The brilliant little utility Alfred has reached v1 status after a couple of years of public testing. For me it’s an invaluable way to launch apps & start Web searches quickly (in my case I hit Opt-space from any app, then start typing a name or query) and to get multi-clipboard functionality. For some reason I could never get into the command-line Quicksilver or other multi-clipboard tools, but Alfred hits a sweet spot.
The app is free, but the paid Powerpack (which enables multi-clipboard support and numerous other features) is well worth the £12 price.
My longtime boss Kevin Connor left Adobe earlier this year to launch a startup, Fourandsix, aimed at “revealing the truth behind every photograph.” Now his co-founder (and Adobe collaborator) Hany Farid has published some interesting research:
Dr. Farid and Eric Kee, a Ph.D. student in computer science at Dartmouth, are proposing a software tool for measuring how much fashion and beauty photos have been altered, a 1-to-5 scale that distinguishes the infinitesimal from the fantastic. Their research is being published this week in a scholarly journal, The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Small, ubiquitous video capture & aviation make a potent combo. The NY Times features a story about amateur video helping in air crash investigations. Elsewhere, clashes in the streets of Warsaw have been captured by small, remote helicopter:
I find the effect both exciting and unnerving. “Sunlight is the best disinfectant,” and capturing misbehavior begets exposure, outrage, and action. Or does it? I wonder whether the aerial footage introduces a “cinemification” element, a sense that real life is simply more TV, more entertainment. I don’t know; I’m not complaining, just wondering aloud a bit. [Via]
Another time lapse, really?? But check it out–Ken Murphy has created a really novel piece:
A camera installed on the roof of the Exploratorium museum in San Francisco captured an image of the sky every 10 seconds. From these images, I created a mosaic of time-lapse movies, each showing a single day. The days are arranged in chronological order. My intent was to reveal the patterns of light and weather over the course of a year.
Want to annoy a photographer? Just say, “Great image! What camera did you use?” (“Telling a photographer that his camera takes great pictures is like telling a chef that his oven makes great meals,” notes Terry White.) We do well to focus more on artists than their media.
Kyle Lambert shows how far one can take even very simple tools. Kyle is a fine artist based in the UK and was formally trained as an oil painter. He currently freelances and specializes in painting, illustration and animation. He’s becoming well known for his striking character portraits and was the first artist to create photo-realistic work using Adobe Ideas. Check it out:
“For 17 days,” writes Joe Capra, “I travelled solo around the entire island shooting almost 24 hours, sleeping in the car, and eating whenever I had the time. During my days shooting this film I shot 38,000 images, travelled some 2900 miles, and saw some of the most amazing, beautiful, and indescribable landscapes on the planet.”
Joe used Lightroom (with an assist from LRTimelapse) and the new After Effects Warp Stabilizer to create this piece. For more info on the project, check out this interview with Michael Levy Studio.
I’m taking the week off to squire young dudes around chilly Illinois, but I’ve scheduled some blog posts to auto-publish over the course of the week. I mention it because I’ve seen a few comments asking questions or requesting feedback, and I didn’t want you to think that I was working normally & blowing off replying.
Jerry Courvoisier of Lightroomworkshops.com introduces Blurb’s bookmaking plug-ins for Lightroom and explains what they can bring to your bookmaking experience. “Learn the key differences between the plug-ins for BookSmart and Bookify,” he writes, “and find out which one will work best for your project.”
Filmmakers Green Renaissance created this beautiful, inspiring short piece. Our 2- and 3-year-old boys watch it obsessively and now know the “characters” by name (“There’s Cathy in the green hat! There’s old Jacques!”).
“On October 27th we launched Adobe Carousel,” writes PM Sumner Paine, “and within a few short weeks we’ve already surpassed 1,000,000 downloads! We’re happy to see such a tremendous response — and want to thank everyone who jumped on board and downloaded the app on their iPhones, iPads and Macs.”
Though the team isn’t yet ready to talk in detail about future plans, check out Sumner’s post to hear about some areas they’re considering.
Like the idea of turning Flash Professional projects into HTML5, but don’t want to wait for a new version of Flash to ship? Try Google’s new Swiffy plug-in for Flash CS4 or higher. Developer Esteban de la Canal writes,
The extension enables you to convert your animation to HTML5 with one click (or keyboard shortcut). The extension is available for both Mac and Windows, and it uses Swiffy as a web service, so you’ll always get our latest and greatest conversion. Information about the conversion process is shown within Flash Professional.
PS Touch and the other newly released Adobe touch apps (Proto, Ideas, Kuler, Debut, and Collage) require using an 8.9″ or larger tablet running Android 3.1 or above. As for iPad availability, the plan is to announce more in early 2012.
Check out the user forum to ask questions and provide feedback. And please join us Friday at noon Pacific for a demo/Q&A covering PS Touch and the other newly released Adobe touch apps. I’ll be presenting alongside Ideas PM David Macy.
As I say, we can’t wait to see what you create!
Let’s get a lot more people making animated HTML5 content. To do that, we need to lower the barriers to entry. That means making content run reliably across browsers, and letting the hundreds of thousands of people with Flash skills apply those skills to a new output format.
