Category Archives: Flash

Adobe isn't in the Flash business

Seriously.
It isn’t in the Photoshop business, or the Acrobat business, or the [take-your-pick product name] business, either.
It’s in the helping people communicate business.
We’d all do well to remember that, because it means that the company’s fortunes are tied to building great tools for solving problems. If we do that well, we prosper; if we do it poorly, we fail. When we get too wrapped up in this technology or that, we lose touch with the problems that we (and more importantly our customers) are trying to solve.
John Gruber wrote the other day that “Hulu isn’t a Flash site, it’s a video site. Developers go where the users are.” Well sure, of course they do. Flash is a means to an end for Adobe, too, not the end unto itself.
The equation is simple. Adobe wants to make money selling tools, so it needs our customers’ clients to pay for work done with the tools. Clients won’t pay if their customers can’t see the work made with the tools. Therefore customers, clients, and by extension Adobe need a way to see the work, be that videos, interactive pieces, or anything else.
Flash has stepped in to fill some gaps heretofore left by other technologies. It is, however, just one possible means to an end–always has been. Adobe will of course continue to invest in making Flash better, and it’ll keep investing in other ways to help creative people reach customer eyeballs. It’s not a zero-sum game.
You’d think this stuff would be pretty obvious, but as I’ve already noted, the world likes either-or, winner-loser, good guy/bad guy, Jane-you’re-an-ignorant-slut narratives. They make for easy blogging, but mainly they’re a simpleminded distraction from solving real problems.

Sympathy for the Devil

In the last couple of years, it has become trendy to bash the Adobe Flash Player. I need to say a few things on that subject.

First, let’s be very clear: I’m not on the Flash team. I don’t speak for them. (I don’t speak for anyone but myself.) This post is just my personal take on things. Caveat lector.

I came to Adobe ten years ago to build an open standards (SVG)-based Web animation tool. I like standards, and I have some experience here. Both authoring for & competing with the Flash Player gave me some good perspective. Here’s a quick summary of my long piece below:

  • Flash is flawed, but it has moved the world forward.
  • Open standards are great, but they can be achingly slow to arrive.
  • Talk of “what’s good for standards is bad for Adobe” is misinformed nonsense.
  • Flash will innovate or die. I’m betting on innovation.

Let’s be clear: It’s fine to say that Flash is flawed; it is. (You know who’d agree? The Flash team.) It’s fine to hope for alternatives to take root. (Competition makes everyone better.) But let’s also be honest and say that Flash is the reason we all have fast, reliable, ubiquitous online video today. It’s the reason that YouTube took off & video consumption exploded four years ago. It’s the reason we have Hulu, Vimeo, and all the rest–and the reason that people now watch billions of videos per day (and nearly 10 hours apiece per month) online. Without it, we’d all still be bumbling along.

Macromedia was the only company that delivered truly ubiquitous (99% penetration) video playback. Apple didn’t*. Microsoft didn’t. Real didn’t. (Remember how you used to see sites offering multiple streams, making the user pick a player, because the content creator couldn’t rely on everyone being able to view one format? Good riddance to that crappy customer experience.) Content creators, whose income is proportional to their ability to reach customer eyeballs easily and reliably, have voted with their feet, moving to Flash. As a result, more than three quarters of online video now streams in Flash formats (up from 25% three years ago).

All these years later, we still don’t have a standard, browser-native alternative, much less one that’s achieved widespread viewership. (WebKit-based browsers remain in the single digits on the desktop. Firefox, which uses a different video format, is at 25%. Microsoft is off doing its own thing.) That sucks.

I don’t doubt that some video standard will eventually emerge & make its way into most if not all browsers. In the meantime, Adobe spends millions of dollars a year building & giving away software–for which content viewers & even content creators don’t have to pay a dime–to compensate for the rest of the world’s failure to get the job done.

Maybe that sounds harsh, but I find the Flash-bashing tedious and hollow. Flash has all kinds of shortcomings; helping address them is why I joined Adobe, for God’s sake! But Flash, as Winston Churchill might say, is “the worst except for all the others ever tried.” It will improve, as will competing implementations. In the meantime, how about we give the devil (if that’s how you see it) his due, giving Flash credit for helping the world get this far?

— On Standards —

Stepping a bit beyond video, I’m personally delighted to see Web standards like HTML5 emerge. Adobe makes nearly all its money selling authoring tools that target great runtimes. (Conversely, as I’ve mentioned, Adobe loses money building runtimes (Flash Player, Adobe Reader) that it gives away in order to sell authoring tools.) More great runtimes to target means more opportunities to build content for them. Adobe will naturally follow the money, building authoring tools that produce what customers demand, and that includes HTML5-based work. Don’t believe me? Check out a demo of Illustrator, Flash, and Dreamweaver targeting the HTML Canvas tag.

Guess what, though? When I posted that story, almost no one paid attention. People want a certain “killer” narrative: Good guys vs. bad guys, open vs. proprietary, blah blah. That’s simpleminded and lame.

I keep seeing the video standards discussion phrased as “H.264 vs. Flash video**” (e.g. John Gruber writing about Apple “replacing” Flash video with H.264). Apparently people are unaware that Flash has been playing H.264 for years. It’s easily the most popular H.264 player in the world.

