Monthly Archives: October 2006

Camera Raw 3.6 now available

We’ve released the final, shipping version of Camera Raw 3.6  (previously available in beta form) along with DNG Converter 3.6.  You can grab it for Mac (the converter is Universal, by the way) or Windows.  This release adds support for the following cameras:

  • Canon EOS 400D / Rebel XTi
  • Fuji FinePix S6000fd
  • Fuji FinePix S9100/9600
  • Leica D-LUX3
  • Leica Digilux 3
  • Leica V-LUX 1
  • Nikon D80
  • Olympus E400
  • Olympus SP-510 UZ
  • Panasonic DMC-LX2
  • Pentax K100D
  • Pentax K110D
  • Samsung GX 1L

As always, please take a second to ensure that you install the plug-in into the correct spot:
Mac: /Library/Application Support/Adobe/Plug-ins/CS2/File Formats/…
Win: \Program Files\Common Files\Adobe\Plug-ins\CS2\File Formats\…

The full list of 140+ supported cameras is on the Camera Raw product page.

I want your skulls…

…and no, I’m not just quoting the pitchfork-wielding villagers now surrounding my office*. 😉

In honor of Halloween, I thought I’d pass along a couple of snaps from Photoshop engineer Joe Ault, who captured a ghoulish hot rod mod during a recent car show: see the pistoncarb heads and whole car.  Note to self: must get more flavaful ride.

Elsewhere, on Sunday night my wife Margot & I carved pumpkins with our newest Photoshop PM, Bryan O’Neil Hughes & his freshly minted fianceé Alex (double congrats, guys!).  I opted to go with my favorite luchador, while Margot went more Día de los Muertos & Bryan did "Pumpkin Pi."  Here’s the gallery.

In a related vein:

  • Mao Ze Tongue: The SF Chronicle has hired 12 artists to make downloadable last-minute masks.
  • Here’s a great little skull I found on Logopond.
  • If you like the history of the graphic arts, or if you just enjoy slightly weird old imagery, check out Gene Gable’s collection Of Evil Witches and Dancing Pickles.
  • Along those lines , the Today’s Inspiration blog features a whole mess of vintage Halloween-related art.

Happy Halloween,

[ * Speaking of that chaos, thanks for all the feedback. I greatly appreciate the level-headed comments, and I’ve gained some good perspective from them. –J.]

American Tough Guys

  • Held aboard NYC’s USS Intrepid, pro arm wrestling contest The Big Apple Grapple is captured by photographer Clayton James Cubitt. Sadly, no one makes the insane Stallone-face from Over the Top.
  • Scott Pommier features bikers, skaters, and the occasional man-rodent showdown in his portfolio.
  • Backyard wrestling?  Yeah, that’s probably gonna end in tears. [Via]
  • Okay, he’s not American, but this iguana isn’t kidding around.
  • Neither American nor particularly tough, Walking the Cabbage (which is not a euphemism, apparently) challenges ideas of acceptable behavior by, well, walking a cabbage around China.  More info here. [Via]

3D: Sketching in space; Potato gun in PDF; &c.

  • The team at Front Design (see previous) demonstrate in this video how they sketch freely in the air using nothing more than a pen, while a system of cameras captures the strokes in 3D space.  From there a laser solidifies liquid plastic layer by layer.  Ultimately the finished piece of furniture rises from the molten bath T2-style.  Wicked. [Via]
  • The crew at Make Magazine uses the 3D capabilities of Adobe Reader to good effect in their most recent issue, using PDF to display a 3D representation of the "spud gun" they describe building.  (If you haven’t updated Reader in a while, this might be a good time to grab the new version 8.0 [Update–Whoops, not quite yet; but the current 7.0.8 will do the trick].) [Via]
  • The ZScanner 700 describes itself as "the first self-positioning, real-time surfacing, 3D laser scanner."  Translation: for about $40k you can walk around any object, scanning it in real time, sucking the results into your laptop via FireWire. [Via]

AE+Flash for 3D, more in Design Center

The Adobe Design Center offers a whole pile of new content, as well as new product-specific pages (e.g. Photoshop, Illustrator, Flash, After Effects) that make it easier to find training on particular topics.

New Dialog Box:

New ThinkTank:

New Gallery:

New Tutorials:


Why no PowerPC support in Soundbooth?

A few days ago Adobe introduced Soundbooth, a free download (in beta form) from Adobe Labs.  Notably, and happily, the app not only supports Mac OS X, but also runs natively on Mactel systems.  More controversial, however, has been the news that the app runs only on Mactel systems, not those using a PowerPC.

"The elimination of PowerPC support in Photobooth [sic] raises major issues," writes Macintouch.  I’m a little puzzled: how is it that people can refer to the "elimination" of something that never existed–namely, PPC code in Soundbooth?

