Monthly Archives: July 2007

Great black & white, New York at night, & more

Beware your metadata trail

…at least if you’re planning to commit crimes.  The British Times Online reports that the EXIF metadata embedded in digital camera images could be used to track down whoever photographed each page of the final Harry Potter novel & uploaded it prior to the book’s release:

The information, known as Exchangeable Image File Format (Exif) data, has already revealed that the camera used was a Canon Rebel 350. Because the model is three years old, the device would likely have been serviced at least once since it was purchased, in which case the owner’s name would be known. [Via]

The reality in this case, I think, is that identifying and prosecuting the shooter would be difficult.  The camera owner would have had to have registered the camera and have had it serviced, and even with a name authorities would have to demonstrate that the person then used the camera to photograph the pages and upload the results.

Still, it’s another interesting example of digital devices recording more fingerprints than most people expect.  As devices get smarter, they’ll leave a longer trail of breadcrumbs–for better and for worse.  (How much info must be contained in an image from a GPS-enabled cellphone camera, for example?)

Adobe often ends up in a tug of war: some people really want to make metadata secure, while others want easy ways to strip it away.  Photographers seem most sensitive in this regard, wanting to ensure that their copyright info is preserved, while optionally stripping out revealing details of how, when, and where an image was captured.  On other occasions I’ve heard law enforcement folks wish aloud that Photoshop automatically inserted some trackable info into each file based on serial number.  (Don’t worry: that’s been met with an immediate, “Um yeeeah, noooo…”)

In any case, I think there’s some low-hanging fruit here.  We should offer a simple script that would let Bridge remove metadata from images, trusting that most people would use it for good & not for evil.  If you have other suggestions, please let us know.

Tracking graffiti with help from Flash, Google

The Graffiti Archaelogy project uses a Flash interface to let visitors navigate to different heavily tagged spots (links at left), then see the work at various stages (links at bottom).  Using the M & N keys to cruise back and forth in time, I’m reminded of watching time lapses of plant life exploding on a surface, dying, and being reborn.  Yesterday Adobe hosted a visit from project founder Cassidy Curtis, but I had to bail in order to avoid guys driving by the building at 180mph.  Fortunately has the whole backstory on the crew & project. [Via]

Elsewhere you can find a Google-powered map that tracks Seattle-area graffiti tagging.  The NYT talks about the way that mapping services are enabling people to plot all kinds of info, from hydrofoils around the world to yarn stores in Illinois.  (No progress yet in getting yarn graffiti pioneers Knitta Please to my hometown, I see.)

Grade-A Illustration

Linework in the key of A:


  • Celebrating the family’s big screen premiere, Harper’s Bazaar feautres a great spread of Simpsons Couture.  “Marge lets down her hair for Versace. Lisa gives up her pearls for Alber Elbaz. Homer dresses as Karl Lagerfeld. Selma & Patty in Viktor & Rolf.” [Via]
  • Illustrator Techniques demonstrates how to use the app to imitate A Scanner Darkly.  They also interview lead animator Sterling Allen. [Via Thorsten Wulff]



  • For the Audi A5, UK-based designers GT have created A Rhythm of Lines–a site that lets you create abstract car-related artwork (kinda; I find it a little obscure). [Via]
  • Car Design News is hosting a series of tutorials on car rendering, heavily using Photoshop. [Via]



  • Yukio Miyamoto is a master Illustrator artist, producing insanely detailed, photorealistic artwork.  Fellow artist Kevin Hulsey (himself a total badass) hosts a number of Yukio’s pieces.
  • Elsewhere in Japan, farmers make huge rice paddy renderings of famous artwork.  Arigato! [Via]

New typographical goodness

  • In Words Are Pictures, Craig Ward creates beautiful type treatments.  I especially like his A-Z ligatures and Lucha Libre. [Via]
  • The Photoshop Roadmap blog pulls together tutorials for The Best 80 Photoshop Text Effects on the Web.  "This guide includes 78 Photoshop tutorials and 2 impressive collections of Photoshop Actions, plus 3 books on the subject." [Via]
  • Digital Arts features a tutorial on making 3D type using Photoshop plus a 3D app.  I continue to look forward to a developer packaging simple 3D creation tools (extrusion, lighting, warping, etc.) as a plug-in for Photoshop Extended, so that all this stuff can be done in one place while staying re-editable. [Via]
  • Type purists might squirm a bit, but Macworld offers advice on bulking up your font collection quickly & affordably.

Hearing voices in Lightroom

James Duncan Davidson at Inside Lightroom has happened across a hidden little gem in the app–namely, the ability to play audio files attached to photos.  Some high-end cameras, especially those geared towards photojournalists (e.g. the Canon 1D Mk III), allow a shooter to record voice notes that get attached to images, becoming essentially part of the images’ metadata.  Lightroom 1.1 quietly introduced the ability to recognize & play these annotations. It’s a cool way to take notes in the field, then access them while reviewing photos.

In a related vein, Lightroom also recognizes embedded GPS metadata & offers the ability to display the location via Google Maps.  Ian Lyons has the details.

KYPSKBSC: Know Your Photoshop Keyboard Shortcuts

Let your fingers do the rocking:

Stop motion, painting with light, & more

*Tangentially related: Last week we had a great visit with the Pixar folks, discussing how they use Photoshop today & how they’d like to see it evolve.  In talking about creating the lifelike rat movements in Ratatouille, they said, "Yeah, it was really tough gluing tiny ping pong balls onto those guys for the motion capture!  We tried marshmallows, but they kept eating ’em…"

Cool new infographics

  • The Internets, it’s well known, are a series of tubes. That reality is now depicted in this info graphic from Information Architects Japan, mashing up online players with a map of the Tokyo subway system.  Nice to see Adobe occupying what seems to be some sunny downtown space (“They continue to move towards the center of gravity without being too loud about it”).  More info on the project is here. [Via]
  • Edward Tufte celebrates the NYT infographics of Megan Jagerman in a detailed profile on his site. [Via]  Speaking of work done in the paper, this week they posted a cool Flash-based map of The Wealthiest Americans Ever, efficiently plotting net worth, rank, and life span.
  • CraigStatsSF combines data from Craigslist with Google Maps in order to produce heat maps that depict housing cost and density by region.  (Disclaimer: “We only identify with hotpockets which are tasty and lethal.”) [Via]
  • I don’t know whether it’s an infographic per se, and it’s hardly new, but Henrich Bunting’s 16th-century depiction of the world as a cloverleaf (joined at Jerusalem) is interesting enough to deserve mention. [Via]
  • Free Press features a visual representation of how AT&T has been reconstituted, T2-style, after being broken up in 1984. Somehow I keep hearing Johnny Rotten saying, “Ever get the feeling you’ve been cheated?” [Via]
  • Update: Greg Dizzia has posted a chart that graphically depicts the details of every relationship he’s ever had. (Note: The chart is work-safe, but it may not be everyone’s cup of tea.) [Via]

GoLive->DW, 3D Flash buttons, more in Desn. Center

The Adobe Design Center returns with fresh updates:

New Dialog Box:

New Think Tank:

New Gallery:

New Tutorials:

Also, check out some of the 929 Adobe links on  Info on how to contribute links is here.  [Via]