Monthly Archives: April 2008

Earth from on high

Photographer Michael Poliza* has produced a stunning collection of aerial photos, Eyes Over AfricaHe says, "The images came mostly from an
8-week helicopter expedition from Hamburg to Cape Town.  Lots of
zickzacking over this amazing continent.  The Lightroom beta & LR 1.0 was the tool to work my way thru the 30,000 images."  You can browse more than 200 of the images on his site via Flash (also available in smaller HTML form, both uploaded from LR).  Beautiful
zickzacking indeed.

A few months ago Michael dropped by Adobe to visit with Tom Hogarty and me.  He brought with him his "newest baby," Eyes Over Africa XXL.  He’s not kidding about that suffix:  "It will be the largest coffee table book ever that was purely shot digitally. Almost 50 (!) lbs and definitely huge."  Just for fun, he used his iPhone to call up a satellite image of the same coordinates displayed on one of the pages, then laid the phone on the book.  For further weirdness points, I then snapped a couple of shots of the layout using my iPhone.  (At this point there was a great disturbance in the Force.)

For more Earth from above:

* Coincidentally the elder brother of GoLive founder Andreas Poliza

So long, and thanks for all the pixels

By now you may have heard that Mark Hamburg, one of the big brains behind the evolution of Photoshop, is departing the friendly confines & is heading off to work at–gasp–Microsoft.  We’re all sorry to see him go, but everyone at Adobe wishes him well in his new adventures.  I’ll miss our sparring matches (a process that sharpened everyone’s thinking).

Mark is not going to go work on other digital imaging tools.  After 17+ years of driving Photoshop & subsequently Lightroom, he’s looking for a complete change of pace & wants to work on operating system technologies related to user experience.  Given that Mark has always been a huge Mac guy (developing Lightroom first on the Mac, etc.), it’s kind of a Nixon-goes-to-China moment. He says,

Now, given that I find the current Windows experience really annoying and yet I keep having to deal with it, this opportunity was a little too interesting to turn down. I can’t imagine doing serious imaging anywhere other than Adobe, but, I needed to do something other than imaging for a while.

The cool thing is that having recently launched the Lightroom 2.0 beta, Mark leaves the product in excellent shape & excellent hands.  We’re really just getting warmed up.

PS–I probably shouldn’t swing at a pitch in the dirt, but I was disappointed by ZDNet’s inaccurate, typo-strewn coverage of the news.  When did major news outlets decide that labeling something a "blog" means that fact-checking no longer applies?  How sloppy do you have to be to fail to copy and paste Martin (not "Mark") Evening’s name correctly, or to notice that there’s no capital R in Lightroom or capital S in Photoshop (errors the article doesn’t even make consistently)?  At least it’s a good reminder not to believe everything you read.

Air cannons & soda fountains

Okay, so their connection to this blog is tenuous at best, but these semi-science-y vids are too fun not to share:

  • A while back I mentioned the 150-T-shirt Human Flipbook that Colle+McVoy created for sandwich chain Erbert & Gerbert.  Now they’ve returned with  Gotta love the insane whooping of geeks celebrating. [Via Dustin Black]
  • Some 1,500 Belgian kids did their best Blue Man impression, launching sticky geysers of foam as they attempted to create the world’s largest Diet Coke/Mentos explosion.  I can’t find a video of this stunt, but these guys were apparently trying to outdo these folks in Cincinnati.

Air cannons & soda fountains

Okay, so their connection to this blog is tenuous at best, but these semi-science-y vids are too fun not to share:

  • A while back I mentioned the 150-T-shirt Human Flipbook that Colle+McVoy created for sandwich chain Erbert & Gerbert.  Now they’ve returned with  Gotta love the insane whooping of geeks celebrating. [Via Dustin Black]
  • Some 1,500 Belgian kids did their best Blue Man impression, launching sticky geysers of foam as they attempted to create the world’s largest Diet Coke/Mentos explosion.  I can’t find a video of this stunt, but these guys were apparently trying to outdo these folks in Cincinnati.

The guys behind You Suck At Photoshop, revealed

So… Dane Cook, or not Dane Cook?  Final wagers, please.

