Monthly Archives: March 2007

Infrared, bobbleheads, & bone-crunching hits

Big Science: Life-sized whale in Flash, more

AE to DVD, FreeHand to Illustrator, more

The Adobe Design Center beeps, backs up, and unloads a palette of new content:

New Dialog Box:

New Think Tank:

New Tutorials:

Special section: Migrating from FreeHand to Illustrator by
Mordy Golding 

And as always, don’t forget to check out the Adobe links on Info on how to contribute links is here.  [Via]

Safe, humane tourist-zapping in Photoshop Extended

Yesterday I mentioned that Photoshop CS3 Extended features "image stack analytical filters."  Er, yes, so that’s useful and relevant… how, exactly?  In a nutshell, you can now treat multiple images as a single entity, running an algorithm across them non-destructively.  So, for example, you could take a range of frames, then have Photoshop show you the average value of each pixel.  Other algorithms include Entropy, Skewness, Summation, and Kurtosis*.

If this doesn’t yet sound scintillating, it’s probably because (I’m guessing) you’re not doing technical image processing work.  It was to enable technical applications that image stack processing was added, and it’s the reason that one finds the feature in Photoshop Extended.

Having said that, photographer and author Martin Evening has come up with a great example of how combining multiple images into a stack, then aligning them and running the Median filter, can make moving objects (tourists, pigeons, bits of noise) disappear.  Check out his story on Photoshop News for details and images.  To demonstrate the process, I’ve whipped up this 75-second video demo using Martin’s images (hoping he won’t mind).  And you can watch Russell Brown "reduce global warming" by removing the cars from the Golden Gate Bridge**.

Now, I’ll admit that seeing image stacks this way makes our marketing story a little more challenging.  Didn’t we say that "Photoshop Extended" is meant to offer specific capabilities to people who need them, and that we haven’t withheld core photographic functionality in order to get every customer wanting/using Extended?  We did say that, and it’s true.  Image stacks are powerful and (I think) pretty cool, but I’d feel uneasy about overselling them a core photographic tool.  There’s both power and potential here, but it’s a little more science-fair-ish than we’d like to sell for mainstream photography work.

Does that make sense? We are sincere in trying to group capabilities logically in Photoshop vs. Photoshop Extended.  We did not want to be shady.  (That’s why, for example, you’ll find "Video Frames to Layers" in both editions of PS: It was previously in ImageReady, and even though we’d have had an easier time saying "all the video stuff is in Extended," we didn’t want anyone’s arm to feel twisted.)

* Which, Chris Cox assures me, does not mean “bad breath.”
** This also demonstrates how stacks are related to video, which is core component of Photoshop Extended.

Adobe-Macromedia: Integration cornucopia!

I came to Adobe largely because integration between Flash and Photoshop just sucked–a situation that burned me every day as a designer. Back in 1999, when I learned that Adobe was planning a Web animation tool, I wrote to my contacts there and at Macromedia to suggest a "Flash Interchange Format" that would let everyone play nicely together.  I just wanted the tools to get the garbage tasks out of my way so that I could do my job.  Despite many assorted efforts, however, the stars just never aligned.

Fast forward to the present: we’re now starting to realize some of these long-sought benefits.  In just over a year of Adobe and Macromedia being a single company, here’s new integration we’ve been able to deliver (continued below/in the extended entry):

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What's unique to Photoshop Extended?

I’m often asked what features of the CS3 release are unique to Photoshop Extended. This edition starts with all the capabilities of Photoshop CS3* and extends them (hence the name) with the following:

  1. Opening/placing 3D files (specifically .3DS (Max), .OBJ (Maya), .U3D (Acrobat 3D), Collada, and KMZ (Google Earth), then adjusting their view options (rotation, camera parameters, render mode, cross section, etc.).  Animation data in these files is preserved.  Photoshop does not include 3D modeling tools, but it is possible to turn planar geometry from Vanishing Point into a simple 3D model or 3D layer.
  2. Painting directly on the textures of 3D files & updating the models.  (I’ll try to post or at least link to a demo of this working as it makes things clearer.)
  3. Opening/placing video files (essentially anything that QuickTime supports) and image sequences, treating these as video layers that you can scrub back and forth and on which you can paint, erase, run filters, etc. Some details:
    • PS Extended includes a revised Animation palette, more consistent with what you find in After Effects.
    • Basic GIF-style frame animation is in both Photoshop and Photoshop Extended, as it was in CS2. In Extended you can toggle the mode of the Animation palette between frame mode & timeline mode.
    • PS Extended features new a Render Video dialog that lets you render files in whatever formats QuickTime supports, or as image sequences.  If you have Flash 8 Professional or Flash CS3 Professional, the video export list includes FLV.
    • The “frame offset” option in the new Clone Source palette makes it possible to clone/heal from one point in time to another and is unique to Extended, whereas the rest of the palette is the same in both editions.
    • The ability to import video frames as layers is in both editions of Photoshop CS3, because it was previously in ImageReady.
  4. Support for painting and layers in 32-bit/HDR files.  Merge to HDR is enhanced in both editions, as is basic HDR editing (e.g. using Levels).  The rationale for dividing the HDR enhancements is that the photography-centric parts appear in both editions, whereas the aspects geared towards film, 3D, and technical work are in Extended only.
  5. MATLAB integration: It’s possible to access Photoshop CS3 Extended directly from the MATLAB
    command prompt in order to grab image data from Photoshop, use
    MATLAB to run different image processing routines, and then return the image data to
    Photoshop to view the results.
  6. Measurement & counting tools: Photoshop Extended makes it possible to set a scale for the image (e.g. 512 pixels = 30cm), then take measurements of selections and rulers.
    • This includes tools inside Vanishing Point for taking measurements in perspective.
    • Measurement scale is specified via the Analysis menu, which is unique to Extended.
    • The Count Tool (nothing to do with this guy) is a simple but effective way to annotate an image (e.g. while counting blood cells)
  7. DICOM format support, enabling the app to open files from medical imaging devices (CT scans, X-rays, etc.).
  8. Image stack analytical filters, which make it possible to stack multiple images into a single Smart Object, then run a filter across the range of images.  For example, an astro photographer might take a range of high-ISO images, then run Mean or Median across the range.  (It also makes for a great “disappearing tourist” demo…)