Adobe’s choice to embrace H.264 in Flash is what allows sites like Vimeo and YouTube to create HTML5/AVC (i.e., non-Flash) versions of their sites without gobbling up petabytes of storage and loads of CPU cycles creating and storing alternate versions of their videos. Instead of locking people into some proprietary solution it created, Adobe has spent millions of dollars to enable use of a more standard format.

The obvious problem with open standards, of course, is that they often take eons to implement, and developing for different implementations sucks up time and money. Does anyone else remember seeing really sexy “DHTML” demos that featured full-screen animation and more? I do. You know when that was? 1998. And today, more than 15 years after Netscape debuted, Flash remains the only way to, say, display a vector chart across browsers (i.e., such that you can count on every viewer seeing it). That’s sad–especially given that Adobe plowed a hell of a lot of time & money into trying to get the open SVG standardized & adopted.

SVG taught me some painful lessons: While we sat waiting on months (at least) of committee meetings, review periods, etc., Macromedia was free to innovate & iterate quickly with Flash. Their implementation was lean & ran circles around the Adobe player that dutifully tried to support a cumbersome spec. (Again, remember that all this is just my personal opinion.) Openness and standards and kumbayah don’t matter if someone is pantsing your big, ponderous committee.

And this gets to two key, interrelated questions: Why will Flash live on (i.e. what are its competitive advantages?), and Why isn’t Flash open-source/an open standard? Again, I do not speak for the Flash team, but my take is that Flash’s advantages are predictability & agility:

  • It doesn’t require you to target multiple runtimes (browsers, etc.) from multiple vendors. Instead, there’s effectively one Flash Player with a predictable set of capabilities. Fonts, pixels, etc. render consistently across OSes, browsers, and devices. You don’t need something like BrowserLab (a free Adobe service, by the way) for Flash.
  • If Adobe develops a new technology (e.g. the Text Layout Framework, leveraging InDesign tech and enabling beautiful Web typography), it can be deployed quickly & reliably to all systems. That is, we don’t have to say, “Yeah, we’d love to see better type on the Web, but first we have to convince these groups to add support, and then wait several years for updates to achieve broad adoption, and then hope it all works the same…” We can just do it, and support will hit critical mass quickly.

In a sense it’s a more Apple-like approach: Control things yourself, so design-by-committee doesn’t compromise your product. Open-sourcing Flash would lead to a fragmentation of the format & Flash runtimes, and that would destroy the predictability and agility that differentiate Flash from other standards.

If the Flash team continues to innovate–that is, if they deliver better features more quickly, more predictably, and with better authoring tools than other technologies–then Flash will endure. If they don’t, it won’t–nor should it. But I’m betting they will.

— On Mac vs. Windows performance —

Finally, let’s turn to a touchy subject.

If Flash runs faster on Windows than on Mac, that must be proof of Adobe’s incompetence and/or anti-Mac malice, right? Of course, if Flash ran faster on Mac than on Windows, that would be taken as proof of OS X’s modern awesomeness. Heads they win, tails we lose. (Come on, tell me I’m wrong.)

Despite the Flash Player team investing disproportionate resources in the Mac player (where the Mac has ~5% market share to 90+% for Windows), and despite them making big strides on the Mac, it’s true that Flash performance on OS X has lagged behind Flash on Windows. That needs to change.

My understanding is that there’s work that both Adobe & Apple could do to improve matters. Mac users*** complain about high CPU usage when playing video. The latest Flash Player uses many fewer CPU cycles for video, but the needed hardware decoding support isn’t available on the Mac right now. I don’t have any inside info here, but I’ve heard that the Safari team is a great group of folks, and I hope they’re able to work with the Flash Player team to added the desired support.

— In Conclusion —

I’m very optimistic about Flash, Web standards, and what Adobe can to help customers. In particular:

  • The Flash Player team has been very hard at work leveraging the GPU to deliver great performance on mobile devices. I expect those optimizations to make their way into the desktop Flash Player.
  • Developers are pushing standards like CSS 3D, WebGL, and Canvas to deliver interesting results. It’s about time Web browsers got good at this stuff, for everyone’s sake, and those enhancements roll right into Adobe AIR and the Creative Suite (both of which use WebKit).
  • Adobe sells tools that can adapt to fit customers’ needs. As new technologies open new possibilities, Adobe will deliver great authoring apps.

J.

* I just checked, and the download for QuickTime is more than ten times the size that of Flash Player. If you want ubiquity, size still matters.

** Incidentally, FLV (Flash Video) is a publicly documented format, as are RTMP and SWF.

*** I’ve been a fervent one since 1984.

Sneak peek: Illustrator + Flash + Dreamweaver -> CANVAS

Check out this demo of Illustrator handing vector art to Dreamweaver, and DW binding the artwork to data so that it can be displayed via the HTML5 CANVAS tag:

Mordy Golding summarizes the demo as follows:

[The engineer] starts by taking art drawn in Illustrator and copies it to the clipboard. Then he goes into Dreamweaver, selects a DIV and chooses a function called Smart Paste. Dreamweaver then pastes an FXG conversion of the Illustrator art directly into the page. If you aren’t familiar with FXG, it’s basically a better SVG* (you can get more information on the open source FXG spec here). In other words, you draw in Illustrator, copy and paste into Dreamweaver (which converts it to code), and the art displays as vector art in a web browser. What’s more, the engineer proceeded to actually bind XML data to the chart.

