Category Archives: Miscellaneous

Fei-Fei Li & the next leap in perceiving reality

I really enjoyed this TED talk from Fei-Fei Li on spatial computing & the possible dawning of a Cambrian explosion on how we—and our creations—perceive the world.

In the beginning of the universe, all was darkness — until the first organisms developed sight, which ushered in an explosion of life, learning and progress. AI pioneer Fei-Fei Li says a similar moment is about to happen for computers and robots. She shows how machines are gaining “spatial intelligence” — the ability to process visual data, make predictions and act upon those predictions — and shares how this could enable AI to interact with humans in the real world.

A lovely Guinness ad from… Jason Momoa?

It’s somehow true!

I think the spirit of maximally inclusive “Irishness” has special resonance for millions of people around the world, like me, who can trace a portion (but not all) of their ancestry to the Emerald Isle. (For me it’s 75%, surname notwithstanding.) I’m reminded of Notre Dame’s “What Would You Fight For?” campaign, which features scientists, engineers, and humanitarians from around the world who conclude with “We are the Fighting Irish.” I dunno—it’s hard to explain, but it really warms my heart—as did the Irish & Chinese Railroad Workers float we saw in SF’s St. Paddy’s parade on Saturday.

Anyway, I found this bit starring & directed by Jason Momoa to be pretty charming. Enjoy:

Adobe Announces Inaugural Film & TV Fund, Committing $6 Million to Support Underrepresented Creators

In her 12+ years in Adobe’s video group, my wife Margot worked to bring more women into the world of editing & filmmaking, participating in efforts supporting all kinds of filmmakers across a diverse range of ages, genders, types of subject matter, experience levels, and backgrounds. I’m delighted to see such efforts continuing & growing:

Adobe and the Adobe Foundation will partner with a cohort of global organizations that are committed to empowering underrepresented communities, including Easterseals, Gold House, Latinx House, Sundance Institute and Yuvaa, funding fellowships and apprenticeships that offer direct, hands-on industry access. The grants will also enable organizations to directly support filmmakers in their communities with funding for short and feature films.

The first fellowship is a collaboration with the NAACP, designed to increase representation in post-production. The NAACP Editing Fellowship is a 14-week program focused on education and training, career growth and workplace experience and will include access to Adobe Creative Cloud to further set up emerging creators with the necessary tools. Applications open on Jan. 18, with four fellows selected to participate in the program starting in May.

Premiere Pro ups its audio game

“If you want to make a movie look good, make it sound good.” That’s the spirit in which Adobe is introducing a wide range of enhancements to audio handling in Premiere Pro:

According to the team, the audio workflow changes now available in the beta include:

  • Interactive Fade Handles: Now you can simply click and drag from the edge of a clip to create a variety of custom audio fades in the timeline or drag across two clips to create a crossfade. These visual fades provide more precision and control over audio transitions while making it easy to see where they are applied across your sequence.
  • AI-powered Audio Category Tagging: When you drag clips into the sequence, they’ll automatically be identified and labeled with new icons for dialogue, music, sound effects, or ambience. A single click on the icon provides access to the most relevant tools for that audio type in the Essential Sound panel — such as Loudness Matching or Auto Ducking.
  • Redesigned FX Clip Badges: An updated badge makes it easier for you to see which clips have effects added to them. New effects can be added by right clicking the badge, and a single click opens the Effect Control panel for even more adjustment without changing the workspace or searching for the panel.
  • Modern, Intelligent Waveforms and Clips: Waveforms now dynamically resize when you change the track height and improved clip colors make it easier for you to see and work with audio on the timeline.

Important protections for creators in Generative Match

I’m really happy & proud that Firefly now enables uploading your own images & mixing them into your creations. For months & months, this has been users’ number 1 feature request.

But with power comes responsibility, of course, and we’ve spent a lot of time thinking about ways to discourage misuse of the tech (i.e. how do we keep this from becoming a rip-off engine?). I’m glad to say that we’ve invested in some good guidelines & guardrails:

First, we require users to confirm they have the right to use any work that they upload to Generative Match as a reference image.

