Monthly Archives: November 2006

Kicking the Tires: Photoshop rendering tutorials

My fellow Photoshop PM Ashley Still interacts with customers using Photoshop in vertical markets (engineering, healthcare, etc.) and has turned up some good resources on using the app in automotive, industrial, and clothing design:

On a slightly related note, Michael Halbert is one talented motherscratcher, offering a wealth of tutorials (including good videos) on achieving a traditional scratchboard look. [Via].  He’s also featured in the Print Gallery.

Zombies, Communism, & other illustrated goodness

  • I’m a fan of both Constructivism & retro-ironic propaganda (think Chinese military ballet), so I dig seeing this collection of Soviet Photomontages 1917-1953.  See also Soviet carpet propaganda. (Doesn’t it seem a little weird to encourage walking all over your icons?). [Via]
  • Think your colleagues are zombies? will illustrate your point for just $85. [Via]
  • Talk about mudflaps, my rickshaw’s got ’em…  Okay, I have no truck, much less a rickshaw, but if I did I’d be tempted to pimp it with beautifully illustrated Bollywood mudflaps. [Via]
  • Flags of our Clients shows what happens when you’re too attentive to feedback on your illustrations–in this case, flags of the world.
  • Computer Arts discusses the digital illustration revolution. Memorable quote (from 1992): "John Warwicker, Creative Director of design collective Tomato, said without even a trace of irony: ‘I can envisage a time when we’ll all need our own individual Macs.’" [Via]
  • Illustration Friday has an interview with illustrator Anita Kunz, showing some of her great images.
  • Alberto Cerriteño does straight-up gorgeous work. [Via]
  • Creating optical illusions in a room is one thing, but can you make your room look like a cartoon? [Via]
  • I haven’t tried Akvis Sketch, but the new version of this Photoshop plug-in promises to convert your images to sketches quickly and easily. [Via]
  • Gene Gable has posted a collection of lovely vintage map art in his column.  (Sadly, nowhere be monsters.)

Xerox intros self-erasing paper

The folks up the road at Xerox PARC (onetime home of the Adobe founders) have been busily developing a new kind of paper that erases itself after 16 hours or so.  The idea is to reduce waste by letting people reuse some of the large percentage of paper that’s printed & recycled in short order–often on the same day.  More details are in the press release.

The story provides some background on the research that gave rise to this technology: “What she has discovered is a notable change in the role of paper in modern offices, where it is increasingly used as a medium of display rather than storage [emphasis added]. Documents are stored on central servers and personal computers and printed only as needed; for meetings, editing or reviewing information.”

It’ll be interesting to see what, if any, role this technology plays in a world of email, electronic paper, etc.  “I worry that this would be like coming out with Super 8 just before the video camera,” says consultant Paul Saffo.  Time will tell. [Via]

PS–At the other end of the permanence spectrum, tattooing has become so popular that even Chinese fish are doing it.  No word on whether "Shanghai Ink" will be airing soon. [Via]

Sonic Tinkertoys + other funky new input devices

Sure, the Nintendo Wii is getting lots of attention for its motion-sensitive controllers, but several other input projects have popped up recently:

  • The Reactable is a "state-of-the-art multi-user electro-acoustic music instrument with a tabletop tangible user interface."  That is, you can drag objects around a flat-screen surface, twisting and aligning them to produce sound (I’ll stop short of saying "music"*).  Check out the very cool videos. [Via]
  • Tai-Chi is a series of acoustic sensors that turn any surface into a touch-sensitive computer interface.  Here you can see it tracking a finger, among other objects. [Via]
  • The Onomy Tilty Table is a large display that can rock back and forth, moving the image on screen as you move the table.  This makes it quick for cruising across large images, from geographic imagery to the AIDS Quilt. Check it out in action.  The latest version will enable twisting to aid navigation. [Via]
  • SandScape lets users interact with a landscape model made of sand, watching interpretations of the results projected back onto the sand.  So you could, for example, sculpt a new form in the sand, then see water flow patterns projected onto the surface. It’s easier to see it in action than to describe.  More info is here.   [Via]
  • 3D Connexion (corporate cousins of the Logitech guys behind the NuLOOQ "Adobe mouse") have introduced the SpaceNavigator, a $49 puck optimized for navigating 3D spaces (e.g. Google Earth).
  • Robert Hodgin (of Flight404 fame) created a large interactive video wall in conjunction with Saturn’s hybrid vehicle launch. Grass and text ripple as users walk by; more photos and here.