Time Online’s got the answer, along with plenty of other background on the the guys behind You Suck At Photoshop.  Says series co-creator Matt Bledsoe,

"We had both been in the agency business so long that after a while we’d seen every kind of person in the advertising world." One of those stereotypes, he said, was the "insane designer, basically. He has horrible social skills and horrible things going on in his life and the only thing he has going for him is he can out-Photoshop the guy in the cube next to him."

Matt & Troy Hitch are now back in action with Snatchbuckler’s Second Chance, picking up with Donnie’s tastefully named WoW comrade. [Via Scott Valentine]

Tangentially related, as it’s Photoshop-based humor: depending on political leanings you might get a kick out of this. [Via Adolfo Rozenfeld]

Old Glory, pourable meat, & more

Old Glory, pourable meat, & more

Tips on using the Lightroom 2 beta

  • Image sharpness is a good thing… except when it isn’t.  Martin Evening shows how to achieve a “‘pseudo’ diffusion printing technique” using the Lightroom 2.0 beta’s ability to go negative on the Clarity slider.
  • To even out exposures across multiple images, Lightroom features a “Match Total Exposures” command. Sean McCormack explains it in this brief video. (I’d listen just for the soothing brogue. ;-))
  • Lightroom lets you create virtual copies of a single image, applying different settings to each.  New in the LR2 beta is the ability to stack virtual copies as layers of a PSD file, letting you composite and blend them in Photoshop. Mucho groovio!
  • Lightroom marketing manager Frederick V. Johnson toted his camera to the Golden Gate Bridge in order to demonstrate handing off a panorama from Lightroom to Photoshop.
  • Ken Milburn touches on the improved Auto adjustment algorithms in LR2.

Notes on tuning Photoshop performance

At the Photoshop World show a couple of weeks ago, PS co-architect Russell Williams & performance testing lead Adam Jerugim presented a session on tuning application performance to a packed house (see photo).  Adam has now passed along their presentation slides (6.5MB PDF), including notes.

Related topics:

Beards, Big B's, and other type bits

Lasers, big hair, & other motion graphics goodness

Lasers, big hair, & other motion graphics goodness

Wiimote Hacks + Photoshop

Photographer* Mike Hill passed along a link to crafty hacker Johnny Lee’s hacks to enable, among other things, whiteboarding on the cheap in Photoshop, thanks to a modified Nintendo Wii controller.  PS is shown only in passing, but it’s still fun to see.

This of course makes me think of the Flash-based, Wiimote-powered multi-user painting system created by BLITZ Agency for Adobe MAX last year (details).  It may sound frivolous, but I still like to get my little wheels turning about how to cross-pollinate this kind of Web-flavored coolness with our desktop apps.  I still want creation experiences that can feel more like this, and less like poking sliders and knobs.

* and creepily faithful Michael McDonald imitator

New Photoshop scripting tutorials

If you know some JavaScript and have thought of applying your skills to Photoshop automation, you might check out Trevor Morris’s Intro to Scripting Photoshop and follow-up practical example.

Trevor, who both offers a set of free scripts & does scripting for hire, is right that scripting is a very powerful yet underused part of the Photoshop story.  It’s a key part of the moduarlity & customizability I always mention as a key area for us to develop in the future, and we’ll keep working to make it easier & more powerful.

Photoshop team script wrangler Jeff Tranberry reports that he’s posted the class materials from the "Photoshop for Geeks" session he & Tom Ruark presented at Photoshop World.  He also reports that the very useful Dr. Brown’s Services set of scripts have been updated to v1.9.4 and are available for download. [Via]

Shocking photography (literally) & more

  • Adobe TV went live last week.  It features a profile of Adobe’s Angela Drury, an accomplished photographer who moonlights as a product manager.  Look for the Photographer channel on Adobe TV for tons more.
  • I’m shocked, shocked to report on The Stunning Camera.  Bryan O’Neil Hughes, Photoshop PM and camera store veteran, reports "experimenting" with this kind of thing in his past life: "We even rigged one up to the door knob of the men’s room.  Then someone had the bright idea of running the capacitors in parallel and well, it worked but it ‘snake-bit’ him….essentially the current arced right through his thumb leaving two seared holes.  Seriously." [Via Joe Ault]
  • That chintzy look: “When I looked at the wallpaper and the wallpaper looked at me, we instantly fell in love."
  • On an occasionally related note, Thierry Bouët chronicles people in their beds (click "au lit" in the top nav bar). [Via]
  • Jan Sochor is a Czech-born freelance photographer who splits his time between Europe and South America.[Via]
  • You might not guess it from the title, but this NYT photo essay on how manhole covers are made in India is really interesting.

