Monthly Archives: February 2011

MBAs: Want to work on Lightroom?

Alright, crafty business brains: if you’ll soon have an MBA & if you love digital imaging, we may have a great job for you:

Interested in helping define the next generation of a product line used by millions of people? Like working with experienced, smart, passionate people? Enjoy making customers smile by finding elegant solutions to their problems?The Photoshop Product Management team leads the business, product strategy & product development for Photoshop, Photoshop Lightroom and Photoshop Elements. This Product Management position will focus on Photoshop Lightroom.

Full details are online.

Interesting 3D Photo app

I can’t readily pronounce it “endlessly useful,” but 3D Photo‘s ability to map a live camera feed onto 3D shapes is rather cool:

It can be hard to take tablet hardware, which is largely designed for low-power media consumption & gaming, and make it perform well for general-purpose imaging operations. Lately I’ve taken to joking that, “Well, my year-old iPad can run a beautiful 3D pinball game fullscreen at 30+ FPS, so maybe we should let people draw with friggin’ 3D pinballs, because apparently those can be made to go fast.” Look for Adobe Avian AngerPaint™, coming soon to an app store near you!

Behind the scenes with a foley artist

Just as I was graduating from college & researching a design career, I found myself at the Chicago studio of JoBe Cerny, who’s (quietly) known at the voice of the Pillsbury Doughboy & as the silent Cheer detergent pitchman from the 80’s. I found his foley (sound effects) setup fascinating. I similarly enjoyed this glimpse into the world of foley pro Gary Hecker:

SoundWorks Collection: Gary Hecker – Veteran Foley Artist from Michael Coleman on Vimeo.


Photography: The sacred & profane in Eastern Europe

I’ve spoken admiringly in the past of Bruce Haley‘s photojournalism. Now he’s produced a new monograph called Sunder:

Produced between 1994 and 2002, the images in SUNDER sweep the viewer along on a far-reaching journey through numerous former USSR and Iron Curtain countries, stopping at landscapes of ruin and moments of grace in equal measure. Haley’s explorations were intuitive, responding to a deep curiosity to taste the last drops of the would-be Utopian ideology that dominated global politics during the first thirty years of his life.

Bryan Hughes & I have been trying for ages to get down to the bottom of Bixby Canyon to visit Bruce & his beer fridge*. Hopefully we can do that soon & maybe share a trip report.
* But not, presumably, “goddamn barbecued monkey leg”

Photoshop turns 21!

The date almost got past me, but with a few hours left on this February 19th, I’d like to wish Adobe Photoshop a happy 21st birthday! This being the US, the app can now legally drink, and I trust it’s getting its bits sloshed at the Caravan. You can see the team hoisting a few glasses via Facebook.
What a long, interesting road it’s been, as you can see in this infographic on The Evolution of Photoshop. Thanks as always to the Knoll brothers, Mark Hamburg, Russell Brown, and all the other unreasonably talented folks who’ve brought us the app over the years–and to all the customers who’ve let me play my small part in the Photoshop journey.

Troubleshooting a couple of CS5 glitches

If you’re a Mac user of the FinderPop utility, you might notice that Photoshop CS5 can crash when you choose Select > Inverse or other various menu items.  If that’s the case, try downloading the FinderPop Beta as it contains a fix for the problem.

It’s also possible that you’re seeing some weirdness if running OS X 10.6.5 or 10.6.6 (e.g. seeing a “Delete the Adobe Photoshop Settings file?,” tools behaving as if the Shift or Option keys are pressed). Something got broken in the 10.6.5 update, and the Photoshop team is working with Apple on a fix.

Other interesting stylus & screen news

Speaking of styluses & touch screens, I’ve seen a few other developments worth passing along:


Adobe & jQuery

While highlighting all the great stuff Adobe is doing around HTML5, I mentioned the company’s contributions to the popular jQuery JavaScript library. Now the folks involved have started a new blog to share interesting news:

jQuery Mobile–a touch-optimized UI framework for smartphones and tablets–is currently on its Alpha 3 release. We’re very excited about this project and have had one of our finest–Kin Blas–working closely with the rest of the jQuery mobile team since November. As a side note, Kin will be speaking about jQuery Mobile at a Bay Area Mobile (BAM) meetup in March. Highly recommended if you’re interested in getting an overview of the framework from one of its main contributors.