There’s a great deal more about Photoshop Extended online, and as I say we’ll endeavor to provide some video demos ASAP as they’ll make a number of points clearer.  That said, I hope this list provides a useful summary.  For reference, none of these features were included in the Photoshop public beta.  [Update: I’ve revised the video section in hopes of being a bit clearer.]

* A note about naming: The products are, officially, “Photoshop CS3” and “Photoshop CS3 Extended.”  That is, there’s no “Photoshop Standard” per se.  That’s why you may see us refer to “the regular version,” “the standard version” or something similar, but not “Standard” with a capital S.

(CS)Three is a Magic Number

With strains of Schoolhouse Rock in my head, I’m delighted that the big day has arrived: Photoshop CS3 and the entire CS3 product line have been announced

13 full new applications… six new Suites… a fistful of new technologies (Device Central for mobile authoring, Acrobat Connect for conferencing, and more)… It’s all a bit overwhelming, I know.  There’s so much news coverage this morning that I don’t yet know where to point you.  So, a couple of suggestions:

I’ll of course be posting plenty more in the hours, days, and weeks ahead (when the actual job doesn’t intrude, you know ;-)).

Creative Suite Podcast: 2 million downloads

Terry White, one of Adobe’s in-the-field application pros, reports that this week the video-enabled Creative Suite Podcast has reached its 2 millionth download, averaging 16,000 downloads per episode.  With more than 100 episodes now online, the podcast has become a great resource & was named a 2006 iTunes People’s Choice Award winner.  Keep up the great work, guys.

In other video/podcast news:

  • A few weeks back I did a little video interview with the folks at 49Sparks, talking for 10 minutes or so about all things Photoshop.  "Why is he wearing a military flight suit?," some may ask. Well, why isn’t everyone?
  • My fellow Photoshop PM Bryan O’Neil Hughes recently spoke with the crew at about the CS3 beta, panorama creation, and more.
  • Mike Wong from onOne notes that their set of free Lightroom processing presets are now accompanied by a 25-minute video (broken into chunks) from author Jack Davis.

Kuler RIA -> Desktop via Dashboard

The folks behind kuler, Adobe’s color-centric rich internet app, are a quietly busy bunch.  Tonight they’ve posted a widget for OS X’s Dashboard (download — 200kb; screenshot).  According to kuler community PM Sami Iwata,
the widget "displays RSS feeds of color themes from kuler… Browse the newest, highest rated, and most popular color themes; search for themes on the kuler site by tag, title, or creator ID; copy hex values from any theme to your clipboard."

Knowing this group, they’ll keep cranking out good stuff.  In the meantime, if you have feedback on the widget, please let the team know via the kuler user forum.

Stupid-fast new printer technology

If haste makes waste, the team motto at Silverbrook Research must be, "Let’s get wasted!!"  Offering "a price/performance ratio that is off the charts" according to Lyra Research, the new Memjet printing technology (video) is many times faster than anything else on the market (60 pages per minute of 1600-dpi, full-color printing).  Somewhere a forest groans; somewhere ink salesmen smile.

These Aussies have apparently been (quietly) going berserk filing patents over the last few years, as described in this profile of the company & founder Kia Silverbrook. The Memjet site has a bit more info on the technology. [Via Jim Pravetz]

New CS3 videos available

The crew at have now posted a whopping 32 hours of videos covering Photoshop CS3.  Building on the free content Deke McClelland created for the public beta, the new titles go into depth on all aspects of the forthcoming release, addressing features and capabilities both new and old. [Via Myke Ninness]

On a similar but independent note, David Biedny points out Wikivid, "an encyclopedia of informative videos."  Check out the wealth of topics on Photoshop.