After that, the presenter copies an animation in Flash Professional as XML, then pastes it in DW as a CANVAS animation.

It’s kind of funny to see this demo now, as Illustrator could export XML vector graphics (SVG) to the Web some 10 years ago. Later people made various efforts to display & manipulate SVG using Flash. This new demo uses different tools & a different display engine to do similar things.

I think this is a key point: Adobe makes money selling tools, not distributing viewing software. Those tools must address customer needs. If Flash Player is the right choice for some projects & HTML/CANVAS for others, no problem: we get paid to help you solve problems, not to force one implementation vs. another.

* I have no idea whether FXG is “better” than SVG overall & don’t want to get into a debate on that subject. FXG is based on SVG but maps more closely to the Flash drawing model.

Flash CS5 demo + many more vids from MAX

I’m impressed that today’s sessions from Adobe MAX are already live & streaming on Adobe TV. Check out numerous entries in the Design, Develop, and the sort of vaguely named Envision categories.

Being an old-school Flash user, I like seeing this preview demonstration of the version in development:


For some odd reason the first 20 or so minutes are empty, so just click ahead to reach the demo content.

I don’t yet see a video for today’s session on How to Write a Plug-in for Photoshop, but I’ll keep my eyes peeled.

Use Flash to build native iPhone apps

Today at Adobe MAX, the company announced that Flash tools will be able to build applications for iPhone that can be distributed through Apple’s App Store. A beta version of Flash Professional CS5 with this new capability is planned for release later this year. These aren’t Flash SWF files, they’re native iPhone apps.

My first question was, “Wait–so how native are these apps? Do they feel right, or do they seem like crappy ports?” The good news is that you can judge for yourself:

As of today, participants in the Adobe pre-release program have submitted 8 applications and all of them have been accepted into the App Store. The applications are: Digg Pics, South Park Avatar Creator, Chroma Circuit, Just Letters, Trading Stuff, Red Hood, Fickleblox, and That Roach Game.

Following the announcment at MAX, additional applications have been submitted including the Acrobat Connect application.

So, what about running Flash SWF files directly on the iPhone? The iPhone SDK License does not currently allow runtimes such as Flash Player or Adobe AIR. Hopefully Apple & Adobe will be able to work together on a solution in the future.

Before I get an earful about the Flash Player’s CPU & battery usage, note that on mobile devices, “engineers have increased Flash’s operating performance by 87 percent and reduced memory consumption by 55 percent” (more info). Adobe CTO Kevin Lynch said that Flash performance on mobile was “not very good,” and that video was “more like a slideshow than a video.” He then demonstrated excellent new hardware acceleration for Flash Player 10.1 on mobile, as well as solid multitouch support.

I’m not directly involved with these efforts, so your best sources of details are likely to be Adobe evangelists like Mark Doherty, Ted Patrick, and Mike Chambers. I’ll try to share other interesting details as I come across them.

[Update: Here’s more info from Aditya Bansod and the FAQ on Adobe Labs.]

"Flickroom": Lightroom-style Flickr browsing

Oh, now that’s interesting: Flickroom is an AIR application that uses a Lightroom-style shell to display photos. According to the site, the app:

“provides the rich browsing experience Flickr users have long deserved. The dark theme ensures that your photographs look better than ever before! You can now receive instant notifications for any activity on your photostream, upload photos by just drag-and-drop, add comments, mark faves, add notes, tweet about your photos and also view all info associated with an image from within the app.”

I haven’t gotten to play with it extensively, but so far I’m finding it fun. (By the way, if you’d like to create something similar using Adobe Flex, check out Juan Sanchez’s LR-style Flex theme.) [Via]

Quick Illustrator tips: Create a ribbon; batch convert

A few Adobe technical folks bounced around some ideas last week, responding to a question about how one would create a pink ribbon-style illustration. Stéphane Baril made some great suggestions in this very brief, five-step tutorial (PDF). (Live Paint is your friend!)

Elsewhere, developer Richard Bates has created a free utility & notes on Batch SWF Conversion with AIR and Illustrator CS4. [Via David Macy]

Flash for AE, and AE for Flash

For years and years I’ve wanted the After Effects team to promote AE as the next logical step for Flash animators wanting to go to the next level. (Once you’re freed from having to render everything on the fly on who-knows-what machine, the sky’s the limit.) That’s why I’ve been so excited by steps like XFL export from AE CS4.

Now authors Richard Harrington and Marcus Geduld have created Flash for After Effects and After Effects for Flash. You can check out a couple of chapters online for free:

Happy keyframing & expression-slinging & precomping and all that.

Roll your own After Effects plug-ins, sans coding

I’m always intrigued by visual tools that let non-coders assemble their own filter effects.

If this sort of thing is up your alley & if you use After Effects, check out Effect Builder AE. It’s “a development kit for building Adobe After Effects plug-ins from Quartz Compositions on Mac OS X. With Effect Builder AE and Quartz Composer, you can quickly create your own effects like generators, filters, and transitions without programming knowledge.” [Via]

Previously:

  • Filter Forge is a Photoshop plug-in used for creating your own filters.

New AspectFrame Flash panel: tester wanted

Photographer & developer Thomas Menath has whipped up AspectFrame, a Flash panel for Photoshop CS4, and he’d like to get help testing it. (The Flash UI can also run as a dialog inside Photoshop CS3.) According to Thomas,

This tool is just for drawing rectangular frames around images and optional adding additional space to get the standard ratios of 4:3 and 3:2 with an optional cutting line.

