Monthly Archives: April 2007

Photoshop security issue reported; details pending

Security firm Secunia has reported a vulnerability with Photoshop CS2 and CS3, whereby a malformed bitmap file (.BMP, .DIB, .RLE) could cause a buffer overflow in the application.  Unfortunately I don’t have more useful info to add at the moment, and I’m heading to Death Valley for the weekend & will be out of the loop for a bit.  I’ll post more details as I get them.  In the meantime, I’d suggest steering clear of files in these formats created by unknown/untrusted parties.  (The good news here is that the formats are pretty uncommonly used in Photoshop, to the point where I can’t remember the last time a customer mentioned them to me.)

Adventures in Infographics

I’m intrigued by work that strives to make sense of large, complicated sets of data (see previous).  Along those lines:

  • This London-style NYC subway map is generating a lot of conversation, both online & inside Adobe.  Weird, I remember discussing this exact topic when I first started at an NY Web shop–nine years ago!  Bridge engineering manager Arno Gourdol points out Mr. Beck’s Underground Map, a thorough account of the Tube map design.  And from there I found this page, brimming with more resources on the subject. [Via]
  • PingMag chats with Andrew Vande Moere, creator of the Infosthetics blog, about the beauty of data visualization.  Both links are chock full of loveliness.  (Bonus: No Edward Tufte w/young white-gloved flunkies.)
  • The Strange Maps blog depicts right- vs. left-hand driving around the globe, while providing the interesting back story of how these conventions came to be. [Via]
  • Covering 5000 years in 90 seconds, Maps of War shows the tides of conquest that have swept through the Middle East. [Via]
  • The US government gets into the game, using census data to drive home the aging of the populace.
  • I dig illustrator Christoph Niemann’s witty little visual comparison of some pieces of music.  (I’m a Jaws-level pianist at best.)
  • Pentagram designer Paula Scher created this anatomy of a blog conversation for the NYT. Ahh, the descent into ennui… [Via]
  • At FITC last weekend I really enjoyed meeting Evan Roth, the dude behind the SkyMall demographic visualization, laser graffiti, and much more. Though I’m coming up short on links to it, he’s created a method of visualizing one’s daily clicks: wiring up two USB cables from a single mouse, plugging one into a main work computer, and plugging the other into a machine running Photoshop or other graphics app.  As you click around email, the Web, etc., you produce a drawing (of sorts) on the other machine, with paint blobs mapped to the same coordinates as your clicks.  (It sounds like AttenTV might be doing vaguely similar, for profit.)  Oh, and bringing this post full circle, Evan’s crew at Eyebeam has created an interactive NYC subway map.

Check out the thorax on that guy

I’m a real lightweight when it comes to insects (for example, I could never name my Flash rival after one ;-)), but they do inspire creative photography & more:

  • Buzz illustrates "The Intimate Bond Between Humans and Insects" via some amazing microscopic photography. See inside. [Via]
  • Student photographer Lawraa shares a shot of a praying mantis apparently listening to Snoop ("Throw your prehensile appendages in the ai-ir…") [Via]
  • Der Spiegel had a great gallery of shattered bugs, but now I’ve waited too long and it’s returning a 404 error.  Dang–maybe it’ll turn up elsewhere, as the images were worth seeing. The best the site will now give me is a pregnant cow scaring chubby cyclists.
  • Make any treat more mouthwatering with the help of sugar that looks like ants. [Via]
  • In a similar vein, an ad campaign uses ants–"the most credible ambassadors for sweetness*"– to show off sugar-free eats.
  • [For more bug life, see previous.]

*Snuggle the fabric softener bear was apparently unavailable

Lightroom $199 through Monday, $299 thereafter

Thanks to the folks at for the reminder: the introductory pricing for Adobe Photoshop Lightroom ($199 US) is good through April 30 (this coming Monday), after which the price goes to the regular retail amount ($299).  If you’ve been thinking about purchasing Lightroom, now’s a good time to bust a move to the store. (You can kick the tires first via the downloable tryout version; just don’t wait too long to get the price break.)

Photoshop Extended wins Vidy, more at NAB

I was really pleased to hear film & video peeps’ response to Photoshop Extended last week at NAB, and today we got some more good news: NewBay Media (publishers of Digital Cinematography, DV Magazine, and more) awarded Photoshop CS3 Extended their "Vidy" & "Top Innovation" awards.  Thanks, guys!  Meanwhile Adobe Soundbooth took home DV’s Black Diamond award.