Fruity typographic goodness

In the wake of those great nautical posters, check out this collection of historic fruit crate art. It’s tough to name faves, though I really like Dynamo Apples and these double A’s & arrow.  I suppose Gay Johnny would resonate a little differently nowdays, though. [Via]

On an unrelated typographic note, if you’re having trouble identifying a font, you might find this Flickr group useful. [Via] Oh, and see also What The Font.  (Me, I just cheat and bug Tom Phinney ("I’ll trade you a Glyphs palette for six correct font ID’s…").)

What's in your logo?

//na// Friday logo nerdery for your delectation:

  • Even if you don’t have tastes-great/less-filling debates about Paul Rand vs. Saul Bass (and God help you if you do), there’s plenty to enjoy in this Logo design history. Many of the logos are available for download in EPS format.  Too bad there’s nothing about the old Adobe logo–the one that looked like rolls of paper for a printing press. [Via]
  • Cutting to the present, Graphic Design USA features a look at recent logo trends (and not just the bloopy "Web 2.0" schtick).
  • is a carnival of copyright infringement, and I’ve loved it for years, downloading & spoofing many famous designs.  (The first rule of Logotypes is you do not tell your legal department about Logotypes.)
  • Speaking of spoofs, Mike Judge’s future-satire Idiocracy features all kinds of logo & brand remixes. [Via]
  • Logopond offers a plentiful feed of design inspiration.  Viva Napalm Riot & this little devil-mouse.
  • Okay, it’s not logo-related per se, but check out the NYC Transit Authority style guide from 1970.  It’s amazing that if it weren’t for the date stamp on the gallery, it would be hard to know that this isn’t a current design document.  Is that a good thing (viva timeless Helvetica!) or a bad one (when in doubt, we punt and go with clean-n’-unobjectionable)? [Via]

New open-source XMP library from Adobe

Good news for metadata-minded developers: Adobe has posted a new update (v4.1) of its XMP (Extensible Metadata Platform)
technology for manipulating
metadata. The source code has been released under
the same open source license as its previous versions.  According to the press release, the update

…significantly extends Adobe’s past XMP offerings by providing new libraries for developers to read, write and update XMP in popular image, document and video file formats including JPEG, PSD, TIFF, AVI, WAV, MPEG, MP3, MOV, INDD, PS, EPS and PNG…

The XMP Core enables the parsing, manipulating and serializing of XMP data, and the XMP Files enables the reading, rewriting, and injecting serialized XMP into the multiple file formats. The XMP Files can be thought of as a "file I/O" component for reading and writing the metadata that is manipulated by the XMP Core component.

We’ve seen good uptake of XMP in the developer community (e.g. Apple calls it "industry standard"; Microsoft calls it "the foundation for our ‘truth is in the file’ goal"), and hopefully the new library will help the momentum continue.  In particular XMP is supported in the DNG format, paving the way to standardized raw files that function as rich packages (embedding multiple sets of editing instructions & multiple rendered previews).

Know when to fold 'em

//na// If those mammoth screens get to be too much, rest your scalded eyeballs with the help of some paper:

  • Thomas Allen makes dioramas from the covers of old pulp novels. Seems like they’re popping up (er, sorry) everywhere, from the cover of James Ellroy novels to the pages of (I think) GQ. [Via] Turning old images into "2-and-a-half-D" creations reminds me of The Kid Stays in the Picture, a film that achieved a similar effect using old photos plus Photoshop and After Effects (popping characters off their backgrounds, panning across them to introduce a sense of depth).
  • The folks at the ni9e blog have fun (and no doubt baffle stewardesses) making paper-based visualizations of SkyMall demographics.
  • If you’ve got more time (and skills) than money, thank your waiter with some cash origami. [Via]
  • Okay, it’s not cash, but check out this amazing folding chair (the name doesn’t do it justice).  Doesn’t it seem like the Apple campus should be full of these?  (Well, maybe if they were off-white.)
  • [For more paper goodness, see previous.]

(Upon hearing this blog entry’s title, my wife remarked, "I know when to walk away…")

Medical/scientific meet-up at PSWorld

The folks organizing Adobe’s presence at Photoshop World (just two weeks away) would like to pass along the following heads-up:

Birds of a Feather Meeting – Medical & Scientific Research Professionals
April 4, 5:00 – 7:00 pm

Hosted by Adobe – Open to Conference Attendees and Medical Professionals and Research Professionals
Attend this session to see the newest features in Photoshop CS3 and Photoshop CS3 Extended developed specifically for customers who use Photoshop for image analysis, visualization and communication. You’ll get to meet the team from Adobe that is charged with developing new features for the medical and research communities and hear from some leading customers in the field and how they use Photoshop in their work.

Attendees will be eligible to win Photoshop CS3 plus other great prizes.