For more info & to download the panel and submit bugs/feedback, go to the product page.

Flash Catalyst now on Labs; free training available

If you want to turn Photoshop & Illustrator designs into interactive compositions quickly, without coding, Adobe Flash Catalyst is designed for you. Catalyst imports PSD, AI, and Fireworks PNG files, then lets you assign behaviors including animations & 3D effects. A beta of the app is now available for download from Adobe Labs.

To get up to speed quickly, check out Mordy Golding’s free Flash Catalyst Beta Preview video training course. It’s an hour of solid material broken into task-oriented pieces, covering everything from designing in Photoshop to publishing your output. (Props to Mordy & the Lynda.com team for making this great resource available for free!)

Alongside Flash Catalyst, Adobe Labs is hosting public beta releases of Adobe Flash Builder 4 (formerly Flex Builder) and the Flex 4 Framework. Here’s the official blurb:

Flash Builder 4 is the next evolution of Flex Builder, and includes a long list of feature improvements, new data-centric development features, and a new design-develop workflow with Flash Catalyst. Flash Catalyst, also now available in public beta, is a new interaction design tool for rapidly building application user interfaces without coding. Both Flash Builder and Flash Catalyst are based on the updated Flex 4 framework, also available for beta download.

Check it all out on Labs.

Tilt-shifting in AIR; Slick, simple 3D

  • Developer Art & Mobile has created TiltShift Generator, a simple little Flash app that lets you selectively blur parts of an image, simulating very shallow depth of field. You can download the app for use outside your browser, too. [Via Rich Townsend]
  • Box Shot 3D is a very simple, very easy-to-use little app for mapping images onto common 3D objects (boxes, bottles, business cards, etc.), then rendering a nicely lit result; see screenshots. I downloaded a copy and got good results in a minute or two.

Thoughts on FXG Design and Motivation

On Monday I mentioned the new FXG format being developed to offer and easier a way to exchange data between Photoshop & other applications. The mention attracted some questions in the post’s comments & elsewhere. Adobe Sr. Principal Scientist Mark Anders was instrumental in the design of FXG, and now he’s posted his Thoughts on FXG Design and Motivation. It’s a fairly geeky subject, but if you care about things like file formats and standards, you may find Mark’s post interesting.

For what it’s worth, I started petitioning Macromedia and Adobe ten years ago for something like FXG for motion graphics–an XML-based way to move layers, keyframes, etc. between Flash, After Effects, and other tools. Flash is at last moving away from the opaque FLA format to something called XFL, and FXG works hand in glove with XFL. Progress can take a while, but dammit, it does happen.

Fun with Augmented Reality

Wikipedia describes “augmented reality” as “the combination of real-world and computer-generated data (virtual reality), where computer graphics objects are blended into real footage in real time.” Now it’s come to Flash, with some amazing results.
The GE Smart Grid site lets you print out a sheet of paper, hold it up to your Web cam, and interact with 3D graphics. I was all set to link to a quick demo of the technology, but it just went MIA from YouTube. No matter: here’s a demo of an interactive print piece for Mini:

Thanks to the open-source FLARtoolkit for Flash, augmented reality is popping up all over, as in this augmented Happy New Year’s card:

It’s even been combined with Twitter + t-shirt printing. For more info, check out David Pogue’s report from TED. [Via lots and lots of people]
Tangentially related: This funny example of “real-life multitouch” is, indeed, a sign of too much iPhone usage. (Seeing it reminds me of Photoshop QE Pete du’Fosse realizing that he was working too much when he found himself hovering a hand over his microwave’s keypad, getting frustrated when no tool tip appeared.)

Airtight Flash galleries come to PSCS4

Felix Turner’s excellent Flash galleries (SimpleViewer, PostcardViewer, AutoViewer, and TiltViewer) have been integrated with Photoshop for some time.  Now with a little assist from PS scripter Jeff Tranberry, the processing module is compatible with CS4.  You can download the CS4 versions (self-installing via Extension Manager) as well as the CS3 versions from Felix’s Airtight Interactive site.

Extending Photoshop via SWF Panels: Tutorials

If you’ve got some JavaScript/Flash/Flex chops and are looking for a mental exercise over the little holiday, heads up: Our friend Dr. Woohoo has been busily creating a large series of tutorials on how to develop AIR applications and Flash panels that can communicate with and drive Photoshop and Illustrator CS4.  The first two tutorials are online now.  Drew (the doc) writes:

 

Enhanced Hello World
Follow along with this tutorial to create a Hello World Flash panel for Photoshop. In this exercise, you will create a Flash plug-in within a Flex Builder MXML project. When you run the Flash panel within Photoshop, it will send code to Photoshop that, when executed, will display an alert dialog box with a message.

Integrating your ExtendScripts
In order to communicate to the host application (Photoshop or Illustrator CS4) using the CSXSLibrary SWC, our code is sent as a string message via BridgeTalk, which will then be evaluated once it reaches the host application. Not a big deal if we’re only sending a few lines of code at max, but when our ExtendScript code is lengthy, we would either have to manually wrap each line of code up as a string or use the work-around process we will use in this tutorial to simplify our life.