Here’s the reality: Apple’s migration to Intel chips means that it’s easier to develop for both Mac and Windows, because instead of splitting development resources optimizing for two different chip architectures, you can focus on just one.  That’s all good, and it makes Mac development more attractive. Users benefit from having developers’ efforts go elsewhere (features, performance tuning, etc.), rather that into parallel, duplicate work. In the case of Soundbooth, the team could leverage Adobe’s expertise in building great audio tools for Intel chips (namely Audition) to bring the app to market faster and with a richer feature set.

Now, if you were Adobe and had started developing a new application at exactly the time when Apple told you, "This other chip architecture is dead to us," would you rather put your efforts into developing for that platform, or would you focus elsewhere?

This logic seems lost on a lot of online posters, who leap to some fairly outlandish conclusions.  "Oh my God, next thing you know, Photoshop and the other apps won’t run on PowerPC, and the next thing you know, they’ll kill Mac versions altogether and just tell us to run Windows using Parallels!"  At what point Adobe will burn Snuggle the Fabric Softener Bear in some dark pagan ritual isn’t specified, but that must be the natural next step, right??

Come on.  As regards Photoshop, Flash, Dreamweaver, Illustrator, etc., these apps have been tuned for PowerPC for many versions, and therefore continuing that support is a very different matter than creating support from scratch. To put the freaking out to rest: the next versions of the CS and Studio apps are being built as Universal apps, and they’ll run great on PPC.  Someday Apple, Adobe, and everyone else will stop supporting PPC, as they did with 68k chips, OS 9, etc.–but not anytime soon.

Macintouch writes, "There are 10 or 20 million active PowerPC Macs and no excuse in the world for abandoning them and forcing people to buy new Intel Macs to run applications."  Doesn’t it seem like something would have to exist before it could be abandoned?  "That’s completely contrary to Apple’s whole approach to the Intel migration," they write.  And again, in order to migrate, you have to start somewhere (namely, on the PPC). Soundbooth is a fresh start, not a migration.

If you’re a Mac user, I think it’s important to ask yourself, "Would I rather encourage software developers to bring their titles to the Mac, or would I rather jump down their throats given any opportunity?  If Adobe were to bring other Windows-only apps to the Mac, would I be happy about that, or would I rather give them hell for focusing on features & functionality rather than a discontinued chip architecture?"

I have to ask myself, Why on earth am I devoting part of my weekend to writing all this?  Why not blow it off and get out of the house?  Maybe I should, but as a die-hard Mac user I feel like someone has to speak a little truth to the Mac community–or rather,
to that vocal little group of
zealots and forum trolls. So here’s my message for those folks: You’re hurting the Mac platform. You’re hurting the Mac community. You need to crush a little aluminum foil against those antennae of yours, because you’re hurting everyone concerned. You’re making it harder (and less appealing) for people of goodwill to make the effort to support the Mac.

In economics, Gresham’s law states that when both legitimate money & counterfeit money are in circulation, the bad stuff tends to remain in circulation while the good stuff tends
to be hoarded or exported.  This applies to politics and to online conversations: extreme voices drive out (or at least silence) more moderate, level-headed thinking. I’ve bothered to write this, and to risk catching a lot of slings and arrows, because it’s important that someone stand up and say, "Whoa, hey, simmer down.  Take another look at the situation, and let’s take a second to accentuate the positive."

At the end of the day, instead of supporting only Windows, Adobe is bringing a new app to the Mac.  As a Mac user, I think that’s great news, and I suspect the vast majority of Mac users do, too.

Grabbing the Aerobie and heading out the door,


[Update: Soundbooth PM Hart Schafer shares his perspective on the question of making Soundbooth support PPC. Suffice it to say, it’s not a “flip the checkbox in Xcode and you’re done” kind of thing.]

Fireworks does MXML, Acrobat does 3D, & more

Wrapping up a packed week at Adobe MAX, on Thursday a number of teams provided glimpses of what they’ve got cooking for the future.  Jen deHaan has provided a great overview, taking notes during the session.  Some highlights:

  • Fireworks is now geared towards rapid prototyping.  Dani Beaumont dragged buttons and other widgets into a Fireworks doc, set JavaScript parameters, exported the results to MXML, and opened it in Flex.  If this trips your trigger, you can sign up for their beta.
  • Adobe is working with Yahoo on integration with the Acrobat Connect (neé Breeze) communication platform. Peter Ryce & Dean Chen showed PDFs being displayed directly through Connect (using the Flash Player).
  • Hart Schafer pointed out spectral view in Soundbooth, where you can visually eliminate unwanted noises using tools much like Photoshop’s Healing Brush.  Played a bahw-tschicka-WAaoow funk groove appropriate to Dirty Vegas.
  • Scott Fegette demoed cross-browser compatibility checking in Dreamweaver, plus a CSS Advisor on that lets users share solutions, add comments, rate articles, etc.
  • Beau Amber of Metaliq showed new Zoomify components written in ActionScript 3.0. Fast and smooth loading of a 1.2GB file through Flash Player. [More thoughtful chin-pulling ensues.]
  • Michael Kaplan displayed an interactive, 3D Razr phone running inside a PDF. A Flash UI inside the PDF caused a 3D hand to appear and dial the phone, which then proceeded to play Flash video on its (virtual) screen.  And at this point, the audience completely lost it.

