Monthly Archives: September 2016

Join the Worldwide Photo Walk this Saturday

From Boston to Benghazi, photogs are headed out to create beauty & raise money for a good cause. Scott Kelby writes:

If you haven’t signed up head over to the official site and see if there’s a photo walk set-up near you (if you haven’t checked in a while, it’s worth checking again – we have photo walks organized in over 1,000 cities with over 20,000 photographers walking around the world. – It’s not too late to sign up!)

Find a walk near you (it’s free).

Can’t walk? You can still help support the Photo Walk by supporting The Springs Of Hope Kenya Orphanage.

Don’t forget to share the event with your friends on Facebook or Twitter and use the event hashtag #WWPW2016.


Illustration: Behind the scenes with Colbert’s Cartoon Donald Trump

I’m so ridiculously pleased to see my Adobe pals getting a well-deserved day in the sun for enabling a whole new sort of comedic performance—and I’m pretty sure that the old Irish puppet is my great-grandfather.

Cartoon Donald Trump is the brainchild of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert’s Lead Animator Tim Luecke and Senior Digital Producer and Writer Rob Dubbin. We talked with them about how Adobe Character Animator in After Effects CC helps them break new ground in late night television.


The Joy of Spex? Snapchat introduces Spectacles

“Punk rock Palm Pilot” isn’t a phrase one hears much—in fact, Google search has never heard it—but maybe it’ll apply to Snapchat’s new $130 Spectacles, due to arrive soon. First, here’s how they work: 

What do you think?

As someone with no dog in this fight (i.e. these really are my thoughts, not Google’s), a few observations:

  • If Google Glass was the Apple Newton of the wearable capture space (complex, ambitious, unsure of its key purpose), what will be the Palm Pilot (simpler, cheaper, laser-focused)? But this being Snapchat, they’ll bring a healthy does of punk ethos/social lubricant. “Or not, whatevs!”
  • They’re keeping initial expectations low. “Spiegel refers to it as a toy, to be worn for kicks at a barbecue or an outdoor concert” (WSJ).
  • They’re trying to reduce creepiness by providing social cues. “Lights show friends you’re Snapping” is important, but so is the fact that these are sunglasses—better suited to outdoor, public shooting than, say, creeping around in bars. (Side bonus: This helps manage low-light expectations for the small, inexpensive camera.)
  • It’s not (yet) for broadcast. “Wirelessly add your Snaps to Memories on Snapchat.” Note that it doesn’t transfer them directly to your shared Story. This almost certainly stems from the lack of  People don’t share because they fear embarrassment—oversharing, looking foolish, revealing too much. Largely forgotten apps like Instagram Bolt & Taptalk “improved” upon Snapchat by making it possible to launch, capture, and share in two taps—but that gain in speed (saving one tap) wasn’t worth the loss of control.
  • Apparently it generates a new “circular video” format (demo) that is always cropped when displayed on phones, requiring you to rotate them to see everything. Hmm—color me skeptical about that. People keep phones in portrait orientation something like 92% of the time, and Snapchat’s vibe has been all about embracing laziness & apathy, not making people invest effort. But I’ll happily reserve judgement until I can try it out.
  • “Snapchat is the only company cool enough to possibly dismantle the Google Glass stigma,” writes Josh Constine at TechCrunch. He also anticipates them doing a constrained rollout, getting celebs to make the device cool/exclusive first. (Stay tuned for the louvered Kanye A-Hole Edition, bringing this tweet to fruition.)
Interesting times.




Kids: Draw the future in the “Doodle 4 Google” contest

Come challenge the Micronaxx with your most fun, interesting designs:

Students in grades K-12 are invited to take part in the 2016 Doodle 4 Google contest, and create a doodle that tells the world “What I see for the future.” From crayons to clay, graphic design, or even food, young artists can utilize any materials to bring their creation to life. Like all Google Doodles, each doodle must incorporate the letters G-o-o-g-l-e. One national winner will also receive a $30,000 college scholarship. The contest is open for entries from September 14, 2016 to December 2, 2016.

