Monthly Archives: September 2021

Google taps (heh) Project Jacquard to improve accessibility

It’s always cool to see people using tech to help make the world more accessible to everyone:

This research inspired us to use Jacquard technology to create a soft, interactive patch or sleeve that allows people to access digital, health and security services with simple gestures. This woven technology can be worn or positioned on a variety of surfaces and locations, adjusting to the needs of each individual. 

We teamed up with Garrison Redd, a Para powerlifter and advocate in the disability community, to test this new idea. 

Behind the scenes: Mandalorian & deepfakes

I hadn’t heard of Disney’s Gallery: The Mandalorian, but evidently it revealed more details about the Luke Skywalker scene. In response, according to Screen Rant,

VFX team Corridor Crew took the time to share their thoughts on the show’s process. From what they determined, Hamill was merely on set to provide some reference points for the creative team and the stand-in actor, Max Lloyd-Jones. The Mandalorian used deepfake technology to pull together Hamill’s likeness, and they combed through countless hours of Star Wars footage to find the best expressions.

I found the 6-minute segment pretty entertaining & enlightening. Check it out:

Adobe researchers show off new depth-estimation tech for regular images

I keep meaning to pour one out for my nearly-dead homie, Photoshop 3D (post to follow, maybe). We launched it back in 2007 thinking that widespread depth capture was right around the corner. But “Being early is the same as being wrong,” as Marc Andreessen says, and we were off by a decade (before iPhones started putting depth maps into images).

Now, though, the world is evolving further, and researchers are enabling apps to perceive depth even in traditional 2D images—no special capture required. Check out what my colleagues have been doing together with university collaborators:

[Via]

AR: How the giant Carolina Panther was made

By now you’ve probably seen this big gato bounding around:

https://twitter.com/Panthers/status/1437103615634726916?s=20

I’ve been wondering how it was done (e.g. was it something from Snap, using the landmarker tech that’s enabled things like Game of Thrones dragons to scale the Flatiron Building?). Fortunately the Verge provides some insights:

In short, what’s going on is that an animation of the virtual panther, which was made in Unreal Engine, is being rendered within a live feed of the real world. That means camera operators have to track and follow the animations of the panther in real time as it moves around the stadium, like camera operators would with an actual living animal. To give the panther virtual objects to climb on and interact with, the stadium is also modeled virtually but is invisible.

This tech isn’t baked into an app, meaning you won’t be pointing your phone’s camera in the stadium to get another angle on the panther if you’re attending a game. The animations are intended to air live. In Sunday’s case, the video was broadcast live on the big screens at the stadium.

I look forward to the day when this post is quaint, given how frequently we’re all able to glimpse things like this via AR glasses. I give it 5 years, or maybe closer to 10—but let’s see.

More great roles open at Adobe: Lightroom & Camera PMs, 3D artist

Check ’em out!

Principal Product Manager – Photoshop Camera

Adobe is looking for a product manager to help build a world-class mobile camera app for Adobe—powered by machine learning, computer vision, and computational photography, and available on all platforms. This effort, led by Adobe VP and Fellow Marc Levoy, who is a pioneer in computational photography, will begin as part of our Photoshop Camera app. It will expand its core photographic capture capabilities, adding new computational features, with broad appeal to consumers, hobbyists, influencers, and pros. If you are passionate about mobile photography, this is your opportunity to work with a great team that will be changing the camera industry.

Product Manager, Lightroom Community & Education

Adobe is looking for a product manager to help build a world-class community and education experience within the Lightroom ecosystem of applications! We’re looking for someone to help create an engaging, rewarding, and inspiring community to help photographers connect with each other and increase customer satisfaction and retention, as well as create a fulfilling in-app learning experience. If you are passionate about photography, building community, and driving customer success, this is your opportunity to work with a great team that is driving the future of photography!

QA technical artist

Adobe is looking to hire a QA Technical Artist (contract role) to work with the Product Management team for Adobe Stager, our 3D staging and rendering application. The QA Technical Artist will analyze and contribute to the quality of the application through daily art production and involvement with product feedback processes. We are looking for a candidate interested in working on state-of-the-art 3D software while revolutionizing how it can be approachable for new generations of creators.

What English sounds like to non-speakers

Kinda OT, I know, but I was intrigued by this attempt to use gibberish to let English speakers hear what the language sounds like to non-speakers. All right!

Of it the New Yorker writes:

The song lyrics are in neither Italian or English, though at first they sound like the latter. It turns out that Celentano’s words are in no language—they are gibberish, except for the phrase “all right!” In a television clip filmed several years later, Celentano explains (in Italian) to a “student” why he wrote a song that “means nothing.” He says that the song is about “our inability to communicate in the modern world,” and that the word “prisencolinensinainciusol” means “universal love.” […]

Prisencolinensinainciusol” is such a loving presentation of silliness. Would any grown performer allow themselves this level of playfulness now? Wouldn’t a contemporary artist feel obliged add a tinge of irony or innuendo to make it clear that they were “knowing” and “sophisticated”? It’s not clear what would be gained by darkening this piece of cotton candy, or what more you could know about it: it is perfect as is. 

Register for Adobe Developers Live

Sounds like an interesting opportunity to nerd out (in the best sense) in October 4-5:

Adobe Developers Live brings together Adobe developers and experience builders with diverse backgrounds and a singular purpose – to create incredible end-to-end experiences. This two-day conference will feature important developer updates, technical sessions and community networking opportunities. 

