Category Archives: Flash

PSCS4 extensibility: Flash, 64-bit

Now that Photoshop CS4 is shipping, let’s talk extensibility.

 

Plug-Ins:

 

  • By and large, your existing plug-ins should work just fine with CS4.  Photoshop PM Bryan O’Neil Hughes reports that when it comes to PS on the Mac and PS on Windows running in 32-bit mode, "Our in-house testing proved early on that with very rare exceptions, ‘if it worked in CS3, it works in CS4.’" Developers like onOne and Digital Anarchy have already issued statements of CS4 compatibility, and I expect more to follow.
  • If you’re running Photoshop in 64-bit mode on Windows (Vista 64 or XP64), you’ll need updated, 64-bit-native versions of your plug-ins.  (The 64-bit version of Photoshop can’t host 32-bit processes, and vice versa.)  We’ve been providing documentation to plug-in vendors for many months, and the 64-bit-savvy CS4 SDK is publicly available for download.  I expect vendors to be trying to gauge the level of interest in 64-bit versions of their tools, so if you’re in that camp, you might want to give them some friendly encouragement.
  • Photoshop on Windows consists of two binaries (one 32-bit, one 64-bit) which can be installed in parallel as completely separate applications.  This means you can use the 32-bit version to run older plug-ins while waiting for them to go 64-bit-native.

 

Flash Panels:

 

  • Support for running SWFs as panels represents a development renaissance for Photoshop & the Creative Suite.  It’s never been possible to create panels for Photoshop in the past*, and developing for other apps meant learning different APIs and writing different code for each.  Now you can create cross-platform, cross-application, non-modal, vector-based, network-aware extensions using Flash or Flex.  This is going to kick serious ass, and the Photoshop Developer Center now features the Photoshop Panel Developer’s Guide.  Look for more examples and documentation soon.

 

If you’re a developer and have questions, feel free to drop Bryan a line so that he can point you in the right direction.

*Unless you were a really clever developer like the guys at Nik Software–and they’re the first to say “Oh yeah, that was awful”; now it’s possible in an easy, reliable way.

InDesign + Flash goodness

As noted recently, one of my longest-held wishes has been for Flash (the authoring tool) to play better with other apps, enabling much richer exchange of documents.  Now, thanks to the new XFL format introduced in CS4, we’re seeing that vision become more real.  In a new segment on Adobe TV, Flash evangelist Paul Burnett demonstrates how InDesign works with Flash. 

In a nutshell, you can choose to export your pages as either SWF (ready to go right into a Web page with animation, no tweaking required) or XFL (ready to go into the Flash authoring environment with content intact*).  The beauty is that InDesign can offer rich direct-to-Web publishing without trying to replicate every conceivable authoring option. (Oh, and members of the InDesign team helped build the rich new text support in Flash Player 10, enabling higher fidelity hand-off between the apps.) [Via]

 

Next up, look for demos of After Effects leveraging XFL export to bring projects to Flash.

 

* One subtle detail is that Flash Player 10 now supports basic color management–more than a little important when you’re working across media and want to keep your images looking good.  I plan to share more details about this support soon.

Developers: Info on driving CS via AIR, Flash

If you’re interested in using Flash or AIR to extend and automate the apps of the Adobe Creative Suite, check out the Quarterly Creative Suite Developer Update Web conference, scheduled for Thursday, August 7th, at 9:00am Pacific time.

 

Amidst the other presentations, Adobe engineer Bernd Paradies will be talking for 15 minutes about a pair of technologies he’s developing:

 

  • "SwitchBoard" (see previous) lets AIR apps communicate with Photoshop and other CS3 apps via JavaScript
  • "PatchPanel" is a library that aims to standardize the scripting interface between Flash panels & the CS apps.  Instead of writing separate commands for each host, PatchPanel will make it possible to write common commands that are translated on the fly for each environment.

 

The session will be recorded and will be available for later viewing if you can’t make it in person.

New Flash Player beta speeds Mac performance

Adobe has posted Beta 2 of the upcoming Flash Player 10 to Adobe Labs.  Player engineer Tinic Uro shares some notes, pointing out that on Mac OS X this new build runs the GUIMark test suite some 3x faster than previous versions.  He posted more details in this comment.  Given that I heard a lot of criticism of the performance of Flash on Mac when I blogged about possibly using Flash inside the Photoshop UI, I thought it would be worthwhile sharing the good news.