Gratuitous showing of Finn’s previous doodle:


Shoot DNG, edit raw in Snapseed

If you don’t want your camera app “f***king stupid,” check out Manual, which—provided you’re running iOS 10 on an iPhone 6s or above—can capture raw images in DNG format that you can edit immediately in the new Snapseed. As you’d expect, the combo gives you greater control over exposure & white balance than if you’d simply shot & edited a JPEG.



Check out Google Trips

It’s a trip, it’s got a funky beat, and I’m already using it* for an upcoming vacation. I love being able to download info beforehand just in case my local connection goes south.

Meet Google Trips, available now on Android and iOS. It’s designed to give you everything you need to have the best vacation, right at your fingertips. Fill each day of your trip with fun activities you love without all the work. 


*Bless its little heart, it’s looking at our departure city and trying to recommend fun things to do in San Jose (“the Cloaca of the Bay Area”). Not even Google magic can return results for that query.


Google Photos introduces direct sharing

I think you’ll find this rather slick:

Now, with Google Photos, you pick the photos, tap “share” and select the people you want to share with, instead of the apps—and we take care of the rest.

  • If your friends are on Google Photos, they’ll get a notification.
  • If you share via phone number, they’ll get a link to the photos and videos via SMS.
  • Email addresses will get an email with a link from Google Photos.
So you can spend less time toggling from app to app to share photos — dealing with failed texts or email attachment limits along the way — and more time enjoying life’s photo-worthy moments.



Google Photos introduces concept movies

 “POV: Preserve, Organize, Visualize”—that’s always been my mnemonic for Google Photos: your intelligent assistant should keep everything safe, help you navigate it through intelligent auto-organization, and then make it delightful to see & share the results.

Things are taking a big step forward with the introduction of concept movies:

Google Photos has always made movies for you using your recently uploaded photos. Now we’re going further, with new movies that are based on creative concepts — the kinds of movies you might make yourself, if you just had the time. And they’re not only limited to your most recent uploads. One of the first concepts is designed to show your child growing up right before your eyes.

Here’s a little capsule of my son Henry, made with zero work from me: 

My fam has been loving these. When I sent her the Henry video, my wife said,

Oh my God, honestly? I’m all smiles. It’s so cute!!! The music is really perfect and the timing of shots against the music is also great. I’m feeling all mushy now.

And this is just the beginning:

We’re rolling out a couple more concepts this week, with more coming soon. Look out for a concept to commemorate the good times from this summer, and another one for formal events like weddings. And you don’t need to do a thing — these movies get made automatically for you.

As always, your feedback is most appreciated!



VFX: ILM goes behind the scenes of “The Force Awakens”

Get some: 

We are pleased to share a sample of the visual effects work created for Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The history of ILM leads all the way back to 1975 and origins of Star Wars and The Force Awakens gave us the opportunity to once again push the boundaries of what is possible in character animation and visual effects while combining cutting edge practical effects and physical sets. ILM studios in San Francisco, Singapore, Vancouver and London each contributed to the film effects as did our partners Hybride, Base FX and Virtuos.




Lightroom Mobile adds DNG capture on iOS

Catching up with the Android version launched in February (sorry, couldn’t resist :-)), LrM can now capture raw images in DNG format on iOS 10 (via an iPhone 6s or 7). The team blog provides a bunch of good perspective, including this useful side-by-side JPEG-vs-DNG comparison:

In order to capture shadow detail, this image was metered from the shadows, resulting in blown out highlights. The DNG version on the right enabled the highlights to be recaptured without issue.

Nice work, guys!


Motion Stills adds text, gets faster, more

Following its tech’s inclusion into Google Photos, is the standalone stabilization tool going away? Nope: it remains a great way to combine multiple Live Photos into short movies, and the app has just gotten some nice enhancements.