Shocking photography (literally) & more

  • Adobe TV went live last week.  It features a profile of Adobe’s Angela Drury, an accomplished photographer who moonlights as a product manager.  Look for the Photographer channel on Adobe TV for tons more.
  • I’m shocked, shocked to report on The Stunning Camera.  Bryan O’Neil Hughes, Photoshop PM and camera store veteran, reports "experimenting" with this kind of thing in his past life: "We even rigged one up to the door knob of the men’s room.  Then someone had the bright idea of running the capacitors in parallel and well, it worked but it ‘snake-bit’ him….essentially the current arced right through his thumb leaving two seared holes.  Seriously." [Via Joe Ault]
  • That chintzy look: “When I looked at the wallpaper and the wallpaper looked at me, we instantly fell in love."
  • On an occasionally related note, Thierry Bouët chronicles people in their beds (click "au lit" in the top nav bar). [Via]
  • Jan Sochor is a Czech-born freelance photographer who splits his time between Europe and South America.[Via]
  • You might not guess it from the title, but this NYT photo essay on how manhole covers are made in India is really interesting.

Strange Photochops

DNG sprouts wheels, gets cinematic

Aiming to help drive standards & interoperability in video workflows, Adobe has announced CinemaDNG, a cousin of the DNG (Digital Negative) standard for raw image capture.  According to the press release,

Adobe is working with a broad coalition of leading camera manufacturers
including RED, Panavision, Dalsa, Weisscam, and ARRI along with software vendors including Iridas and The
Foundry to define the requirements for an open, publicly documented CinemaDNG file format that will lend
predictability and consistency to digital production workflows.

As with the established still-image form of DNG, Cinema DNG helps minimize the risk that
proprietary or camera-specific file formats will be unsupported in the future, because CinemaDNG will provide an
open, durable, standard format.

CNET covers the news while noting some of Adobe’s other video-related announcements this week, including a demo of automatic text-to-metadata speech transcription & support for Sony’s XDCAM EX tapeless video format in CS3 tools.

Lasers, Orwell, and Mad Magazine

New illustrated biz:

Brains, nukes, and beautiful math

New AIF Toolkit on Adobe Labs

Time for an update to The Greatest Technology You Don’t Care About… Yet. 🙂

Engineering manager Kevin Goldsmith has announced that a new version of the Adobe Image Foundation (AIF) Toolkit Preview Release is available for download from Adobe Labs.

Think of AIF as similar to Apple’s Core Image technology (running really fast filters on your graphics card), but with added goodness.  For one thing, in addition to working in desktop tools like After Effects and (maybe, someday, I’m not sayin’) Photoshop and others, AIF will work in the next version of the incredibly ubiquitous Flash Player.  So…

AIF = Fast-as-hell filters on every desktop, everywhere

In addition to opening tons of doors for Flash animators, it’ll give the Flash Platform a huge bump in its ability to support apps like Photoshop Express.  And it’ll encourage lots of cool cross-pollination, as developers can leverage the imaging code they write for Flash in order to create filters for Adobe desktop apps, and vice versa.

Back to the news at hand: the Toolkit helps developers write and test their imaging code in a scripting language codenamed “Hydra” (real name TBA).  If that sounds like your bag, head over to Labs, grab the build, and try out & share examples in the gallery.

Adventures in album artwork

Back when vinyl was giving way to tapes & CDs, I heard purists bemoan the loss of a large-format way to distribute album artwork. Now with the prevalance of downloads, do you know offhand what artwork is attached to most of your music?  iTunes tries to help, but it’s an uphill battle. Anyway…

  • Nikolay Saveliev’s rad Pop Matters project consists of “Vinyl record sleeves with 2-sided insert featuring
    faux-academic material on pop music and the state of the
    record industry…
    Snuck onto used& new record store shelves.”  Personal fave: “Nickelback: The Recursiveness of Professional Mediocrity.”
  • Pitchfork picks The Worst Album Covers of 2007.
  • Listropolis has translated the artwork for Rolling Stone’s Top 20 Albums into color palettes. [Via]
  • Should classic album covers be redesigned every few years?  Ben Wardle makes that case, with examples. [Via]

