Category Archives: Mobile

Action Blocks make tasks more accessible for those with cognitive impairments

I’ve long joked-not-joked that I want better parental controls on devices, not so that I can control my kids but so that I can help my parents. How great would it be to be able to configure something like this, then push it to the devices of those who need it (parents, kids, etc.)?

Cool multicolor painting tools arrive in Adobe Fresco

I’ve always been part of that weird little slice of the Adobe user population that gets really hyped about offbeat painting tools—from stretching vectors along splines & spraying out fish in Illustrator (yes, they’re both in your copy right now; no, you’ve never used them), to painting with slick features that got pulled from Photoshop before release & somehow have never returned. I still wish we’d been able to shoehorn GPU-powered watercolor into Photoshop’s, er, venerable compositing engine, but so it goes. (A 15-year-old demo still lives at one of my best URLs ever, jnack.com/BlowingYourMindClearOutYourAss )

In any event, the Adobe Fresco team has just unveiled a raft of new features, including some trippy multicolor painting capabilities. Check it out:

Quick Comparison: Pixel 4 vs. iPhone 11 at Night

[Please note: I don’t work on the Pixel team, and these opinions are just those of a guy with a couple of phones in hand, literally shooting in the dark.]

In Yosemite Valley on Friday night, I did some quick & unscientific but illuminating (oh jeez) tests shooting with a Pixel 4 & iPhone 11 Pro Max. I’d had fleeting notions of trying some proper astrophotography (side note: see these great tips from Pixel engineer & ILM vet Florian Kainz), but between the moon & the clouds, I couldn’t see a ton of stars. Therefore I mostly held up both phones, pressed the shutter button, and held my breath.

Check out the results in this album. You can see which camera produced which images by tapping each image, then tapping the little comment icon. I haven’t applied any adjustments.

Overall I’m amazed at what both devices can produce, but overall I preferred the Pixel’s interpretations. They were darker, but truer to what my eyes perceived, and very unlike the otherworldly, day-for-night iPhone renderings (which persisted despite a few attempts I made to set focus, then drag down the exposure before shooting).

Check out the results, judge for yourself, and let me know what you think.

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Oh, and for a much more eye-popping Pixel 4 result, check out this post from Adobe’s Russell Brown:

Select Subject comes to Photoshop for iPad

Boy, what I wouldn’t have given to have had this tech in Photoshop Touch, where Scribble Selection was the hotness du jour. Pam Clark writes,

This feature on the iPad works exactly the same as on Photoshop on the desktop and produces the same results, vastly enhancing selection capabilities and speed available on the iPad. With cloud documents, you can make a selection on the desktop or the iPad and continue your work seamlessly using Photoshop on another device with no loss of fidelity; no imports or exports required.

We originally released Select Subject in Photoshop on the desktop in 2018. The 2019 version now runs on both the desktop and the iPad and produces cleaner selection edges on the mask and delivers massively faster performance (almost instantaneous), even on the iPad.

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Google Pixel introduces post-capture Portrait blur

🎉

Now, you can turn a photo into a portrait on Pixel by blurring the background post-snap. So whether you took the photo years ago, or you forgot to turn on portrait mode, you can easily give each picture an artistic look with Portrait Blur in Google Photos.

I’m also pleased to see that the realtime portrait-blurring tech my team built has now come to Google Duo for use during video calls:

Bittersweet Symphony: Lightroom improves iPad import

“Hey, y’all got a water desalination plant, ‘cause I’m salty as hell.🙃

First, some good news: Lightroom is planning to improve the workflow of importing images from an SD card:

I know that this is something that photographers deeply wanted, starting in 2010. I just wonder whether—nearly 10 years since the launch of iPad—it matters anymore.

My failure, year in & year out, to solve the problem at Adobe is part of what drove me to join Google in 2014. But even back then I wrote,

I remain in sad amazement that 4.5 years after the iPad made tablets mainstream, no one—not Apple, not Adobe, not Google—has, to the best of my knowledge, implemented a way to let photographers to do what they beat me over the head for years requesting:

  • Let me leave my computer at home & carry just my tablet** & camera
  • Let me import my raw files (ideally converted to vastly smaller DNGs), swipe through them to mark good/bad/meh, and non-destructively edit them, singly or in batches, with full raw quality.
  • When I get home, automatically sync all images + edits to/via the cloud and let me keep editing there or on my Mac/PC.

This remains a bizarre failure of our industry.

Of course this wasn’t lost on the Lightroom team, but for a whole bunch of reasons, it’s taken this long to smooth out the flow, and during that time capture & editing have moved heavily to phones. Tablets represent a single-digit percentage of Snapseed session time, and I’ve heard the same from the makers of other popular editing apps. As phones improve & dedicated-cam sales keep dropping, I wonder how many people will now care.

On we go.

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