Monthly Archives: January 2007

Useful Photoshop layer-handling scripts

Last week Ralf Berger, co-creator of Photoshop’s Vanishing Point tool (and formerly eng. manager for LiveMotion), asked me whether Photoshop offered a way to clean up files by deleting empty layers.  I knew that the Layers palette fly-out menu contains a command to delete hidden layers, but not one for blowing away those with no pixel content.  After a nudge towards the Photoshop JavaScript guide (installed in the application folder, btw), Ralf whipped up this script for deleting blank layers.  I’m posting it here in case it’s useful. (You may want to right-click/Ctrl-click the link to download the script, then put the file into your Photoshop folder under Presets/Scripts.)

On a related note,
I came across a Trevor Morris’s trove of handy-looking little scripts.  And for more PS scriptiness, including a good discussion forum, check out

HD Photo format coming to Photoshop

Microsoft & Adobe have been working together on a plug-in that will offer support for HD Photo (née WMP*–Windows Media Photo), the new Microsoft-developed imaging format, in Photoshop.  HD Photo offers advanced compression (both lossless & lossy) and improved dynamic range relative to the standard JPEG format.  Timing won’t permit us to have support into the CS3 box, but we’ll find a way to get it out there.  My manager Kevin Connor noted,

"What’s good about HD Photo is that it was designed specifically for digital photography, with a good understanding of how digital photography usage is evolving," Connor said. "It will certainly take time for HD Photo to be as broadly accessible as JPEG–if it ever is quite that broad–but there can be reasons even today why a consumer might prefer to use HD Photo."

As with JPEG2000, which Photoshop began supporting in 2003, our goal is to ensure that support exists in Adobe apps ahead of customer demand.  That way, as images begin appearing, you’ll be good to go.

*The new name is far nicer, no?

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 1.0 goes primetime

After a tremendously successful beta program that saw more than 1.4 million downloads from Adobe Labs, Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 1.0 has been officially announced.  The press release lists a number of new features and improvements added since the most recent beta drop, and a new product page includes a tour and more details.

Some details:

  • Lightroom 1.0 will be sold for $299 USD.  We recognize the investment users have made in Adobe tools, including the time invested by the more than 500,000 people who downloaded the beta.  To say thanks, Adobe
    will be offering a one time introductory price of $199 that ends April 30th.
  • It will not be bundled or packaged with Photoshop CS3 or the Creative Suite.
  • French and German versions of Lightroom 1.0 will be available at the end
    of February.  Introductory price of 174 Euros until June 28th, after which the standard pricing
    249 Euros.
  • A Japanese version will be available at the end of
    March.  Introductory pricing of 22,000 Yen runs until July 23rd, after which the app costs 32,000 Yen.

Also, Lightroom PM Tom Hogarty reports that the new version includes preliminary support for PhaseOne camera backs.

In conjunction with the release, the NAPP has announced a new Lightroom learning center, and I see that Uwe Steinmueller has posted a review.  I’ll try to link to additional resources as I get time online.  Feel free to list good ones you find via the comments.

Shout-outs for Umlauts

Greetings from snowy Sweden (-9° C & loving it!).  I arrived last night with Caleb Belohlavek, a director on the Suite team, to start a series of visits with the press: nine cities in two weeks (gah!).  I want to keep this blog focused on Photoshop, photography, design, and the like, not making it into "As the Nack Turns."  That said, in case you see posts filed at 3am, or lighter posting until mid-February, you’ll know why. For some personal bits from the trip thus far, read on.

Stockholm is gorgeous ("the Venice of the North," they say), and from the moment we landed I was charmed to see an old Volvo 240 wagon soldiering on down the taxiway.  I’m having fun with the language–because hey, who doesn’t like a nice voiceless dorso-palatal velar fricative, not to mention A’s with stylish headwear?  I especially enjoy the process of inserting the word "kronor" into progressively more absurd contexts ("Oh man, I slept weird on the plane & now my kronor is out of whack…")–but that could be the jetlag talking.  By watching English-language shows with subtitles, I’ve picked up the words "funkinga" (“funky”; thanks, James Brown retrospective), "narko" (“dope,” via Deadwood clip), and "dog" ("dead," via WWII documentary).  Maybe I’ll pick up tips from some local bloggers; er, maybe not.

