Monthly Archives: January 2009

Logos n' details

Animated Miscellany

  • Adobe XD dude Ethan Eismann rounds up some good animated infographics. (Sorry, but the Royksopp song will be getting into your head; nothing I can do about it.)
  • Lernert Engelberts & Sander Plug “built a duo glass harp and learned to play this 18th-century musical instrument in less than 8 weeks. Instead of a classical piece or suchlike, we have chosen the classic 20th-century pop song ‘No limit’ by 2unlimited — easily the worst song ever!” [Via]
  • Yuval and Merav Nathan have made a terrific stop-motion piece for Oren Lavie’s “Her Morning Elegance.”
  • What is up with Cadbury these days? In any case, let’s hear it for advanced eyebrow stylings. (The balloon scratching makes it.)

Pixel Bender contest extended; new examples

To give developers more time to write killer code, the folks at NVIDIA have extended the Pixel Bender contest deadline to Feb. 28.  For more info (links to dev tools, etc.), see previous.


By the way a couple of developers have pointed out that contest entry is restricted to US residents.  I don’t know why that is, and hopefully it’s something that can get changed.  (The same limitation has popped up in various Adobe contests.  I don’t know why it does, but everyone agrees that it sucks & would like to change it.)


Elsewhere, Paul Burnett shared some more PB coolness: a spinnable globe (complete with source) featuring a spherize filter + throw physics, as well as the bizarre Dancing Dudes demo (see screenshot).  (Me, I would’ve gone with some vintage Rockwell for the soundtrack.)


And one more thing: Adobe announced today that Flash Player 10–needed to run Pixel Bender in a browser–is now installed on more than half the Net-connected PCs & Mac in the world, and that’s after just two months of availability.  If you think browser-based image editors like are powerful now, wait til they really start embracing PB.

Photos from 100 meters to 1mm

  • Oh man: Jason Lee makes me feel bad as a photographer, a Photoshopper, and a dad. He’s posted some terrific images of his girls, many turned into photo illustrations. [Via Tobias Hoellrich]
  • Dimensions:
    • The 100-meter photo: To create We’re All Gonna Die, Simon Hoegsberg set up shop in a single spot on Berlin’s Warschauer Strasse, capturing 178 people in all. [Via Tony Patricelli]
    • In 1mm a day, Chris Hornbecker set himself a challenge: “Take a brand new photo each day. Beginning with 14mm, each day I zoom the lens by 1 millimeter and force myself to use that focal length to shoot and post a photo before going to sleep that night.” [Via]
  • Shimon Attie projects images from the past (e.g. from Berlin’s pre-WWII Jewish quarter) onto the current versions of those scenes, then photographs the results.
  • Hot avian action:

*Alliteration credits go to the wonderful Calef Brown.

Tuesday Illustrations: Killer movie posters, RUN-DC, & more

New Pixel Bender bits

Sunday Photography: A free utility, giant photo, & more

Feedback, please: What next for Adobe Bridge?

I think the title pretty much sums it up.  We have lots of ideas, but rather than lead with those, I’d really like to hear what you want.  The floor is open. [PS: When commenting, it would be helpful to know what version you’re using today.] –Thanks, J.


[Update: Wow, thanks for all the great feedback so far.  I’m hoping to get a chance to go back in and reply to various comments, but I may end up rolling info into a new post.]

Camera Raw 5.3 and Lightroom 2.3 Available on Adobe Labs

The Camera Raw 5.3 and Lightroom 2.3 Release Candidates are now available on Adobe Labs.  The release includes new camera support for the following models:


  • Nikon D3X
  • Olympus E-30


The Lightroom update addresses some reported problems:


  • In the Windows 64-bit version of Lightroom an sFTP upload process could cause Lightroom to crash
  • Slideshows could return to the first image randomly during playback
  • A memory leak could cause Lightroom to crash while attempting to process files with local adjustments
  • Canon EOS 5D Mk II sRAW files could process with artifacts in Lightroom 2.2
  • Lightroom 2.2 could cause disc burning to fail for Windows customers



Additional Languages

Lightroom 2.3 now provides language support for Chinese (Simplified),
Chinese (Traditional), Dutch,
Portuguese (Brazilian),
and Swedish.  Lightroom PM Tom Hogarty has posted some additional notes regarding language support on the Lightroom Journal.