Because HTML is so broadly useful (Web pages, mobile apps, magazines, etc.), there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. In this 10-minute demo, Adobe VP Paul Gubbay shows:
I find the Flash Pro HTML export demo especially exciting, because it helps you reach your audience across configurations (e.g. letting an ad run with or without Flash installed), and it helps migrate content from Flash into HTML.
I should emphasize that this technology remains a work in progress, but here’s some of what I’ve learned:
This path will be most useful for relatively simple pieces–think ads, microsites, & other animated branded experiences, not complex games.
Sprite sheet export (see separate demo) will be useful across a variety of tools & runtimes (CSS, Canvas, Starling, and more).
I find all this extremely exciting. What’s your take? Anything else Adobe should be doing here?
PS–This demo was excerpted from last week’s Adobe financial analysts meeting. You might find some of the complete recordings & slide decks interesting. (Paul spoke during the David Wadhwani segment.)
A few years ago I was giving some boo-hoo rant about my job’s frustrations to a co-worker when I noticed a little Abrams tank model on his desk. When I inquired he casually answered that he’d been a tank commander in Bosnia, modestly mentioning some of the responsibilities he’d shouldered in his early 20’s. Way to put my challenges in perspective, sir.
In this brief clip, veterans now working at Adobe share thoughts on how their military service experiences have helped shape their careers.
I’m delighted to see that Khoi Vinh & Scott Ostler have launched Mixel, a free & intriguing iPad app for creating, sharing, and remixing artwork. Check it:
I had the pleasure of color-commenting a Layer Tennis match in which Khoi parried with Nicholas Felton last year. Afterwards we chatted a bit about whether & how the fun of “Photoshop tennis” could be brought to a radically wider audience. I’ve been eagerly awaiting the arrival of this new project, and I got to kick the tires while swinging through New York a few weeks back.
Two bits of interesting sauce:
Like Instagram, Mixel lets one follow & be followed, and it can import your existing connections.
The app keeps all pieces separate, making it easy to find artwork, see what’s trending, etc.
Khoi’s shown remarkable restraint in crafting the editing environment. Forget about things like complex layer blending: there’s no adding text* or even simple brush strokes. That’s by design: You’re meant to communicate visually rather than verbally, and drawing skills can’t be a prerequisite. Anyone should be able to jump in & participate immediately. It’s 180 degrees from most Adobe apps (which trade simplicity for power), and I find that refreshing.
It’ll be fascinating to see who tries the app, who sticks with it, what they make, and why. Will the rough aesthetic have legs, or will the app be drawn towards refinement & complexity? How might it grow to serve particular audiences (e.g. designers wanting to brainstorm/moodboard together in small groups)? We shall see.
In any case, congrats to these guys on the launch. What do you think of Mixel?
[See also: Khoi’s philosophy on the app’s mission is well worth reading.] * One can add images that include text, but you can’t whip out a text tool and start laying down captions. No lolcats for you!
Lightroom 3.6 and Camera Raw 6.6 are now available as Release Candidates on Adobe Labs. The ‘release candidate’ label indicates that this update is well tested but would benefit from additional community testing before it is distributed automatically to all of our customers.
New camera support in these releases:
Canon PowerShot S100
Nikon 1 J1
Nikon 1 V1
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX1
In addition, the releases add support for numerous lens profiles while squashing a number of bugs. Please see the Lightroom Journal for details.
Adobe VP Danny Winokur has published an official piece on how Adobe is pushing hard on HTML5 for mobile Web browsing, discontinuing work on Flash Player for mobile. I’m not an official Adobe spokesperson, and I don’t work on Flash, so please direct any comments to Danny’s post.
The video at the top of this post is a Polar Rose demo of an app called “Recognizr”, which recognizes people’s faces and provides you with links to their social media accounts.
Imagine a world where every person on the street can be identified by simply pointing your phone at their face. Curious about a stranger? Point your camera at them to pull up their Facebook profile. People who had concerns over facial recognition in Facebook photos are going to have a fit about this one…
I remain eager to see what developers can do in terms of building photography & design apps. If you see anything cool, give a shout.
I had to pleasure of meeting Dave Malouf, design professor at Savannah College of Art & Design, at Adobe MAX and moderating an interesting panel discussion with him. In this brief clip he talks about using Adobe Collage to express & share ideas quickly:
I have no intention of making this blog a political one, but I did find interesting Frank Rich’s insight into the phenomenon of Occupy Wall Street protesters mourning Steve Jobs, a multi-billionaire:
Yet those demonstrators who celebrated Jobs were not necessarily hypocrites… Jobs’s genius… was his ability “to strip away the excess layers of business, design, and innovation until only the simple, elegant reality remained.” The supposed genius of modern Wall Street is the exact reverse, piling on excess layers of business and innovation on ever thinner and more exotic creations until simple reality is distorted and obscured.
Just food for thought. (Oh, and if you haven’t read Michael Lewis’s The Big Short, you’re missing out. I’m halfway through his follow-up, Boomerang, and it’s similarly compelling.)