I got to walk around and take some snaps–at least until my cold camera started throwing an error message.  Not wanting a repeat of last year’s snafu, I stuffed the cam into my jacket, and later at the hotel I let my memory cards warm up at their own pace. Fortunately only one or two shots seem to be MIA, but I continue to doubt the robustness of digital cameras (or at least mine) in the cold.  If you’d like to see the shots (featuring the world’s coldest pizza), they’re here.

Tomorrow is all about work, then off to London and endless city-hopping.  For now, though, take it from me: reindeer is delicious. 🙂

Genuine Fractals Universal beta available

Good news from the plug-in developer front: onOne software has announced that a beta of Geniune Fractals is available in beta form, and that it’s compiled as a universal binary that runs natively inside Photoshop CS3 on both Intel- and PowerPC-based Macs. The beta also works with previous Photoshop and Photoshop Elements versions for Mac and Windows.  To try it out, you need to request access via this form.  Additionally, onOne has announced that they’ll be offering free compatibility updates to their other plug-ins (MaskPro, Intellihance, etc.).

If you’re a developer and want to make your Mac plug-ins Intel-compatible, please check out the CS3 mini-SDK.  And please let us know if you need folks to test your new code; we’ll be happy to spread the word.

Blowing Smoke

Put this in your burning bulb & smoke it: Graham Jefferey has created a gallery of gorgeous smoke images. (In case you’re wondering, as my wife was, whether it’s possible to buy prints, the answer is yes.)  Graham’s work inspired Myla Kent to create her own lovely experiments with incense.  There’s a whole pool of art smoke images on the Flickr, and now Photocritic features tips & tricks from Graham for creating your own smoke images. [Via]

Interviews with Photoshop founders

  • The blog features an interesting interview with Mark Hamburg (photo), founder and engineering manager of the new Photoshop Lightroom product (not to mention a driving force behind Photoshop itself for more than a decade).  In it Mark discusses the gestation of the product, some of the concepts behind its user interface, reasons they abandoned things like a free-form light table, and more.  I’m looking forward to part 2 of the interview, due to be posted soon on the site.  [For more on the history of Lightroom development, check out Jeff Schewe’s behind-the-scenes overview.  For more interviews with Mark, check out some of the Lightroom podcasts.]
  • CNET has been featuring some of the creative forces at ILM this week, highlighting the work of John Knoll (who co-wrote Photoshop with his older brother Thomas).   Now they’ve posted a 4-minute video in which John discusses those early days.  [For more info, photos, and clips from ILM’s Pirates work, see the mini-site they created. For more on the Knoll brothers & the creation of Photoshop, check out this piece on PhotoshopNews.]

Side note: I love that Hal Hickel, now an effects whiz at ILM, saved the rejection letter he received when, at age 12 in 1978, he proposed a sequel to Star Wars.  It reminds me of the note I got from LEGO 20 years ago, when I proposed camouflage bricks–a notion they rejected as being too war-like.  Yeah, and now they make a Lego Death Star… 😉

Also, speaking of that “small moon,” how brilliant is this video, re-enacting the Star Wars Death Star battle using ony disembodied hands? [Via]

Mo' betta tips for Photoshop type

Author & Photoshop TV personality Dave Cross shares a wealth of tips for working with text in Photoshop in a 10-page PDF on   The chapter (excerpted from Dave’s book) gives succinct answers to a variety of questions (how to fill type with a texture, how to insert a copyright symbol, when to update type layers, etc.) and should be worth printing out for future reference.

For more tips, see my 12 Tips for Photoshop Text, which Russell Brown demos & expands upon in this video.  For more type bits, see the Typography category of this blog.  And while I’ve got your ear:

  • Veer says, "Next time you have to explain kerning to a layman, you’ll have a live demo just a zip away"–and with the sweater they’re offering, they’re right.   Nice. 🙂
  • CreativePro has also launched TypeTalk, a monthly Q&A on typography.  If you wonder things like which direction the apostrophe should face before "’70’s," for example–and yes, I do–the column should be a good read.