The Color & the Shape, in PS & AI

Drive the Creative Suite through AIR

I’m pleased to announce that SwitchBoard, a technology for driving the Creative Suite family of products using applications running on Adobe AIR, is now available from Adobe Labs.  As Dr. Woohoo explains, "SwitchBoard is a Flex library that allows you to extend an AIR app by giving you access to the ExtendScript DOMs for the Creative Suite apps.  Your AIR app can now easily establish two-way communication with Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign and Bridge."  According to the Labs page,

 

Adobe AIR developers can create applications that participate as first class citizens in creative workflows. Each SwitchBoard solution consists of an AIR application written for SwitchBoard, JavaScripts, and the SwitchBoard service that delivers the scripts to the Creative Suite applications. AIR developers only need to include a Flex library called SwitchBoard.swc in their projects in order to send and receive scripts to and from Creative Suite applications.

 

SwitchBoard brings together the power of the automation in the Creative Suite applications with the potential for third parties to extend the creative process with new applications produced using AIR. The result is an extensible, powerful, cross-platform environment that can quickly adapt to today’s rapidly changing creative workflows.

 

Thanks to resident brainiac Bernd Paradies for making it happen.  With the ability to create desktop-based Flash interfaces for the Suite, I’m looking forward to seeing what developers can devise, and I look forward to sharing some examples here soon.  (Oh, and Bernd has more good tricks up his sleeve, too.)

DestroyFlickr! (in a nice way)

The curiously named DestroyFlickr has nothing to do with destruction & everything to do with browsing your images via a desktop application.  Specifically, it’s an Adobe AIR app (essentially a Flash SWF running on the desktop, outside the browser) that lets you navigate your photostream through an attractive, minimalist gray interface.  According to the developer,

 

With the support of both drag and drop uploading and downloading, posting and saving photos is done in one easy motion. Now you can download the highest resolution version of a photo without having to see it first—just drag a thumbnail to the download menu and the download begins. [Via]

 

Smoove.

Dr. Woohoo & the future of the Suite platform

We want to make Photoshop and the whole Creative Suite much more flexible, extensible, and connected. Therefore, we’re looking at letting upcoming versions of Photoshop and–as far as I know–all Creative Suite applications be extended via SWF panels (palettes) created in Adobe Flash or Flex.

 

Of course, this can’t come as a surprise.  I mean, how brain-dead would Adobe have to be not to do this?  The appeal of extending one’s app with lightweight, cross-platform, network-aware widgets is so obvious that we were busy building support in my first app some eight years ago–and we had to build our own Flash Player clone to do it!  The CS3 versions of Flash, Fireworks, Dreamweaver, Illustrator, Bridge, and Soundbooth can already be extended in this way, and Photoshop and other apps can run SWFs in a scripting dialog.

 

Our task now is to implement support in as consistent a way as possible across the Suite.  Today, developing for, say, the Photoshop/Illustrator/InDesign trio would mean writing six chunks of platform-specific C code, delivering three different user experiences.  In the near future, by contrast, you should be able to write one chunk of code that extends each app with consistent, non-modal (panel-based) functionality.  Want to add peer-to-peer notes, Adobe kuler integration, video tutorials, and more to the Suite in one shot?  We aim to make it easy.

 

I believe the results will be transformative.  When I talk about the need to make Photoshop radically more configurable–letting it be "everything you need, nothing you don’t," person by person, moment by moment–I’m placing a lot of hope in easy panel configurability that can reshape workspaces and workflows.

 

We’ve hired a great developer named Drew Trujillo–better known as Dr. Woohoo–to help prime the pump.  In addition to After Effects<->Flash integration tools, he’s mashed up Illustrator with Flickr, and now he’s busily crafting fun new projects that we look forward to showing off a bit further down the line.  In the meantime Matthew Fabb briefly covers a sneak peek (showing Adobe AIR driving Photoshop) that Drew gave at the FITC show in Toronto.

 

If using Flash/Flex/AIR to extend & transform the Creative Suite is up your alley, drop me a line.  Seriously, we should talk.  I think you’ll like what’s cooking.

Type In Motion

  • Motion graphics firm National Television lays on the delightful treatments in these two spots for British Airways. [Via]
  • Pixar artists put more love into the margins than most folks do into the main subject.  If you like their work, check out Thunder Chunky’s interview with Pixar title designer Susan Bradley. [Via]
  • Typeflash lets you whip up animated text, then share the results.
  • Retro fabulosity:
    • The video for Justice’s DVNO is loaded with old-skool action. [Via]
    • Design firm Laundry lays down some splashy type stylings around their site.  Click the Virgin Mobile (which is not, as I first read it, “Virginmobile”) link to see some diggable animations. [Via]
  • Always hilarious: Tenacious D’s Inward Singing (loaded with profanity, just so you know before clicking).
  • Designers Leroy & Clarkson put type in motion for Bio, the biography channel. [Via]