- “Set up two mirrors at an angle, throw a bunch of animals in it, tape it from above so it looks like a kaleidoscope, and voila! Instant awesome art.” Check out Souvenir de Chine by Körner Union.
- This series of clocks spells out a set of words twice a day.
- oobject features a a gallery of kinetic building facades. I particularly like A facade of apertures, moving in synch with museum visitors.
- Motionographer rounds up a list of this year’s Emmy nominees for Main Title Design.
- Among the nominees are the Mad Men opening titles, which were recently treated to an excellent Simpsons parody.
Enhanced Hello World
Follow along with this tutorial to create a Hello World Flash panel for Photoshop. In this exercise, you will create a Flash plug-in within a Flex Builder MXML project. When you run the Flash panel within Photoshop, it will send code to Photoshop that, when executed, will display an alert dialog box with a message.
Integrating your ExtendScripts
In order to communicate to the host application (Photoshop or Illustrator CS4) using the CSXSLibrary SWC, our code is sent as a string message via BridgeTalk, which will then be evaluated once it reaches the host application. Not a big deal if we’re only sending a few lines of code at max, but when our ExtendScript code is lengthy, we would either have to manually wrap each line of code up as a string or use the work-around process we will use in this tutorial to simplify our life.
Drew Trujillo, Designer–better known as Dr. Woohoo!–joins hosts Scott Sheppard and Gene Gable this week to share his background and an inside look at his amazing design work. Fusing the best of art, technology, and design Dr. Woohoo’s technical and programming background help him to bring his visions to life.
David Pogue asked a good question the other day:
Is there any way to make CS4 stop hiding menu
commands it doesn’t think I want? Or is every menu selection an additional
I knew what had happened. By default Photoshop doesn’t hide menu items. If you use the workspace switcher (screenshot) in the upper-right corner of the app, however, you may end up changing more than panel (palette) locations. You may apply a menu configuration that hides certain menu items.
In CS4 the "Basics" workspace hides some of the more advanced/esoteric menu items. The idea, of course, is to slim down the application so that it’s less overwhelming to new users. Once you’ve applied this workspace, menus will be shorter & will feature an entry for "Show All Menu Items" at the end. Photoshop does pop a dialog box asking whether you want to apply a workspace that changes menus and/or shortcuts, but I think it’s one of those dialogs that makes people say, "Uhhhh… I don’t really want to think about this… so, ‘Yes’?"
Long story short, to get things back to normal, just choose the "Essentials" workspace (which is the default). Photoshop will reset panel, menu, and keyboard shortcut settings.
Frankly this area of PS remains a work in progress. We’ve been slowly building up ways to customize your work environment (workspaces, editable keyboard shorcuts & menu configurations, and now Configurator), but I don’t feel we’ve really "tied the room together" yet. I’d like to see Photoshop (and other Suite apps) ship with workspaces that truly present "everything you need, nothing you don’t" on a moment-by-moment, task-by-task basis. Lightroom takes this approach with its modules, but I think we can go much farther. (And let me add, lest anyone freak out, that I imagine all of this being optional. No one wants to compromise the very general, highly flexible work environments the CS apps present today.)
Alan Taylor’s Big Picture has been an outstanding addition to the online world. The site now features The Year 2008 In Photographs. More gripping imagery is on display in parts two and three. (‘Tis the season of an endless succession of year-end collections, but I’m trying not to link to everything all at once. I’d rather see fewer images and take the time to consider each a little more deeply.)
Now that Flash CS4 offers “postcards in space”-style 3D transformations, you can do all sorts of simple, interesting things. On CreativePro.com Jeremy Schultz has posted a tutorial on creating a Star Wars-style text crawl using the new app.
Photoshop CS4 offers a couple of interesting new ways to do something similar. First, because Smart Objects in CS4 now support perspective transformations, you can create some text, then transform it non-destructively while keeping everything editable. Here’s a quick recipe:
- Create your text. I suggest clicking & dragging out a rectangle using the text tool, then pasting in your text.