Layer Tennis to return shortly

Layer Tennis (née Photoshop Tennis) is coming back!  As summarized by Kottke:


Layer Tennis, the online Photoshop/Flash battle series, is gearing up for another season, starting on Feb 13th and running for twelve weeks. At the end of it all, there will be a single elimination championship tournament. Sign up for season tickets to keep informed and to be able to vote on the outcomes of matches.


In the meantime you can check out "volleys" from previous matches (e.g. this one).


At pain of reaching complete burnout on this subject…


Hail to the Chief, from space


“For those about to Barack… We salute you!”


  • The GeoEye-1 satellite took a high-res photo of the inaugural proceedings from 423 miles overhead, whipping by at 17,000 mph. Here’s a version of the whole thing (but not full-res).
  • The NYT hosts a zoomable photo (via Flash) showing the new president addressing the crowd.  (You know you can create things just like this straight out of Photoshop, right? File->Export->Zoomify.) [Via Ken Lawson]
  • CNN features a 360-degree panorama showing the stand before the ceremony. [Via Adam Pratt]

Photoshop CS4 update in development

[Feb. 24: The update is now available.]

In the time since Photoshop CS4 shipped, we’ve heard from some customers about various things not working as designed.  In particular, various Windows XP configurations can exhibit slowdowns.  A number of problems can be traced back to problems with video card drivers, but there are changes that Photoshop needs to make to improve the situation, and we’re working on an update that’ll be released soon.


Photoshop performance QE lead Adam Jerugim writes,


In an effort
to ensure that this change addresses the issues we hope it does, we’ve
created a small pre-release program that we’re opening to public volunteers.


So if you’re a CS4 user who is experiencing performance issues and would
like to help us test a potential fix, please email me @ adam dot jerugim at adobe dot com.


Thanks for your patience with this and understand that we’re working as fast
as possible to deliver a solution.


The Photoshop Engineering Team



I’m sorry we weren’t able to catch and fix all the issues that people have encountered.  If you’ve experienced problems and have some time to help bang on the fixes, we’d greatly appreciate your help.

Interesting Inaugural bits from the NYT

  • The New York Times features an interactive photography portfolio called Obama’s People, offering portraits of key staffers. The audio commentary (via the link below the photos) is worth a listen, describing the subjects’ choices in what to bring to the shoot (e.g. a chocolate chip cookie for David Axelrod).  The separate making-of piece features Kathy Ryan talking about how shooting digitally has enhanced the collaborative aspects–and maybe the time pressures–of portraiture.  [Update: Ellis Vener points out a hilarious “Real Behind-the-Scenes” take on the shoot, followed by some good discussion in the comments.  “Blue Steel…”]


  • The paper (that term seems more than a little outmoded, doesn’t it?) also features an excellent overview of the Inauguration Day goings-on via a 3D-rendered map and timeline.



I’d love to be in DC in person, but that map triggers a memory of having gotten stuck on the Metro under the Potomac on a sweltering July 4 years ago.  With Tuesday temperatures due to hover around freezing, maybe I’m okay with TV after all.

Saturday Illustrations: Stalactites, stained glass, & more

Obama via Photoshop

Photographer Pete Souza has captured what’s billed as the first digital presidential portrait.  Folks have nerded out and parsed the EXIF metadata, learning that the image came from a Canon 5D Mark II and was edited in Adobe Photoshop CS3.  NPR features a piece on Souza’s history photographing presidents. [Via Bryan O’Neil Hughes, Adam Pratt, and Klaasjan Tukker]


Quick-thinking Photoshop team member Adam Jerugim has shot Pete a note and is working on setting him up with a copy of CS4 (hey, we can’t have the White House lagging in technology).  We just have to make sure we’re not breaking any rules that would get him in trouble as a government employee.  (It’s not Jan. 20 yet!)