 

On a related note, Drew recently appeared on Inside Digital Design Radio & TV, talking about how he uses programming to do things like design custom kimonos:

 

Drew Trujillo, Designer–better known as Dr. Woohoo!–joins hosts Scott Sheppard and Gene Gable this week to share his background and an inside look at his amazing design work. Fusing the best of art, technology, and design Dr. Woohoo’s technical and programming background help him to bring his visions to life.

CS4 color picker now does CMYK

Responding to reader feedback, developer Anastasiy Safari has added CMYK support and other tweaks (e.g. resizability) to the color picker panel I mentioned the other day.  Way to go, Anastasiy!

 

You can download the panel here, unzip the file, and then drag the contents of the file into your "Adobe Photoshop CS4/Plug-Ins/Panels" directory.  (Don’t forget to delete the old one if you installed it earlier.)  After you relaunch Photoshop CS4, the panel will appear under Window->Extensions.

 

Oh, and–indulging my inner 8-year-old for a second–to all those folks who were spraying bile at the idea of Flash panels not so long ago: "You like apples?  Well how do you like them apples?". 😉

Demo: Flash Catalyst ("Thermo") makes PSDs interactive

Adobe’s upcoming Flash Catalyst (previously demoed as “Thermo”) is meant to let designers easily convert static Photoshop, Illustrator, and Fireworks artwork into interactive content without coding.  It lets you turn imported layers into components quickly, specifying & tweaking animated transitions.

 

Evangelist Ryan Stewart and Product Designer Narciso Jaramillo have posted a clear, crisp little tour of the design process.  Besides turning a Photoshop design into an animated prototype, they demonstrate using Illustrator to tweak the placed artwork.

 

Catalyst & the future of Flex were a hot topic at Adobe MAX. I wasn’t able to squeeze into one of the standing-room only sessions, but now you can check one out via Adobe TV.  Ryan’s Catalyst demo (similar to the one above) itself starts around 17:30 and runs roughly 10 minutes.  You can also get a look at the next version of Flex Builder, codenamed "Gumbo."

Recent Flash goodness

Here’s a handful of good, immersive swiffiness I’ve run across lately:

 

  • This Is Reality takes "clean coal" technology to task.  I love the aesthetics, though after about six episodes of running the poor canary into a wall, I had to bail.
  • I found Cadbury’s pastoral Glass And A Half Full Productions via the bizarre drumming gorrilla I mentioned the other day.
  • Red Bull’s The Red Bulletin starts with a 3D globe, then heads into racecar territory. [Via]

Photoshop gets a new color picker panel

When painting in Photoshop, I’ve always found the little color ramp area on the Color panel (screenshot) pretty cramped.  At just 190×15 pixels, it occupies a princely 0.16% of the screen real estate on a 17″ monitor (or 0.07% on 30-incher!), and yet you’re supposed to use it to choose among 16.7 million colors.  The main Photoshop color picker is of course much larger and more powerful, but using it requires trips into a modal dialog box.

 

Though we’ve yet to offer the color picker dialog in panel form, developer Anastasiy has created a SWF panel form of the picker (screenshot) that you can download for free.  Very cool!

 

I’ve written to Anastasiy to suggest a few tweaks, and I hope this is the first of many alternate color pickers for Photoshop. (We’re also talking to Viktor Goltvyanitsa about bringing his ColorPalette panel–now part of Fireworks CS4–to PSCS4.)  Lastly, we’ll work to make sure these components can be dropped into Configurator panels.

 

PS–A note on installation: Drop the contents of the ZIP file into your "Adobe Photoshop CS4/Plug-Ins/Panels" directory, then look under Window->Extensions.  All SWF files you drop into Panels or its subfolders appear under the Extensions submenu.

Use Flex Builder to extend the Suite

We’re working to make it easier & easier for Flash/Flex developers to extend the Creative Suite. The new PatchPanel technology allows developers to use ActionScript to access the scripting DOM of a CS host app.

 

Developer Dr. Woohoo has been working closely with the development team for many months & points out some of PatchPanel’s advantages:

 

  1. It’s easier to write code because the DOMs for Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign and ExtendScript are imported directly into Flex Builder.  That means all the benefits of developing SWFs and AIR applications in FlexBuilder can now be applied to the development process of SWF panels (e.g., code-hinting, code-completion, refactoring, etc.).
  2. Debugging is on par with developing within Flex Builder.  We can actually run the SWF within the Creative Suite host application and debug directly within Flex Builder.  That’s dramatically significant.
  3. We can develop for both platforms using the same code base.
  4. We can develop for PS/AI/ID using the same framework (not the same code, though, because of the sometimes dramatic differences between the DOMs).
  5. PatchPanel is free.

 

PatchPanel creator Bernd Paradies also cites the following:

 

  1. You can copy and paste your old ExtendScript scripts into your Flex project, build them, and run them.
  2. You can write PP code that targets other CS hosts (e.g., Photoshop.alert() in InDesign brings up Photoshop).
  3. PatchPanel comes with complete LiveDocs-style documentation for ID, PS, AI, Bridge, PatchPanel, and SwitchBoard.
  4. The PatchPanel CS4 examples come with MXI samples that make it really easy to create MXPs that you can install via Extension Manager 2.x.
  5. PatchPanel comes with a special version of SwitchBoard, which allows you to do asynchronous communication with other CS apps without having to go through the host.
  6. You can use PatchPanel in AIR applications for smaller scripts.

