Monthly Archives: November 2007

Friday Typography: Killer belt buckles & more

Photoshop ethics & pistols & kittens

…these are a few of my favorite things.

Epson posts Leopard compatibility info

Just a brief note, but one of interest to folks printing from Photoshop on the Mac: Epson has posted an FAQ and schedule for compatibility with Mac OS X Leopard.  As always, it’s a great idea to make sure you’re using the latest driver for your hardware/OS combo.

Thanks to Bryan O’Neil Hughes pointing this out.  For reference, see also the details on printing fixes & changes in Photoshop 10.0.1.  Bryan and the team continue to track the issues & user experiences reported here and on other forums, so thanks for the feedback.  We plan to share more details on what we’ve learned here later in the week.  In the meantime, feel free to drop Bryan a line to report issues if you’d like.

[On a related note, if you use HP printers with the Mac, see MacNN’s article HP verifies Leopard printer driver delivery via OS.]

Photoshop typography, Fireworks symbols, & much more on Design Center

The Adobe Design Center says, ‘Scuse me while I whip this content out…:

* New Gallery:

* New Dialog Box:

* New Lightroom Video Workshop from George Jardine:

* New Tutorials:

Adobe training gauchas Luanne Seymour and Jen deHaan are riding herd, 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]

That Synching Feeling: New Lightroom, Photoshop podcasts

  • George Jardine has posted Lightroom Podcast #46, a 12-minute video tutorial covering Lightroom’s synch command.  He writes, "In this tutorial I outline the basics of Lightroom’s Synchronize command. You’ll learn how to apply Develop settings across multiple photos, in both the Library and the Develop modules. I also cover some of the new selection logic in Lightroom that is required to make working with large numbers of files, well…. logical!"
  • Me & Amadou Down By the Schoolyard: At PhotoPlus last month, I spoke with photographer & author Amadou Diallo about Photoshop, life, the universe, and everything (but mostly about Photoshop).  Here’s our chat.  (I’m always pleased when I get to hang out on YouTube, rubbing shoulders with Rusty the narcoleptic dachshund & co. ;-))
  • Over at Inside Digital Photo, Scott Sheppard talks with Lightroom PM Tom Hogarty and Photoshop Elements PM Mark Dahm about the new versions 1.3 and 6.0, respectively, of their products.  Check it out here .

Delicious leftovers: 3D, Photoshop, & much more

As many of us Americans remain lolling around in a turkey-stuffed haze, I’ll do my part to distract from the inlaws by trotting out a smorgasbord of stuff I’ve been amassing over the last few months–stuff that’s just never quite made it to the table on its own.

To pretend this all has something to do with my job, let’s start with the Photoshop bits:

Now, if that doesn’t leave you feeling logy, head back to the Remains of the Bird. 😉

Roses are #ff0000…

Inspired by shades of Fall:

Firefox 3 to enable better color online

Here’s a little reason to give thanks this year: the forthcoming Firefox 3.0 (now in beta) will enable color-managed browsing.  That is, the browser will read color profile information saved in images, take your monitor’s particular characteristics into account, and adjust the pixels on the fly to give them the proper appearance.

The look of images differs between managed and unmanaged applications (screenshot of the same image in Safari vs. Firefox 2), so FF getting on board with color management is great news for designers & photographers who value consistency.  For more background on why this is an important advance for the Web, see my notes on the color-managed Safari coming to Windows.

Now, if we can get Internet Explorer & the Flash Player on board, it’ll be Snoopy Happy Dance time for everyone. 😉

Happy Turkey Day,
El Tryptophan

African skinheads, found photos, and other slices of life

  • MangoFalls is a rather fascinating collection of photos from film found in thrift store cameras (kind of a photo-specific version of Found Magazine).  [Via]
  • Clayton James Cubitt’s Lagos Calling is “an anthropological study of African skinhead fashion from the early seventies.” [Via]
  • The Morning News features Aaron Hobson’s Cinemascapes plus a short interview with the photographer. [Via Thorsten Wulff]
  • Magnum Magnum celebrates the 60th anniversary of the famed photo agency.  I love the first two shots in this gallery.  [Via Marc Pawliger]
  • People & their breakfasts surveys–well, just that. [Via]  I think this kind of navel-(orange) gazing may be part of Why They Hate Us.