Wednesday Illustrations: Presidencies to video games

What, exactly, does CS4 offer photographers & others?


  • Scott Kelby writes, "We were kind of surprised, but again on my blog last week, people are still asking the same questions, ‘What’s in CS4? Should I upgrade? Is it worth the upgrade? etc.,’ so we went into the studio to put together a comprehensive discussion on all of CS4’s new features."  Check out the crew’s video discussions on the subject.
  • Do you know about (and use) Bird’s-Eye View in Photoshop, or the Targeted Adjustment Tool in Camera Raw?  If not, give Derrick Story’s Five Adobe CS4 goodies for photographers a quick review.
  • Anita Dennis has pulled together an excellent list of Bridge CS4 tutorials.

Photoshop Subvertising

Artist-vandals in Berlin have rather brilliantly hacked a set of subway posters, overlaying them with stickers showing the Photoshop UI. [Via Mark Stern, Serge Jespers, Jeff Lietz, and others]


I have a soft spot for the trippy impromptu public art projects that subway posters often become–everything from Van Dycks & puke lines to political commentary.  I got an unreasonably big kick out of a Bourne Identity poster in the NY subway that featured three images of Matt Damon on which someone had scrawled, respectively, “Loner… gun owner… stern taskmaster.” (Told you it was unreasonable.)


[Update: Kottke links to more photos on Flickr.  Apparently the project is called "Don’t Forget…" [Via]]


[Previously: Real-world Photoshop.]

Frailty & Jibber Jabber

I sure extract value from the MacBooks Adobe has bought for my use: as I log 12 hours/day on them (sad? impressive? both?), my hands tend to wear crescent-shaped marks into the finish. Now, however, my 17″ MBP’s ability to take a charge has crapped out, meaning that the slightest jiggle to the power cord means instant system shut down. Gooood times! Thus I type this from my wife’s 13″ MB. It makes me realize how dependent I am on a single piece of machinery.
I’m excited about the 17″ system Apple announced last week. The ability to stuff in 8GB of RAM is particularly welcome, though for the $1200 price of adding those last four gigs, you could buy two complete Mac Minis (or a regular MacBook plus an AppleTV!). Mmm, yeah, gonna sit tight on that option for a little while. I was also a little disappointed not to see a quad-core processor option (Acer will sell you one with an 18″ screen for $1800). On the other hand, I suppose I don’t need Whopper-style grill marks on my thighs (hard to explain at swim lessons).
In any case, here’s hoping my regular machine can be brought back to life soon (as it contains all my blog drafts), and that the new ones start shipping soon. In the meantime, Jason D. Moore has just posted an interview we did over the weekend, in case you’re interested.

Saturday Type: Zoos, "Buckets of Fail," and more

Pixel Bender comes to your Web cam

Rich Tretola has created FotoBooth 2, a free Adobe AIR app that applies Pixel Bender effects on the fly to data coming in from your Web cam.  To check it out, make sure you’ve installed AIR 1.5, then download FotoBooth.  (Here’s a deeply unflattering screenshot.)


The app idea & features aren’t new–in fact, it’s nearly a clone of Apple’s Photo Booth–but it’s neat to see how the Flash/AIR platform has evoloved.  All these fast Pixel Bender effects could be run in Photoshop via the free Pixel Bender plug-in for CS4.


By the way, in case you missed it over the break, NVIDIA is sponsoring a Pixel Bender creation contest.  Give it a shot and win some great loot.

Kuler adds Community Pulse

The team behind Kuler, Adobe’s color harmony creation & sharing site, has introduced a neat new feature:


Explore the Kuler global community with Community Pulse, a big picture view of color usage. This is a beta feature, using data visualization (screenshot) to show the relative popularity of colors across a sampling of countries, time periods, and tags.