 

For a deeper dive, check out Bernd’s video demo & overview presentation.  Also look for Dr. W’s MAX presentations & some new tutorials to emerge soon.  In the meantime, developers can download PatchPanel from Labs and discuss it on the Labs forum.

Get better color online through Flash Player 10

Let’s not mince words: Presenting your images through Flash is now the best way to preserve the fidelity of their color online.

 

Support for color management is in Web browsers is rare (only Safari supports it by default, and the IE team is apparently missing in action).  Color management thus can’t be counted on from browsers, and images display differently in different browsers. Flash Player, on the other hand, is ubiquitous, consistent, and reliable–and now in Flash Player 10 it offers basic color management support.  It’ll take a little while for the new FP10 to proliferate, but this is a huge step forward.  Color mgmt. in Flash will finally put an end to colors shifting when you move from PS to Flash.

 

I’ve asked Adobe color management expert Peter Constable to provide further details.  For those, read on.  For my take on why Web designers should give a damn about this stuff, see previous.

Continue reading

Tutorial: Creating Flash panels for Photoshop

Matthew Keefe has posted a brief tutorial on how to create your first Flash panel for Photoshop CS4. To load any SWF in Photoshop as a panel, just drop it into the Adobe Photoshop CS4/Plug-Ins/Panels directory, then launch PS and look under Window->Extensions. To make a SWF communicate with Photoshop via scripting, however, a bit more work is required, and that’s where Matthew’s tutorial comes in. If you create something cool, or if you see interesting SWF panels popping up, please let us know.

Related:

Pixel Bender + Your Photos

I’m a big fan of Todd Dominey’s SlideShowPro component for Lightroom (using it pretty much incessantly), so I’m extremely pleased to see Todd adding support for Adobe’s new Pixel Bender imaging technology. PB is a way of running fast filter code in Flash Player 10, After Effects CS4, and–very shortly–Photoshop CS4. In this example (which you’ll need FP10 to see properly), color images are being converted to B&W on the fly, and the gallery is running a blur effect as the transition.

On-the-fly filtering opens up all kinds of possibilities for altering images non-destructively, from adding custom vignettes to applying sharpening (example). At a more humble (but arguably even more important level), the same graphics architecture enables color management support in Flash for the first time. Look for a more detailed post on that subject soon.

Pixel Bender support isn’t yet in the Lightroom version of SlideShowPro, but I’m looking forward to it. As for Photoshop, we decided to give the PB plug-in for CS4 a couple more weeks to bake, so look for it on Adobe Labs in early November. (In the meantime, just to be annoying, let me mention that being able to cruise over to the Pixel Bender Exchange, download filters (e.g. a fast zoom blur with preview), drop them into PS, and have added super-fast filters without restarting the app doesn’t suck at all.)

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

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.

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]

Flash moving to an XML-based authoring format

Well, I guess the cat is scratching its way out of the bag: as noted Flash author and developer Colin Moock reports on his blog, the Flash authoring tool is moving away from its binary FLA authoring format (undocumented & unreadable to the outside world) and towards an XML-based format.  Yeah!

Why the excitement?  I’ll admit, this seems like a pretty arcane subject, but the possible ramifications for workflow are great.  Colin writes,

Historically, interchanging source with the Flash authoring tool has been virtually impossible for third-party software because the specification for .fla has never been public… [Now, however,] in theory you might one day edit the images of an XFL file directly in Photoshop without disturbing the timeline information also contained in that file. Or you might be able to import a page from a word processing document into a Flash presentation.

I should add the obligatory caveat that plans are subject to change, none of this may happen, void where prohibited, professional driver on a closed course, etc.  Even so, I find the direction really exciting.

Back in 1999, long before I came to work here, I started lobbying my contacts at Macromedia and Adobe to create something I called the "Flash Interchange Format"–some XML representation of at least the basics of an animation (object name, position, scale, etc.) so that I could use Flash and After Effects together.  Unfortunately Flash remained locked to the inscrutable FLA format.  We did devise an XML interchange format that let LiveMotion and After Effects talk, and Dr. Woohoo has done terrific work enabling Flash and AE to exchange data, yet the tools continue to lack an out-of-the-box solution.

Now, however, I hear the sounds of a big door opening, and it’s a welcome sound indeed.

Friday Photos: Slam dunks to Zeppelin

Technology sneak: InDesign -> Flash

“Print is not dead,” says InDesign Product Manager Michael Ninness. “But design for print only is dying.”

At last week’s InDesign Conference*, Myke & Adobe evangelist Tim Cole showed a sneak preview of InDesign handing off a rich layout to the Flash authoring tool, then turning it into an interactive composition.  Terri Stone from CreativePro.com’s got the story and screenshots, while John Dowdell shares some perspective from a longtime observer of designer-developer interactions. [Update: Mordy Golding has posted videos of the demo.]

What’s particularly cool here, I think, is that InDesign isn’t just producing a SWF file.  That approach can be great when you want one-stop shopping, but we saw very clearly in the LiveMotion days that integration with Flash authoring is an essential option.  Without integration, content creators face an either/or choice of tools, meaning that each app ends up trying to do everything you could want. 