Plastic Man drives the lane, + other moments in time

  • SI photographer John Zimmerman captured a crazy image of Dr. J shot using a slit camera to follow the movement of his hand.  Hard to believe it’s from 1972!
  • Liquid sculpture: Photographer Martin Waugh (see previous) talks about how he combined high-speed photography with a bit of Photoshop to create the new Smirnoff ad campaign.
  • William Hundley makes some eye-popping jumping sheet photographs.  See more of his work on Flickr. [Via]
  • Sports Shooter hosts a cool gallery of indoor rodeo shots from Darryl Dyck. [Via]
  • Telling a very different story occasioned by cowboy imagery, LA Times photog Luis Sinco talks about how his shot of the "Marlboro Marine" James Blake Miller in Iraq changed both of their lives. [Via]  The story is behind an irritating, albeit free, registration barrier.

Getting Mooned in HD, and in colors

Of Skylines & Silhouettes

  • Claasen & Partner make the Berlin Bulb, depicting the city’s skyline on illuminated glass. Paris, Munich, and other cities are due to follow.  In a related vein, see also their Moby Dick Tub Tattoo. [Via]
  • Mounir Fatmi has created three variations of Save Manhattan–skylines comprised variously of books, VHS tapes, and speakers.  Two copies of the Koran cast shadows that recall the Twin Towers.  (Click the small black dots beneath the image to see & read more.) [Via]
  • I’d love to see The Adventures of Prince Achmed–the oldest surviving feature-length animated film, made in Germany in 1926 using silhouette animation.  Assorted stills are scattered around the Web. [Via Maria Brenny]
  • Speaking of German silhouettes, Axel Broetje’s animated Fische und Schiffe won a 2007 Adobe Design Achievement award for student work.

Details on printing fixes in Photoshop 10.0.1

As I mentioned last month, the Photoshop team has been working to address printing problems reported by customers using Photoshop CS3.  My fellow PM Bryan O’Neil Hughes has been driving this effort, and he and the technical writing team have posted a detailed explanation of the changes made by the update.  Bryan’s introduction is below.

In Photoshop CS3, we made a significant effort to improve the printing experience for our users. This resulted in many changes to the printing code, improvements to the print interface, new color management functionality, and support for new features in the latest printer drivers and operating systems. Throughout the project, we worked closely with printer manufacturers to ensure the best possible integration with their devices.

A number of issues have come to our attention since we shipped CS3, and we are now releasing a maintenance update to address many of those that are without an easy workaround. We have also discovered that some problems can be averted by minor refinements to a user’s workflow and we have done our best to describe some of those here. Please read on in this document for specifics. — Bryan O’Neil Hughes, Photoshop Product Manager

Updates posted for Photoshop, Bridge, Lightroom, ACR

I’m pleased to announce that Adobe has posted updates to Photoshop CS3 (download 10.0.1 for Mac, Win), Bridge CS3 (2.1.1 for Mac, Win), Camera Raw (4.3 for Mac, Win), and Lightroom (1.3 for Mac, Win).  Each download page contains details about the corresponding update, but I’ll hit some key points here.

[Update: Note that you can choose Help->Updates from within the apps in order to download and install the updates.  That’s actually the easiest way to go.]

The Photoshop 10.0.1 update addresses the key pain points experienced by users printing from CS3, particularly on Windows.  I’ve posted a separate note that goes into more detail on the topic. The update also includes better support for preserving XMP metadata (including copyright) via Save For Web, through the inclusion of a new
“Include XMP” option in the dialog’s settings menu.  The Photoshop update does not address a problem with changing the values for various tools on Mac OS X Leopard, but Apple and Adobe are working together on a separate fix (details).

With Bridge 2.1.1, a new preference to enable High Quality Preview has been added to Bridge’s Preferences->Advanced panel. When enabled, the preference addresses the problem of a soft or blurry preview appearing in the Preview panel and in Slideshow mode.  The Bridge update also remedies other problems reported by users, including
a problem that could cause Bridge to lock up when using arrow keys to navigate.

