Monthly Archives: June 2007

More spray, less pray with Lightroom 1.1

I’ll admit that one of the features I never really understood in Lightroom 1.0 was the Keyword Stamper tool.  It seemed vaguely interesting, but I never took the time to grok its ins and outs.

No matter: the tool has now beem morphed into something that looks more powerful and more comprehensible: the metadata-centric Painter tool.  This quick video from Layers magazine demonstrates how to use the tool to paint keywords, develop settings (nice!), or other metadata onto one or more images just by clicking and dragging.  Martin Evening goes into more depth on LightroomNews. [Via]

Great new Flash galleries for Lightroom

Here’s a little Friday afternoon treat: the Lightroom team has been working with Felix Turner, creator of the excellent Airtight Flash galleries, to integrate support for the galleries.  Lightroom engineer Andy Rahn has posted three gallery templates on the LR team blog, along with installation instructions.  Here are examples I generated using each one:

What’s really sweet is the way the Adobe Flash Player is directly integrated into Lightroom, so that as you adjust the specific parameters for each gallery (image size, colors, number of rows/columns, etc.), you see the results immediately. With other apps you’d need to set parameters, export, review the results in a browser, go back to the authoring tool, tweak, and so on.

I think this is a sign of more good things to come, and if you’re a Flash developer who’s like to integrate with Lightroom, drop me a line.  We’ll work on updating the galleries to run in the new Bridge-based Adobe Media Gallery (which uses the same engine) as well.  To use PostcardViewer directly from Photoshop, see previous.

War, illustrated

  • "Machine gunner turned author" Colby Buzzell has recorded his Iraq war experiences on his blog and elsewhere.  He’s now teamed up with illustrator Christopher Koelle and animators The Law of the Few to produce Men in Black–four and a half gripping minutes of storytelling. [Via]
  • Christopher shares his thoughts & the Photoshop techniques behind the work on his blog.
  • In a related vein, Canadian trooper Richard Johnson’s Kandahar Journal offers an illustrated, soldier’s-eye-view from Afghanistan. [Via]

Side note: I type this from the Denver airport, where I find myself holed up (thanks, lightning).  After showing a CNN ad saying "Get the Facts. Not Fear," CNN Headline News just featured a segment titled–I kid you not–"Watch for underwater terrorists."  I shall, uh, get right on that.  (Apparently Atlanta is where irony goes to die.)

Why Photoshop doesn't provide secure metadata

Certain feature requests come up over and over, and customers wonder why Adobe doesn’t address them.  In many cases it’s a matter of time, resources, and priorities
(i.e. good idea, we just haven’t gotten there yet).  In other cases, however, there are conceptual issues that make addressing the request impractical or impossible.

One of those cases concerns something that seems simple: letting Photoshop users apply copyright & other info, then lock it so that it can’t be removed.  Photographers in particular request this capability year in and year out.  Unfortunately there are good reasons why things don’t work as desired.  If you’re interested in the details, read on for an explanation from Photoshop architect Russell Williams.

Continue reading

Lightroom 1.1 now available

I’m delighted to report that Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 1.1, a free update that adds numerous feature enhancements while squashing bugs, is available for download* from Adobe.com (Mac|Win).  Besides adding the sharpening and clarity controls that debuted in Camera Raw 4.1, Lightroom 1.1 adds a ton of polish around catalog management, keywording, easier metadata synching, and more.

There’s too much to list here, so check out LightroomNews for a run-down of what’s new, or see the product ReadMe file (PDF).  LightroomNews plans an eight-part series covering the update, starting with a terrifically detailed overview of new menu items here.  Lots of other good info will be forthcoming on the Lightroom team blog and elsewhere.  I’ll try to update this post & subsequent ones as resources become available.  In the meantime, you’re welcome to suggest links via the comments.  

*The English update is available now; French, German, and Japanese editions are expected shortly.

PicLens sweetness upgraded, now does Windows

As I’ve noted a few times, I really dig PicLens, the free browser utility that enables cinematic slideshows for Flickr, Google Images, and other popular image sources.  The great thing is that the capability is totally unobtrusive, appearing only when you roll over images that can be viewed as a slideshow.

I’m therefore happy to pass along a bit of great news: PicLens has been updated to v1.5, and for the first time it’s available on Windows, via Firefox.  Bust a move on over to their site and grab a copy of the new goods.

(And, for the record, I don’t know these guys personally, nor do I get any kickbacks.  It’s hard to do revenue-sharing on "free." ;-))

Unusual sculptures (Pt. II)

  • "Dusasa I" shines with the light of a thousand discarded soda cans.  It was crafted by Ghanan El Anatsui.
  • Suellen Parker builds clay sculptures, then uses Photoshop to project her digital photos onto their surfaces. The NYT hosts a video showing her process, and you can find more pieces on her site. [Via Erma Noxley]
  • Nathan Sawaya is a master Lego sculptor.  CNN tells his story (via print and video) & features a gallery of his pieces. [Via]  (Speaking of Lego art, peep Lego Starry Night. [Via Maria Brenny])
  • The Underwater Sculpture Garden is Jason Taylor’s project to "create a unique space which highlights environmental processes and celebrates local culture."  Some of the forms remind me of the crazy heads I recently encountered in my rural Illinois hometown. [Via]
  • Joe Pogan builds metal sculptures from found objects.  [Via]
  • Martin Klimas captures sculptures as they shatter. [Via]  (This is the kind of thing we’re often tempted to re-create with truck stop schlock purchased en route to Death Valley.)  [In a semi-related vein, see the previous previously Burning Bulbs.]
  • Oliver Herring turns photos into sculptures. [Via
  • Damien Hirst has sculpted a $100mm diamond skull. [Via] "’That’s when you stop laughing,’ Hirst says. ‘You might have created something that people might die because of. I guess I felt like Oppenheimer or something. What have I done? Because it’s going to need high security all its life.’"  If only there were a pomposity assassin, this dude would be the one needing high security.

Bleedin' for the 'Dobe

Wow–I’ve known a few people to shave/dye an Adobe "A" into their hair, but this is really something else: an Adobe tattoo (not a Photoshop job, I think!).  I must officially throw the Adobe gang sign out of respect. 😉

Photo GPS nerds might enjoy learning that Angelina Jolie has tattooed the coordinates of her childrens’ births onto her arm.  Is that better or worse than adorning oneself with a Decepticon head? [Via]  In any case, it’s gotta beat getting the Zune logo, no?

A great quote on software

As I’ve been thinking about the future of user interfaces, I stopped by the Web site of noted UI designer Bill Buxton.  There I saw this remark:

A Personal Mantra: Ultimately, we are deluding ourselves if we think that the products that we design are the "things" that we sell, rather than the individual, social and cultural experience that they engender, and the value and impact that they have. Design that ignores this is not worthy of the name.

Right on, sir.  I tell anyone who’ll listen (and many who won’t) about the "Photoshop Nation," the power of connecting people, and the importance of giving a damn and getting things right.

A small number multiplied by a big number is still a big number, and some little improvement* may help only a small percentage of users, but that works out to a large number of people.  The social impact of doing so can be significant.  (It all reminds me of Steve Jobs equating boot time improvements to lives saved.)  It’s about not blocking the light.

Bonus quote, apropos of stirring things up on occasion: "Words ought to be a little wild, for they are the assault of thoughts on
the unthinking." –John Maynard Keynes

* I was pleased to hear a photographer named Brian Price comment this week on the ProDIG list that "[F]or me the clone ‘Ignore Adjustment Layers’ option in CS3 is worth the
upgrade price in itself"–a comment echoed by others.  It’s one of those tweaks that shows up rarely, if ever, in marketing materials, reviews, etc., but that can have a real impact.

After Effects to FLV, plus more tutorials

The Adobe Design Center is back with some updates:

New Dialog Box:

New Think Tank:

New Tutorials:

Also, check out the Adobe links on del.icio.us.  Info on how to contribute links is here.  [Via]