By emphasizing integration, Adobe can avoid re-inventing the wheel or stuffing half of Flash inside InDesign; instead, each tool can focus on doing what it does best. InDesign can nail layout, styling, content aggregation, and basic interactivity, while Flash can pick up for richer coding and animation. (As it happens, Myke is a veteran of Microsoft’s Expression/Silverlight effort, before which he was my boss on LiveMotion, so I’m really glad he’s helping shape these efforts.)

For more examples of InDesign-style content taken to the next level with Flash, check out the full-screen, video-enhanced Flash presentation of Reporte Indigo (“Inicia tu experiencia aquí!”) and the page curls of Lovely Magazine.  (The sneak showed page curls being specified right within InDesign, then running in the Flash Player.)  [Via Lynly Schambers]

Tangentially related: InDesign Magazine is offering a free trial issue as a downloadable PDF–no strings attached.

*InDesign now gets its own conference; back in the day, whouda thunk it? You’ve come a long way, baby. 🙂

[PS–On the baby front (hey, how could I resist?), I have to say that it’s kinda bizarre to get back to talking about technology & the usual ephemera I share here. I checked mail on Sunday and saw a CNET headline about the future of digital photography (sounds interesting, haven’t read it yet). I found myself thinking, “Oh yeah… digital photography… people are still talking about that?” What a seismic shift in perspective this whole thing produces.]

Technology sneak: InDesign -> Flash

“Print is not dead,” says InDesign Product Manager Michael Ninness. “But design for print only is dying.”

At last week’s InDesign Conference*, Myke & Adobe evangelist Tim Cole showed a sneak preview of InDesign handing off a rich layout to the Flash authoring tool, then turning it into an interactive composition.  Terri Stone from CreativePro.com’s got the story and screenshots, while John Dowdell shares some perspective from a longtime observer of designer-developer interactions. [Update: Mordy Golding has posted videos of the demo.]

What’s particularly cool here, I think, is that InDesign isn’t just producing a SWF file.  That approach can be great when you want one-stop shopping, but we saw very clearly in the LiveMotion days that integration with Flash authoring is an essential option.  Without integration, content creators face an either/or choice of tools, meaning that each app ends up trying to do everything you could want. 

By emphasizing integration, Adobe can avoid re-inventing the wheel or stuffing half of Flash inside InDesign; instead, each tool can focus on doing what it does best. InDesign can nail layout, styling, content aggregation, and basic interactivity, while Flash can pick up for richer coding and animation. (As it happens, Myke is a veteran of Microsoft’s Expression/Silverlight effort, before which he was my boss on LiveMotion, so I’m really glad he’s helping shape these efforts.)

For more examples of InDesign-style content taken to the next level with Flash, check out the full-screen, video-enhanced Flash presentation of Reporte Indigo (“Inicia tu experiencia aquí!”) and the page curls of Lovely Magazine.  (The sneak showed page curls being specified right within InDesign, then running in the Flash Player.)  [Via Lynly Schambers]

Tangentially related: InDesign Magazine is offering a free trial issue as a downloadable PDF–no strings attached.

*InDesign now gets its own conference; back in the day, whouda thunk it? You’ve come a long way, baby. 🙂

[PS–On the baby front (hey, how could I resist?), I have to say that it’s kinda bizarre to get back to talking about technology & the usual ephemera I share here. I checked mail on Sunday and saw a CNET headline about the future of digital photography (sounds interesting, haven’t read it yet). I found myself thinking, “Oh yeah… digital photography… people are still talking about that?” What a seismic shift in perspective this whole thing produces.]

Naked saunas, 3D Flash globes, and other infographic goodness

  • My wife and I are nervously quizzing each other on these expert (and very funny) baby care instructions (boosted wholesale, it would seem, from David Sopp’s Safe Baby Handling Tips). [Via]
  • Wable is “a coffee table that displays a user’s web activity via physical bar graphing.”  Yes, I remember pining for such a thing not ever. (Are Venn-diagram kiddie pools next?)
  • Maps:
  • Signage:
  • Blogging software has made self-publishing seem simple, but beneath the covers, a whole lot’s going on.  Wired has a Flash-based diagram showing what all happens when one hits “Publish.” [Via]

Recent Flash goodness in 3D & beyond

  • When is a shopping site… something else?  When it’s this viral site for Dutch chain Hema*.  "It’s like an IKEA catalog was sliced up and fed to a Rube Goldberg machine," says Motionographer. "The magnifying glass bit is brilliant." [Via]
  • Who doesn’t like "secret interactive frivolity"?  Design firm Baker and Hill lavishes attention on the details of their fun-to-navigate company site.
  • 3D action:
    • Don’t let the ultra-retro intro fool you: Electric Oyster’s demo features the beginnings of a nifty Flash-based flight simulator. [Via]
    • National Geographic offers a 3D Atlas of Human History.  Developer g.wygonik from the always-interesting Terra Incognita provides background on the project.
    • This Adobe Japan page features 3D balls gone mad. [Via]
    • The Volvo XC70 site features a fully rotatable rendering of the car, festooned wih interactive touch points.  Stick around through the intro, then hit the arrows to continue.  (Yes, we have kid-haulers on the brain, and I’ll always have a thing for Volvo wagons.)
  • ASLuv busts out the fairy dust with this little particle sprayer.  (Don’t break the glowsticks ’til you feel the beats hit.) [Via]
  • In a sorta related vein, see Lee Brimelow’s YTMND-style Billy Mays tributePuzzling; I can dig it.
  • The Air Pocket Symphony (no relation to Adobe AIR, MacBook Air, wayward heiresses, etc.) features photorealistic objects and a nice, simple sliding animation.  [Via]
  • MyFlashFetish offers SWF bits (particularly music players, it seems) that can be embedded in your site. [Via]

* Tangential: It’s not Flash, but on the innovative shopping front, software maker Panic lets you drag and drop items into your shopping cart.  Slickness.