I’m really happy to see Adobe putting real skin in the game here, working to solve customer problems whether through HTML, Flash, video, or any other combination of technologies. It’s not about one runtime vs. another; it’s about results.

Crazy 360-degree dodgeball video

Photographer Ryan Jackson strapped together four cheap GoPro video cameras into an interesting Frankenstein, shooting a cool 360-degree panoramic video. “The short version of this story is that I shot with four GoPros, extracted still images from video, stitched the stills together into panoramas then recombined them back into video. For the much more detailed and nerdy answer, read on.” [Via Manu S. Anand]

Who's driving the Photoshop ship?

As I’ve mentioned a few times, ever since the CS5 release started coming in for a landing, I’ve been working to develop new mobile applications at Adobe. On Photoshop I always worked with a talented group of fellow product managers, but my blog audience may not yet know them well. I’m overdue in helping to set that right, so I asked them to introduce themselves:

Bryan O’Neil Hughes is the Senior Product Manager for both Photoshop and Bridge and a pinch-hitter for the Lightroom team. Since 1999 he has helped to test, drive, demonstrate, and lead development of Adobe’s professional digital imaging applications. Bryan is the Photoshop team’s primary worldwide spokesman and can often be found leading seminars, user groups, and workshops. Before joining Adobe, he was a professional photographer and retoucher. Beyond Adobe, Hughes is a published photographer, editor, and author. He is also a driving instructor for the BMW Car Club of America. When he isn’t driving very quickly, he enjoys running marathons very slowly [Infinitely faster than I would. –J.].

Zorana Gee, M.B.A, is a Product Manager for Photoshop and Photoshop Extended. She has been on the Photoshop team for over 10 years and involved with Photoshop Extended from the beginning. Zorana is instrumental in the 3D effort as well as driving many other feature improvements within Photoshop. She is a published author of 3D in Photoshop: the Ultimate Guide for Creative Professionals and the iPad app Photoshop 3D Guide. Zorana speaks worldwide representing Adobe and the Photoshop family line of professional products. Outside of Adobe, her time is often spent teaching the art of Capoeira to her community. She has been training and teaching Capoeira for over 12 years and holds a black-belt (equivalent).

Pam Clark is the Group Product Manager for Photoshop where she helps define the future of the product, works with the teams to create each version and then ship it out the door to customers. She is also heavily involved in Photoshop’s social media activities on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. If you don’t see her in the office (next to mine), she’s probably out miss-hitting balls [Her words! –J.] on the tennis court.

As for me, I still sit with the Photoshop team, and I remain passionate about helping info flow in both directions.  I’ll try to keep posting interesting bits, and I’m happy to help pass your thoughts to Bryan, Pam, Z., and the rest of the crew.

Kim Jong Phil

“I’ve concluded that to be effective–to be functional–I must guzzle an eye-popping cocktail of delusion and narcissism.
It occurred to me that being an artist* is a great deal like being a dictator.
Just like a dictator, I must live in a closed loop of self-delusion…”

This is now easily one of my favorite things ever. [Via]
* For “artist” also swap in “great product manager” (says the guy with 3D-printed busts of himself) ;-)). And no, I don’t *really* believe this, though sometimes you’ve gotta fight for your vision, and “all progress depends on the unreasonable man.”

Russell Brown's speaking in SF Thursday

[Update: I’m brain dead, and the event is scheduled for Thursday, not Wednesday. Sorry about the confusion. –J.]

Russell Brown’s presentation last month drew the biggest crowd we’ve ever had for a Photoshop User Group meeting in San Jose. In case you missed it and will be around San Francisco Thursday night (6:30 start), you’re welcome to come by Adobe SF (but please RSVP as remaining space is limited):

Using your iPad, iPhone or Galaxy Tab as a Photography Portfolio

In the first part of the evening, Russell will spotlight an collection of useful tips for publishing your photo portfolio to your favorite portable devices. Learn some techniques for exporting images from Photoshop CS5 as an album without having to navigate through iPhoto. Also discover the wonders of PDF export from Adobe Bridge CS5 and see how to publish your own portfolio books to share with others.