Lightroom 1.3 improves compatibility with Mac OS X Leopard, fixes some bugs, and adds an option to render 1:1 previews during import.  New cameras supported in Lightroom, Camera Raw, and the DNG Converter include the following: Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III, Canon PowerShot G9, Nikon D3, Nikon D300, Olympus E-3, Olympus SP-560 UZ, and Panasonic DMC-L10.  The applications also now support the sRAW format produced by the Canon 1D Mk III, 1Ds Mk III, and 40D.

There’s also a preview Lightroom Export SDK available for developers on Adobe Labs.  If that sounds interesting, check out what Lightroom PM Tom Hogarty has to say on the Lightroom Journal.

By the way, in case you’re wondering why the download size for the Photoshop update is large, it’s because the updater is multi-lingual, and on the Mac side the update is Universal Binary.

Feedback, please: Photomerge in Photoshop

[Update: Though the interactive mode of Photomerge is no longer installed by default in Photoshop CS4, you can download & install the plug-in: see links for Mac & Win.]

The Photoshop team could use your guidance in setting priorities around our panorama-creation tools.

The automatic alignment & blending features introduced in CS3 have been really well received by photographers creating panoramas.  Panorama creation in CS2 and earlier relied on use of an interactive dialog (screenshot) that enabled the user to adjust the position and rotation of images before blending them together.  The improved algorithms in CS3, however, can usually produce good results without any user interaction, which is why Photomerge now defaults to “Auto” (screenshot) and bypasses the interactive dialog unless you request it.

So, here’s the question: Do we even need the interactive dialog anymore?  It’s built on an aging framework, so keeping it around would require some investment.  If you create panoramas using Photoshop CS3 and rely on the dialog, please let us know the details (via the comments) of how & why.


PS–General feedback on panorama creation in Photoshop is always welcome, too, though the fate of the dialog is the most urgent issue.

[Update: As of CS4 the plug-in is no longer installed by default, but you can still download and use it if you’d like. –J.]

Printing with your ashes, light, & liquid metal

Spies, irony, and evil

Interesting recent photo finds:

  • Wee cams:
  • Try and stop us:
    • Strictly No Photography sticks it to the Man with an entire site composed of photos taken exactly where they’re forbidden. [Via]
    • "Photo-bans at pop art shows — irony impairment, or Dadaism?" asks Cory Doctorow.  "I wasn’t even allowed to photograph the ‘No Photographs’ sign. A member of staff explained that the typography and layout of the signs was itself copyrighted."
  • Darkness:
    • The NY Times has been covering some grim episodes in the history of humanity, as seen through photography:
      • The personal photos of Nazi death camp guards are a study in chilling banality.  See the accompanying slideshow.
      • Photographer Nhem En was made to photograph prisoners who had arrived to be tortured by the Khmer Rouge. “I had to clean, develop and dry the pictures on my own and take them to Duch by my own hand," he says.  "I couldn’t make a mistake. If one of the pictures was lost I would be killed."  On a related note, Khmer leader Pol Pot’s 1973 Mercedes limo is for sale on eBay.
      • The paper also features a multi-part essay from documentarian Errol Morris, charting his efforts to find the exact location of a famous photo from the Crimean war (the so-called Valley of the Shadow of Death).
    • Flickr hosts a small gallery of images from French nuclear tests. [Via]  In college one of these images adorned the basement wall of our hovel in South Bend, IN.

Call for Entries: Adobe Design Achievement Awards

The Adobe Design Achievement Awards, created to honor great new student work, are now accepting entries.

The loot on tap is not too shabby: Individual category winners in each of 12 categories receive $3,000 cash, a winner’s certificate, round-trip airfare to New York City and two nights’ stay; tours of professional studios; and a copy of the Master Collection (BYO forklift on that one ;-)).  Plenty of other prizes are up for grabs, too.  You need to be a full-time student to enter, and the work has to be fresh (done after May 1 this year).  Submissions will be accepted online through May 2, 2008.