Second, if an image’s Content Credentials include tags indicating that the image shouldn’t be used as a style reference, users won’t be able to use it with Generative Match. We will be rolling out the ability to add these tags to assets as part of the Content Credentials framework within our flagship products.

Third, when a reference image is used to generate an asset, we save a thumbnail of the image to help ensure that the use of Generative Match meets our terms of service. We also note that a reference image was used in the asset’s Content Credentials. Storing the reference image provides an important dose of accountability.

To be clear, these protections are just first steps, and we plan to do more to strengthen protections. In the meantime, your feedback is most welcome!

Remembering John Warnock

Like so many folks inside Adobe & far beyond, I’m saddened by the passing of our co-founder & a truly great innovator. I’m traveling this week in Ireland & thus haven’t time to compose a proper remembrance, but I’ve shared a few meaningful bits in this thread (click or tap through to see):

Back from the dead

Yikes—my ability to post got knocked out nearly a week ago due to a WordPress update gone awry. Hopefully things are now back to normal & I can resume sharing bits of the non-stop 5-alarm torrent of rad AI-related developments that land every day. Stay tuned!

“Diffused Reality” lecture this Thursday

Photographer Dan Marcolina has been pushing the limits of digital creation for many years, and on Feb. 9 at 11am Eastern time, he’s scheduled to present a lecture. You can register here & check out details below:

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Dan will demonstrate how to use an AI workflow to create dynamic, personalized imagery using your own photos. Additional information on Augmented Reality and thoughts from Dan’s 35-year design career will also be presented.

What attendees will learn:

  • Tips from Dan’s book iPhone Obsessed, revealing how to best shoot and process photos on your cell for use in the AI re-imagination process  SEE THE BOOK
  • The AI photo re-creation workflow with tips and tricks to get started quickly, showing how a single source image can be crafted to create new meaning.
  • The post process of upscaling, clean-up, post manipulation and color correction to obtain a gallery ready image.
  • As a bonus he will show a little of how he did the augmented reality aspect of the show.

Anyone interested in image creation, photography, illustration, painting, storytelling, design or who is curious about AI/AR and the future of photography will gain valuable insights from the presentation.

“The impossibilities are endless”: Yet more NeRF magic

Last month Paul Trillo shared some wild visualizations he made by walking around Michelangelo’s David, then synthesizing 3D NeRF data. Now he’s upped the ante with captures from the Louvre:

Over in Japan, Tommy Oshima used the tech to fly around, through, and somehow under a playground, recording footage via a DJI Osmo + iPhone:

https://twitter.com/jnack/status/1616981915902554112?s=20&t=5LOmsIoifLw8oNVMV2fYIw
As I mentioned last week, Luma Labs has enabled interactive model embedding, and now they’re making the viewer crazy-fast:

Adobe celebrates its 40th anniversary

It’s wild to look back & realize that I’ve spent roughly a third of my life at this special place, making amazing friends & even meeting my future wife (and future coworker!) on a customer visit. I feel like I should have more profundity to offer, and maybe I will soon, but at the moment I just feel grateful—including for the banger of a party the company threw last week in SF.

Here’s a fun little homage to history, made now via Photoshop 1.0. (I still kinda wish I hadn’t been talked into donating my boxed copy of 1.0 to the Smithsonian! The ‘Dobe giveth…)

PDF to cloud to homegrown tech titan: Adobe celebrates 40th anniversary

Podcast: “Why Figma is selling to Adobe for $20 billion, with CEO Dylan Field”

I had the chance to grab breakfast with Figma founder & CEO Dylan Field a couple of weeks ago, and I found him to be incredibly modest and down to earth. He reminded me of certain fellow Brown CS majors—the brilliant & gracious founding team of Adobe After Effects. I can’t wait for them all to meet someday soon.

In any case, I really enjoyed the hour-long interview Dylan did with Nilay Patel of The Verge. Here’s hoping that the Adobe deal goes through as planned & that we get to do great things together!

“Mundane Halloween” win: “Person whose skeleton is being estimated by machine learning” 

Happy day to all who celebrate. 😌

The whole thread is hilarious & well worth a look:

Adobe VP. feat… Wu-Tang Clan?!

