Monthly Archives: July 2011

VW's Augmented Reality

Check out this tool for visualizing & playing with a Golf Cabriolet:

That’s nice and all, but I’m so advanced that for the last 11 years I’ve been able to just look out the window to see the same dusty Golf materialize in front of me. (It’s okay to be jealous. 😉 #120hpRealUltimatePower)

Typography: Neat new alphabets

Exhibit: Photo Tampering Throughout History

You can build a business manipulating photos; how about building one by detecting those manipulations?

My longtime boss Kevin Connor was instrumental in building Photoshop, Lightroom, and PS Elements into the successes they are today, and he taught me the ropes of product management. After 15 years he was ready to try starting his own company, so this spring he teamed up with Dr. Hany Farid (“the father of digital image forensics,” said NOVA). Together they’ve started forensics company Fourandsix (get the pun?), aimed at “revealing the truth behind every photograph.”

Now they’ve put up Photo Tampering Throughout History, an interesting collection of famous (and infamous) forgeries & manipulations from Abraham Lincoln’s day to the present. Numerous examples include before & after images plus brief histories of what happened.

I wish Kevin & Hany great success in this new endeavor, and I can’t wait to see the tools & services they introduce.


News for Suite developers

You can control Photoshop using Flash, Flex, and AIR, much like the various Photoshop Touch apps do. Check out developer Daniel Koestler’s detailed write-up for more info.

On a related note, a CS Extension Builder Trial version will be available soon, and you can sign up for notification via the team blog.  Extension Builder is essentially a custom version of Flash Builder that makes it easy to extend Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, and other apps.


Free Lightroom webinar on bookmaking, tomorrow

Photographer Jerry Courvoisier is presenting online tomorrow at 10am Pacific time:

How to Use Adobe® Photoshop® Lightroom® 3.0 to Develop, Sort and Sequence Your Images for Blurb Bookmaking: In this free webinar, world-class Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom specialist Jerry Courvoisier will take you through great Lightroom tips and tricks including how to prep your photos for your book. He’ll also show you how to use the new Blurb Bookify™ plug-in for Lightroom. Plus, stay for an exclusive Lightroom discount at the conclusion of the webinar.

Video: A History Of The Title Sequence

How meta: “Designed as a possible title sequence for a fictitious documentary,” writes film student Jurjen Versteeg, “this film shows a history of the title sequence in a nutshell.” Fullscreen viewing recommended.

The sequence includes all the names of title designers who had a revolutionary impact on the history and evolution of the title sequence. The names of the title designers all refer to specific characteristics of the revolutionary titles that they designed. This film refers to elements such as the cut and shifted characters of Saul Bass’ Psycho title, the colored circles of Maurice Binder’s design for Dr. No and the contemporary designs of Kyle Cooper and Danny Yount.


Come join me for a photo walk on Friday!

First we talk (mobile imaging), then we walk.

Photographers & mobile-imaging experts Dan Marcolina (author of iPhone Obsessed) & Knox Bronson (founder of P1xels, “the site of record for the emergent and global iphoneographic artist community”) will be speaking at the Photoshop store in San Francisco this Friday at 1:30pm. Afterwards (3:30-5pm) we’ll be taking pictures outside:

Join Dan, Knox, and members of the Photoshop team for a photo walk through Union Square. The only caveat is: NO CAMERAS ALLOWED. That’s right, you’ll only take photos with your mobile phone.

For me it’s a chance to see how you work & to hear more about what you want Adobe to do in mobile imaging.

Afterwards Blurb is throwing a little party in the store, showing off books while supplying drinks & appetizers. Not a bad little Friday afternoon/evening, eh?

The store is at 550 Sutter.  See the schedule for details on these events & everything else happening there. Hope to see you there!

Cool DIY aerial filmmaking

I’ll say it again: I’m oddly thankful that incredible technology like this didn’t exist when I was a kid, as otherwise I’d have lost my entire adolescence to it. First, here’s what happened when filmmaker Joe Simon mounted a Canon 7D to an RC helicopter:
If you prefer more the rock-n-roll grunge tip, check out the work of 19-year-old Jeremiah Warren and his rocket-mounted spy cam:

Previously: DSLR video + RC helicopter = awesome

Win a Leica, Canon, iPad, & more tomorrow in SF!