Special Guests: Stephen R. Snow, DDS – with Snow Dental Care & Cosmetic Dentistry; Eric Wexler, MBA – Research Scientist with Bristol-Myers Squibb Medical Imaging; Joseph M. Bailey, MD – Montgomery Radiology Associates; and Robert Hurt – Visualization Scientist – Spitzer Science Center.  

Track: Special Event — Room: 207 in the Convention Center

A registration form, plus more info on these guests, is on the Photoshop World site.

Human-powered cursors, Laser skate art, more

//na// Having survived both the Ides & St. Pat’s with toga & liver intact, I feel like celebrating with some assorted design inspiration I’ve uncovered recently:

Font of the Ancient Mariner; more

//na// Savory type bits:

Friday photography

My screen can beat up your screen

The CineMassive MasterPlex 21T (<–double intercaps = double the power) offers flat-screen madness: a 21" LCD center with five 17" arrayed around the sides.  That works out to a cool 8,473,600 pixels for $3,299.  Is it just me, or does it seem like the 20" Apple Cinema Display was just introduced* for $3,999?  [Via John Agger]

I have a soft spot for this stuff, maybe, as I haul around my second 17" Mac portable. (I’m much happier now that I have a bag that doesn’t feel like it’s cutting my shoulder with piano wire.)  Of course, it’s always theoretically possible to carry around an even bigger screen… [Via]

Marginally related: I enjoyed CNET’s story "You call that high-def?," listing some of the more tenuous (okay, entirely unwarranted) ways the "HD" moniker is being slapped onto various endeavors.  And with that, I’m off to pet my GatoHD’s high-def coat.

* 1999–for real? I am getting old.

Multi-touch photo editing demo

I don’t have much context for this video, but I’m passing it along as it’s an interesting demo of image editing using a multi-touch screen.  The pie menus look useful (is that a Healing Brush icon I see?), though to compete against a keyboard and mouse, I think it would need to be much faster and more fluid.

Sidenote: I like imagining that the choice of bloopy, electro-spacey music may not just be a video editing choice, and that it’s actually emitted by the multi-touch monitors themselves (see also the Jeff Han origin of the genre).  "Hey man, cool screen, but why does it keep playing the pseudo-Moby?"

Solid recent Web sites

//na//  I’m often inspired by other designers’ work, so I thought I’d pass along some recent Web design finds:

  • The Levi’s Copper site makes use of an interesting image & navigation structure, using one huge image as the background.  (Click Male or Female.)  Gotta love the ants. [Via]
  • With their ant-sized people, I love the section-intro cards at Baseline Selects.
  • Jonathan Yuen’s site gently and beautifully unfolds to reveal his work.  [Via]
  • Ferm Living is all about subtle touches–smooth transitions, shifting backgrounds, subtle vignetting. [Via Maria Brenny]
  • VIRB is kind of a MySpace, without all the visual suckage. It looks darn nice, even down to individual member pages (like this).

Adobe CMM released, ready for download

I’m pleased to announce that following a successful public beta period on Adobe Labs, the Adobe Color Management Module (CMM) has been completed & is now available as a free download.  In a nutshell, the CMM turns the color converter part of the Adobe Color Engine (ACE) into a library that can be used by non-Adobe apps. This means you can use a single color management engine across your workflow, enabling more consistent display and output of colors.

Props & thanks to Lars Borg, Peter Constable, Ken Kameda, Manish Kulkarni, Rick Wulff, Daniel Taborga, and everyone else who helped bring the CMM to the community.

Free Lightroom presets for download

onOne product manager Mike Wong has some good news to share: the company has teamed up with author Jack Davis to offer a set of 85 develop presets for Lightroom, and these are now available as a free download.  (The installer copies the files to the correct location.)  onOne offers info on how to use the presets, though I’m having fun here just messing around with the black & white settings.  Thanks to Jack, Mike, & co. for making these available to the community.

Photoshop developer kitchen @ PSWorld Boston

My fellow Photoshop PM Ashley Still asked me to pass along the following:

Attention All Photoshop Developers!  

How’s your Mac Intel migration going?
Interested in new APIs for CS3?

Here’s a great opportunity to make sure your plug-ins are ready to go for CS3.  Members of the Photoshop engineering team will be flying out to Photoshop World (in Boston) on April 3rd and hosting a developer workshop to assist with writing CS3 plug-ins.

Details & information on getting signed up.

When: Tuesday,
April 3, 1:00 – 5:00 pm
Where: Room 201 – Convention Center
NDA required: No! This is a non-NDA session

If you have questions, email ashley at

Sound in AE + Flash; rethinking UI; more on Design Center

The Adobe Design Center unfurls a swath of new content:

New Dialog Box:

New Gallery:

New Tutorials:

And don’t forget to check out the Adobe links on Info on how to contribute links is here.  [Via]

GPS in cameras, Flash, Lightroom

Now that most people can get all the megapixels they need or want, how can photography be made richer? One way is to enhance the metadata attached to each image, providing more info and context for each shot. Capturing GPS coordinates, once restricted to high-end cameras, is becoming more and more affordable, and the things you can do with that data are expanding.