- Choose Layers->Smart Object->Convert to Smart Object.
- Hit Cmd-T/Ctrl-T to enter Free Transform mode.
- While hovering over one corner of the transform rectangle, hold Cmd-Opt-Shift/Ctrl-Alt-Shift, then start dragging. Hit Enter/Return when done.
- To change the perspective effect applied to the Smart Object, just hit Cmd-T/Ctrl-T again and you’ll be right back where you were. To edit the text, double click the SO layer to edit the original content in its own window.
Photoshop CS4 Extended offers another cool option as well: turning the layer into a 3D postcard. Try this:
- Create the initial text layer as described above.
- Choose 3D->New 3D Postcard From Layer.
- Hit K on the keyboard to select the 3D Rotate Tool.
- Click and drag on the layer to rotate it in 3D space. Try holding Shift, then clicking and dragging vertically.
- Alternatively, use the on-canvas 3D manipulation widget and/or the other object/camera manipulation tools to rotate the 3D postcard layer.
- To edit the text, double click the name of the text layer listed in the Layers panel beneath Textures-Diffuse.
Is one method better than the other? Not necessarily. Going the Smart Object route, you can use regular Photoshop transformation options & directly apply filters non-destructively. (Plus, of course, you’re not required to own Photoshop Extended.) The 3D postcard method offers much richer ways to manipulate the object using real 3D effects–for example, changing the focal length of the camera that’s viewing the text. It also lets you apply 3D lights, etc.
One other thing: After Effects has supported postcards in space for many years, and the Adobe Exchange features a downloadable template for AE that makes the Star Wars effect easy.
Feel like winning an Alienware Area-51 PC, or perhaps one of several NVIDIA Quadro CX graphics cards? Then get cranking creating some killer Pixel Bender code for use in Photoshop, Flash, and After Effects. Here’s the official blurb:
NVIDIA and Adobe are joining forces to encourage artists and developers to write Adobe® Pixel Bender™ Kernels for Adobe Creative Suite® 4. The first place winner will receive an Alienware Area-51 Personal Computer. Category winners will receive a NVIDIA Quadro CX graphics card. The categories are coolest Pixel Bender kernel, most useful Pixel Bender kernel in the Adobe Photoshop® workflow, and most technically compelling.
Contest entries will be accepted from January 1st 2009 – January 31st 2009. Afterwards, all entries will be open for viewing at nzone.com.
For some guidance on jumping in, you might want to check out the "Creating Effects With Pixel Bender" MAX Lab materials posted by Kevin Goldsmith, engineering mgr. for Pixel Bender. Other resources:
- New collections:
- The Big Picture hosts some fascinating images from the microscopic world.
- Seed Magazine offers up a terrific science photography portfolio. [Via]
- Discover Magazine features their picks for the Top Ten Astronomy Pictures of 2008. Truth be told, I found the set kind of underwhelming, but I do dig this Martian landslide. [Via]
- “Punch hole clouds” and other funky atmospheric formations appear on Dark Roasted Blend. [Via Reen Bodo]
- And older ones:
Recent scene from the Nack family couch:
Margot: “So, do you post every day?”
J: “Yeah, pretty much.”
M: “Will you not post on Christmas?”
M: (hopeful) “Aaaand… maybe not Christmas Eve?”
J: “Hey, let’s not get crazy…”
I’m planning to take a couple of days off from the ol’ blog, giving the eyeballs & RSS feeds a needed rest. Before doing so, I wanted to say thanks for reading, and to wish you and yours a most joyous Christmahanukwanzaa season. 🙂
All the best, and stay frosty,
J. (intermittently partying with M. & the boy, and wikicheting the paper way)
Last week I requested feedback about operating system usage among Photoshop CS4 customers, and I said I’d share the findings here. Having gathered some 1,200 responses, I can share a few notes I found interesting.