Winners of the $20,000 Adobe design challenge announced

Congratulations to TJ Sochor of 3 Wagons Deep on winning the grand prize in Adobe’s "See What’s Possible" motion graphics contest:

<script src=";affiliate:0;width:480;height:392" type="text/javascript"

TJ writes,

The entire animation was done completely with Photoshop and After Effects (with a touch of Illustrator for logo preparation). No 3rd party plug-ins, programs, animation, videos were used; just the tools that ship standard with Adobe software. All photos are original – taken with my Nikon D80 (organized in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom). The music is also original. No 3rd party stuff, well, except for my cheap Yamaha guitar.



  • More than 348 Submissions from over 31 countries with over 1/3 in the last day before the deadline
  • More than half the submissions came from outside the U.S.
  • More than 5,800 registered users who contributed submissions, comments, and votes
  • More than 120,000 unique visitors from over 156 countries around the world

Then, of course, there were a few that remind you that "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro"

Thanks to everyone for the great entries! If you see any that strike you as particularly cool, funny, bizarre, etc., please pass ’em along via the comments.

Lightroom 1.4.1 and Camera Raw 4.4.1 now available

Lightroom & Camera Raw PM Tom Hogarty reports that revised versions of the two tools have been posted:

The Lightroom 1.4.1 and Camera Raw 4.4.1 updates have been posted to the following locations: Lightroom (Mac, Win), Camera Raw (Mac, Win). The updates provide all of the changes included in the original Lightroom 1.4 and Camera Raw 4.4 releases but also include corrections for issues described below and in previous blog posts. The Camera Raw plug-in will also be available later this evening via the Adobe Update Manager and the Lightroom update can be located by choosing ‘Check for Updates…’ under the Help menu. The Lightroom and Camera Raw team apologize for any inconveniences caused by the issues presented in the initial updates

Check out Tom’s post for full details.

Turning 1,000

This little milestone may be of interest only to me, but I’m kind of amazed to be writing my 1,000th post on this blog.  In the 969 days since I’ve started this journey, quite a lot has gone down.  Needless to say, if you weren’t reading this, I wouldn’t bother writing it, so thanks for all the encouragement.  I’ve felt like looking back over the effort to date & thought it would be fun to dig up some of the meatier posts.

Since August 2005 I’ve gotten to announce an unprecedented public beta of Photoshop; introduce Lightroom (twice); welcome a competitor and lots of new friends; mourn the loss of others; fan and then help defuse controversy; celebrate new integration; share some tips (e.g. Photoshop Text; Killer B&W); momentarily crack the TechMeme Leaderboard; and more.  Oh, and somehow in there I became the #1 search term for "cs3 serials," giving me a chance to throw Yiddish & Spanish at pirates ;-).

I’m proudest of getting to share some perspective on the challenges of developing Photoshop, hopefully giving some insight into the problems we wrestle every day (which are, of course, what make the job fun).  I’ve gotten to wax on many times about the sheer size of Photoshop & what it means we must do:

Somewhat related, I’ve tried to illuminate reasons why [cue the Stones’ choir] You Can’t Always Get What You (Think You) Want:

With the help of some friends, I’ve gotten to to share some techier bits:

Readers have provided timely, concrete feedback on some specific ideas (e.g. User-powered help and kuler inside Photoshop), providing data we can use to push to get things built.  You’ve offered a wealth of opinions on how to move applications forward:

And then periodically I get to muse a little aloud:

That’s probably more than enough nostalgia for one evening, so I’ll wrap it up. Thanks again for having me.  Feedback on where you’d like to see all this go is always welcome.

Oh, and one more thing: despite it having netted me a great portrait, I think I’ll never blog about icons again! ;-P

LightWave Rendition adds new 3D power to Photoshop

I’m pleased to see that NewTek, the folks behind the LightWave 3D modeling, animation, and rendering package, have announced a new product, LightWave Rendition for Photoshop.  This plug-in technology builds on the 3D file format support in Photoshop CS3 Extended, adding on high-quality rendering and lighting manipulation.  In this screenshot they show an image as displayed by Photoshop’s built-in renderer, then hit with the LightWave renderer & touched up in Photoshop.  Here’s a second example.