  • Jobo AG has announced photoGPS, a $149 device that sits in the hot shoe (i.e. the mounting point for a flash) of a digital SLR. Post-processing software synchronizes data captured by the device with the corresponding images. [Via Gunar Penikis]
  • This reminds me of the little Sony GPS carabiner-doohickus announced last year, as well as a subtle Lightroom feature: if your image contains GPS coordinates, you can click the Lightroom Metadata panel to reveal the location via Google Maps. Here’s a screenshot (with old UI) to demonstrate.
  • Photoshop Elements is getting into the game with its Flash-powered "Map Your Memories" feature.  "If you’re GPS-enabled," says CNET, "Photoshop Elements can automatically use the GPS info to populate the map with photos." [Via John Lin]
  • The Adobe-sponsored Tour of California put in-camera GPS + Flash/Flex to good use, as you can see in this simulation.  Michael Gough writes, "We
    geo-located all the photos from the event using a device that attaches
    to high-end Nikon cameras."

Beautiful patterns in nature & beyond

  • Robert Hodgin is a creative force.  It seems his Flight404 has been an inspiration as long as I can remember, and now he shares the lovely Magnetosphere.  This–this–is what I want using Photoshop to be like–totally alive, reactive, surprising (cf. that Hands video I mentioned earlier).  Robert discusses its creation here.
  • The piece reminds me of the Eskimo Nebula, seen in NASA’s Image of the Day archive. [Via]
  • Jeff Schewe captured some captivating patterns in icebergs in Antarctica last month. My favorite bits start roughly halfway through the gallery.
  • Peep the gardens to be found in Petri dishes. [Via]
  • Marc Pawliger points out a gallery of cool flame fractals.

Agile development comes to Photoshop

The Register hosts a Q&A with Photoshop co-architect Russell Williams about how the team changed its ways in the CS3 development cycle, making product quality paramount, improving the team’s work/life balance (i.e. fewer "Photoshop widows/-ers" who never see their loved one), and yet still delivering a rich set of features.  In brief: rather than building all the features up front, then spending the rest of the cycle fixing them, the team moved to a more incremental development model, insisting that bugs be fixed as we went along (not allowing them to build into a late-stage "bugalanche").  The article is a good read if you work in product development, or if you just want some inside geekery on how this stuff gets done.

Russell addressed the engineering side, so I thought I’d add some product management perspective.  Overall I’m pleased with how things have gone, but no approach is perfect, and it’s worth noting some of the challenges we faced. [Continued in this post’s extended entry]

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"416 megapixels ought to be enough for anybody…"

I wonder if that statement will sound laughably outdated someday.  Until then, the new 416MP scanning back from Better Light is mighty impressive. According to CNET, each 2-minute exposure generates a 794MB file that can provide 300 pixel-per-inch resolution for a poster measuring 34" x 45"–all for a cool 23 grand.  Put that in your Flickr account and smoke it. [See also 160 megapixels or bust.]

64 bits are *magic*…

Er, aren’t they?  What’s the real story?

ZDNet’s George Ou suggests that the Photoshop team is deficient in not making Photoshop CS3 a 64-bit app:

x64 allows high performance computing tasks to run extremely fast and efficiently. The free Paint.NET image editing application, for example, is fully optimized for multi-core and x64, yet Adobe can’t get its act together and won’t even release an x64 edition of the upcoming Photoshop CS3… It’s just a crying shame for Adobe to lag behind, because Paint.NET has shown tremendous speed increases using x64 for filtering and layering effects on the order of 50 to 100 percent speed boosts. Adobe should have been supporting x64 two years ago and it won’t even do it next year.

Meanwhile, Paint.NET developer Rick Brewster commented on Photoshop architect Scott Byer’s post "Photoshop: 64 bits… when?", saying that they got speedups in certain routines, but still aren’t matching Photoshop’s

Yup the reason Gaussian Blur shows such a big win in Paint.NET is due
to its use of 64-bit math. Photoshop seems to have some secret sauce
that enables its implementation to be much faster regardless, so props
on that.


I’m not saying that 64-bit computing doesn’t offer some advantages; it does.  I am saying (and have been saying) that the story is a tad more complicated than "Adobe can’t get its act together."  I don’t like the idea that we’ll have to pursue a certain path and accept the consequences (breaking plug-ins, eating more RAM, etc.) just because it would look good on a spec sheet.  We’ll do the right thing because it’s the right thing, not because it’s buzzword-compliant. [Via]

Announcing two flavors of Photoshop CS3

Adobe is announcing today that there will be two editions of Photoshop CS3–Photoshop CS3 and Photoshop CS3 Extended. From the press release:

In addition to the highly anticipated Photoshop CS3 software for designers and professional photographers, Adobe will also deliver Photoshop CS3 Extended, a completely new edition of Photoshop which allows cross-media creative professionals to stretch the limits of digital imaging. Photoshop CS3 Extended includes everything in Photoshop CS3 plus a new set of capabilities for integration of 3D and motion graphics, image measurement and analysis. Photoshop CS3 Extended also simplifies the workflow for professionals in architecture, engineering, medical and science.