To check it out,


  • Sign in with your Adobe ID to play around with it
  • Mouse over the histogram to see the hues on the color wheel
  • Try the granularity slider to see more/less color detail
  • Use the comparison icon (two circles) to compare/contrast


If you have questions, check out Kuler Help.  And don’t forget to check out the Kuler panel in Photoshop, Illustrator, Flash, and InDesign CS4 (see Window->Extensions->Kuler).  Here’s a couple of screenshots, plus a video demo. [Via]

New Woohoo tutes

Dr. Woohoo is back with more useful tutorials for Flash/Suite scripters:


PatchPanel: Flash panels for multiple CS applications

Follow along with this tutorial to expand on what we created in the previous tutorial, with the objective of using a framework that embraces running our Flash plug-in in multiple Creative Suite applications (Photoshop and Illustrator). When we are done, our Flash plug-in will work in all three CS applications using code that is appropriate for each host application


PatchPanels: Integrating your ExtendScript

Follow along with this tutorial to create a simple Flash plug-in that gets the RGB, CMYK and HSB values of the foreground color in Photoshop CS4.


Incidentally, if you’re interested in how Adobe’s app automation layer came to be (and where it might be headed), check out Drew’s 2 Interviews: The guys behind ExtendScript ToolKit, SwitchBoard + PatchPanel.

Browser in a camera: I think it's serious

Years ago, my bizarre friend Higgins told me and another buddy that his girlfriend had mysteriously dumped him.  He was visibly shaken and seemed truly down in the dumps.  He said, “I… I just don’t get it.  The whole thing inspired me to write a song.  Do you guys want to hear it?”  Well sure, of course we did.  “Okay, here goes,” he said.  Closing his eyes, clearing his throat, he leaned back and paused.  And then, bursting into a Pete Townshend air-guitar windmill, and doing his best Axl Rose devil-woman wail, he screeched,




That was is, end of song. 🙂


Ever since then we’ve “busted out the ‘Whatstrument*'” for bizarre news.  The arrival of the Sony Cybershot G3, World’s First Camera You Can Surf the Web On, seems worthy.


Okay, maybe it’s not that weird.  As Gizmodo puts it, “Sony’s seeing this more as a flexible, fast way to dump and check your photos and videos online, direct from your camera, not so much as a way to compulsively watch YouTube videos or read Gizmodo, even though that’s exactly what we want, and will try to do, practicalities aside.”


I dig the instant sharing possibilities, though I’d explicitly keep them out of my wife’s hands: she’s all for uploading before I’ve had time to crop, retouch, and otherwise noodle around.  [Via Jerry Harris]


*Other suggested air-instrumental possibilities for the song:  Trombone, sax, harmonica, sextant, astrolabe, and finger snap (Beatnik edition).

The MacBook Wheel

“One button. Endless possibilities.”

I look forward to hearing that Adobe is “dragging its feet” for not abandoning keyboard shortcuts and fully embracing The Wheel by noon yesterday. ;->
[Update: Reader Don Tardiff points out that the Simplex typewriter was doing the wheel thing a century ago. (“Notice no screen, hard drive, or battery.”) Reached for comment, Jonathan Ive said, “That’s. How. We. Roll.”]

New Photoshop contests

Lately I’ve come across some Photoshop-centered contests that might be up your alley:


  • Planet Photoshop has kicked off their first Planet Design Contest, offering a pass to Photoshop World, among other prizes.  Corey Barker writes,


You are presented with three tutorials that have been selected from the vast library of tutorials here on Planet Photoshop. After watching the tutorials, your assignment is to use the techniques you learn from one or all of them to create an original piece of artwork. Feel free to be as creative as you want. Just think of these tutorials as a springboard as you proceed to create your original art.


The entry deadline is January 15.


  • Meanwhile PhotoshopCafe is running “Photoshop — The Concert,” with CS4 Design Premium, an NVIDIA Quadro CX card, and more up for grabs.  Colin Smith writes,


Make a poster for a concert with a Photoshop-themed band!  The twist? You have to use a tool from Photoshop as the title of the band. (Think of a concert poster with a band that has a Photoshop-themed name, such as “The Healing Brushes,” etc…) Props for wit and cunning! Use any original artwork you desire. You may use any tools or platform you choose, but you must use Photoshop for at least 50% of the Image editing/design.


The deadline for is January 31.


