot is that you retain access to the full complement of raw data (and the Adobe Camera Raw feature set) even while applying adjustment layers, dodging and burning, adding masks, healing dust spots, etc.
Ben Long’s latest article on covers the technique (“It’s a non-destructive dream!”–nice!). You can also see Russell Brown demonstrate it in this video, and you can download Russell’s scripts that facilitate integration here.
So, the next time you hear someone crowing about non-destructive editing, remember that not only have we been doing this for the last three years with Camera Raw; we’re now taking it to a new level, letting you keep data intact while leveraging the unique power of the Photoshop tool set.

Thanksgiving Feature: Menu Customization

Maybe I’m addled from downing too much of the turkey fixings (and it’s barely even noon), but I’ve been thinking about restaurants’ penchant for adding absurd descriptors to otherwise ordinary food. On a roadtrip out east last week, I noted menus offering:

  • Pan-Seared Chilean Sea Bass
  • Lamb Lettuce with Toasted Goat Cheese
  • Iowa Caramel Custard

Okay, the fish may be neither Chilean nor bass (discuss!); I have no idea what lambs have to do with lettuce; and having gone to high school in Iowa, I can tell you it’s not synonymous with gourmet desserts. But now that Photoshop CS2 supports menu customization, I’m thinking we should take a cue from restaurateurs. How about:

  • Puréed Liquify filter
  • Vector Confit on a Bed of Merged Layers
  • Braised Shank of Smart Object
  • Dodged & Burned Creme Brulée
  • CCD-Fresh Megapixels in a Chromatic Noise Reduction

Or perhaps not. 😉 Really I just wanted to say thanks for reading, and to wish you and yours an extraordinarily happy Thanksgiving.
El Tryptophan (master of the Sleeper Hold)

Plenoptic Cameras: [whistle type=low & appreciative]

I’d heard Todor and Jeff talk about plenoptic camera research, but it wasn’t until reader Joe Lencioni mentioned this Stanford work that I followed up. Wow. If nothing else, check out this video demonstrating how images can be refocused after the fact. (For background, Todor notes the word “plenoptic” was coined by Ted Adelson in this 1992 paper.) Wired News coverage is here.
Being more an Arts & Letters guy (read: math Cro-Mag), I tend to dwell on the social aspects of technology, and I wonder how photographers might react to these developments. There’s already a vocal minority of strident anti-raw shooters who say, “Raw is for when you plan to get the shot wrong.” That is, the post-processing flexibility that raw enables lets bad photographers sweep ever more mistakes under the carpet. What would they say about something that forgave flaws in focusing? It’s also funny to note that as technology like this makes it possible to keep more items in focus, technology like Photoshop’s Lens Blur works in the opposite direction, letting you add a “Bokeh” effect to otherwise crisp shots.
Personally, I’d love to see the concept of taking multiple captures in single pass used to enable greater dynamic range. Wouldn’t it be great to effectively auto-bracket shots simultaneously, instead of in quick succession?

Jack Naylor; Jan von Hollenben; Pigeoncams

  • Photographer Jan von Holleben brings a lush take to the shot-from-overhead perspective (also used by Robin Rhode) in his Dreams of Flying series.

  • NPR featured a story about collector Jack Naylor, who at age 87 is selling his more than 30,000 cameras, images, and other photography ephemera–and asking a cool $20 million. I haven’t found a good online resource about Naylor, but the NPR site features a small gallery of spy cameras and more.
  • Seeing this, I wonder who’s going to bring the pigeon-with-camera idea into the digital age. Pigeon’s-eye-view is one thing, but I want to see it go airborne. Hmm, maybe someone at Make will take the challenge. (And if it really takes off, you know someone will create

Pringles can -> Macro lens??

If you ever find yourself living in a post-apocalypic, Mad Max-style hellscape *and* needing a new macro lens–or if you just like to tinker–know that evidently a Dremel, a can of Pringles, and some elbow grease are all that stand between you and that sweet new glass. No word, however, on the efficacy of Jalapeño vs. Spicy Cajun flavor… (Going to these lengths somehow reminds me of Jack Handey’s observation, “Most people don’t realize that large pieces of coral, which have been painted brown and attached to the skull by common wood screws, can make a child look like a deer.”) [via Tobias Hoellrich]

Seen any good $495 Photoshop books lately?

I’d heard long-time author David Biedny, creator of the Attention Photoshoppers podcast, mention that his out-of-print work was commanding a premium, but it wasn’t until today that I saw what he meant. A photographer on the ProDig list noted that Photoshop Channel Chops is selling for $495 at a used book store. Some quick Googling reveals that the title commands $199 and up on Amazon. Dang; I haven’t read the book myself, but it must be quite the resource.
Of course, this sets my mind in motion. I tend to accumulate samples from lots of publishers, so I wonder what gems linger on my bookshelf. Psst, buddy, how much’ll you give me for this sweet Illustrator 6 Visual QuickStart Guide? Flash 4 Magic, maybe? Or how about a vintage LiveMotion Classroom in a Book? (Anyone, anyone? Bueller…?)
Not quitting my day job,