Now, because the products haven’t been formally introduced yet (that’s what the March 27 event is all about), I can’t get into a lot of details about the features (or price, or Suite configurations).  But I can pass along what’s in the press release:

  • Film and video specialists can perform 3D model visualization and texture editing, paint and clone over multiple video frames.
  • Animators can now render and incorporate rich 3D content into their 2D compositions.
  • Graphic and web designers can create an animation from a series of images – such as time series data – and export it to a wide variety of formats, including QuickTime, MPEG-4 and Adobe Flash® Video*.
  • Architects, medical professionals and scientists will enjoy increased support for specialized image formats so they can easily view, annotate, and edit images in their native format.
  • Scientific researchers can create animations from medical images for presentation purposes, and architects can make accurate measurements of objects in their 3-D images.

So, in a nutshell, Photoshop CS3 Extended includes everything that’s in Photoshop CS3, plus support for 3D, video, and measurement.  The point is not to turn Photoshop into After Effects, Premiere, Maya, etc.  Rather, the idea is to extend what you can do with the application, being smarter and more flexible about bringing in 3D and video, letting you use Photoshop’s unique painting and compositing tools in new ways.  It allows Adobe to address specialized needs in a way that was never practical in the past, with a one-size-fits-all Photoshop.

About the name:

  • The products are called "Photoshop CS3" and "Photoshop CS3 Extended."
  • There is no "Photoshop Standard," and there is especially no "Photoshop Pro," "Photoshop Advanced," "Photoshop Premium," or the like.

Why is the name a big deal?  Simply put, we don’t want to express or imply
the message that Photoshop CS3 isn’t advanced or pro, or that "This extended version is the one everyone
would get, if only money were no object."  The standard version of Photoshop will be the right choice for many people.  Extended is there for people with specific needs, who want to push the tools & their skills in new ways. 

What do you think?  I’m extremely excited about this evolution in the history of Photoshop, and I wish we could give you a demo of exactly what’s coming, but we’ll be there soon enough.


[Update: A bit more info has been posted on]

* This relies on Flash Professional being installed, as it supplies the FLV codec.

Puppies now 30% fluffier with CS3

Workflow, shmerkflow: what we want to know about is how Photoshop can handle cute pet photos, right?

Er, maybe not–but selecting irregular things like hair certainly is important, and it’s a problem that’s bedeviled both users and computer scientists for many years.  CS3 makes some real progress in this regard (hint: check out that mysterious Radius slider in the new Refine Edge dialog), and last week Jon Fortt of Business 2.0 sat down with Adobe engineer Gregg Wilensky to look at the results.  You can see his notes–along with well-fluffed puppies–here.  [For more on how the technology came to be, see "Male-pattern baldness -> Great Photoshop feature."]

DNG notes: Compatibility, Color, Hasselblad

A reader named Trace pointed out a discussion happening on the Inside Aperture blog, where there’s been some confusion about the DNG format.  Specifically, there’s been concern that if Adobe were to drop support for conveting from a particular format to DNG, those files would become incompatible with DNG-reading software.  Not to worry:

  • Right now photographers who want to use DNG mostly rely on Adobe software to do the conversion, but that’s not a requirement: the format is publicly documented, and Adobe provides open-source code for implementing DNG reading and writing (via the free DNG SDK).
  • There’s no relationship between the DNG Converter being able to convert a file to DNG, and DNG-reading software’s ability to read DNGs from that camera.  Even if Adobe were to stop supporting conversion from a particular format (something that seems unlikely, but which is possible), DNGs made from that format would remain perfectly readable by DNG-aware apps.
  • It’s true that the DNG Converter does need to be updated for new proprietary raw file formats. That’s the benefit that Adobe is providing: the translation of an unknown to a defined standard. And beyond the conversion experience, ask any photographer using a Leica M8 or Pentax K10D how much they appreciate instant support from the moment their first raw file is captured.
  • I’ve heard from certain camps that DNG is a bit of an empty promise, that these companies really have to do custom work for each camera & that they therefore can’t support DNGs made from cams they don’t support.  If that’s the case, why are DNGs compatible with Camera Raw in Photoshop CS1, which was last updated some two years ago?  It may be that a developer will want to do custom work for a camera, even if images from that camera are in DNG format, but doing so isn’t a requirement. [Update: See the comments on this story for more info on these points.]

At the end of the day, your photos are your photos, and you shouldn’t be beholden to Adobe or to any other company to read them.  Ultimately Adobe would like to turn stewardship of the format over to a standards body, but we’ve wanted to let it build momentum first.