I was curious mainly about how rapidly Windows-based customers are adopting 64-bit operating systems. You get both 32- and 64-bit flavors of Photoshop in the CS4 box, but plug-in developers need to know when a critical mass of customers will demand 64-bit compatibility. Of current CS4 customers running PS on Windows:
- 39% (!) are using Vista 64
- 8% are planning to migrate in 3-6 months
- 9% are planning to migrate in 6-12 months
- 23% are planning to migrate "at some point"
- 20% are not planning to migrate
I should point out that this poll is hardly scientific–more like sticking your finger in the air to gauge wind direction. Still, I was struck by the high number of people using Vista 64. Of course, the data come from people who bought CS4 in its first two
months, and who are motivated to read my blog and to answer surveys.
My take is that Windows-based customers aren’t in any rush to install Vista on existing hardware, but that when they do buy new machines, they’re going with Vista 64. In any case, it’s great to see people moving forward. The sooner customers drop old technologies, the sooner we can lop off (and stop maintaining) old code.
Here’s another wrinkle in the numbers: among visitors to this blog, Mac browsers account for just
over one third, yet 68% of survey respondents say they run PS
on a Mac (with 60% running it primarily there). I take this to mean Mac
users are disproportionately likely to respond to an OS usage survey. The
same may be true for Vista 64 adopters (who are proud of their choice and
want you to know about it).
If you’d like to see the raw data collected, be my guest.
- Photographer Filip Dujardin challenges the viewer with some bizarre buildings, “combin[ing] photographs of parts of buildings into new, fictional, architectonic structures.” [Via]
- Photojojo offers up the very cool bottle cap tripod for $10. (On a somewhat related note, David Pogue points out “It turns out that the threads at the top of just about any lamp–the place where the lampshade screws on–are precisely the same diameter as a tripod mount! In a pinch, you can whip off the lampshade, screw on the camera, and presto: You’ve got a rock-steady indoor tripod.”) They also offer a rather nifty doodle frame.
- In my office I’ve got a black metal-and-enamel “Bklyn Bridge” sign from the subway station where I used to switch trains when I was new to New York. (No, I didn’t steal the sign–though I didn’t ask the seller a ton of questions.) I miss the city, and I enjoyed reading The (Mostly) True Story of Helvetica and the New York City Subway. [Via]
- “Mmm… sexy type.” Seb Lester has skills. Check out his lovely F-bomb. [Via]
- John Boardley of “I Love Typography” has started the My Favorite Letters Flickr Pool where you can share you favorite letters of your favorite typefaces. [Via]
- Filippo Minelli’s Contradictions project “writing the names of anything connected with the 2.0 life we are living in the slums of the third world is to point out the gap between the reality we still live in and the ephemeral world of technologies.”
- Type-related quip o’ the month: “The runoff in the Georgia Senate race was won this week by Saxby Chambliss, who is the incumbent Republican senator and not, as I believed, an obscure font.” –Amy Poehler
- I love, love, love this Vader “Self Maintenance” drawing.
- Logopond features a terrific logo for Ed’s Electric. The one for ETA ain’t bad, either, though I’m not sure I’d have read the letters correctly without some guidance.
- PSDTUTS has a great tutorial on how to simulate fractals in Photoshop.
- Miquel Barcelo used more than 100 tons of paint on the 16,000-square-foot elliptical dome for the UN’s Geneva offices. [Via]
- These are, without question, the most deeply messed up soda ads I’ve ever seen.
In October I documented the keyboard shortcuts that have changed in Photoshop CS4. I also posted a ZIP file containing a plug-in (Mac)/registry entries (Windows) that remap the channel keys to CS3 behaviors. Unfortunately the plug-in was Intel-only, so PowerPC-based users were out of luck. We’ve now updated the archive to contain universal (Intel & PPC) code. Sorry about the snag. (There’s no need to re-download unless you’re using a PPC-based Mac and want the old shortcut behaviors.)
One of the sleeper features in Photoshop CS4 is new support for simulating color
blindness. My fellow PM Bryan O’Neil Hughes managed the development of the feature, so I invited him to share more info in a guest blog post. Read on for details. –J.