Recent Flash goodness in 3D & beyond

  • When is a shopping site… something else?  When it’s this viral site for Dutch chain Hema*.  "It’s like an IKEA catalog was sliced up and fed to a Rube Goldberg machine," says Motionographer. "The magnifying glass bit is brilliant." [Via]
  • Who doesn’t like "secret interactive frivolity"?  Design firm Baker and Hill lavishes attention on the details of their fun-to-navigate company site.
  • 3D action:
    • Don’t let the ultra-retro intro fool you: Electric Oyster’s demo features the beginnings of a nifty Flash-based flight simulator. [Via]
    • National Geographic offers a 3D Atlas of Human History.  Developer g.wygonik from the always-interesting Terra Incognita provides background on the project.
    • This Adobe Japan page features 3D balls gone mad. [Via]
    • The Volvo XC70 site features a fully rotatable rendering of the car, festooned wih interactive touch points.  Stick around through the intro, then hit the arrows to continue.  (Yes, we have kid-haulers on the brain, and I’ll always have a thing for Volvo wagons.)
  • ASLuv busts out the fairy dust with this little particle sprayer.  (Don’t break the glowsticks ’til you feel the beats hit.) [Via]
  • In a sorta related vein, see Lee Brimelow’s YTMND-style Billy Mays tributePuzzling; I can dig it.
  • The Air Pocket Symphony (no relation to Adobe AIR, MacBook Air, wayward heiresses, etc.) features photorealistic objects and a nice, simple sliding animation.  [Via]
  • MyFlashFetish offers SWF bits (particularly music players, it seems) that can be embedded in your site. [Via]

* Tangential: It’s not Flash, but on the innovative shopping front, software maker Panic lets you drag and drop items into your shopping cart.  Slickness.

Putting video inside the Photoshop UI

As I’ve mentioned a number of times, there’s huge potential in extending Photoshop via embedded Flash–something we’ve already prototyped in CS3.  Among the Flash Player’s capabilities, of course, is the ability to display video, including high quality H.264.

The idea of putting video inside Photoshop, however, sometimes draws blanks stares.  "Dude, why would I want to watch Transformers in a Photoshop palette?"  You wouldn’t, of course.  For a more practical example, look to the new MacBook Air.

Apple has posted a set of little videos that show off the gestures enabled by the laptop’s–er, notebook’s–new trackpad.  (Click the little arrow by the pictures of fingers.)  Each clip is short n’ sweet, showing just what’s needed to communicate the idea.

The thing they don’t mention here, though, and that I learned by watching a demo at Macworld, is that the videos appear inside the Keyboard & Mouse section of system prefs.  If you forget how they work, just pop open the controls & get a quick demo.

That’s more what I have in mind for Adobe applications.  Now, as with all the times I mention future ideas, I have to manage expectations: if you like the idea, don’t be disappointed if you don’t see video clips popping out of every dialog box in Photoshop.  Having said that, we hope to do things in a very Adobe way–opening the platform to the community.  Something tells me that more than a few of the savvy educators out there will see an opportunity to enhance the Photoshop user experience.

"Enter The Ghetto Matrix," Flash Panos, & HDR

  • "How to Enter The Ghetto Matrix": Graffiti Research Labs built their own bullet-time camera rig, then used it to make a music video. [Via]
  • Flash-based panoramas:
    • The NYT features a pair of interactive panoramas shot at Ground Zero in lower Manhattan.  The audio helps add to the sense of being there, though I’d recommend skipping the built-in animation & instead clicking and dragging to navigate for yourself.
    • Rob Corell passed along these 360° video panoramas, created with the help of Papervision 3D. Go Irish.
  • More high dynamic range action:

"Enter The Ghetto Matrix," Flash Panos, & HDR

  • "How to Enter The Ghetto Matrix": Graffiti Research Labs built their own bullet-time camera rig, then used it to make a music video. [Via]
  • Flash-based panoramas:
    • The NYT features a pair of interactive panoramas shot at Ground Zero in lower Manhattan.  The audio helps add to the sense of being there, though I’d recommend skipping the built-in animation & instead clicking and dragging to navigate for yourself.
    • Rob Corell passed along these 360° video panoramas, created with the help of Papervision 3D. Go Irish.
  • More high dynamic range action:

kuler RIA comes to Dreamweaver

On the heels of integrations with Fireworks, Flash, Illustrator, Dashboard, and even Visio, Adobe’s kuler hosted app/color community is now integrated with Dreamweaver, courtesy of the good folks at WebAssist.  The panel is a free download from their site.

Seems like there just might be something to this desktop/Web hybrid thing.  Perhaps we’ll get it into Photoshop yet. 🙂

Speaking (completely tangentially) of Color-Related Technologies with Funky K-Based Names™, the color bars of Pioneer’s Project Kuro remind me of kuler.