While I’ve got your ear on the subject of DNG, here’s a bit more that may be of interest:

  • Lightroom and Camera Raw support the
    Hasselblad H2D, but the H3D raw file is 3FR, not DNG.  Why is that, and what does it mean?  In short, before handing off data to raw conversion/workflow software, Hasselblad wants to do additional custom  processing that isn’t practical to do in-camera.  According to the Hasselblad site,

    "3FR files can be converted into Adobe’s raw image format DNG (‘Digital NeGative’), bringing this new technology standard to the professional photographer for the first time. In order to optimize the colors of the DNG file format, conversion from the 3FR must take place through FlexColor. The DNG file format enables raw, compressed image files to be opened directly in Adobe Photoshop. Hasselblad image files carry a full set of metadata, including capture conditions, keywords and copyright, facilitating workflow with image asset management solutions."

  • Carl Weese wrote a piece called "There’s DNG—And Then There’s DNG," in which he mentions that his white balance settings changed after he updated to Camera Raw 3.7.  Thomas Knoll notes that to get the previous appearance, it’s possible to choose that option in the Camera Calibration popup menu.  (I don’t have any of these files on hand, so I haven’t tried this myself.)

Hurricanes, Turkish panos, & more

  • The New Yorker talks to photographer Clifford Ross, creator of the ultra-high-res R1 film camera (see it on his site), as well as the R2, a 360-degree video camera (images) that captures 9 gigs of data each minute.  The R2, they write, is "like a super-high-tech Advent calendar," revealing "thousands of little inadvertent dramas."  I’ve found Clifford’s site engrossing, offering a high-res sample image, as well as his terrific Hurricane series (apparently a very wet shooting endeavor). [Via]
  • As Turkish photog & filmmaker Nuri Bilge Ceylan traveled the country to scout locations, he created a series of striking panoramas called Turkey Cinemascope.  His muted palettes & lighting are out of sight.  The Online Photographer offers a brief profile.
  • Macduff Everton travels the world making beautiful images, many of them panoramic.  I found his site a touch difficult to navigate (and the images sadly tiny), but the gallery is lovely nonetheless. [Via Dave Sailer]

Digital imaging goes to court

CNET reported recently on a court case that involved image authentication software as well as human experts, both seeking to distinguish unretouched photographs from those created or altered using digital tools.  After disallowing the software, written by Hany Farid & his team at Dartmouth, the judge ultimately disallowed a human witness, ruling that neither one could adequately distinguish between real & synthetic images.  The story includes some short excerpts from the judge’s rulings, offering some insight into the legal issues at play (e.g. "Protected speech"–manmade imagery–"does not become unprotected merely because it resembles the latter"–illegal pornography, etc.).

As I’ve mentioned previously, Adobe has been collaborating with Dr. Farid & his team for a few years, so we wanted to know his take on the ruling.  He replied,

The news story didn’t quite get it right. Our program correctly classifies about 70% of photographic images while correctly classifying 99.5% of computer-generated images. That is, an error rate of 0.5%. We configured the classifier in this way so as to give the benefit of the doubt to the defendant. The prosecutor decided not to use our testimony because of other reasons, not because of a high error rate.

The defense argues that the lay person cannot tell the difference between photographic and CG images. Following this ruling by Gertner, we performed a study to see just how well human subjects are at distinguishing. They turn out to be surprisingly good.  Here is a short abstract describing our results. [Observers correctly classified 83% of the photographic images and 82% of the CG images.]

Elsewhere in the world of "Fauxtography" and image authenticity:

  • In the wake of last summer’s digital manipulation blow-up, Reuters has posted guidelines on what is–and is not–acceptable to do to an image in Photoshop. [Via]
  • Calling it "’The Most Culturally Significant Feature’ of Canon’s new 1D MkIII," Micah Marty heralds "the embedding of inviolable GPS coordinates into ‘data-verifiable’ raw files."
  • Sort of the Ur-Photoshop: This page depicts disappearing commissars and the like from Russia, documenting the Soviet government’s notorious practice or doctoring photos to remove those who’d fallen from favor. [Via]
  • These practices know no borders, as apparently evidenced by a current Iranian controversy, complete with Flash demo. [Via Tom Hogarty]
  • Of course, if you really want to fake people out, just take a half-naked photo of yourself, mail it to the newspaper, and tell them that it’s a Gucci ad. Seems to work like a charm. [Via]

[Update: PS–Not imaging but audio: Hart Shafer reports on Adobe Audition being used to confirm musical plagiarism.]

Dilbert does Photoshop

Heh–I enjoyed reading this bit in Scott Adams’s FAQ, passed along by Photoshop engineer John Peterson:

Q. Do you still draw the comic on paper?

A. Most cartoonists still use paper, at least for most of the work. They typically finish it off on Photoshop after scanning the inked work. Photoshop might be used for the lettering (using a font of your own handwriting) or adding shading and effects.