To celebrate tomorrow’s Photoshop store launch in San Francisco, the team is giving away Adobe software, Canon and Leica cameras, and iPad 2s.
“Get in early,” they write, “because the first 100 attendees will also receive iTunes gift cards, with some valued at up to $100.” Here’s the Facebook event page, and here’s the schedule of all that’s going on (including Scott Kelby’s “Light It. Shoot It. Retouch It.” session tomorrow).

Lion: Flash video acceleration works just fine

Flash PM Rob Christensen clarifies:

The final release of Mac OS X Lion (10.7) provides the same support for Flash hardware video acceleration as Mac OS X Snow Leopard (10.6).  The previous “Known Issue” described in a tech note suggesting that video hardware acceleration was disabled in Lion was incorrect and based on tests with a pre-release version of Mac OS X Lion that related to only one particular Mac GPU configuration.  We continue to work closely with Apple to provide Flash Player users with a high quality experience on Mac computers.

Experience “Photoshop & You” in San Francisco

Laser etching!
Giant posters!
T-shirt making!
Dogs & cats living together, mass hysteria!

Starting this Saturday & running through August 6, the Photoshop team will be in Union Square, taking over 550 Sutter Street in SF to conduct hands-on training & demos–and it’s all for a good cause.

Luminaries like Russell Brown, Scott Kelby, and others will be on hand to teach & consult.  The days are jammed, so check out the full range of events and register for what are going to be popular events.  (Russell’s laser-shirt-printing-lab-thing accepts 5 registrations per hour.)  Many engineers & other team members will be dropping in, and they write,

We’ll also have some cool Photoshop gear for sale, as well as a special 15% discount off regularly priced Adobe software. The best part? The net proceeds from the sale of Photoshop gear will go directly to Adobe Youth Voices (AYV).

Hope to see you there,

Oil Painting, upside down

Mark Barbieri captured rollercoaster video using a GoPro camera, then ran Photoshop’s Pixel Bender Oil Painting filter on the clip. “The idea,” he writes, “is that as we ride through the launch building, we transition from the real world to a fantasy world.” I like it.

Tangential: He used the After Effects Warp Stabilizer on a clip from the same ride, though not on the one above. “For reasonably stable video with an annoying amount of wandering,” he writes, “I’ve found it to be miraculous. It was worth the price of the upgrade to CS5.5 by itself.”

Lion: Known Issues with Adobe products

Adobe has posted a tech note, “Known Issues with Adobe products on Mac OS 10.7 Lion,” detailing incompatibilities discovered to date. The only Photoshop-specific issue noted is that droplets don’t work. Please see the document for other product details.

Update: Here’s the Creative Suite FAQ on the subject.
Update 2: I’ve seen mentions of “Licensing has stopped working” errors. These appeared in Snow Leopard as well. Please see this tech doc for details.

Photoshop Elements joins the Mac App Store

I’m pleased to see that the #1-selling consumer photo-editing software, Photoshop Elements, has just become available for download via the Mac App Store for $79. According to the press release, new features include the following:

Adobe Photoshop Elements 9 Guided Edits offer easy-to-follow, step-by-step instructions for creating artistic effects such as Out of Bounds for making photos leap off the page, Pop Art for creating retro-style images, or Perfect Portraits for easy retouching. Users can instantly remove clutter from photos or repair imperfections with one stroke of the Spot Healing Brush, which uses powerful content-aware technology adapted from Photoshop CS5.

Check out the product pages for screenshots & more info.

What's with Photoshop & multiple undos?

Over on, customer Michael Piontek notes the following:

Unlike most modern apps, Photoshop only has a single “undo”. If you press command-z a second time, Photoshop will redo the change instead of continuing to undo. Not even Illustrator or InDesign works this way at this point.