Responding to reader feedback, developer Anastasiy Safari has added CMYK support and other tweaks (e.g. resizability) to the color picker panel I mentioned the other day. Way to go, Anastasiy!
You can download the panel here, unzip the file, and then drag the contents of the file into your "Adobe Photoshop CS4/Plug-Ins/Panels" directory. (Don’t forget to delete the old one if you installed it earlier.) After you relaunch Photoshop CS4, the panel will appear under Window->Extensions.
To help plug-in developers make better decisions about when to create 64-bit versions of their products, I’d like to gather a little info about what operating system(s) you use to run Photoshop. If you’re using Photoshop CS4, please take a second to answer this simple three-question survey. (I’m asking specifically about CS4 customers as the 32-vs.-64-bit OS question doesn’t matter for CS3 or earlier.) Once I get a sufficient number of responses, I’ll share the findings here.
Adobe’s upcoming Flash Catalyst (previously demoed as “Thermo”) is meant to let designers easily convert static Photoshop, Illustrator, and Fireworks artwork into interactive content without coding. It lets you turn imported layers into components quickly, specifying & tweaking animated transitions.
Evangelist Ryan Stewart and Product Designer Narciso Jaramillo have posted a clear, crisp little tour of the design process. Besides turning a Photoshop design into an animated prototype, they demonstrate using Illustrator to tweak the placed artwork.
Catalyst & the future of Flex were a hot topic at Adobe MAX. I wasn’t able to squeeze into one of the standing-room only sessions, but now you can check one out via Adobe TV. Ryan’s Catalyst demo (similar to the one above) itself starts around 17:30 and runs roughly 10 minutes. You can also get a look at the next version of Flex Builder, codenamed "Gumbo."
- Canon EOS 5D Mark II
- Canon PowerShot G10
- Panasonic DMC-G1
- Panasonic DMC-FX150
- Panasonic DMC-FZ28
- Panasonic DMC-LX3
- Leica D-LUX 4
The Calibration panel in Lightroom’s Develop module now features an extensible set of camera profiles, designed to provide different interpretations of raw capture. In addition the update fixes a few bugs that were introduced with the Lightroom 2.0 release; the ReadMe file (PDF) has the details on those.
[Update: Tom Hogarty says, "Beta profiles can be found and deleted from the following directories:
- Mac: /Library/Application Support/Adobe/CameraRaw/CameraProfiles/
- XP: C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Adobe\CameraRaw\CameraProfiles
- Vista: C:\ProgramData\Adobe\CameraRaw\CameraProfiles]
Recordings of the sessions at last month’s Adobe MAX are now appearing on Adobe TV. 16 sessions are now available, with 20 new ones planned to go up every week. [Via Bob Donlon] I’ll be linking to a few key ones in particular as they go live.
I’ve recently fielded a few questions about if/when various popular plug-ins will be updated to run inside Photoshop CS4 when running in 64-bit mode. (On 64-bit Windows OSes, you can install both 32- and 64-bit flavors of CS4 in parallel. Existing plug-ins will run just fine in the 32-bit version, but to run in the 64-bit one they need to be updated.)
Good news: the following developers have already updated their plug-ins:
- Imagenomic’s Portraiture “eliminates the tedious manual labor of selective masking and pixel-by- pixel treatments to help you achieve excellence in portrait retouching.”
- Alien Skin’s Bokeh “provides many techniques for realistic blurring and altering the mood of a scene, from changing the depth of field to placing a radial sweet spot and adding a vignette.” and Meanwhile up-sizing tool BlowUp 2 “uses an innovative algorithm that temporarily converts pixels to a vector representation which results in perfectly smooth, crisp edges”.
- Digital Anarchy’s Toon It is “a reliable, easy way to give photographs, still images and video frames that sought-after cartoon look. Turn your image into cartoon shading and outlines while preserving the details in human faces and figures.” The company has also updated Knoll Light Factory 3.0, the lens flare-making toolkit “originally designed by Photoshop co-creator John Knoll to generate Photon Torpedoes in the Star Trek movies.”