See the FAQ for more info, and also check out the 2007 winners. [Via]

Your interface blows (literally)

While we’re waiting for Photoshop to connect with Martian ocular implants, researchers have been busy building crafty new interface tech.  Photoshop engineer John Peterson writes, "Some folks at the Georgia Institute of Technology have
found a way to do cursor control/selection by blowing on the
screen. The amazing part is it needs no extra hardware, they just
use the microphone already built in to your laptop."  Check out the video, as well as the team’s research paper (PDF).

Apparently others have had the same idea.  Photoshop UI designer Julie Meridian reports, "The Nintendo DS has a built-in microphone and does something similar for
games, like WarioWare Touched! where the goals are things like blowing
up balloons, flying a kite, etc."  And we’ve joked about enabling blowing on natural media simulations in order to do things like moving or drying ink.

Elsewhere on the New UI front, Bryan Hughes points out that all new Volkswagens are due to get touch screens.  If I ever upgrade my Jetta (damn 1.8 mi commute making that unlikely), maybe I can look forward to doing an iPhone style pinch to zoom in on a map–as I zoom into a ravine.

Jay Maisel NYC photo workshop announced

Renowned photographer Jay Maisel is offering a unique workshop in New York next month.  As a fair bit of this blog’s content concerns photography, I thought the details might be of interest.  From Jay:

This is an opportunity to take a workshop with Jay in his own environment, a historic landmark bank building in Lower Manhattan.

This is a workshop about seeing and expanding your capability.  It is not about performing or getting your ego stroked.  It is definitely not about technical things and absolutely not about Photoshop.  You will shoot, get critiques, look at Jay’s work and talk about photography all day long.

It will take place Mon. Dec. 17 to Fri. Dec. 21, from 9am to 10pm each day.  All meals are included.  The cost is $5000.  It will be filled on a first come, first served basis and will be limited to 9 participants.  Payment in full, in advance must be made in order to secure a spot.

The workshop is sponsored by SanDisk. Please call 212.431.5013 or email for more information.

Drobo: Storage a-Go-Go

"Every once in a while," enthuses my fellow Photoshop PM Bryan O’Neil Hughes, "a piece of hardware comes along that is truly a must-have; within days of using it, you suddenly wonder what you ever did without it.  I can’t imagine not having a TiVo, an iPod or a Web-enabled cell phone…and now I can add my Drobo to that list as well."  I’ve included the rest of Bryan’s review as a guest posting in this post’s extended entry. –J.
Continue reading

Drunken bridesmaids, the Exxon Valdez, & more in LR podcasts

George Jardine has been in the zone lately, recording all kinds of good Lightroom podcasts:

  • "I joke with my couples when they come in," says photographer Natalie Fobes, "and they look around my office studio, and they see pictures from the Exxon Valdez, or from the Salmon project, or Komoto Dragons walking down the beach in Indonesia, an I kind of joke with them and I say ‘Those were my long term projects, but your wedding will be my short term project!’ The elements of storytelling that go into a 10 year project on Salmon, or a 6-week project on poverty in America, are the same elements that go into the coverage of the wedding day."  Podcast #43, labeled "20070824 Podcast – Natalie Fobes" is, along with the others, downloadable from George’s iDisk, or via the Lightroom podcasts RSS feed.
  • "Today we’re doing something completely different," writes George of Podcast #44.  "Welcome to a completely unscripted conversation with 6 top women wedding photographers (Susan Stripling, Allegra, Jen Bebb, Kim Bednarski, Jen Capone, and Kristin Reimer). Come listen in to this fun and friendly conversation, as they tell all about shooting weddings. What are the most gratifying things about shooting weddings? What are the most difficult? What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever seen at a wedding? The funniest story? The dresses. The shoes. The drunken bridesmaids. It’s all here."  The episode is labeled "20071017 Podcast – 6 Women Wedding Photographers."
  • Podcast #45 is all about business.  According to George, "This video tutorial covers the basics of understanding Lightroom’s catalog model. We cover where Lightroom stores your previews and metadata, how Lightroom links to your source files, and how to use Lightroom with Bridge’s browser-based workflow.  Look for "20071111 Tutorial Podcast – The Lightroom Catalog – Part 1." [Via]

And while we’re on the subject of Lightroom tutorials, if you’re interested in geocoding your images for use with LR, check out what engineer Eric Scouten has to say on the subject.

