Monthly Archives: September 2007

New Adobe vids: Russell Brown, Layers, & more

  • Adobe’s Russell Brown has teamed up with xTrain to create Dr. Brown’s Photoshop Laboratory.  For more on the free classes they’re doing together, check out the xTrain site.  Here are direct links to his recent tutorials on 3D, Black & White, and video in Photoshop CS3.
  • Russell has posted a whole set of video experiments created using PSCS3 Extended in Dr. Brown’s Video Gallery.
  • Layers Magazine has launched Layers TV–"The How-To Podcast for Everything Adobe." Hosted by Cory Barker and “RC” Concepcion, the podcasts are also available via iTunes.
  • Hitting the century mark and going stronger than ever, the NAPP‘s Photoshop User TV celebrates its 100th episode.  Congrats, guys! Thanks for rocking out to make such a great community resource.
  • And, perhaps hiding right under your nose, the Flash-powered Bridge Home (part of Adobe Bridge CS3–see screenshot) delivers info and training content (including more than 200 CS videos) right to your desktop.  Seems that someone is discovering the service, however: according to manager Jennifer Deming, Bridge Home racked up more than 125,000 unique visitors this month.  More info on Bridge Home is in Terry White’s podcast.

Cool Recent Photography, Part 2

New Adobe Magazine available

A new issue (download) of Adobe Magazine, the company’s quarterly PDF for designers, photographers, and other creative folks, is available for download. Designed by São Paulo-based Kiko Farkas, this issue includes:

  • Natural Synthesis: Discover how London-based artists use Adobe Photoshop to capture unique versions of reality.
  • The Incredible Shrinking Screen:
    In many countries, efficient and intelligent design is the king in mobile branding.
  • Fine Filmmaking:
    Los Angeles director Jacob Rosenberg works within a budget, without creative limitations.

More than 100,000 folks are already subscribing to email updates for the magazine.  You can join the list via the site.

What's in *your* histogram?

Heh–this is one of the cooler things I’ve seen in quite a while.  David Friedman of Ironic Sans has hidden a picture in an innocuous-looking gradient.  Can you find the image?  It’s fun to poke at the pixels a little to see what you can discover.  To see the hidden image plus the steps for hiding it, check out the follow-up post.  [Via Marc Pawliger, Tobias Hoellrich, & Jeff Tranberry]

Elsewhere in the realm of genius through illegibility: check out this recruiting ad for Lunar BBDO, rendered in typographic dingbats.  (That that, Google math nerds. ;-))  For more on steganography (hidden writing) of all sorts, check out the Wikipedia entry.

Going to MAX? Let's talk Photoshop, AE, Flash…

Greetings from O’Hare, where I find myself en route to this coming week’s Adobe MAX conference in Chicago.  If you plan to attend the show and are interested in talking about the future of Photoshop & how all this stuff fits together, please drop me a line.  In particular, Michael Coleman & the After Effects guys are looking for customers who use AE & Flash together (or who would like to do so).  Drop him a line if you’re interested in that, and hope to see you at the show.

[PS: There will be Birds of a Feather sessions featuring the Photoshop team Monday night. Photoshop is 7:30-8:30.
Suites teams (Design and Web) are 8:30-9:30.  I’m not yet sure about the location(s).]

New AE, Photoshop, Lightroom tutorials on Design Center

The Adobe Design Center offers up a taste of new content:

* New Think Tank:

* New Tutorials:

Adobe training czarinas Luanne Seymour and Jen deHaan are blogging, so check out their sites for fresh material.  And as always, check out some of the 1000+ Adobe links on  Info on how to contribute links is here.  [Via]

Adobe's 3D raytracing in the news

As I’m sure you know, we’re pretty excited to have 3D capabilities inside Photoshop CS3 Extended.  That said, we know that what’s there today is really a first step into a pretty big realm.

Giving a glimpse into what the future might hold, the MIT Technology Review talks about Adobe’s research into real-time raytracing.  In a nutshell, says principal scientist Gavin Miller, "Adobe’s research goal is to discover the algorithms that enhance ray-tracing performance and make it accessible to consumers in near real-time form."

These techniques scale particularly well on multi-core systems, which is why you tend to see rendering tests show up in high-end machines’ benchmarks.  A brief slideshow accompanying the article demonstrates the differences between ray-traced images & those produced by the kind of interactive renderer used in Photoshop CS3. [Via Aravind Krishnaswamy, who works in Gavin’s group]

Feedback, please: User-powered help inside Photoshop?

I have a very simple idea–one that I think could be very powerful.  I’m proposing that Photoshop (and other Adobe apps) become living organisms, platforms that constantly improve as users learn & share.  Whether the idea sees the light of day depends largely on what you say about it.