To work around this issue, I customize my keyboard shortcuts to use “step backward” (command-z) and “step forward” (command-shift-z). For the most part this works great and I’ve been very happy with it.

But it brings up a new problem: if I change the selected layer, then press command-z (“step backward”) then the layer change is undone as well.

Michael is touching on two separate issues:

  1. The keyboard shortcuts used for undo/redo
  2. Layer selection changes when using “step backward” instead of “undo”

1. Photoshop’s unusual Cmd-Z mapping is due to the fact that the app lets you toggle across multiple history states in one keypress.

For example, you might do something, then click 10 steps back in the History panel.  Let’s say you then hit Cmd-Z.  Would you expect Photoshop to undo the most recent operation (getting you back to where you’d been prior to the last click), or to go to the 11th-back history state (that is, to go further back in time)?  I’d expect PS to do what it does now: it undoes the click instead of digging me deeper.

I’m not sure it’s possible to preserve the current (and to my mind correct) behavior while also making Cmd-Z work in the more common way (which would also be correct). Of course PS could ask customers to make a choice via a dialog, but that’s just a recipe for blank stares.

2. I can’t think of a good reason for the current behavior. When Photoshop added multiple layer selection in CS2, we made some changes to avoid problems caused by old crutches for not having the ability to select more than one layer at a time. This behavior with the layer selection changing when using “step backward” appears to be a rough edge from that work, so it’s worth asking the team whether this behavior can be changed.

Note that a user has provided nice workaround leveraging a script.

[Thanks to Jeff Tranberry for his assistance in researching these questions.]

Reminder: Attend Adobe's HTML5 Camp, Friday in SF

Sign up here (and/or if you’ll be in Tokyo in August, look here):

  • 5:00 pm – 5:45 pm Food and Drink
  • 5:45 pm – 6:00 pm Welcome & Opening Remarks
  • 6:00 pm – 6:45 pm The State of the Web – Dion Almaer and Ben Galbraith from Ajaxian
  • 6:45 pm – 7:30 pm Adobe Dreamweaver CS5.5 and HTML5 & jQuery Mobile – Greg Rewis
  • 7:30 pm – 7:45 pm Break
  • 7:45 pm – 8:15 pm Google Chrome Evangelist Topic Q&A
  • 8:15 pm – 9:00 pm Adobe Edge Demo and Open Discussion – Mark Anders and Doug Winnie
  • 9:00 pm – 9:45 pm Deconstructing an HTML5 Project start to finish – Big Spaceship Web Designer
  • 9:45 pm – 10:00 pm Wrap-up & Closing

Solar-powered 3D printing with sand

If you thought yesterday’s 3D printing example was even remotely cool, you must see the “Solar Sinter,” below. The clip unfolds slowly, offering that deserty “my brain’s cooking in my skull” sense of time, but it’s worth the wait.

“By using the sun’s rays instead of a laser,” writes creator Markus Kayser, “and sand instead of resins, I had the basis of an entirely new solar-powered machine and production process for making glass objects that taps into the abundant supplies of sun and sand to be found in the deserts of the world.”

Scott Kelby photo workshop July 29

Our friend Dave Cross passes along news of an upcoming photo workshop in Florida:

On July 29, a small group of people will get a very rare opportunity to learn from none other than Scott Kelby. Scott will be teaching a one day hands-on workshop in Tampa called Light it. Shoot it. Retouch it – Hands-on. Students will learn all about studio lighting and portrait retouching from the world’s best selling author on these subjects. Only 12 spots left!

If you’re looking for small-group, hands-on classes on Photoshop, Adobe Certified Instructor Dave Cross has a full range of classes available at the Dave Cross Workshops.


A font face controlled by your face

Font developer Andy Clymer at H&FJ has created a tool that modifies type characteristics in real time based on facial expressions:

From their blog,

I’m intrigued by the potential to control local and global qualities of a typeface at the same time: fingers and mouse to design the details, faces and cameras to determine their position in a whole realm of design possibilities. I wonder about the possibilities of a facial feedback loop, in which one’s expression of wonder and delight could instantly undo a moment of evanescent beauty.


