Monthly Archives: February 2006

Mordy on Illustrator, FreeHand

Mordy Golding, Illustrator expert and formerly Illustrator product manager (now living back in NY, never having been satisfied by CA bagels & lack of filthy-washcloth-style humidity), has posted an interesting interview with… himself. In it he muses on the future of Illustrator & FreeHand, among other things. I should be very clear in saying that I have no particular insights into any such plans (way too much going on in Photoshop-land for me to pester the vector guys right now), so I’m not endorsing or refuting any of Mordy’s points. I mention the article, however, as it may shed light on some of the questions & realities that are considered when planning a product roadmap.

Julieanne Kost's Window Seat

Adobe’s own Julieanne Kost, globetrotting evangelist for Photoshop and Illustrator, has released her new book, Window Seat: The Art of Digital Photography and Creative Thinking. PhotoshopNews features a nice overview; the O’Reilly site shows some before and after images; and in this sample chapter you can get a taste of how Julieanne uses her work to illustrate both the process of deciding what to do & the techniques for getting it done. Congrats, Julieanne!

Lightroom Beta 2 now on Adobe Labs

The second preview version of Adobe Lightroom has been posted on Adobe Labs. Highlights:

  • Now available as a Universal Binary for compatibility with Intel-based Apple hardware
  • Crop and Straighten tools included in the Develop module
  • Ability to add music to slideshows
  • Ability to create hierarchical keyword sets
  • XMP import and export capabilities. (Please consult Known Issues list for details)
  • Improved Edit in Photoshop capabilities
  • Improved metadata handling
  • White balance support for the Nikon D2X, D2Hs and D50 cameras

The team continues to work on the Windows version of Lightroom, but it’s not ready to share yet. As for resources, Photography Evangelist George Jardine has posted a new video covering the Develop module, building on his earlier introductory video, and Jeff Schewe has posted info and screenshots on PhotoshopNews.com.

Optical illusions in space & on the street

The work of two artists is opposite & complementary, creating flatness in space & depth in flatness:

  • Felice Varini creates 2D images in 3D space, producing the appearance of flat shapes when seen from a particular spot. Samples of his work are collected here and here, and an animation on his own site depicts how the illusions emerge & disintegrate based on one’s perspective.
  • Kurt Wenner rightly calls himself a “Master Street Painter,” producing amazing images that create the illusion of depth on asphalt, concrete, and stone. On his site he discusses the impermanence of his medium, comparing fragile chalk renderings to music & calling their creation a performance.

[Obligatory, if completely tenuous, Photoshop-related tie-in: anyone remember the impossible object that formed the original icon for Photoshop plug-ins?] [Thanks to Marc Pawliger for the links.]

Optical illusions in space & on the street

The work of two artists is opposite & complementary, creating flatness in space & depth in flatness:

  • Felice Varini creates 2D images in 3D space, producing the appearance of flat shapes when seen from a particular spot. Samples of his work are collected here and here, and an animation on his own site depicts how the illusions emerge & disintegrate based on one’s perspective.
  • Kurt Wenner rightly calls himself a “Master Street Painter,” producing amazing images that create the illusion of depth on asphalt, concrete, and stone. On his site he discusses the impermanence of his medium, comparing fragile chalk renderings to music & calling their creation a performance.

[Obligatory, if completely tenuous, Photoshop-related tie-in: anyone remember the impossible object that formed the original icon for Photoshop plug-ins?] [Thanks to Marc Pawliger for the links.]

Two-hand touch

While working as a designer, I found that the bigger my monitor, the more greasy-fingered art directors inevitably wanted to touch it, to show that they wanted something put *right there*. Soon, however, touching a monitor may be less a party foul & far more useful. Check out this video demonstrating research into two-handed touch screen interfaces. Pretty ridiculously cool, eh?
It reminds me a bit of the Tactiva device shown last year. Plenty of hurdles (size, cost, hands blocking artwork, parallax interfering with small adjustments, greasy fingers, etc.) would need to be jumped to make these approaches mainstream, but it’s gotta happen, right? Just yesterday a 3D artist was talking to us about wanting to paint with one hand while using the other to dial exposure & intensity up and down in high-dynamic range images. It’s just too natural not to happen. And the sooner these devices move towards ubiquity, the sooner we can start taking advantage of them in Photoshop and other tools (requiring plenty of UI re-thinking & engineering, but potentially very worthwhile).
[Thanks to Colin Smith for the link.]
[Update: Similar approaches are being taken to fields as diverse as jazz and warfare. Thanks to Tom Attix for the links.]

Behind the scenes of United's "Dragon" ad

Man, have you seen that “Dragon” commercial (short film, really) that United Airlines ran during the Superbowl? The gorgeous visuals get all the more impressive when you learn that they were done using stop motion and real paper cutouts. United has posted a behind-the-scenes video showing how director Jamie Caliri and his team drew characters, painted them in Photoshop, animated the pieces by hand, and removed wires and braces in After Effects. It’s really inspiring to see an artistic vision supported, not defined, by the tools & the strengths and limitations of each medium. [Via Kaliber 10000] [Related: more stop-motion links are in this post.]
[Update: Ko Maruyama has posted an in-depth interview with Jamie Caliri that goes into more detail on the tools & techniques that went into the ad.]