There’s also a planned hackathon:

Hackathon brings Adobe developers from across the global Adobe Experience Cloud community with Adobe engineering teams to connect, collaborate, contribute, and create solutions using the latest Experience Cloud products and tooling.

Come try editing your face using just text

A few months back, I mentioned that my teammates had connected some machine learning models to create StyleCLIP, a way of editing photos using natural language. People have been putting it to interesting, if ethically complicated, use:

Now you can try it out for yourself. Obviously it’s a work in progress, but I’m very interested in hearing what you think of both the idea & what you’re able to create.

And just because my kids love to make fun of my childhood bowl cut, here’s Less-Old Man Nack featuring a similar look, as envisioned by robots:

Photography: A rather amazing sunflower time lapse

This is glorious, if occasionally a bit xenomorph-looking. Happy Friday.

PetaPixel writes,

The plants featured in Neil Bromhall’s timelapses are grown in a blackened, window-less studio with a grow light serving as artificial sunlight.

“Plants require periods of day and night for photosynthesis and to stimulate the flowers and leaves to open,” the photographer tells PetaPixel. “I use heaters or coolers and humidifiers to control the studio condition for humidity and temperature. You basically want to recreate the growing conditions where the plants naturally thrive.”

Lighting-wise, Bromhall uses a studio flash to precisely control his exposure regardless of the time of day it is. The grow light grows the plants while the flash illuminates the photos.

Adobe 3D & Immersive is Hiring

Lots of cool-sounding roles are now accepting applications:


CURRENT OPEN POSITIONS

Sr. 3D Graphics Software Engineer – Research and Development

Seeking an experienced software engineer with expertise in 3D graphics research and engineering, a passion for interdisciplinary collaboration, and a deep sense of software craftsmanship to participate in the design and implementation of our next-generation 3D graphics software.

Senior 3D Graphics Software Engineer, 3D&I

Seeking an experienced Senior Software Engineer with a deep understanding of 3D graphics application engineering, familiarity with CPU and GPU architectures, and a deep sense of software craftsmanship to participate in the design and implementation of our next-generation collaborative 3D graphics software

Senior 3D Artist

We’re hiring a Senior 3D Artist to work closely with an important strategic partner. You will act as the conduit between the partner, and our internal product development teams. You have a deep desire to experiment with new technologies and design new and efficient workflows. The role is full-time and based in Portland or San Francisco. Also open to other west coast cities such as Seattle and Los Angeles.

Principal Designer, 3DI

We’re looking for a Principal Designer to join Adobe Design and help drive the evolution of our Substance 3D and Augmented Reality ecosystem for creative users.

Contract Position – Performance Software Engineer

Click on the above links to see full job descriptions and apply online. Don’t see what you’re looking for? Send us your profile, or portfolio. We are always looking for talented engineers, and other experts in the 3D field. We may have a future need for contractors or special projects.

“How video game rocks get made”

Last year I was delighted to help launch ultra-detailed 3D vehicles & environments, rendered in the cloud, right in Google Search:

Although we didn’t get to do so on my watch, I was looking forward to leveraging Unreal’s amazing Quixel library of photo-scanned 3D environmental assets. Here’s a look at how they’re made:

2-minute papers: How facial editing with GANs works

On the reasonable chance that you’re interested in my work, you might want to bookmark (or at least watch) this one. Two-Minute Papers shows how NVIDIA’s StyleGAN research (which underlies Photoshop’s Smart Portrait Neural Filter) has been evolving, recently being upgraded with Alias-Free GAN (which very nicely reduces funky artifacts—e.g. a “sticky beard” and “boiling” regions (hair, etc.):

https://youtu.be/0zaGYLPj4Kk

Side note: I continue to find the presenter’s enthusiasm utterly infectious: “Imagine saying that to someone 20 years ago. You would end up in a madhouse!” and “Holy mother of papers!”

1800s Astronomical Drawings vs. Modern NASA Images

The New York Public Library has shared some astronomical drawings by E.L. Trouvelot done in the 1870s, comparing them to contemporary NASA images. They write,

Trouvelot was a French immigrant to the US in the 1800s, and his job was to create sketches of astronomical observations at Harvard College’s observatory. Building off of this sketch work, Trouvelot decided to do large pastel drawings of “the celestial phenomena as they appear…through the great modern telescopes.”

[Via]

UI Faces enables easy avatar insertion

As I obviously have synthetic faces on my mind, here’s a rather cool tool for finding diverse images of people and adding them to design layouts:

UI Faces aggregates thousands of avatars which you can carefully filter to create your perfect personas or just generate random avatars.

Each avatar is tagged with age, gender, emotion and hair color using the Microsoft’s Face API, providing easier filtration and sorting.

Here’s how it integrates into Adobe XD:

Anonymize your photo automatically

Hmm—I’m not sure what to think about this & would welcome your thoughts. Promising to “Give people an idea of your appearance, while still protecting your true identity,” this Anonymizer service will take in your image, then generate multiple faces that vaguely approximate your characteristics:

Here’s what it made for me:

I find the results impressive but a touch eerie, and as I say, I’m not sure how to feel. Is this something you’d find useful (vs., say, just using something other than a photograph as your avatar)?