Monthly Archives: October 2007

"Flare" data visualization tools for Flash

No, by “flare” I’m not talking about the shiny crap pinned to my old Olive Garden waiter’s getup.  (I lasted 10 days or so before taking my butt to a dotcom.  The horror…)  The Flare visualization toolkit is a set of Flash ActionScript classes for building “a wide variety of interactive visualizations,” including basic charts, complex animations, network diagrams, treemaps, and more.  Check out the cool demo, making sure to hit the Smoke & Distortion tabs at the bottom. [Via Mark Baltzegar]

Seeing these visualizations, I’m inspired to wonder (again) how we could leverage Adobe Bridge’s support for Flash-based UI to present data in more interesting ways.  A SWF running inside Bridge can display any format for which Bridge can generate a preview (as Bridge creates a JPEG cache for each file).  Flash-based apps like Retrievr, the Related Tag Browser, the 3D-ish TiltViewer, and many others demonstrate novel ways to connect a rich interface to a database of images.  Hmm… if you have any thoughts, let ’em rip. (It’s times like these I wish I could code my way out of a paper bag.)

For more inspiring visualizations, see

J. (retching)

PS–As I was typing this entry, we got rocked with a nice California earthquake.  Nothing like having all your worldly possessions (including yourself) getting bounced around to put things in a little perspective.

Hipsters, gangstas, & unacceptable haircuts

Chart! And! Graphs!

  • Maps
  • Graphs
    • Artist Andrew Kuo spent the summer hitting as many NY concerts as possible, and he “obsessively charted the entire experience, from reviewing the bands to counting the number of porta-potties.” Check out the results.  See also the brief accompanying article.  Many more infographics live on his blog.
    • Protec’ ya neck: Chris Sims lets us peer into the rigorous science of gangsta rap. [Via]
    • This Australian dating ad uses infographics to make its pitch.  (Only 11% of suitors have “unacceptable haircuts”?  They must not be counting the vast number of Aussie dudes with fauxhawks.)

Why do we photograph? A discussion.

"Welcome to what may be my very best conversation yet," says George Jardine of the latest Lightroom podcast.  "Or at least the most fun and insightful."

George sat down with photographers Jay Maisel, Greg Gorman and Seth Resnick for "a long and rambling discussion about film archives, digital archives, various sorting and editing methods, and how they all intersect. Or not… I found Jay continually driving at a singular point about why he photographs, how he edits, and why he feels shooting to please yourself is the only important thing for a photographer." [Update: George has transcribed a couple of key bits & added some comments; I’ve now included these in this post’s extended entry.]

The podcast is on George’s iDisk under "20071016 Podcast – Maisel Gorman Resnick."  This podcast & others can be found on iTunes by searching under Podcasts for "Lightroom," or via the Lightroom podcasts RSS feed. [Via]

Continue reading

Adobe apps on Leopard: What you need to know

Just minutes ago, Apple’s Mac OS X 10.5–"Leopard" to its friends–went on sale.  Congrats to everyone at Apple on what looks like a terrific release.

So, what does this mean in terms of running Adobe software?  The good news is that most Adobe apps don’t require updates in order to run well.  That is, the CS3 versions of Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Flash, Dreamweaver, Fireworks, and other apps are good to go for Leopard right now.  Rock out.

The CS3-generation applications that require patches are After Effects, Premiere Pro, Encore, and Soundbooth (due to go live in early December), and Acrobat 8/Reader 8 (due in January).  Although Adobe is working on these updates, here’s a key line from the Adobe Leopard FAQ (PDF):

Does Adobe recommend running Production Premium or Master Collection before its
updates are available?

A. Yes, we are comfortable recommending this. Our testing revealed a few issues in specific
workflows when running the video professional applications on Mac OS X Leopard. Many
video professionals would not encounter these issues on a day-to-day basis, but we want to
provide updates in December 2007 to address these issues and meet our standards of quality.  You can evaluate the issues by visiting and searching the online
knowledgebase for more information.

What about older versions of Adobe software?  The FAQ says,

While older Adobe applications may install and run on Mac OS X Leopard, they were
designed, tested, and released to the public several years before this new operating system
became available. You may, therefore, experience a variety of installation, stability, and
reliability issues for which there is no resolution.  Older versions of our creative software will
not be updated to support Mac OS X.