You know, Adobe (the old, pre-Macromedia Adobe) had great technology for years, but in my experience the company was often a little shy and unassuming about promoting it. When the Adobe-Macromedia deal was announced, a designer remarked, "Adobe will make Macromedia grow up a little bit, but Macromedia will take Adobe out clubbing."  I see that now happening, and I’m getting visions of Michael rocking out to The System Is Down. 🙂

Paint blows up real good

The Sony Bravia "Paint" ad (also available in high res–requires QT7) looks like someone doused the Bellagio fountains with a tanker full of Punky Colour.  The spot took 10 days and 250 people to film, not to mention 5 days and 60 people just to clean up.  (Putting your eco-worries to rest, they say, "A special kind of non-toxic paint was used that is safe enough to drink.")  [Via Paul Ramsbottom]

Meanwhile Turkish film studio Imago New Media has created OÏO, featuring paint "catapulted into the air, filmed by a high-speed camera and then composited with other catapulted paint footage."  Here’s a clip.  (The soundtrack has "deservedly obscure James Bond score" written all over it.) [Via]

See also the first Bravia spot (high res), featuring colored balls cavorting around SF.

Remembering our friend Hans

It’s with enormous sadness that we learned this week of the passing of Hans Grande, a dear friend to many, many Adobeans; a stellar product manager; and an all-around excellent fella.  There’s a huge lump in all our throats, but at the wise suggestion of his wife, I’d like to take a moment to remember and celebrate his life.

Hans joined Adobe in 2002 as a PM on the Creative Suite team. Although we worked in different teams & disciplines, our paths would cross periodically, and I remember thinking, "Man, I’m not sure I understood all that MBA science he just laid on me, but I’m glad to have that guy on our side!"  When the Macromedia deal was announced last year, Hans took the reins on leading the planning activities.  Once again, although he was in the "clean room" and thus couldn’t talk much to the rest of us about the plans, I remember thinking, "Well, whatever he’s doing in there, I think those Macromedia folks are going to be impressed."  I couldn’t think of a better rep for that tricky assignment, and I knew he’d do Adobe proud.

Both Hans and I got married last year, and as we each dealt with the planning details, we’d compare notes.  I told him, "Oh man, this whole business of marrying a project manager is great–highly recommended, if you have the means!" He laughed and replied, "Yeah, but I’m marrying another product manager, and you know how that’s going to go: we’ll have all kinds of brilliant ideas for the wedding, and none of them will ever get implemented!"  I knew, though, that somewhere between driving the next great Adobe business initiative & going for long training rides with other Adobe cyclists (a real underachiever, this guy), he’d get it all put together.

I wish I’d gotten to know Hans better.  I wish we’d acted on more of those tossed-off oh-hey-let’s-grab-lunch suggestions.  I’m grateful that he came into the Adobe world for a while, and for the wonderful influence he exerted on so many folks here.  Maybe we can best honor him by picking up the phone & actually having that lunch, making that connection.  I know it would make Hans smile.

Introducing Adobe Soundbooth, now on Labs

Sneak-previewed on Tuesday at the Adobe MAX show, the new audio-editing application Adobe Soundbooth is available in beta form on the Labs Web site.  "Built in the spirit of Sound Edit 16" (my trusty, lightweight sidekick for many years), Soundbooth is geared towards:

  • Editing audio quickly
  • Cleaning up noisy audio
  • Visually identifying and removing unwanted sounds
  • Recording and polishing voiceovers
  • Adding effects and filters
  • Easily creating customized music—without musical expertise

It’s a professional application, but it’s simpler and more streamlined than Audition, Adobe’s tool for audio professionals. In other words, it’s the kind of thing a Flash developer can grab and start using immediately.  Soundbooth PM Hart Shafer has posted his intro, and there’s also a press release.

By the way, note that in addition to supporting Windows, it runs on the Mac.  Intel-natively.  (And so does Flex Builder, for that matter.) In fact, given that it’s brand new, the app is Mactel-only.  I’m a little disappointed that I can’t run it on my PowerBook, but I understand why the team has decided to focus entirely on the future.