- ABSoft’s noise-reducing Neat Image is”indispensable in low-light (indoors, night, no-flash, astro) and high-speed (sport, action, children) photography.”
- PixelGenius’s PhotoKit is “a photographer’s Plug-in toolkit comprising effects that offer accurate digital replications of analog photographic effects.” Their PhotoKit Sharpener is a “Photoshop Plug-in that provides a complete Sharpening Workflow – capture to creative to output sharpening.” The 64-bit versions are in beta.
- Topaz Adjust “makes it easy to creatively adjust photo exposure, detail, and color for photo correction and effects.”
- HDRSoft’s tone-mapping Photomatix lets you “reveal highlight and shadow details in an HDR image created from multiple exposures.”
- Artlandia has updated their product line for CS4. SymmetryShop 2 lets you “easily make more sophisticated patterns, from a greater variety of objects, faster than ever before.”
- PictureCode’s Noise Ninja is “a must-have tool for anyone shooting in low-light or fast-action situations — including news, sports, wedding, and event coverage.” The 64-bit version is in beta and can be downloaded from their site, and you can contact the developers if you’d like to know when the update has been officially released.
Developer onOne is working on 64-bit versions, and Nik Software says they’re investigating support. The list above is just what I’ve happened across so far, so please pass along other examples. [Via Bryan O’Neil Hughes, Carol Steele, Robert Frost, Philip Brown, and Ellie Kennard]
Interested as I am in all things Photoshop, I decided to put Configurator and Flash panels through their paces. So very late in the creation of Photoshop CS4 Channels & Masks One-on-One, I created a custom palette (screenshot) to provide access to common selection and masking features from one convenient (but tall) location. The book should be out in a month, but members of dekeOnline can download the palette today, for free, and install it in about a minute.
Solid! The panel is among the first of what I hope are many, many interesting remixes of the Photoshop UI, tailoring the work environment to specific needs & helping flow knowledge to right where it’s needed.
Here’s a handful of good, immersive swiffiness I’ve run across lately:
- This Is Reality takes "clean coal" technology to task. I love the aesthetics, though after about six episodes of running the poor canary into a wall, I had to bail.
- I found Cadbury’s pastoral Glass And A Half Full Productions via the bizarre drumming gorrilla I mentioned the other day.
- Red Bull’s The Red Bulletin starts with a 3D globe, then heads into racecar territory. [Via]
Remember Shai Avidan, the co-creator of seam carving (Content-Aware Scaling) who joined Adobe last year? Just as he did at Adobe MAX last year, Shai took to the stage this year with an eye-catching demo. Collaborating with Prof. Bill Freeman and a team from MIT, Shai has been working on "Infinite Images," "a system for exploring large collections of photos in a virtual 3D space." The team writes:
Our system does not assume the photographs are of a single real 3D location, nor that they were taken at the same time. Instead, we organize the photos in themes, such as city streets or skylines, and let users navigate within each theme using intuitive 3D controls that include pan, zoom and rotate…
We present results on a collection of several millions of images downloaded from Flickr and broken into themes that consist of a few hundred thousands images each. A byproduct of our system is the ability to construct extremely long panoramas, as well as image taxi, a program that generates a virtual tour between a user supplied start and finish images.
To read up on some details, check out the PDF (shared via Acrobat.com):
You could also visit Shai’s site to read up on “Non-Parametric Acceleration, Super-Resolution, and Off-Center Matting,” not to mention “Part Selection with Sparse Eigenvectors”–but I’d recommend being a lot smarter than I am. 😉 (We just may have to name our next child “Eigenvector.”)
- En fuego:
- Ends of the line:
- Photography crap, almost literally: I always think of the Japanese as such a polite bunch that this camera ad was more than a little surprising.