According to their marketing docs, LightWave Rendition for Photoshop includes:

  • Slider Controls for Render and Anti-Alias Quality: Allows for quick preview renders up to photo-quality images.
  • Material Preset: You have the option to apply preset or selected Photoshop materials to the surface of your 3D object for complete flexibility in design.
  • Light Environment: Use the default Photoshop Extended lighting environment or add the power of LightWave Rendition for Adobe Photoshop by using any 2D layer as a light map for complete control of the final light environment.

Because the product is in beta form, you can buy it now for $99, discounted from the normal price of $149. The discount ends when the beta does.

For more cool 3D add-ons to Photoshop, see previous announcements from Strata & Daz3D.

Remembering photographer Dith Pran

Photojournalist and humanitarian Dith Pran, survivor of and witness to Cambodia’s “Killing Fields” period, passed away last week.  The NY Times, for which Mr. Dith reported with his friend and colleague Sid Schanberg, features a remembrance of his life, along with a selection of his photos.  Perhaps most interesting, though, is the “Last Word” video feature in which Dith speaks about his life and the need to remain vigilant lest the horrors he witnessed be repeated.  I found the feature to be six minutes very well spent.

[Update: On a related note, see the NPPA’s story Four Photojournalists Killed During Vietnam War Come Home For Burial.  [Via]]

Going Green in Design, Tuesday at Adobe

This coming Tuesday evening (April 8), we’re hosting another meeting of the San José Photoshop User Group.  Instead of just talking about the normal ins and outs of software, three speakers will be talking about adopting environmentally sound work practices in the graphics industry.  If you’re in our neck of the woods, feel free to swing by (6:30-9pm).  Details are below.

This will not be a typical user group meeting, but it’s certainly a topical subject. We’ll begin with a general talk about working green in the graphics industry and cover the issues involved. These include the carbon footprint of using the Internet, printing to read and to judge color, keeping devices on and plugged in, printing too many pieces with chemically toxic inks and coated papers, commuting to work alone, etc.

We’ll also talk about the power of the consumer and the end user to affect change by rethinking how they work and by either influencing their managers or, if they are the buyers, by choosing green vendors. We’ll show a tool that will be available to AIGA members that calculates the carbon footprint of a project and offers different combinations to reduce the damage.

We’ll have three speakers. The first is Phil Nail of His company has done a lot of research on the environmental damage of using computers and the internet. He offers web hosting solutions that are entirely powered by the sun. Son Do, from Rods and Cones, will talk about waste reduction by using applications correctly in a color-managed environment, and also with softproofing. Peter Montgomery of Moquin Press will talk about what an environmentally responsible printer can do and why it’s important to use them. He’ll offer suggestions on what to ask to select the right printer. If there’s time, we’ll do a sidebar on book publishing through a company like Blurb that uses digital presses and enables a customer to print only the number of books or brochures needed.

We’ll have pizza and drinks at 6:30, and the meeting will start at 7:00, in the Park Conference Room of Adobe Systems’ East Tower, 321 Park Avenue, San Jose. To park underneath the Adobe building, use the Almaden Avenue entrance, under the East Tower. If the security guard at the parking entrance asks for an Adobe contact, use Bryan O’Neil Hughes’s name. He’s our contact there (as well as a Photoshop Product Manager).  If you’d like to be on our email list, send a note to dan at

See you there,
Dan Clark and Tom Upton

Photoshop Express revises terms of service

In response to customer feedback about terms of service, the Photoshop Express team has made some changes.  Here’s the note I received from them this afternoon:

We have revised the terms of service for Photoshop Express beta. Revisions were made in context of user feedback. The original terms of service implied things we would never do with the content within Photoshop Express.  Thus, revisions were made to clarify our intent:

  • Adobe’s Rights – Adobe has retained only those limited rights that allow us to operate the service and to enable you to do all the things the service offers.  If you decide to terminate your Photoshop Express account, Adobe’s rights also will be terminated. We don’t claim ownership of your content and won’t sell your images.
  • Shared Content – We clearly state the rights you’re granting other users when you choose to publicly share Your Content.

The terms of service will not take effect until April 10th, in order to give you time to review and choose to continue using the Photoshop Express beta under these new terms.