About 2 years ago I had some hand problems (from overuse) and switched to drawing directly to the computer, which is easier on my hand. I have a computer monitor that allows me to draw directly to the screen (as opposed to a tablet on the desk). It’s the 21SX by Wacom. It cut my production time in half. It’s different from drawing on paper, and there’s a learning curve of a few months to get it down. But once you do, it’s amazing. I use Photoshop for the entire process now. Then I hit a few keys and e-mail it
to United Media.

The ability to erase pointy hair in the real world is still pending. 😉

Under a Blood Red Moon

Escher in Lego; Wood & wire


Converting JPEG to DNG

In discussing non-destructive JPEG editing in Lightroom and Camera Raw, I mentioned that it’s possible to convert JPEG files into DNG–a format previously limited to raw data from camera sensors.  Why do the new tools allow this, and why might it be useful?  Here’s some perspective from Tom Hogarty:

It’s been almost a year since Lightroom introduced the ability to convert TIFF and JPEG files to the Digital Negative (DNG) format. This does not mean that Adobe is magically converting output-referred TIFF/JPEG files into mosaic data that has all of the flexibility of native raw files. These converted JPEG/TIFF files are not raw files at all.

So, why allow the conversion?

As Lightroom and now Adobe Camera Raw provide non-destructive editing of JPEG and TIFF files, the DNG format offers benefits as a non-destructive editing format in addition to its position as a raw standard. DNG is designed to efficiently store the XMP metadata block and image preview associated with a non-destructive edit. As non-destructive editing capabilities grow, the DNG format has the architecture required to grow with those capabilities regardless of the source format. For example, a JPEG image converted to DNG and non-destructively edited three different ways will be able to store three sets of editing instructions and three distinct previews for each edit.

Does this lessen DNG’s position as a raw format standard? Absolutely not. The core of public DNG specification is a standard method of storing and describing raw data. Most recently, Leica and Pentax have joined the ranks of camera manufacturers supporting DNG files natively and there are a substantial percentage of professional photographers converting their proprietary raw files to DNG for workflow or archival purposes.

So, editing a JPEG in Lightroom or ACR, then making it into a DNG, allows you to create an envelope that packages up the original bits, the editing sauce, and a rendered preview that any application can see (i.e. DNG = before + after + settings).  And, unlike a regular JPEG that contains editing data, a DNG isn’t going to be mistaken for any old file.  It stands out as something with special editing properties.

Having said all this, converting JPEG to DNG is useful, but it’s not a panacea: it makes files larger (at least for now), and it’s not something I think everyone should run out and do.  (I haven’t found a need to do it myself.)  It’s an option, however, and one that could grow more useful in the future.

Motion bits: Gnarls & mo'

//na// Some great animation & motion graphics bits have crossed my path recently:

  • After blowing minds with their Crazy video last year, Gnarls Barkley now does the Zelig mockumentary thing in Smiley Faces.  (Dig Baron von Counterculture’s Groovy Purple Dirigible.) Brilliant, and painfully catchy.
  • Design shop Foreign Office shows off the in-movie ads & graphics they created for Children of Men (one of my favorite films last year).  State-sanctioned suicide never looked so good. [Via Marc Pawliger]
  • The beautiful HP "Hands" campaign continues with this lovliness featuring Brazilian author Paulo Coelho.  People ask me why I work on Photoshop, what I dream of for the future. This vision starts to hint at it. [Via]
  • Hand-focused, but on the other end of the tech spectrum, check out the amazing VW Phaeton "What the Hands Can Do" ad. [Via]
  • Similarly human-powered & great: the Human skateboard.
  • I could really go for more Kirin craziness in this job (being, as I am, disrespectful to dirt). [Via]   Oh, haven’t had enough yet?  Try Fruity Oaty Bars (see also behind the scenes on that one).  That should do the trick.

So, what's this about a hosted Photoshop?

By now you’ve probably seen a whole bunch of stories about how Adobe is planning to put a version of Photoshop online in the next six months or so, based on remarks from CEO Bruce Chizen.  Here’s the original CNET story, as well as a distillation of the quotes from Bruce.

I view this evolution of Adobe imaging as a logical (and exciting) extension of what we’ve been doing for several years.  The company recognized that one size doesn’t fit all, and that it’s possible to leverage core imaging technology & experience to build a variety of related solutions.  That’s what has led to Photoshop Elements (starting with core PS editing, removing pro-level complexity, adding hobbyist-oriented creation & sharing tools) and Photoshop Lightroom (leveraging Camera Raw, metadata, and workflow experience).  A Photoshop-branded online editor lets us start bringing the tech to new customers–much like the new Adobe Remix reaches new customers using Adobe Premiere technology.

To set expectations properly, I think it’s important to mention that by "Photoshop-branded" we don’t mean the professional version of Photoshop.  The tools being discussed here are targeted at the consumer market–especially all the people using social networking and media sharing sites.

Exciting times are ahead.  And meanwhile, we’re working hard to keep opening doors to the online world in Adobe desktop apps. The upshot is that Adobe imaging technology can migrate to the Web, and the Web can transform and enhance desktop tools.