Monthly Archives: May 2007

Scientific bits: Seadevils, severed arms, & Stephen Hawking

Lightroom Podcast #31: Develop module basics

Continuing his focus on short, practical video tutorials, Adobe photography evangelist George Jardine has posted a new Lightroom podcast. This installment demonstrates the basics of working with Lightroom’s Develop module. George writes,

This mini-tutorial podcast is the second in a series that will cover bite-sized tips and techniques designed to help you get the most out of Lightroom. The focus of this series will concentrate primarily on basic color correction techniques using the Develop module, but will also touch on many other parts of the application. This tutorial shows the basics of using the Develop module to make corrections to a slightly underexposed photo.

The podcast is available via George’s iDisk (look for “20070512 Tutorial Podcast – Develop Module Basics”). It’s also available via iTunes (search for "Lightroom"), and via the Lightroom Podcasts RSS feed.

Tips on Lightroom Flash galleries

If you’re interested in wringing the most out of Lightroom’s Flash-based Web galleries, check out the Bluefire Blog.  It’s written and maintained by the guys at Bluefire, the Web developers Adobe hired to build the galleries.  They get down to the nuts and bolts of how the galleries work, revealing hidden settings and more.  Note that you can find the open-source gallery code on opensource.adobe.com.

Flash galleries are a big interest of mine, and I hope to have some more good news to share on this front soon.  Stay tuned. [Related: Flash gallery hook-up for Photoshop.]

New Photoshop Action Pack available

Photographer, author, and scripter Ben Long has updated his popular set of AppleScripts, taking the Photoshop Action Pack to version 3.5–adding CS3 compatibility and a new action in the process:

The Photoshop Action Pack lets you
control Photoshop CS, CS2 and now CS3 from Apple’s Automator,
allowing you to create complex automated image processing workflows.
Through Automator’s drag-and-drop interface, you can easily build
stand-alone applications, droplets, Finder plug-ins and watch folders
that automate all sorts of normally tedious operations. With the
addition of the Photoshop Action Pack, you can use Automator to drive
Photoshop.

As with previous versions, the Photoshop Action Pack v3.5 is
free, although donations are gratefully received through an attractive PayPal button.

On a semi-related note, Ben has also posted an interesting article containing tips on night photography.  I could stand to take some of this advice, in order not to produce more images that look like they’ve been doused in soggy Fruity Pebbles. (At least they’re good for testing noise reduction technologies.)

New Photoshop plug-ins: Genuine Fractals, YouSendIt

  • onOne, the publishers of resizing tool Genuine Fractals and other Photoshop plug-ins, have gone native with their tools, offering Universal Binary versions of Mask Pro, PhotoFrame Pro, and Intellihance Pro along with Genuine Fractals.  They’re offering some free UB updates as well as a plug-in suite that includes all four tools.
  • The file transfer experts at YouSendIt have created a Photoshop plug-in that automates the process of sending large files, directly from Photoshop.  Sounds pretty cool, though I haven’t gotten to check it out.  I’ve always wanted a way inside Photoshop and other tools to say, "Okay, these three open files–bang, send ’em to my client, zero fuss."

Tasty Flash bits: Milk, missives, and grins

I’ve encountered some savory Flash business around the Web recently:

  • Get the Glass features gorgeous illustration & great game play–all in the name of milk. [Via Veronique Brossier]
  • I’m not sure whether Blank Missives has a point, or whether having a point is the point, or… anyway, it sure does look nice.  Dig that typography, too. [Via]
  • The reflective "wet floor effect" comes to the excellent SlideShowPro.  More info is at developer Todd Dominey’s site. [Via]
  • Neave.com features what Bridge engineer Rob Corell calls a "grin-inducing Flash effect."  This kind of thing makes me really want to capture the life and imagination of Flash apps & infuse it into desktop tools.
  • Buzzword is a terrific name for what promises to be a cool product: Flash-based online word processing. Here’s more press on it.

And finally, on a note near and dear to my heart, ZDNet’s Ryan Stewart lists his Top Five Features in Flash CS3.  #1?  Photoshop integration!  [Via]

New Adobe Exchange goes live

Last year the Adobe Web team integrated the former Macromedia and Adobe Exchanges into a single content repository.  A number of customers complained about slow performance and difficulty navigating the new site, so the Web team has been hard at work conducting interviews & building a revised system.  The new Adobe Exchange launched today as a beta, using an HTML interface in place of the former SWF UI.  (You can find Photoshop-related content here.)  If you have feedback for the Web team, please let them know via the Exchange forum.

Friday Illustration

From the Dept. of the Brilliantly Simple:

And elsewhere:

Finally, it’s a little tangential, but I spotted a nice shout-out for CS3 on illustration blog Drawn: "You’ve probably already heard all the buzz about it being the biggest upgrade ever, bla bla bla. Well, this time the buzz is true… I predict our industry (I mean anything graphically creative) is about to undergo a huge jump in look, feel, efficiency, and impact because of this." Thanks, guys! [Via Joe Ault]

Apollo gets kuler: Color RIA lands on desktop

I’m pleased to report that kuler, Adobe’s Web-hosted application for exploring, creating and sharing color harmonies, can now be accessed from your desktop via Adobe’s Apollo technology. After a sneak peek at the CS3 launch event, the "kuler desktop" is now available for download on Adobe Labs, along with the required Apollo Runtime environment.
 
The kuler desktop offers the same RSS feed functionality as the kuler Dashboard widget but with a new form factor (see quick clip of it in action). Users can view RSS feeds of the highest rated, most popular, and newest themes from the kuler site, search the thousands of titled and tagged themes, search by kuler user name, and copy theme hex values to the clipboard.

For other cool Apollo bits, check out the technology showcase on Labs.

Note: By default, kuler installed itself on my Mac using my user Applications directory, rather than in the root Applications directory that I normally use.  This isn’t a big deal, and you can easily change the install location, but I mention it in case you find yourself wondering where the app has been installed.

knowhow: Flash-powered help inside Illustrator

"You know more than we do."  That’s the simple, and powerful, thought behind "knowhow," a new Web-savvy part of Illustrator CS3.

Using a Flash SWF file running inside an Illustrator panel (palette), knowhow is designed to provide information about tools and topics right within Illustrator. The feature offers help information for over 100 Illustrator-related topics—including all tools and panels.  As you use various shortcut keys while using a tool, the appropriate hint term highlights in context, making it possible to find more info about it.

The really interesting part, though, is that instead of searching only Adobe-made Help, knowhow queries social bookmarking site del.icio.us.  Anyone can add content to the knowhow del.icio.us page, meaning the Illustrator community can enhance the info available inside Illustrator. That’s a key part of the vision we’re pursuing as we Flash-enable Photoshop and other Adobe desktop tools.

To see knowhow in action, check out the online demo on Adobe Labs, or bring up the panel inside Illustrator (download tryout); it’s under Window->Adobe Labs.   For the full details, check out the FAQ (PDF) and visit the knowhow forum.