Monthly Archives: July 2008

Thursday Illustrations: Human mirrors & more

Photoshop.next UI hints on CNET

If you’ve read this blog for any length of time, you’ve heard me talk ad nauseam about the need to better manage Photoshop’s complexity.  We need to give you the power to make the app “everything you want, nothing you don’t.”  Last week Stephen Shankland from CNET asked what kind of progress we’re making, especially in the context of the more task-based interface of Ligthroom.  I disclosed some details that appear in his article:

 

Adobe is taking a page from the Lightroom specialization playbook for Photoshop by trying to make it more customizable to specific users and tasks. But in contrast with Lightroom, company is trying to do so without sacrificing the software’s general-purpose nature, said John Nack, [principal] product manager for Photoshop.

 

“We want to make it possible to be everything you want and nothing you don’t,” Nack said. “One of the tough things has been dealing with the enormous breadth of Photoshop. We end up presenting same interface to architects as we do to Web designers as radiologists as prepress folks.”

 

To achieve that goal, Photoshop’s interface will become more open-ended and even programmable, he said.

 

“You’ll see some of the things we’ve learned about Lightroom–making things browsable and less modal–come into Photoshop,” Nack said. In other words, it’ll be easier to shift Photoshop from one task to another.

 

With a “Configurator” application that should be released by Adobe Labs within a month or two of release the next version of Photoshop, Adobe will let users create and share their own Photoshop control panels written in Adobe’s Flash programming language, Nack added. “Our goal is to make it possible for expert users to reconfigure the environment on a task-by-task basis and share those workspaces with other people. You don’t have to write code. You can knock together an interface and make it sharable.”

 

As I’ve written previously, using Flash in the Suite isn’t about slathering the UI in a bunch of blinky banner ads; rather, it’s about giving people an easy way to connect, tune, & extend their work environments.  The AIR-based Configurator app is just one way to build these UI elements–one that lets you Lego-together functionality without writing code, then easily share the output.  The tool isn’t ready to take a bow yet, but it’s coming along really nicely & I’m looking forward to showing what it can do.

 

[Related/previous: Future Photoshop UI changes]

Lightroom, ACR support D700

A number of people have written in to ask when Lightroom and Camera Raw will support the brand-new Nikon D700.  Good news: they already do–unofficially–in Lightroom 2.0/Camera Raw 4.5.  Unofficial support simply means that you can view and edit D700-generated NEF files normally, but because the camera is so new, Adobe QE folks haven’t tested it to the point that they feel comfortable declaring official support.  The DNG Converter can convert D700 NEFs so that they can be used in LR 1.4, Photoshop CS2, and other DNG-enabled tools.

 

Note: LR2/ACR 4.5 add official support for the Olympus E 420 and E 520.

Great space photography o' the day

  • Happy 50th birthday, NASA! [Via]
  • The Big Picture features some excellent images of man on the Moon–both past and future.  (I’ve gotta get one of those ATHLETE vehicles for a future Death Valley outing.)  They also feature recent volcanic activity.
  • The Hubble recently spotted–er, spied–Jupiter’s Great Red Spot eating the "Baby Red Spot."  More beautiful high-res shots of Jupiter & its moons–including amazing shots of volcanoes in action–are here.
  • VAMP, the Virtual Astronomy Multimedia Project, aims to "vastly multiply the use of, astronomy image resources… by systematically linking resource archives worldwide."  The Astronomy Visualization Metadata (AVM) standard they’ve devised works builds on Adobe’s XMP technology. [Via Robert Hurt]

Lightroom 2 is here!

I’m delighted to report that the 64-bit native Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 2.0 is now shipping for Mac and Windows.  LR2 sells for $299 ($99 upgrade), and the 30-day tryout version is available for immediate download.

 

Tom Hogarty has posted a wealth of info on the Lightroom Journal blog, so I won’t attempt to duplicate everything here.  Instead let me note some highlights:

 

  • The Develop module now includes a highly useful gradient tool (screenshot), offering power similar to working with real-world graduated filters.
  • Lightroom News offers a detailed list of all the improvements made since the introduction of the LR2 public beta.
  • LR supports external editor presets, enabling easy jumps to/from apps like Noise Ninja and PTLens.  Thus Lightroom handily matches Aperture 2.1’s ballyhooed plug-in support, while offering far superior Photoshop integration plus non-destructive localized image adjustment.
  • Adobe Labs now hosts the new DNG Profile Editor.  This is a big deal.  In brief:
    • It enables the rendering you get in LR (or in Camera Raw) to match what your camera renders as JPEGs–frequently a pleasing starting point for adjustments.  As photographer Ian Lyons writes, with these profiles you can “approximate the in-camera JPEG rendering as well as the various styles and looks provided either in-camera or via the camera vendor’s own software solution.”
    • It offers demanding photographers a new degree of control for finessing the appearance of colors (e.g. skin tones).
    • In other words, we can put a fork in assertions of “Raw converter X looks like what I see on the back of my camera, so it must be more accurate than what Adobe shows” and “I just can’t get look/tone/value X in LR/ACR.”  Expect to hear more soon.
  • Camera Raw 4.5 for Photoshop CS3 (Mac | Win) has been released & offers full support for rendering edits made with LR2 as well as profiles created with the Profile Editor.