Create Natural Toned HDR Images, and the Wonders of Camera RAW & Smart Objects

OK, we have seen the classic over-saturated, and super-sharpened HDR photos, but now it’s time to move to the next level of HDR imaging. Russell will discuss some of his favorite new methods for a new, more gentle and realistic looking HDR toning. This process may have you revisiting some of your earlier HDR shots and processing them again. All these techniques will be done using HDR Pro in Photoshop CS5. Also covered in this part of the evening will be Dr. Brown’s Photoshop tips for working with Camera RAW images in combination with Smart Objects. Learn the true art of Photoshop creativity with these nondestructive techniques.

And to top it all off, Russell will be graciously offering some great raffle items!


"Here's To The Crazy Ones"

Real innovation is, in case you haven’t noticed, kind of a bitch.

As a product manager I want to provide my team with really solid direction, thinking that there must be shining, slam-dunk use cases that will present themselves, rendering all debate moot.  Sometimes that happens; often, though, you’ve got to take some leaps of faith (“skating to where the puck is going to be”). By chance this week I came across a couple of interesting remarks:

The first comes from Steve Hayden, who helped develop Apple’s breakthrough “1984” commercial:

One of the many agency heads I’ve worked with over the years said, “When it’s great, there’s no debate.” I can’t imagine a more fatuous, false statement. There was plenty of debate around “1984.” It very nearly didn’t run.

The second concerns the creator of the famous James Bond music:

It’s impossible to imagine James Bond without Barry’s music, but apparently it almost happened:

Shortly after this Barry would receive the fateful phone call from Bond producer Harry Saltzman. “I got a phone call from Harry,” recalled Barry in a 2006 article in the Telegraph. “He never used to come down to the recording sessions, and he says: ‘John, that is the worst f*cking song I ever heard in my life. We open in three weeks’ time, otherwise I’d take that f*cking song out of the picture. I’d take it out! Out!’”

It’s not just that people didn’t grasp the concepts up front: it’s that even when presented with finished, ready-to-ship products that were about to become classics, they still didn’t get it.

I offer this simply as encouragement to anyone trying to break new ground.  If this work were easy, it’d be boring, and everyone would do it.


Vintage Photoshop quote o' the day

“If you have never seen Photoshop, you’ve missed one of those glorious rare moments when software approaches perfection. Adobe is humble about Photoshop, calling it a ‘photo design and production tool,’ but no one who’s used Photoshop is so reserved.”

— Byte magazine, April 1993 [Via Kevin Connor, who’s been on the team nearly that long and who was cleaning some old boxes out of his office]

New OpenEXR plug-in for Photoshop CS5

Photoshop PM Zorana Gee writes,

People who work in the 3D and film industries and who use the OpenEXR format in Photoshop CS5 will be happy to know that we now offer a plugin which  preserves files’ alpha channel on import/export. Out the box, Photoshop bakes the alpha into the layer transparency. Users who are happy with this behavior don’t need to do anything. Others who find that they need to preserve the alpha channel should simply install this plugin to override the default behavior.

Recording: Me on The Big Web Show

I had a great time talking with Dan, Jeffrey, and (indirectly) listeners yesterday. If you’re interested, here’s the recording–minus the subsequent six hours in which I continued happily babbling at my now-quiet computer. As I say on the show, you’re always welcome to send ideas and feedback to tinyElvis at (or send me a note via comments in case you don’t hear back, as the message may have gone into our aggressive spam trap).

Adobe TV begins community translation

The Adobe TV team has announced the Community Translation project, designed to make training content available to more people in their native languages.  According to the team:


  • Anyone with fluency in English and at least one other language can apply to be a translator.
  • Participants in the program use a simple, intuitive interface provided by our partner DotSUB to translate the closed-captioning titles line-by-line.
  • Once approved by a reviewer, the translation becomes available as a closed-captioning track on the video, and also appears as a searchable, interactive transcript alongside the video.


There have already been 154 translations completed, in 25 different languages.  Here’s a list of translated videos.


DesignScene gathers visual inspiration on iPads

You know, I was just thinking, “I’m so completely caught up on design-related links, and so quiet on Twitter, that I could really use another onslaught of content (the ignoring of which could make be feel vaguely bad)!” Or not. Even so, the $4 DesignScene iPad app could be a keeper:

According to the site, features include:

  • Real-time visual inspiration from 50+ sites
  • Text feeds from 30+ sites
  • In-app web browser
  • Share links via email, Facebook and Twitter


The app needs Instapaper integration (for saving links for later use) in the worst way, but no doubt that’s coming.