New Lightroom Website builder plug-in released

Matthew Campagna has released TTG Pages CE for Lightroom:

TTG Pages CE is not an image gallery. It is a website construction tool used to create a home in which your image galleries may thrive. It creates pages — Home, Services, Info, About and a Contact page with email contact form — and a self-populating Gallery Index for your image galleries.

Whether you’re building your first photo website or your hundredth, TTG Pages CE is the tool you’ve been waiting for to streamline your Lightroom-to-website workflow, and to create a website you can take pride in.

The tool is $25 from Matthew’s site.

64-bit Flash Player 11 accelerates 3D, more

You can download a beta version of the new Flash Player 11 from Adobe Labs. Highlights include:

  • Stage3D APIs — A new set of low-level, GPU-accelerated 3D APIs enable advanced 3D experiences and improved 2D performance across devices.
  • 64-bit support — Support for 64-bit operating systems and browsers on Linux, Mac OS, and Windows.
  • G.711 audio compression for telephony — Integrate voice/telephony into business apps using G.711 codec.
  • H.264/AVC SW Encoding — Encode higher quality video locally using H.264 video.
  • Socket Progress Events — Build advanced file sharing apps like FTP clients that send large amounts of data.
  • HD surround sound — Deliver full HD videos with 7.1 channel surround sound directly to AIR powered TVs.


More features are listed here, and you can check out Flash Player PM Thibault Imbert’s post for more background & detail on the features.


YouTube stabilization: Nice!

I read a few months ago that YouTube was planning to offer video stabilization for one’s uploaded clips. It’s not easy to find, but if you go to, you can drag a clip into the project timeline, then press the little magic wand icon to show the editing UI. The process is a bit convoluted: Why you can’t just set a flag to stabilize video on upload, or see this UI during the upload/tagging process, I don’t know. Perhaps that’s coming, and meanwhile it’s a little lame to pick nits with a free, fast service.
I’ve tried only one test movie so far, but I’m quite pleased with the results. Here are before & after clips. (Note that stabilizing a clip will result in a second copy on YouTube, requiring you to copy over captions, tags, etc.)


Feature request: Instagram->Facebook

I often say that if I could code, I’d never leave the basement*: I know what I want, but I have to rely on others to make it real.

At the moment I’m wishing for a way to suck up some or all of my Instagram-hosted images, then repost them on Facebook.  I already share each individual image via Twitter (and thus Facebook), but these don’t end up residing on FB, where family members would be much more likely to see them.  This can’t be a hard thing to implement, but I’ve yet to see it done.

Update: Thanks to Noah Mittman for pointing out Instaport, a free site that lets you download some/all of your images as a ZIP archive. It’s a great start, though just to get greedy, let me also request a way to retain image captions. For me those are often as critical as the images themselves.

* Thus it’s probably like my not being more muscular (which would lead to my getting into lots of fights): probably a blessing in disguise.

Bert Monroy speaking this Thursday in SF, plus seminars

Master digital illustrator Bert Monroy will be speaking this Thursday at the San Francisco Photoshop User Group (presentation starting at 7pm). He’ll be enlightening us with great photo editing, compositing and painting tips he picked up while working on his colossal, 750,000-layer Times Square project (see previous).  Please see the meeting page for directions, RSVP info, etc.

Bert has also announced a series of one-day seminars, “The Making of Times Square: Live,” taking place this fall. He plans to cover the creation & use of brushes, use of Photoshop’s 3D tools, creating realistic hair, and more. I’ve really enjoyed Bert’s presentations at Photoshop World and elsewhere, so I’m sure these will be great sessions as well.

Video: "Is Tropical: The Greeks"

I’ve gone back and forth on whether to post this one. Even cartoon violence, when paired with children, can be very disturbing. On the other hand, having passed countless childhood hours with friends pretend-shooting each other, I think there’s something interesting in this video’s take on how kids make sense of the images they encounter. I leave the decision of whether to watch up to you.

[Via Steve Guilhamet]