Let There Be More Light

Glowing Brains, Adobe X-rays, & more

Droppin’ some Saturday science:


Clarification on "Johnny Cash"

Ooh, I’ve been Slashdotted.  I wondered why the blog had gotten more visitors before 7AM than it usually gets all day.  Thanks for all the comments.

I need to clarify a couple of things.  A commenter on the Slashdot story said, “Well, Adobe just told you themselves that the Photoshop UI sucks.”  Er, no.  Two things:

  1. “Adobe” didn’t say anything; I said something (see disclaimer about these opinions being my own, etc.).  Yes, I sometimes get lazy and conflate myself with the team/product/company, but I’m really just the Simple Unfrozen Caveman Web Designer they happened to hire to work on Photoshop.  But more importantly…
  2. I didn’t say that the Photoshop UI sucks.  I said that it’s not good enough (which is to say, it’s never “good enough”).  If the UI sucked, I somehow doubt that millions of people would rely on it every day for mission-critical work.  And, incidentally, every time we survey customers, we find that the number reporting themselves “satisfied” or “very satisfied” comes in above 90%.

It’s my job to be somewhat hard on the product, pushing like mad to eke out every improvement possible.  Without dissatisfaction, why change?  I hate the idea that “good enough is good enough,” that we can and should just putter around the edges.  To remain groundbreaking, Photoshop has to mess with success.

Okay, second part: I don’t want people to be disappointed if the next Photoshop interface doesn’t look like some Martian voodoo lovechild driven by foot pedals & ocular implants.  Yes, we’re working (as we have been) to open the door to some really nice improvements, but change takes time.  I believe we can deliver a better experience without breaking the interface people already know & like.  Just don’t be mad if the next version of PS doesn’t cook you breakfast.  (That’s for CS5. ;-))

I like big bits (and I cannot lie)…

Do you think gigabytes are the new megabytes?  Do you think 4 gigs of RAM is an appetizer?  Do you covet more RAID than an exterminator?  If so, we’d like to meet you.

We’re always looking for new ways to make Photoshop faster, so we’d like to talk with people who put the application through big workouts.  If you’re interested in helping speed up Photoshop for your needs, please contact my colleague Adam Jerugim, the performance testing lead for Photoshop.  He’ll take things from there.

[Related: If you haven’t already, check out the latest performance tuning guidance from Adam & engineer Scott Byer.]

Leopard: Quicksilver for the rest of us?

In every work of genius we recognize our own rejected thoughts: they come
back to us with a certain alienated majesty.
— Ralph Waldo Emerson

I believe that when you get to a certain number of objects, search trumps categorization, and as I’ve detailed previously, a number of Adobe apps (InDesign, After Effects, Illustrator) feature built-in methods for searching the interface (applying commands, finding help).  We haven’t quite gotten to the point of rolling out a unified, cross-product way to drive the applications via search, however.

To meet the need, many Mac power users dig Quicksilver–a powerful little utility that enables searching, app launching, car-waxing, and more.  Try as I might, though, I’ve never gotten into QS.  It’s not that it doesn’t do enough; it’s that it can do so much, and I get totally bewildered by setting a 747 cockpit’s worth of switches.

That’s why I’m intrigued by Leopard’s Spotlight-style searching of application menus (a weirdly unheralded feature, I think).  As you type, related terms pop up, and as you arrow through the list of results, Leopard highlights the results.  Here’s an animated screenshot of the feature running in Photoshop.

I’ve found that by assigning a global keyboard shortcut ("Cmd-?") to Help->Search via system preferences, I can now drive any Mac app’s menus via the keyboard.  That’s pretty powerful: instead of having to memorize (or assign) lots of keyboard shortcuts, or having to hunt and peck through rarely-used apps’ menus, it’s now possible just to hit Cmd-?, then start typing.