Ever wanted to convert just about any file to JPEG from Bridge, or to attach browsed files to email? Photographer/scripter/Bridge quality engineer David Franzen has your back, having posted a set of great scripts to the Adobe Exchange. He writes:
* Bridge E-Mailer Extension — Lets you e-mail files directly from Bridge.
* Bridge Export to JPEG Extension — Create JPEG files quickly using the cached previews and thumbnails already in Bridge’s cache. This is a major update the the script I posted during CS3. Some examples of new features:
- You can add the sRGB ICC profile
- File naming options matching Batch Rename’s
- Reusable export presets
- Better UI for configuring options
- Metadata options based on the new options in Save for Web.
- FTP and E-mail
* Preview Latest File — Enables and “auto preview” mode in a Bridge window that selects the latest file in the folder. This is designed to help users doing tethered shooting.
- Poetry, motion graphics, and surprisingly little beer collide in this recent Guinness spot.
- Mo’ tilt-shifting:
- Peep this miniature-looking monster truck rally
- Blake Garner used After Effects to simulate the effect on ski slope video.
- Small worlds:
- You won’t soon un-see this chicken embryo, among other neat micro bits. (Don’t worry, it’s not gory, just odd.)
- Researchers have created "‘digital embryos,’ 3D visualizations of early embryonic development down to the position of individual cells and the division of those cells."
- BibliOdyssey features beautiful drawings of micro-crustraceans from 1896.
- Olympus has posted a gallery showing the winners of its BioScapes Digital Imaging Competition. [Via]
- Cold worlds:
- Big worlds:
- Miloslav Druckmuller combined 55 shots to create this striking eclipse image. Reader Vojtech Tryhuk passed along the links and says, “[He] is using a set of software specially developed for processing of Sun eclipse photographs, all written by himself and his colleagues.”
- The Big Picture is running a Hubble Advent calendar, adding an eye-popping new image from the space telescope each day.
- The International Space Station is turning 10 this month, and TBP rounds up a great sampling of images. If you’re low on time, just see this shot.
- Beginnings & endings:
- Motor speed:
- Funky media:
- ColourLovers features interesting overviews on The Colors Of Global Brand Identities and The Color of Money from Around the World.
When painting in Photoshop, I’ve always found the little color ramp area on the Color panel (screenshot) pretty cramped. At just 190×15 pixels, it occupies a princely 0.16% of the screen real estate on a 17″ monitor (or 0.07% on 30-incher!), and yet you’re supposed to use it to choose among 16.7 million colors. The main Photoshop color picker is of course much larger and more powerful, but using it requires trips into a modal dialog box.
I’ve written to Anastasiy to suggest a few tweaks, and I hope this is the first of many alternate color pickers for Photoshop. (We’re also talking to Viktor Goltvyanitsa about bringing his ColorPalette panel–now part of Fireworks CS4–to PSCS4.) Lastly, we’ll work to make sure these components can be dropped into Configurator panels.
PS–A note on installation: Drop the contents of the ZIP file into your "Adobe Photoshop CS4/Plug-Ins/Panels" directory, then look under Window->Extensions. All SWF files you drop into Panels or its subfolders appear under the Extensions submenu.
- Things one presumably doesn’t see every day:
- Martin Schoeller has captured a series of portraits of women bodybuilders. (From Kottke: “If you cover up the faces with your hands, they look like men in bikini tops and if you cover up the bodies, meth addicts.”) [Via]
- Fancy a round-up of Swedish 1970s dance band photos? [Via Jeff Tranberry, who says, “The real challenge is how to fit it into a relevant post! It’d be a good one for rickrolling some readers.”]
- Moments in time:
- Barbara Probst’s Split Second project captures the same moment from multiple perspectives.
- Game face: Robbie Cooper’s Immersion project aims to photograph facial expressions of people as they play video games, surf the web, and watch TV. The corresponding video isn’t super flattering. [Via]
- Fans of mid-century design/photography goodness should peep a visual remembrance of Lou Dorfsman.