Airtight Flash galleries come to PSCS4

Felix Turner’s excellent Flash galleries (SimpleViewer, PostcardViewer, AutoViewer, and TiltViewer) have been integrated with Photoshop for some time.  Now with a little assist from PS scripter Jeff Tranberry, the processing module is compatible with CS4.  You can download the CS4 versions (self-installing via Extension Manager) as well as the CS3 versions from Felix’s Airtight Interactive site.

Tuesday Type: A great utility, more tiny Obamas, & more

New tutorials: Masking in CS4, Bridge CS4

Russell Brown is presenting some new techniques at Macworld on Wednesday, and he’ll be handing out a CD containing all his latest tips and tricks.  In the meantime he’s posted a pair of new videos:



Fellow evangelists Terry White, Julianne Kost, and others will be on hand as well, so check out the theater schedule for complete details.

PUGs (Photoshop User Groups) in SJ, SF this week

The PS User Groups in San Jose and San Francisco are busy this week, holding a pair of events.  Tomorrow night the San Jose group meets:


Vincent Isola from Genesis Photography will talk us through a typical capture to ready-to-print workflow. The following topics will be covered in detail:


  • Explain color management thought process and workflow and importance of screen to print matching.
  • Convert raw files.
  • Open images to be worked on in CS3 and prep for print.
  • Explain printer drivers and cover color management options.
  • Discuss different paper types and their characteristics.

We’ll have pizza and drinks at 6:30, and the meeting will start at 7:00, in the Park Conference Room of Adobe Systems’ East Tower, 321 Park Avenue, San Jose. If the security guard at the parking entrance asks for an Adobe contact, use Bryan O’Neil Hughes’s name.  Please RSVP to Dan Clark.



On Thursday the group in SF meets:


Come join the 2009 kick-off of “Photoshop till you drop” – a San Francisco-based user group for Photoshop fanatics. We’ll kick off these meetings with Photoshop Product Manager, Zorana Gee who will take us through a tour of all the new features in Photoshop CS4 and even a taste of 3D in Photoshop CS4 Extended. Her demo will include (but not limit to) new GPU enhancements, time-saving workflow improvements with the new adjustments and mask panels, greatly improved stitching capabilities for both panoramas and a stack of images and a whole bunch of little things that make a huge difference.


The event starts Thursday at 6:45 PM at Adobe’s San Francisco office (601 Townsend St.).  Please RSVP here.

The ins & outs of extending CS4

It’s never been this easy–not even close–to extend Photoshop and the Creative Suite to do new things.  You can now write cross-platform, network-aware code that can drop into nearly all the CS4 applications, and you can use AIR applications to drive Suite apps.  If you’re a developer, this can mean new opportunities to solve problems and make money.


To learn more about what’s possible in CS4, check out Mark Niemann-Ross’s presentation from Adobe MAX.  It’s an hour long, but I think you’ll find it clear and informative–good stuff to watch over lunch.  I’m also drawing together related resources in a new "Suite Development" category on this blog.

Pen Zen for 2009

Mordy Golding offers 10 Illustrator Resolutions for 2009–ten great suggestions for getting more out of this amazingly powerful app.  My notes:


  • If you do nothing else, try double clicking your artwork to enter “isolation mode.”  It’s just like editing a symbol in place in FlashStop doing the whole lock/unlock, group/ungroup dance.  Isolation mode is your friend, particularly in CS4.


  • Mordy is right on about the power of the Appearance panel.  In CS4 the panel is at last just what I’d hoped it could be–namely, a killer one-stop shop for adding and editing object effects and parameters.


  • My personal addition to the list?  Envelope distortions.  Create some artwork, then choose Object->Envelope Distort, then either Make With Warp or Make With Mesh.  I like choosing the latter, then selecting the Free Transform Tool (E), clicking and dragging on one corner, and then while still moused down holding Cmd/Ctrl to do a perspective transform.  Bam, instant re-editable Star Wars text.



If you really want to brush up on your fundamentals & really wrap your head around the Pen tool, I recommend a couple of great resources:




And oh yeah, Happy New Year!  We’ll see whether my blogging can hold up under not one but two bambinos.  Bring him/her on! 😉