I can’t speak for other app teams, but while we naturally concentrated our testing on Photoshop CS3 (and beyond), we also tested CS2 a fair bit.  The only significant problem we discovered is that Photoshop CS2’s Web Photo Gallery module can crash while running under Leopard.  We plan to post an updated version that fixes the crash, but that won’t go up until Monday.  In case you’re impatient, I’ve attached the file here.

And that, in a nutshell, is it.  Have fun.

[Update: Adobe evangelist Terry White is one of the most deeply knowledgeable people inthe world when it comes to the Creative Suite applications. He’s been logging his Leopard upgrade experiences on his blog: see The Road To Leopard, parts 1, 2, and 3. On the whole, things seem to be going really well.

Per a note in Terry’s third installment, I’ve gotta say, I’m deeply disappointed that Time Machine now apparently won’t support backups across a wireless network. Good thing I rushed out and bought a new AirPort base station in February, along with a new USB hard drive (given that the base station doesn’t support the Apple-designed FireWire standard)–all in anticipation of wireless household backups. Here’s hoping the planned functionality will be enabled in an update.]

Friday typography: Leopards, Ketels, & more

"Designed in California"

Sometimes I see an article that I wish I’d written, as it just nails something I’ve been thinking for a while.  Joel Spolsky’s piece on the phrase "Designed by Apple in California" neatly captures my thoughts–especially on the idea of California as an idea (very resonant for someone growing up in rural Illinois).  Thank you… thank you for giving a damn.

As for the Zune team apparently aping Apple’s phrase with their "Hello from Seattle," I feel like pulling the Conan O’Brien move that occurs roughly 2:20 into his brilliant visit to ILM, stamping the whole effort "SAD!" [Via]

PS–The "Hello" thing was charming in 1998, too.

Gigapixel panos through Flash is "sort of a Flickr for zoomable panoramas," notes Photoshop engineer (and Photomerge creator) John Peterson. The site makes it possible to upload & browse gigapixel-sized images, then navigate through them via a Flash interface.  Here’s a shot of Adobe HQ, taken from nearby Caesar Chavez park* in downtown San José.  (Bustling, isn’t it? ;-))  The site is labeled "beta," and the viewer currently leaves much to be desired (quit squirming around, dammit!), but it’s a very cool project nonetheless. [Via]

For more in this vein, see previous: Colossal images through Photoshop & Flash; 13 gigapixels or bust; 3.8 Gigapixels of Half Dome.

* I’m sure I walk by it all the time, but until seeing this image I never noticed the deeply gross sign in the park.  Click the second of the two snapshots below the Adobe pano to read it.  I’ll never think of the fountain in quite the same way.

Human flipbooks, Lego films, & more

Of stop motion & time lapses:

  • 150 t-shirts + 150 iron-ons + one heck of a lot of precision ironing = the Human Flipbook, created for sandwich chain Erbert & Gerbert. [Via Dustin Black, “Chief Simian Liaison” @ Colle+McVoy]
  • Ironic Sans tells the story of Art Binninger, a Star Trek fan who made stop-motion animated Star Trek parody films from 1974 until Paramount put the smack down in 1986. [Via]
  • The boxes be flyin’ in "Platform," a stop-motion film.  (The stack’s got kind of a Q*bert look to it.) [Via]
  • Legos fly together Busby Berkeley-style to create the Millenium Falcon. [Via]
  • CNET hosts a gallery of more Lego stop motion. Bohemian Rhapsody ain’t bad.

Using Illustrator to print money; more

Illustrator mensch Mordy Golding reports an interesting interaction at a recent show:

After my tutorial this week, one of the attendees approached me, telling me how much he enjoyed the session. Then he told me he’d like to present me with a gift — a quarter. No, he wasn’t trying to bribe me to lobby the Illustrator team for multiple pages. But it was a special quarter indeed, because he designed it.

Check out Mordy’s post for more info & images.

In other illustration news (no real thematic connection here, but that’s what I get for more airport blogging; the audio system has a real Harrison Bergeron effect):