Monthly Archives: September 2008

Hughes You Can Use & More

Despite my being "the Rachael Ray of Photoshop PMs" (chatty & overexposed), I’m hardly the only one helping to steer things around here.  Just last week my fellow PM Bryan O’Neil Hughes was talking with hundreds of journalists, photographers, and partners at Photokina, alongside Tom Hogarty from Lightroom and our boss, VP Kevin Connor.  Meanwhile Photoshop PM Zorana Gee was on tour in Japan, demonstrating Photoshop to several hundred local journalists–even drawing some audible oohs & aahs from a normally very reserved bunch.

 

Bits you might find interesting from Photokina:

 

  • Bryan spent about 10 minutes demoing CS4 to Dave Etchells of Imaging Resource.  It’s a nice tight overview that shows off things like the ability to select, then hide part of a 3D model (in this case to paint the interior of a car).
  • He also sat down with Thorsten Wulff for a brief interview.
  • Elsewhere on the show floor, Kevin chatted with the guys from Calumet Photographic about Photoshop and Lightroom.

Grim corporate design humor o' the day

My wife now has the distinction of being (an obviously unwilling) part of the largest bank failure in US history.  (As their ads would say, “Woohoo!”)  The Design Fail blog predicts the natural evolution of the Washington Mutual logo and brand.

 

Meanwhile Adobe HQ apparently features what appear to be gallows up on the roof.  Talk about some killer Halloween spirit.  (Too bad I could never talk building management into using all those LEDs up there to spell out Jenny Holzer’s messages.  Now that would unnerve people.)

Julieanne talks Camera Raw, CS4

In addition to the Bridge resources mentioned yesterday, Julieanne Kost has posted some detailed overviews of Camera Raw 5.0 and the rest of Photoshop CS4:

 

  • ADOBE TV The Complete Picture – Episode 08
    Let Julieanne show you the power behind the new features in Camera Raw 5. Discover how to make non-destructive localized corrections as well as create special effects using the Adjustment Brush, Graduated Filter, Post Cropping Vignettes and more!

 

 

 

These entries join the wealth of info already posted on her site.

What's new in Bridge CS4?

In this cycle our goal was to unlock the power of Bridge.  Bridge was already a highly capable, feature-rich application, so instead of slathering it with new features, our first task was to get more people to discover and use what’s there.  That meant changing the bang for the buck: raising the discoverability & usability of existing features while lowering the barriers to use (speed, launch time, memory usage).  We also wanted to add some key features that would help photographers while broadening the appeal of Bridge for all creative professionals–things like Web gallery creation & upload, and PDF contact sheet creation.

 

Adobe evangelist Julieanne Kost hast posted a great 30-minute tour of the new version:

 

A higher-res version is available on the Adobe TV site, and Julieanne has posted an excellent 5-page PDF overview that covers the details.  If you’re looking for a quicker bulleted list, read on.

Continue reading

Photoshop Extended upgrade options

A couple of folks have written to ask whether it’s possible to upgrade from Photoshop CS3 Extended to Photoshop CS4 (the non-Extended version), or whether once you’ve bought Extended once you can only buy Extended in the future.  The short story is that you have a choice.

 

It turns out there’s an oversight in our pricing and upgrade mechanisms, and CS4 pricing materials don’t list a way to go CS3 Extended->CS4 standard.  We’re working to get that corrected now.  You’ll need to call Customer Service if you’d like to go down this route, but you might want to wait a few days for them to get the details squared away.

 

Ultimately, if you choose to buy Photoshop Extended, we want it to be because it’s the version that you’ve determined best fits your needs–not because you don’t have options.

Dreams Un-deferred

Recently:

 

  • My wife: “What’s the hardest part of your job?”
  • Me, instantly: “Waiting.”

 

Edison’s bit about genius–maybe now we’d say innovation–being “1% inspiration and 99% perspiration” is as true now as when he coined the phrase.  Put simply, it sometimes takes a hell of a long time to get things done.  Whatever the reasons, it’s worth celebrating when you’ve finally sweated your way to victory.

 

Flash Panels for All

Eight years, man.  Eight freakin’ years it took me to get Flash panels into a mainstream app.  In summer 2000 we cloned the Flash Player, then used it to let scripters extend the LiveMotion authoring environment (dropping in new panels that could build animations, draw shapes, etc.).  Two weeks after becoming the first app to ship such support, however, we got cancelled.  (Flash and other Macromedia apps introduced their own support soon after.)

 

I put the vision on ice until 2005, when we learned Adobe was acquiring Macromedia.  A few days later I met Macromedia CTO Kevin Lynch at an event and said, “I know we can’t discuss anything non-public yet, but do you guys offer any documentation about embedding the Flash Player?”  Since then I’ve ranted, cajoled, browbeat, and wheedled to bring this support to Photoshop and the rest of the Suite.  It got to the point where PS engineers said I’d have to put five bucks in a swear jar each time I brought up “the F word.”

 

You may be skeptical about the impact and merit of Flash panels, but I predict you won’t be for long.  No one will care about it as a feature per se.  They’ll care when we start using it to do really interesting things–making the Suite UI dramatically more flexible, tying community and collaboration into the apps, delivering better features faster through shared code, and more.

 

The Photoshop Nation, Inside Photoshop

Once you have a lightweight way to make an application skin network-aware, all kinds of interesting things can happen.  I’ve always wondered why, when there are millions of active Photoshop users, you’re on your own inside the app.  Why can’t we make it ridiculously easy to add your knowledge to the tools, and to benefit from others’ wisdom?  We’re at the threshold of making that a reality.