  • You can add text in a variety of styles
  • You can make clips ping-pong back and forth
  • The app runs roughly 2x faster & uses less local storage

Enjoy! Let us know what else you’d like to see, and please share your creations with #MotionStills.


A new iPad stencil drawing tool

Photoshop users have long requested support for angled guides. (But hey, 26 years in, what’s the rush, amirite?) I’d always ask why people wanted these, and a lot of the time it was to aid with drawing in perspective. Rather than simply let traditional PS guides be rotated, I proposed the following:

  • Leverage the overlay that lets PS display a 3D navigation widget. Assuming you’ve never used it, here’s a screenshot. The overlay can be moved independent of the canvas.
  • Allow users to transform 2D and 3D objects to use as stencils—e.g. moving, scaling, and rotating parallel lines (which could be made to converge), French curves, etc.
  • Make drawing tools snap to these shapes, allowing them to be used for tracing.
  • Alternately let them be used as stencils, letting you draw inside or outside them.

Obviously all this can be filed in the Tolstoy-length volume Sh*t I Never Got Implemented In Photoshop, but whatevs.

It all came back to mind when seeing Mopholio’s Stencil, “a new customizable tool for digital drawing, which works as a tool inside the popular Trace App.” Check it out:


[Vimeo] [Via]

Motion Stills tech arrives in Google Photos

This is rad: Your Live Photos are now automatically stabilized & made more sharable in Google Photos for iOS thanks to direct integration of the Motion Stills app technology that debuted this summer:

Using advanced stabilization and rendering originally used in the Motion Stills app, Google Photos can freeze the background in your Live Photos or create sweeping cinematic pans, turning your Live Photos into beautiful, captivating moments. Easily save it as a looping video and share it with anyone.

This update also includes the ability to sort photos in albums chronologically or by recently added (fear not – this is coming soon to Android and web as well). And, based on your feedback, you can now choose a new thumbnail for faces in People.



Animation: The evolution of stop motion in three minutes

I loved the bejesus out of “Kubo & the Two Strings”—easily the most interesting new movie I’ve seen this year, even if it was a touch edgy for my 8-year-old & would’ve been way too intense for my big-hearted 7-year-old. Now Filmmaker Vugar Efendi has posted a lovely 3-minute overview showing how the art form has evolved over 100+ years. The Verge writes,

Starting with 1900’s The Enchanted Drawing and running all the way up through 2016’s Kubo and the Two Strings,short video is a fascinating look at how the technique has evolved over the years, and include some of cinema’s best-known moments, from King Kong atop the Empire State Building to the AT-AT attack in The Empire Strikes Back.



Workflow tips: Getting RAW files into Snapseed

 Now that 144 camera models (see list) are supported in Snapseed on iOS, how can you get images from them into the app? Ah, glad you asked. Here’s some info from Snapseed Help:

Lightning to SD Card Camera Reader: will read all supported RAW files and allow the user to import them to the Camera Roll. Note: Some DNG files may appear blank in the interface and Camera Roll but will be shown correctly in Snapseed. Check it out in the Apple Store.
Lightning to USB Camera Adapter: can be used in combination with a camera’s USB port or even a USB SD card reader to read all supported RAW files and allow the user to import them to the Camera Roll. Check it out in the Apple Store.
EyeFi MobiPro: RAW files can be transferred to an iOS device via Wifi using “Eyefi Mobi” app and selecting share/save photo. Photos will be saved as RAW files to the Camera Roll. Note: This requires iOS 9.3.4.
Google Drive: Select a photo in Drive, tap on the dot dot dot icon, then select “send copy”. Drive will download the file. Select “Save Photo” to save it to the Camera Roll, or “Open in” to directly open it in Snapseed. Note: This requires Drive v4.12 and iOS 9.3.4.
Apple Mail: Email a RAW file, fully download it in Mail, then open the photo preview and tap the “share” icon. Select “Save Photo” to save it to the Camera Roll, or “Copy to Snapseed” to directly open it in Snapseed.