 

Tons of resources are going live now, so I’ll post links to what I’ve seen so far:

 

 

I’ll update this list as more links go live.  In the meantime feel free to suggest resources via the comments.

Killer animations o' the day

  • Despite finding it some time ago, I’ve been avoiding blog The Art of the Title Sequence, knowing that it would likely take over my life.  Sure enough, it’s loaded with good stuff.  Check out the beautiful titles for El Don, whipped up by Santiago artists Smog.  I saw motion graphics pioneer Kyle Cooper (SE7EN, etc.) speak years ago and remember him saying that every frame should hold up on its own as graphic design.  This piece aces that test.  (For unrelated goodness, see Smog’s “monkey-headed dancing guy” (or whatever “un mono bailarín” is).)
  • Motion artist PES creates incredible stop-motion films using found objects.  KaBoom and Western Spaghetti are particularly great (c’mon, Candy Corn as flames?).  Check out his work before People for the Ethical Treatment of Upholstery shut him down. [Via John Peterson & Maria Brenny, “Because (re: KaBoom) I know what you do in the desert”]
  • My Drive Thru is a new stop-motion video for Converse, produced by the team at Psyop.  Behind the scenes, Pharrell Williams talks about rescuing Chuck Taylors from the taint of Punky Brewster, and Glossy interviews the Psyop crew while posting some high-res stills. [Via]
  • Superfad has kicked out a trio of stylish ads for Sprint.  The Hurricane Katrina spot is particularly worth a look.  

Where It's At (turntables, microphone optional)

GPS-related photo bits:

 

  • Bridge geotagger is a free script that "allows you to inspect, set and/or edit GPS data embedded in photos using a Google Maps interface. It uses the embedded Opera HTML engine in Bridge to display Google Maps."  Very cool, though developer Aldo Hoeben describes it as more technology demo than a full-fledged tool.
  • Firing up the Exposure Flickr-browsing app on my iPhone the other day, I discovered the nearest geotagged image is of "¡Chavelas!," described as "A delicious blend of Modelo, lime juice and a shot of tequila in a
    frozen pimp chalice!"  Thank you, intercontinental technology network, for making my neighborhood seem cool for a minute.
  • Previously: Did you know that Lightroom can call up a Google map to show the coordinates in your images?  So, for that matter, can Photoshop Elements.
  • What about images that lack coordinates?  Can a computer accurately guess where something was shot?  That’s the goal of Carnegie Mellon’s IM2GPS project.  Check out this CNET story for a good summary. [Via Doug Nelson]

 

Off to look for neighborhood pimp chalices on a Friday eve,

J.

Write Here, Right Now: Font vids o' the day

Faces

  • Font Conference Disrupted by Kidnapper: "In a shocking development, Ransom hijacked the conference’s AV system and interrupted the contentious debate with a threat to Courier and his daughter, Curlz MT."  Deeply, deeply nerdy… but funny & well done.  Check out the video. (I’m gonna look at Futura in a whole new light.)
  • Write Here, Right Now: Gemma O’Brien (?) is a true woman of letters.  Now she’s posted the making-of video.  Yeah, that’s gonna leave a mark.

War, suicide, fire… and t-shirts

Mid-week photography:

 

  • Death & destruction:
    • Photojournalist Warren Zinn reflects on the photo that made Army medic Joseph Dwyer famous, and wonders whether it contributed to the troubled vet’s death last month.
    • Kottke features the disarmingly placid image Robert Wiles captured immediately after Evelyn McHale leapt to her death from the observation deck of the Empire State Building in 1947.  (Warhol later made it into a print.)
    • The Big Picture features some spectacular wildfire imagery from recent California blazes.
  • Find giclée paseé? Try printing on grass instead.  (Just don’t ask us to soft-proof it.)  [Via Doug Nelson]
  • Beware sketchy, sketchy photogs.
  • I never saw them while living in snowy Illinois, Boston, or NY, but CA roads are full of stick-on "Botts dots."  They’re now available as part of a complete breakfast.
  • Make mine intermediated: Photo nation.

*Real* Real-World Photoshop, Vitruvian Wookies, and more

  • In his Tell a Lie project, Henry Hadlow "uses a camera to mimic common Photoshop effects."  Killer! [Via Paul McJones]
  • Vader Crossing the Delaware: On Worth1000, P-shoppers mash up Star Wars with fine art.  Surveying a couple of the pieces, Bryan Hughes remarked, "Man, that is some seriously disturbing stuff. Sort of like Joe Satriani for the eyes …which is to say that, yeah, I know there’s crazy talent there… but what a way to misuse it!" [Via Dave Dobish]
  • Green Patriot Posters bring kick-ass poster art to the fight against climate change.  Nick Snyder writes, "Contributions from other designers will be featured in the coming months. In September, Green Patriot Posters will launch an online competition where participants may submit Green Patriot Poster designs, view other posters and vote on designs."