As long as we’re being a little immodest, I’ve seen some other great comments in recent days:

  • "It’s simple, really," writes Jim Heid in Macworld. "If digital imaging is an important part of your creative life, you’ll want Adobe Photoshop CS3. The new version provides so many improvements in so many areas that no serious digital photographer, video artist, or designer should be without it" [emphasis added].
  • "This upgrade is a no-brainer if you’re a regular Photoshop user," says CreativePro’s Ben Long. "The combination of enhancements to staple features, such as Curves and the Clone Stamp, combined with powerful new additions like the Black and White conversion and Camera Raw enhancements, mean that there’s something for everyone in this update."
  • PC World lists Photoshop among "The 50 Best Tech Products of All Time."
  • Elsewhere, MacDirectory had this to say about Adobe as a whole:
    • "Beyond all the products enhancements and features revealed at the CS3 launch, the one thing that made the strongest and possibly most important impression was Adobe’s attitude. They retained all the enthusiasm and drive of a company that’s battling for market share. They know what their customers need and they deliver that and far more. With each new version, their products are not only richer, but also faster. They are not only a market leader, but remain one of the market’s leading innovators. When Adobe required Macromedia, many of us were concerned that the sudden lack of competition in the electronic design marketplace would lead to a creative lull in product development. Instead, it appears that the energies of two great companies have combined to bring us even more dramatic advancements."
  • And lastly, I spied some nice props on the forum : "Chris Cox, I promise you that you will have made a massive contribution to the field of astrophotography with the release of CS3. Your new image stacking + stitching algorithm is going to allow for immense advances in alignment, noise correction, and overall image optimization. This is a hugely powerful tool, and a significant advance over currently available software. I can tell you personally that it will likely save me several hundred manhours of labor per year. Can’t wait to get my hands on a fresh copy. Thanks Chris – this is going to be marked as a watershed moment in astrophotography development."

This all seems to be going over well, according to the analysts at PiperJaffray who surveyed customers at this month’s sold-out Photoshop World. [Via Scott Kelby]

Ad bits: DIY Pepsi cans, custom Wii's, more

Having worked at a couple of interactive ad shops, I’m always interested in seeing what’s being created these days:

Creative misuse of Photoshop layer alignment

By now we’ve probably talked your ear off about the useful things enabled by Photoshop’s layer alignment code–snapping together two or more layers, making it easy to blend group photos, for example; stitching together complex panoramas; and making crisper HDR merges.

After attending NAB this week, however, Photoshop engineer Mike Clifton came up with a crafty (and, to be honest, not "as-designed") use for the Auto-Align Layers command: stabilizing a chunk of video.  First, he shot some deliberately horrible footage out the window on our floor.  He then used Photoshop’s new Import Frames as Layers command* to turn the video frames into Photoshop layers.  Lastly, he selected all the frames and chose Edit->Auto-Align, telling Photoshop to line them all up.  To our surprise, the results are not half bad: check ’em out here (before, after, and cropped).

Now, to be clear, I wouldn’t sell Photoshop as a video stabilization tool, as tools like After Effects are already capable in that regard.  That said, half the fun of building this stuff is in seeing the clever ways people will deploy it, and this strikes me as one of ’em.

*Brought over from ImageReady, actually, but new to Photoshop.

Alternate CS3 icons available

After the, eh, spirited discussion of the Adobe CS3 iconography that ensued last year, I’m a little hesitant to mention the subject again.  That said, designer Adam Betts has posted an attractive set of alternate CS3 icons, free for download.  The imagery is based on the CS3 product packaging, which wasn’t publicly visible when the initial discussion of the icons transpired.  I think they’re rather handsome. [Via Mike Downey]

[Update: Flash PM Richard Galvan points out another set.
[Update 2: My not allowing comments wasn’t intentional; that’s what I get for scrambling to post during a 30-minute layover in Denver… Anyway, comments are open now.]

Lightroom Podcast #30: Compare View & Quick Develop

Adobe photography evangelist George Jardine is switching gears a bit in his latest Lightroom Podcast.  He’s posted a video "mini-tutorial showing you how the Quick Develop Panel can help you make a snap correction in the middle of an edit using Compare View, without breaking your concentration or workflow." George writes,

This mini-tutorial podcast is the first in a new series that will cover bite-sized tips and techniques designed to help you get the most out of Lightroom. The focus of this series will mostly concentrate on basic color correction techniques using the Develop module, but will also touch on many other parts of the application. This first tutorial shows the basics of using the Compare View to edit a small group of pictures to “find the best shot,” and how to use the Quick Develop Panel during the edit.

The podcast is available via George’s iDisk (look for “20070418 Tutorial Podcast – Compare View + QD”).  It’s also available via iTunes (search for "Lightroom"), and via the Lightroom Podcasts RSS feed.

Going to FITC? Want to talk?

I’m headed to the airport at 5am Saturday morning (yeah! all glam, all the time, this gig–though I’m not complaining), off to the FITC (neé Flash in the Can) conference in Toronto.  If you’ll be there and feel like talking about Photoshop, Flash integration, or any related topics, drop me a line.  I’ll also be speaking on Monday afternoon, giving an overview of Photoshop CS3.