What the what? From Sébastien Deguy, founder of Allegorithmic & now VP 3D & Immersive at Adobe:

I don’t communicate often about that other part of my activities, but I am so glad I could work with one of my all time favorites that I have to 🙂 My latest track, featuring Raekwon (Wu-Tang Clan) is available on all streaming platforms! Like here on Spotify.

Perhaps even more surprisingly, it slaps! 👏

Video lovers: Adobe’s hiring a Community Relationship Manager for Pro Video

If this sounds like your kind of jam, read on! From the job description:


What you’ll do:

  • Share your knowledge, passion and experience of Adobe Premiere Pro and After Effects with video makers.
  • Engage daily with communities around professional video wherever they are (Reddit, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc.) in two-way conversations, representing Adobe.
  • Be active and visible within the community, build long term relationships and trust, and demonstrate that knowledge and understanding of the users to help Adobe internally.
  • Build relationships with leaders in the identified communities.
  • Establish yourself as a leader through your work and participation in time-sensitive topics and conversations.
  • Answer questions and engage in discussion about Adobe products and policies with a heavy focus on newcomers to the ecosystem.
  • Encourage others through sharing your personal use of and experimentation with professional video tools.
  • Enable conversation, build content and speak about Adobe tools to address the specific audience needs.
  • Understand the competitive landscape and promptly report accordingly.
  • Coordinate with other community, product, marketing and campaign teams to develop mini-engagements and activities for the community (i.e. AMAs with the product team on Reddit, or community activities and discussions via live streams, etc.)
  • Work closely with the broader community team, evangelism team, and product teams to provide insight and feedback to advocate for the pro video community within Adobe and to help drive product development direction.

Designers: Come design Photoshop!

Two roles (listed as being based in NYC & Denver) are now open. Check out the descriptions from the team:

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As a key member and thought-leader on this team, you’ll be an integral part of exploring and influencing the next generation of Adobe’s creative tools. Together, we are forging a new class of experience standards for desktop, mobile, and web products for years to come.

You will (among other things):

  • Seek/design the “simple” experiences and interactions that influence our growing portfolio of creative tools. Empower users to delight themselves.
  • Partner closely with fellow senior designers, product managers, senior engineers, and other leaders across different teams to bring new products to life.

What you’ll bring to the team

Must-Haves

  • A minimum of 5 years of industry experience in product design with a proven track record of success
  • Experience (and a love of!) solving complex design and technology problems using systems thinking
  • Excellent communication skills, with the ability to clearly articulate a multi-level problem space and strategy behind design decisions
  • Creative and analytical skills to advocate for and support research, synthesize, and communicate insights that encourage design opportunities and product strategy
  • Passion for understanding how creative people do what they do and how technology plays a role in the creative process
  • Experience establishing user experience patterns across mobile, web, and desktop products within connected platforms

Adobe UI role: Sr. Staff Experience Designer, Premiere Pro

My video teammates (including the one I married) are attempting some groundbreaking, audacious stuff, and this newly open gig is a great chance to dive in with them:

This role will lead projects across various workflows from editing, audio, color, graphics and motion. You will bring your future-looking ideas to life with your designs, prototypes, and storytelling toolkit. You are a strong advocate for the customer because you can relate to their needs and understand the power of design and story to transform.

You will use your experience in post-production and experience design to paint the future vision of the products, but also love getting down into the details of shipping new builds and setting the example for shipping work with high quality.

Adobe plans to make Photoshop on the web free to everyone

It’s been great to connect my former Google & Adobe teammates, helping them deepen the companies’ ongoing efforts to build up Web tech & enable deployment of demanding apps like Photoshop. Meanwhile the PS team has been working to make the app accessible everywhere:

The company is now testing the free version in Canada, where users are able to access Photoshop on the web through a free Adobe account. Adobe describes the service as “freemium” and eventually plans to gate off some features that will be exclusive to paying subscribers. Enough tools will be freely available to perform what Adobe considers to be Photoshop’s core functions. […]

“I want to see Photoshop meet users where they’re at now,” [Maria] Yap says. “You don’t need a high-end machine to come into Photoshop.”