Yes, I know that Quicksilver can do much more, and there’s all kinds of room to improve on the Leopard feature.  That said, the latter’s simplicity makes it really appealing.  I’ll be curious to see how much I (and others) end up using it day-to-day. [Update: Apparently I’m not alone: I see in the notes of this podcast that Leo Laporte has ditched Quicksilver in favor of Leopard menu search.]

* Side note: I love that it’s now possible to browse Safari’s history via the search feature.  I’ve been using search in Safari 2, but the new UI exposes the capability much more readily.  On a further side note, apparently the extension Safari Stand will bring Cover Flow viewing to your history.

Photoshop, as seen through Johnny Cash

In One Piece At a Time*, Johnny Cash tells the story of building a Cadillac from 20 years’ worth of evolving, mismatched parts.  I’ve gotta say, I know the feeling.

Photoshop has been accreting power & users for the better part of two decades.  The once-little app has proven almost endlessly adaptable to new needs and workflows, but all that morphing has a price.  In many cases we’ve traded simplicity for power, and not all the pieces look like part of a cohesive whole.  In fact, I sometimes joke that looking at some parts of the app is like counting the rings in a tree: you can gauge when certain features arrived by the dimensions & style of the dialog.  (Cue old-timey prospector voice: "Oh, Lighting Effects–you can see the scorch marks from the great fire of ’43…")

This isn’t exactly a news flash–far from it.  So, the question is, What exactly are we gonna do about it?  No one wants to work with–or work on–some shambling, bloated monster of a program.

The good news is that we’ve been plotting the solutions for a number of years, chipping away at the problem.  Good stuff comes to the surface in bits and pieces, but we haven’t quite turned the corner–yet.  A few thoughts:

  • We must make Photoshop "everything you need, nothing you don’t."   Presenting the same user experience to a photographer as we do to a radiologist, as to a Web designer, as to a prepress guy, is kind of absurd.  The new ability for users to choose between Photoshop & Photoshop Extended helps somewhat, but it’s just one step.
  • With this goal in mind, we must make Photoshop dramatically more configurable.  We’ve been chipping away for several cycles, enabling first workspaces, then customizable menus & shortcuts.  We need to be much bolder, though, and I’ve been dropping totally unsubtle hints about this for ages.
  • I don’t expect most users to customize the app–nor should they have to do so.  Rather, I expect the power users–authors and experts, you and I–to tune the app to taste, then share our knowledge.  Let people solve their own problems, then share the solutions.
  • With the power of customizability, we can present solutions via task-oriented workspaces.  Today if a user walks up to Photoshop and says, "What do I do?," the app kind of shrugs, stubs out a cigarette, and says, "I dunno–you tell me."  That’s not real cool, and we can do better.
  • By leading people to best practices, we can start deprecating (and later removing) outmoded functionality. ("A designer knows he has achieved perfection not when there is nothing left
    to add, but when there is nothing left to take away," said Antoine de Saint-Exupery.)  
  • Meanwhile we’ll put energy into simply polishing what’s already present.  (Refine Edge is a good example from CS3.)

So, why am I telling you all this, and why do I think it’s worth reading?  I’m saying it because although we can’t (and probably shouldn’t) turn the whole battleship (or Caddy, if you like) on a dime, we get the need, and we’re on the case.  We’ve been toiling away beneath the surface, setting the groundwork for change.  There are no magic bullets, but I feel that for the first time in my 5+ years working on this team, we’re within striking distance of some big things–and everyone reading this will play a role in making things better. Just thought you should know. 🙂

In the meantime, as we fight for each little gain, I’m reminded of a quote from Edmund Burke: "Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could do only a little."

[Update: I’ve posted some clarifications & responses here.]

*Lyrics, plus Johnny in a kind of Benny Hill-esque video for the song.  Thanks to our friend George Reis for drawing the comparison.