I want to start by addressing a simple problem: Let me preserve what I’ve learned & keep it at my fingertips.  If you’re like me, you’ve probably jotted down a million notes about software over the years, storing them on sticky notes, on legal pads, wherever… most of which are nowhere to be found at the moment you need them.  Instead of settling for this, what if you could capture your knowledge about Photoshop inside Photoshop?

It’s the simplest idea in the world: let’s let people jot down notes and stick them into the application itself.  Instead of living only on the local hard drive, the notes would be stored on the network.  That way, no matter where you found yourself working, your accumulated knowledge would always be there, in the context of the tools themselves.  In essence you’d be micro-blogging from within Photoshop.

Ah, but the network is built for sharing.  So what if you could elect to share your notes with others, and what if you could see what they’d shared?

Here’s a practical example.  Let’s say you go into Photoshop’s Unsharp Mask dialog box.  “Amount” is straightforward, but what the hell do “Radius” and “Threshold” mean, exactly?  Let’s say you make sense of it, or you find settings that work really well for certain images.  Why not jot down a note right there?  That way you’ve enriched Photoshop with that knowledge, in context, and made it part of your permanent collection.

But what if you don’t know what something means?  Maybe you could see what Bruce Fraser has to say on the subject–reading a note with Bruce’s tips right in the dialog.  Inside Illustrator’s Live Color feature the other day, I was dying to have Mordy Golding drop by my office and give me the straight dope.  Why couldn’t I see Mordy’s writing–or hear audio narration, or see a video, for that matter–right within Live Color?  Why can’t I see Mac Holbert’s best practices for printing–right in the print dialog?

As I envision it, notes would be searchable, and you could give a quick thumbs-up/-down, TiVo-style, to each note.  That way the good stuff would bubble up while the crap falls into obscurity.  (And, of course, you could always elect to keep your notes private–which they would be by default.)

Here’s a really simple mockup I created to depict the concept running in a palette/panel.  (Yes, it would look slicker when real UI designers did their thing.)

So, what do you think?  Would you find value in jotting down what you’ve learned, making it portable and permanent?  Would you share that info with others?  Would you read what they’d shared?  Is any of this worth a damn?  I’m dying to know your take.  Here’s a 3-question survey, and comments are welcome.


PS–At risk of overloading the concept, I may as well confess that I regard notes as the “thin edge of the wedge.”  I want not only my knowledge to live “in the cloud”; I want everything that makes my copy of an app mine–custom palettes, brushes, swatches, font styles, everything–to live on the network, to be synched seamlessly and to be sharable with others.  If I come up with a kick-ass skin for using Photoshop for Web design, I want you to type “JNack” into your copy of Photoshop and have it, bang, zero friction.  Viva the Photoshop Nation.

Cool Recent Photography, Part 1

Of jazz, Jawas, carnage, & more:

  • Kent Phelan shares a great shot of octagenarian jazz man Roy Haynes. [Via]
  • TrueGrain is "a pro-grade tool for accurately recapturing the aesthetics of black and white film with digital photography."  It’ll set you back $300.
  • The NYT features a slideshow from Turkey’s barren & striking Cappadocia; Jawas sold separately.  According to the gallery, the caves have been carved from soft rock.  I’d like to see caves carved into some really soft rock, like Nerf.  ("Or Air Supply," interjects Margot.)
  • Speaking of the NYT, they’ve been offering excellent prints for sale from their archives.  Dig Ruth Fremson’s photo of trams in the fog (info).  See also the ghostly Twin Towers in the fog; Lower Manhattan in the 60’s (hello, old office); Feeding the hippo at the Bronx Zoo.
  • The paper remembers the life and work of pioneering female photojournalist Gerda Taro (partner of Robert Capa), offering a slideshow of her work.
  • "Don’t look at me like a piece of meat!" But look at my hair that way.  If Julia Kissina’s carnage trips your trigger, see Pinar Yolacan’s work. [Via]

*Bahw-tchika-WAhow* typography

"When I hear ‘The 70’s’, I reach for my gun…"

I picked up a 1974 Car & Driver at a vintage goods store a few years ago, and after thumbing through the pages, I wanted to put my head in an oven.  Honestly, I have to thank my parents for letting me miss most of that godforsaken decade, beset as it was by Bookman Swash, brownness, and gas shortages.

Ah, but maybe things weren’t quite that bad.  Gene Gable presents a tour of 70’s typography*, showing the ways that evolving technology enabled new type treatments.  Check out part 2 for more horrific excellence.

In the vein of type treatments that cry out for a greasy bass line (or maybe an acid rock riff), peep these others I’ve stumbled across:

* Hey, is that the Photoshop family logo? >;-)