 

Flash & After Effects Love Each Other

Back in 1999, long before I came to work here, I started lobbying my contacts at Macromedia and Adobe to create something I called the “Flash Interchange Format”–some XML representation of at least the basics of an animation (object name, position, scale, etc.) so that I could use Flash and After Effects together. Unfortunately Flash remained locked to the inscrutable FLA format.

 

Now Flash is moving to XFL (no, not the one with pro wrestlers playing football).  By dusting off some code we wrote in ’01 (I know, I know–move on already), AE has enabled XFL export for Flash to import.  InDesign also exports XFL, and the format should enable much greater integration with Photoshop and third-party apps in the future.  Vindication.

 

Flash Gets a Real Timeline, More

Suffice it to say I’m very, very pleased to see Flash CS4 to add a more After Effects-style approach to animation, complete with editable automatic motion paths, animation presets, control over individual parameters, and much more.  I always believed Web animators deserved these things, and now they’ll get ’em.  Check out Lee Brimelow’s video demo for a great run-through. [19-minutes]

 

 

It’s a long road sometimes, and it never ends.  I’ve planted seeds over the last ~30 months that’ll still take years to bear fruit.  (Cue Cake’s The Distance)  But dammit, I’m not just whistling Dixie, and we’re going to make things happen come hell or high water. Always outnumbered, never outgunned.

 

Never surrender.

 

Postscript: I hope the text above doesn’t come off sounding too self-congratulatory.  I’m sure that plenty of other people thought of and requested the same things I’ve wanted, which is why we’re now seeing these features become reality.  And just as Flash is doing things that LiveMotion introduced years ago, Photoshop is introducing some features that have long been in Fireworks, Painter, etc.  The key thing, of course, is that the features get to the customers who need them, by hook or by crook.  That, at the end of the day, is the whole reason I came to Adobe.

Illustrator CS4 goodness

Among the comments on my list of details polished in Photoshop CS4, a number of people wished for a similar list for Illustrator & suggested that the Illustrator team start a blog.  As it happens, my friend & former Illustrator PM Mordy Golding runs the great Real World Illustrator blog, and he’s posted some illuminating resources:

 

 

In the past I’ve said "I swear because I care," and caring a lot about Illustrator, I’ve directed some well-intentioned swearing in their direction over the years.  I distinctly remember sitting at my desk at Agency.com some nine years ago and hearing a (long since departed) Illustrator PM dismiss my request by saying, "Oh, customers don’t want multiple pages."  (At that point I started wondering, "Now, is it still murder if it wasn’t premeditated, and can I claim temporary insanity…?")  That’s why I’m delighted that they’ve both addressed some eternal requests (yay, multiple pages–er, artboards!) and have polished lots of existing functionality.  As Mordy writes,

 

In the past, Illustrator had a reputation of adding new features, but never really going back to refine them in subsequent versions (i.e.,gradient mesh, 3D, brushes, graphs). With an improved Appearance panel, more capable graphic styles, a revamped gradient feature, better clipping mask behavior, isolation mode, and Smart Guides in CS4, it’s refreshing to see the team adding much needed polish to some of these "older" features.

 

The more I’ve played with the new Illustrator, the more I’ve found the "little" changes to have a big impact.  I think you will, too.

OS X Widgets in CS4

A few comments I’ve received from curious readers (plus the occasional enraged wingnut ;-)) indicate a small point of confusion: some Mac users believe that document windows in CS4 on OS X use non-standard red/yellow/green “gumdrop” widgets for closing, minimizing, and maximizing documents.  They do not.  I just used Snapz Pro to compare the widgets in Photoshop to those in iTunes, NetNewsWire, and other apps; they are identical.  Just thought we should clear that up.

 

Tangentially related:

  • Deke McClelland has posted an overview of the tabbed document UI at Lynda.com.
  • The Adobe XD (Experience Design) team plans to launch a new blog next week, and they tell me they’ll be offering more details about how the CS4 UI came to be.

Photoshop CS4 videos from Adobe

Adobe’s own Russell Preston Brown has posted a number of new video tutorials demonstrating features in Photoshop CS4.  He’s taken a particular shine to the 3D features in Extended.  Russell writes,

 

    • Content-Aware Scale: Once you learn about this new, intelligent, scaling technology in Adobe Photoshop CS4, you’ll be tempted to never use the standard Transform tools again.  Russell Brown says, “This new feature is down right amazing!”. Check it out!
    • Spherical Panorama: Learn about one of the new 3D features in Adobe Photoshop CS4 Extended. In this tutorial you will discover how to wrap any image around the inside of a sphere, to create a panorama. Then simply step into this digital space and use some of the new CS4 tools to look around your new world.
    • 3D Quick Look: Get ready for an incredible 3D experience, as you view this quick-look at some of the new 3D features in Adobe Photoshop CS4.  This tutorial will take you through some of Russell Brown’s favorite new tools for working, and experimenting, with 3D objects.
    • 3D Mesh from Grayscale: Bring 2D images back to life with this new Adobe Photoshop CS4 Extended technique for converting grayscale images into 3D objects.  This tutorial will also demonstrate how to generate 3D depth maps directly from the image itself.
    • 3D Eclipse Animation: Learn about some of the advanced features in Adobe Photoshop CS4 Extended for animating 3D objects. In this project we will create a solar eclipse simulation from 2D images of the earth and moon.

 

Meanwhile my fellow Photoshop PMs Bryan O’Neil Hughes & Zorana Gee offer some solid overviews of CS4 via Adobe TV.  Bryan gives a 10-minute quick tour of the meat & potatoes features, while Zorana focuses on what’s new in Extended, including direct painting onto 3D objects.