* The audio output remains, however, more listenable than Shatner doing Rocketman. [Via Hughes]

The Colour & the Shape

Adobe kuler (which seems to be getting much love) has put color on my brain.  With that in mind:

  • Colour By Numbers is a 72m-high light installation in Sweden. You can program the colors using a phone (just call +46 (70) 57 57 807), then watch the results in a live video feed on the site. [Via]
  • Photographer Constantine Manos captures the nation’s rich palettes in American Color.
  • COLOURlovers is "a resource that monitors and influences color trends," providing news and interviews as well as tools for browsing and rating palettes.  They recently interviewed Dr. Woohoo (aka Drew Trujillo), creator of the In The Mod color analytics tool, among other grooviness.
  • Moto Colors makes it possible to browse Motorola phones by color, and to create, ah, abstract designs in the corresponding colors.  (Click and drag once you’ve picked a color in order to paint.)  [Via]
  • It’s possible to trick your eye into seeing color on a B&W photo, as in this Spanish castle illusion.  To create your own version of the illusion, follow the steps of this tutorial, complete with a Photoshop action. [Via]

Animals photographed in the womb, & more

  • Using a combination of three-dimensional ultrasound scans, computer graphics and tiny cameras, a team of filmmakers has been able to show the entire process of animal gestation from conception to birth.  Here’s the article and amazing photo gallery.  [Via]
  • Created in After Effects & Lightwave by XVIVO for Harvard biology students, The Inner Life of a Cell depicts mighty mitochondria and the like doing their thing; check it out in high- or low-res Flash video. [Via]
  • Among the more unusual images I’ve seen, here’s the sun shot through the Earth, displaying neutrinos that pass through the planet’s mass.
  • Speaking of celestial imagery, this month’s National Geographic features stupendously gorgeous images of Saturn–just a hint of which can be found on their site.  [See also previous]
  • Rick Lieder must have the patience of Job, and it pays off in his insect macrophotography at [Via]
  • BibliOdyssey has posted The Concept of Mammals, a collection of antique critter renderings. "As was the fashion of the time," they write, "the animals were placed in contrived settings and often given human facial qualities, which only serves to heighten the sense of bizarre. And thankful we are too." [Via]  The site is jammed with other good bits, including claws, shells, whales, and more. (And if stuff trips your trigger, check out Albertus Seba’s Cabinet of Natural Curiosities.)

Lightroom Podcast #21: Richard Benson, Thomas Palmer

I was amazed at the number of folks who approached our pod at the recent PhotoPlus Expo and said, "Hey, are we going to get more of those Lightroom podcasts soon?  I was really enjoying those."  After a busy fall, George Jardine is back in the saddle–or rather, the headphones–recording away.  Of the latest podcast, he writes:

This podcast was recorded on Monday October 30th 2006, at Richard Benson’s home in Newport, Rhode Island. Adobe Pro Photography Evangelist George Jardine speaks to fine art printer and photographer Richard Benson and his printing partner, Thomas Palmer, while they recount many fascinating stories such as working on the Gilman Paper Company book, working with Irving Penn and Paul Strand, and many other luminaries.

The podcast is available as an MP3 file via George’s iDisk (under "1030-1 Podcast – Richard Benson and Thomas Palmer"). It’ll also be available via the Lightroom podcasts RSS feed, and by searching for "Lightroom" in iTunes.

Pleasures of the Flesh… with Toast

Clearly the smell of slow-cooking turkey meat wafting down the hall is getting to me, and soon enough I’ll give this laptop a much-deserved break.  But before that, here’s a wee cornucopia of hopefully interesting bits:

And with that, I wish you good eating, good health, & a day free from turkey frying disasters. [Via] Happy Thanksgiving!

–El Tryptophan

Adobe open-sources Web gallery code

A few months back I mentioned that Adobe has been working on a system to enable rich Flash- and HTML-based Web galleries to be created from Adobe apps.  That engine is currently available in Photoshop Elements and Photoshop Lightroom, and I’m happy to report that the underlying ActionScript code is now available as an open-source project. The galleries (see examples) are rather deceptively simple, but the underlying code supports good stuff like dynamic resizing, user-configurable high/low bandwidth states, multi-resolution files, and more. [Via]

If you just want to start generating slick Flash galleries from Photoshop CS2, check out Felix Turner’s sweet PostcardViewer hook-up (see example output), as well as the ones that ship with Photoshop.

"'Shopped, not Stirred"

Growing up, I clipped a newspaper’s list of all the James Bond films to date, keeping the yellowing paper taped to our refrigerator until I’d seen & checked off every one. So as you’d imagine, it was kind of a thrill when, during the new Casino Royale last week, one of the characters said, "It’s amazing what you can do with Photoshop these days."  Hot damn!  And apparently I wasn’t hallucinating, as Digit Magazine has taken note. [Via] [Update: The Bond films’ classic intro sequences are here. [Via]]

‘Tis the season for Photoshop making cameos, it seems.  Photoshop engineer Russell Williams writes, "Last week’s CSI featured a murderer who’s a news photographer who kills to
hide the fact that he’s composited his Iraq war pictures with Photoshop. At
one point the police officer questioning him says something to the effect
that ‘I’m surprised an adrenaline junkie like you would want to waste his
time with Photoshop.’"  (What, the clone tool isn’t adrenaline-packed…?)  Our PR folks report that the app popped up recently in Two And A Half Men as well as Desperate Housewives.  And The Daily Show continues to rock out, even featuring a montage of 10 years of P’shopped photos–now sadly yanked off YouTube.

We have in fact visited folks in Hollywood and talked about Photoshop’s role in their work & the stories they tell, but as far as I know these mentions are purely organic.


PS–Much to her delight/chagrin, I think I’ll now start referring to my wife as Pixels Galore. 😉