"Dan Goldman is an old friend of mine from ILM," writes FX pro Stu Maschwitz. "He now works for Adobe’s top-secret G*d Dammit Put This In A Product Now division." Check out Dan’s Interactive Video Object Manipulation demo to see if you agree. (Now that Photoshop Extended can work with video, it’s fun to imagine the possibilities. No promises, of course.)
- Sean McCormack has posted a short movie showing how to create a triptych from 1 photo in Lightroom.
- Derrick Story provides a quick video tour of two new features in Camera Raw 5.2–snapshots & the Targeted Adjustment Tool (TAT). [Via Colleen Wheeler] Two additional related tips:
- You can toggle the TAT on/off by pressing the letter T.
- You can save a snapshot from any panel by pressing Shift-Cmd-S/Shift-Ctrl-S.
- Matt Kloskowski notes a cool Lightroom tip by way of Scott Kelby: "If you’re dragging a Graduated filter gradient on to your photo you can quickly change the direction of the gradient by pressing the apostrophe key." Matt has also posted a video showing how to use brushing/erasing tools in LR/ACR together with graduated filters, letting you erase the filter effect in selective areas.
As I mentioned recently, I asked some of the Adobe staff responsible for designing, building, and managing the company’s installers to provide feedback on the concerns and criticisms we’ve heard regarding CS3 and CS4. In this post’s extended entry, first Barry Hills & then Eric Wilde from the Suite engineering group share their thoughts. –J.
We’re working to make it easier & easier for Flash/Flex developers to extend the Creative Suite. The new PatchPanel technology allows developers to use ActionScript to access the scripting DOM of a CS host app.
- It’s easier to write code because the DOMs for Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign and ExtendScript are imported directly into Flex Builder. That means all the benefits of developing SWFs and AIR applications in FlexBuilder can now be applied to the development process of SWF panels (e.g., code-hinting, code-completion, refactoring, etc.).
- Debugging is on par with developing within Flex Builder. We can actually run the SWF within the Creative Suite host application and debug directly within Flex Builder. That’s dramatically significant.
- We can develop for both platforms using the same code base.
- We can develop for PS/AI/ID using the same framework (not the same code, though, because of the sometimes dramatic differences between the DOMs).
- PatchPanel is free.
PatchPanel creator Bernd Paradies also cites the following:
- You can copy and paste your old ExtendScript scripts into your Flex project, build them, and run them.
- You can write PP code that targets other CS hosts (e.g., Photoshop.alert() in InDesign brings up Photoshop).
- PatchPanel comes with complete LiveDocs-style documentation for ID, PS, AI, Bridge, PatchPanel, and SwitchBoard.
- The PatchPanel CS4 examples come with MXI samples that make it really easy to create MXPs that you can install via Extension Manager 2.x.
- PatchPanel comes with a special version of SwitchBoard, which allows you to do asynchronous communication with other CS apps without having to go through the host.
- You can use PatchPanel in AIR applications for smaller scripts.
For a deeper dive, check out Bernd’s video demo & overview presentation. Also look for Dr. W’s MAX presentations & some new tutorials to emerge soon. In the meantime, developers can download PatchPanel from Labs and discuss it on the Labs forum.
As I’ve noted a few times, I really like the way the Illustrator team focused on the fundamentals in CS4. Among these, they’ve made some great headway in bringing down the application’s launch time. Brenda Sutherland from Illustrator QE passed along a few benchmarks:
Win XP CS3 CS4 Cold Launch on Benchmark Machine* 21.7s 12.8s Cold Launch on User Machine** 36.4s 19.5s iMac (Leopard) Cold Launch 25.5s 16.4s
* Benchmark machine is the optimized setup machine for taking consistent launch performance numbers. It has no virus scanner and a totally defragmented hard disk.
** User machine is the one similar to user environment, having a virus scanner, fragmented hard disk with a few common applications installed.
My own unscientific tests (using Watch It on a 2.33GHz MacBook Pro) produce similar findings, knocking about 35% off the cold launch time & cutting the time for a warm launch roughly in half relative to CS3. Thanks, guys!
In other AI-related news: