Monthly Archives: January 2008

New 3D Photoshop plug-ins

Great news: Developers are building on top of the 3D features in Photoshop CS3 Extended to deliver some great solutions.  In just the last week we’ve seen a flurry of announcments:

According to the DAZ launch announcement, their tool lets you:

  • View 3D scenes as Photoshop layers
  • Change objects and figures simultaneously
  • Render directly into Photoshop
  • Import, export and modify image maps and textures onto 3D models in Photoshop
  • Composite 2D and 3D content seamlessly
  • Access DAZ’s full library of quality 3D content  [DAZ gives away the editing application & sells adjustable content]

As for the Strata news, "In a nutshell, the technology from Strata’s 3D[in] plug-ins for Photoshop CS 3 Extended is now integrated into the Suite," says the crew on 3Dlayer.com.  With it you can:

  • Send a 3D model to PS as a 3D layer
  • Send a finished rendering to PS as separate layers (shadow layer, reflection layer, color layer, etc)
  • Send a PS image to a 3D background for tracing or placement
  • Send a 3D model direct from PS to PDF or HTML and it embeds the 3D object (you read that correctly)
  • Link PS files as 3D textures – changes made are automatically updated in the 3D texture

Good stuff all around.  We think that 3D in CS3 Extended is a big step forward, and of course we’re not planning to rest on those laurels.  I love seeing great developers like Strata and DAZ jump on the opportunity to help enrich the story.

By the way, did you know that you can browse the Google 3D Warehouse right from within Photoshop CS3 Extended?  Here’s more info.  Also, Adobe’s Steve Whatley mentions that Adobe is on tour with Maxon, showing off 3D integration between the tools.

Made-up Japanese photography word o' the day

As I sit in the airport waiting for a flight to PMA in Las Vegas, I’m reminded of a word coined by Adobe market research (I believe) to describe enthusiast photographers in Japan: "Fotomaniaku."  Sure, it just means "photo maniacs," but doesn’t it have kind of a fun mouth-feel?  Now I’m picturing a camera-wielding guy with Mr. Sparkle eyes ("I am disrespectful to shutter lag!!").  T-shirts to follow. 🙂

Recent illustrated goodness

State of the Typographic Union

The frontrunners: Sens. Barack Obama and John McCain.  So says the Boston Globe, analyzing the type treatments of the US presidential candidates.  Of Obama: “Clean pen strokes evoke a well-pressed Armani suit.”  Of McCain: “Everything about this logo says you can buy a car from this man.”  [Via reader Tim]

Elsewhere in the world of type:

Putting video inside the Photoshop UI

As I’ve mentioned a number of times, there’s huge potential in extending Photoshop via embedded Flash–something we’ve already prototyped in CS3.  Among the Flash Player’s capabilities, of course, is the ability to display video, including high quality H.264.

The idea of putting video inside Photoshop, however, sometimes draws blanks stares.  "Dude, why would I want to watch Transformers in a Photoshop palette?"  You wouldn’t, of course.  For a more practical example, look to the new MacBook Air.

Apple has posted a set of little videos that show off the gestures enabled by the laptop’s–er, notebook’s–new trackpad.  (Click the little arrow by the pictures of fingers.)  Each clip is short n’ sweet, showing just what’s needed to communicate the idea.

The thing they don’t mention here, though, and that I learned by watching a demo at Macworld, is that the videos appear inside the Keyboard & Mouse section of system prefs.  If you forget how they work, just pop open the controls & get a quick demo.

That’s more what I have in mind for Adobe applications.  Now, as with all the times I mention future ideas, I have to manage expectations: if you like the idea, don’t be disappointed if you don’t see video clips popping out of every dialog box in Photoshop.  Having said that, we hope to do things in a very Adobe way–opening the platform to the community.  Something tells me that more than a few of the savvy educators out there will see an opportunity to enhance the Photoshop user experience.

Back to the Future with Illustrator 88

Pass the banana clips and fire up Less Than Zero: It’s time to visit the late 80’s with the promotional video for Adobe Illustrator 88.  It’s fun to see all that was possible even then, and to hear that the marketing message of “do more, and more easily, so you can focus on being creative” is eternal.  Now I shudder at visions of a besweatered James Spader dropping the French curves and grabbing a mouse.  [Via]

The timing is kind of spooky: for nearly a year I’ve been meaning to upload a copy of the John Warnock-hosted VHS tape that shipped in the Illustrator 1.0 box, and just last week I got serious about doing so.  Of the work Dr. Warnock says, “That video demo tape was shot live, with no editing. We didn’t have video production
tools at that time, and we didn’t want to pay for a professional to do it, so I did the
demonstration.”  Pretty cool that the company co-founder and CEO was not only one of four names on the product splash screen, but also the main demo man.  (“Everyone sweeps the floor around here,” said Chuck Geschke of that time.)

This posting lights a fire under me, so look for the Warnock video soon. [Interim bonus retro fun: the 1987 Apple Knowledge Navigator video. Everything old is new again, and self-serious yuppies will always be with us.]

Sunday Photography: From Mullets to MacGyver

Skaters in slow-mo, with explosions

Decks & Bombs & Rock n’ Roll: Peep the amazing intro to Lakai’s Fully Flared skateboarding video.  (Okay, no rock here, but the grandiose score & slow motion really do it for me.)  I’d love to see a higher-res version of this clip, but for that apparently you need to buy the DVD. [Via]

In other animation/motion graphics news:

  • Yannick Puig’s I Lived On the Moon is just unreasonably great-looking, loaded with memorable character designs in a melancholy palette.  His site contains a good deal of behind-the-scenes info on how he created storyboards, then used Photoshop, After Effects, and 3ds Max to realize the vision. [Via]  A few of the visuals recall Jamie Caliri’s similarly wonderful Dragon ad for United.
  • On the other end of the tech spectrum is Fantoche, a rather nightmarish stop-motion sequence crawling across a bathroom wall.  [Via Frederick Johnson]  I can’t find much in the way of credits, but I imagine it’s connected to the animation festival of the same name.
  • Hamburg-based Sehsucht has created a hypnotic & painterly animation for the 20 Jahre Auto Trophy. [Via]
  • Toolfarm features an interview with Jim Geduldick of Wonder Pets, discussing his work on that AE-powered show.

"Steve Guttenberg did not invent the printing press…"

So says an angry, angry little man in "Printing’s Alive," a funny, foul-mouthed viral video made by Montreal-based Pazazz Printing.  [Via]

The vid is particularly funny if you’ve had occasion to interact with some of the crustier, more ink-stained members of the printing community (and no, I’m not gonna mention any names).  I remember a few years back visiting printers in Chicago who were out for blood, riled up about some incredibly nuanced aspect of Illustrator output (wanting fourth-digit decimal precision in a certain field, I think).  Fortunately the Illustrator PM at the time, Lydia Varmazis, was the type who could write PostScript by hand, lending her amazing powers to chill these dudes out.  The transformation was night and day, and I felt like we should’ve filmed a pilot for The Nerd Whisperer right then and there.

Speaking of funny and profane, You Suck At Photoshop episodes 3 and 4 have been posted for your enjoyment. [Via seemingly every person & blog ever]

DNG in the news

Did you know that 40% of Lightroom users convert their proprietary raw files to the open DNG standard upon import?  That finding, plus other interesting news bits (e.g. Noritsu Koki enabling raw printing at retail via DNG) are covered in Lightroom PM Tom Hogarty’s recent blog post.  Adobe hasn’t made a lot of noise about the format lately, but it’s great to see it gaining traction and helping to address some real-world problems.