Fire on the mountain

Despite having flown through the deeply punishing winds, doing a touch-and-go landing at Burbank and seeing the flames from the air, somehow until now I failed to grasp the scale of the Southern California fires.  The excellent LA Times photo gallery*, however, brings home the reality.  I’m reminded of the word "terriblisma"–or as we might say it now, “shock and awe.” [Via]

*Opening in a new window to avoid irritating auto-resize of one’s browser.

Sputnik via Flash, the wobbly moon, & more

Spacing out this weekend:

  • Commemorating the 50th anniversary of the launch of Sputnik, the NY Times offers a nice, brief interactive tour of that first human-made spacecraft, as well as a timeline of space exploration.
  • Evidently the moon wobbles during a lunar cycle, as this timelapse animation shows. [Via]
  • Speaking of our satellite, Adobe’s resident Academy Award-winner Mike Kanfer enthusiastically recommends the documentary In the Shadow of the Moon.  I get chills watching the trailer.
  • What if we had no moon?  In Astrobiology Magazine scientist Bernard Foing charts the moon’s influences on the history of earth, from the formation of solid land to the development of our eyes. [Via]
  • CNET shows images from a Japanese space probe in lunar orbit. They report, “China is expected to launch its first lunar exploration satellite later this month; India has plans for a moon launch in April 2008; the next U.S. moon mission is slated for 2008; and Russia could be flying private citizens around the moon and back as early as 2009.”
  • Meanwhile Google is offering a $30 million prize to a private team that can land a robot on the moon.
  • And speaking of Google, hide your crops, Cheech: law enforcement uses Google Earth.
  • Fast networking technology has enabled researchers to assemble an Earth-sized telescope. [Via]
  • Nerding out on Wikipedia, I happened across a cool shot of a Delta IV rocket lift-off.

[File under Scientific & Technical Imaging]

Tasty new automotive 3D animation

  • Nissan has launched its Rogue crossover vehicle with the help of a really nicely executed drive through a swiftly tilting city.  [Via]  They play off the ad via their Web site, featuring more animation & a fistful of Flash games.
  • Carmaker Mini has launched their Mini Clubman model via some solid Flash video + interactivity. [Via]
  • Joseph Kosinski & Gmunk have teamed up to create the expertly rendered Hummer: Game OnOh yeah, dude–the environment gets so totally pwned!! (Sorry, had to say it.) [Via]
  • Tangentially related: Apparently Joseph will be remaking Tron (PDF).  For Honda’s excellent take on Tron, see previous.

Illustrations with bite

I’ve been running across examples of illustration designed to shake things up & reflect on the world, for better & for worse:

  • [Note: Not for those offended by profanity]  Paul Krassner’s 1963 “F Communism” bumper sticker is a an incredibly efficient little satire of politics and obscenity.  Check out Kurt Vonnegut’s commentary on the work for historical context.
  • On war & walls:
    • The NYT features a piece on Baghdad muralists hired to beautify, or at least adorn, the city’s grim anti-suicide-bomber blast walls. “With few opportunities for work, [the artists] are delighted with the money, but are also uncomfortably aware that all they can do is paint the symptoms of a conflict that has mired their city in death squads…”
    • Elsewhere in the region, elusive British street artist Banksy has decorated Israeli’s security wall.
    • Back in this part of the world, online company Brickfish kicked off a contest to “Design your own border fence” for the US-Mexico frontier.
  • The San José Museum of Quilts & Textiles (we have a museum of quilts & textiles?) just concluded a show cataloging the ways war is represented in traditional folk art. I was struck by the Afghan war rugs, featuring enormous craftsmanship: “Weaponry images are rendered in extreme, accurate detail, so much so that one can distinguish between a Hind Mi-24 attack helicopter and a Hip Mi-8 troop-carrying helicopter.”
  • Worth1000 members have fun subverting propaganda posters.  Yes, giant bloody kaiser space gorillas scare the hell out of me, too.
  • In response to the Boston PD flipping out earlier this year about Lite-Brite depictions of cartoon characters, deviantART member Kalapusa has worked in the same medium with an eye towards really getting their goats. [Via]
  • Ethan Persoff has dug up a creepy segregationist comic from 1962. [Via]
  • Jessica Hagy offers concise political commentary by way of a Venn diagram. [Via]