“Thank God ‘E.T.’ Sucked,” revisited

Recently Atari creator Nolan Bushnell reflected on the 50th anniversary of the company, giving me occasion to reflect on how Atari’s decline very indirectly paved the way to my joining Photoshop. Here, 10 (!) years after I first shared it, is the brief story:


The stars aligned Monday, and two of my favorite creative people, Russell Brown & Panic founder Cabel Sasser, got to meet. Cabel (who commissioned Panic’s awesome homage to 1982-style video game art) was in town for a classic games show, and as we passed Russell’s office, I pointed out the cutout display for Atari’s notorious 1982 video game “E.T.” Russell had worked at Atari back then, and I rather gingerly asked, “Uh, didn’t that game kinda suck?”

“Oh yes!” said Russell–and thank goodness it did: if it hadn’t, Russell (and hundreds of others) wouldn’t have gotten laid off, and he wouldn’t have gone to Apple (where he met his future wife) and from there gone to “this little startup called ‘Adobe.'”

If that hadn’t happened, he wouldn’t have snatched my neck off the chopping block in ’02: I was days from being laid off post-LiveMotion, and it’s because Russell saw my “farewell” demo at his ADIM conference that he called the execs to say, “Really–we’re canning this guy…?” And, of course, had that not happened, I likely wouldn’t have met Cabel, wouldn’t have been introducing him & Russell, wouldn’t be talking to you now.

Of course, we joked, if it weren’t for the three of us talking just then, we’d be off experiencing some wonderful life-changing strokes of serendipity right now–but so it goes. 🙂

How-to for app developers combating misinformation

Although it’s just one piece of a large puzzle, the Content Authenticity Initiative is working to help toolmakers add content credentials that help establish the original of digital media & disclose what edits have been done to it.

If you make imaging-related tools, check out this in-depth workshop exploring Adobe’s three open-source products for adding CAI support:

Content credentials, currently integrated into Adobe Photoshop, will now be available for other products and services through three simple open-source tools. Dave Kozma, Eric Scouten, and Gavin Peacock from the CAI team will show off the new JavaScript SDK, Rust Toolkit, and Command Line Utility. CAI Lead Product Designer and C2PA UX Task Force Co-Chair Pia Blumenthal will walk through the UX guidelines, use cases, and trust signals these new tools enable.

The AP joins the Content Authenticity Initiative

Adobe & partners in fighting disinformation have continued to grow their ranks, and it’s great to see the Associated Press coming on board:

With reporting from 250 locations around the world, AP is a key addition to the CAI’s mission to help consumers everywhere better understand the provenance and attribution of images and video. 

“We are pleased to join the CAI in its efforts to combat misinformation and disinformation around photojournalism,” said AP Director of Photography David Ake. “AP has worked to advance factual reporting for over 175 years. Teaming up to help ensure the authenticity of images aligns with that mission.”  

Full-stack engineers: come work with me!

We are building some rad stuff (seriously, I wish I could show you already) and would love to have you join us:

We are looking for a versatile and passionate Senior Developer to join us and help drive full stack, complex component implementation. You’ll play a key role in architectural discussions, defining solutions, and solving highly technical issues. Our team builds both cloud services (Python, and C++) and web experiences (Javascript, typescript, web Components, etc …) . The winning candidate for this high impact role requires a deep knowledge about cloud-based architectures as well as a solid CS fundamentals.

Some key responsibilities:

  • Architect efficient and reusable full-stack systems that can support several different deep learned models
  • Design, architect, and implement multiple low-latency micro-services (we mostly use JavaScript, C++, and Python)
  • Building simple, robust, and scalable platforms used by many external users
  • Work closely with UX designers, Product managers, Machine Learning engineers to develop compelling experiences
  • Take a project from scoping requirements through the actual launch

Behind Peacemaker’s joyously bizarre title sequence

I generally really enjoyed HBO’s Peacemaker series—albeit, as I told the kids, if even I found the profanity excessive, insofar as “too much salt spoils the soup.” I really enjoyed the whacked-out intro music & choreography:

Here the creators give a peek into how it was made:

And here a dance troupe in Bangladesh puts their spin on it:

https://twitter.com/JamesGunn/status/1507405773252575234