Thank you for your feedback on Photoshop Express beta. We value your input and support in improving the service for all users.

Photoshop, Lightroom, and Adobe's 64-bit roadmap

As you’ve probably seen, among the great features in the Lightroom 2.0 beta is its ability to run 64-bit-native on Mac (Intel, 10.5.x) and Windows (Vista 64).  If you think it feels great to beat Aperture to the punch here, you’re right. 🙂

What does 64-bit computing mean, practically speaking? In a nutshell, it lets an application address very large amounts of memory–specifically, more than 4 gigabytes. This is great for pro photographers with large collections of high-res images: Lightroom being able to address more RAM means less time swapping images into and out of memory
during image processing-intensive operations.

It’s also important to say what 64-bit doesn’t mean. It doesn’t make applications somehow run twice as fast. As Photoshop architect Scott Byer writes, “64-bit applications don’t magically get faster access to memory, or any of the other key things that would help most applications perform better.” In our testing, when an app isn’t using a large data set (one that would otherwise require memory swapping), the speedup due to running in 64-bit mode is around 8-12%.

Therefore 64-bit is a good thing for Lightroom now, and as the amount of data photographers handle inexorably grows, it’ll become a bigger win.

The Lightroom news naturally raises the question: What’s Adobe doing with Photoshop? In the interest of giving customers guidance as early as possible, we have some news to share on this point: in addition to offering 32-bit-native versions for Mac OS X and 32-bit Windows, just as we do today, we plan to ship the next version of Photoshop as 64-bit-native for Windows 64-bit OSes only.

The development is frankly bittersweet for us: On the one hand we’re delighted to be breaking new ground with Photoshop, and when processing very large files on a suitably equipped machine, Photoshop x64 realizes some big performance gains. (For example, opening a 3.75 gigapixel image on a 4-core machine with 32GB RAM is about 10x faster.)  On the other hand, we work very hard at maintaining parity across platforms, and it’s a drag that the Mac x64 revision will take longer to deliver. We will get there, but not in CS4.  (Our goal is to ship a 64-bit Mac version with Photoshop CS5, but we’ll be better able to assess that goal as we get farther along in the development process.)

I imagine some Mac users are starting to flip out (breathe, guys, stick with me!), so let me explain how we got here & nip a few concerns in the bud.

As we wrapped up Photoshop CS3, our plan was to ship 64-bit versions of the next version of Photoshop for both Mac and Windows.  On the Mac Photoshop (like the rest of the Creative Suite, not to mention applications like Apple’s Final Cut Pro and iTunes) relies on Apple’s Carbon technology. Apple’s OS team was busy enabling a 64-bit version of Carbon, a prerequisite for letting Carbon-based apps run 64-bit-native.

At the WWDC show last June, however, Adobe & other developers learned that Apple had decided to stop their Carbon 64 efforts. This means that 64-bit Mac apps need to be written to use Cocoa (as Lightroom is) instead of Carbon. This means that we’ll need to rewrite large
parts of Photoshop and its plug-ins (potentially affecting over a million
lines of code) to move it from Carbon to Cocoa.

Now let me be very clear about something: It’s entirely Apple’s call about what’s best for the Mac OS and how to spend their engineering cycles. Like any development team, they have finite resources & need to spend them judiciously. They’ve decided that Carbon 64 doesn’t belong on their roadmap, and we respect their decision. It’s up to Adobe to adapt to the new plan.

As soon as we got the news in June, we began adjusting our product development plans. No one has ever ported an application the size of Photoshop from Carbon to Cocoa (as I mentioned earlier, after 9 years as an Apple product Final Cut Pro remains Carbon-based), so we’re dealing with unknown territory. We began training our engineers to rewrite code in Objective C (instead of C++), and they began prototyping select areas to get a better view of the overall effort.

In short, Adobe has been taking prompt, pragmatic steps to enable 64-bit Photoshop as quickly as possible on both Mac and Windows. It’s a great feature, not a magic bullet, and we’re delivering the functionality as quickly as each platform permits.

Now, as I mentioned, I want to nip some concerns in the bud. You might think I’m a little paranoid, but I’ve been a passionate Mac user for more than 20 years, and I’ve seen more than a few controversies come and go. If any of the following come to pass, it’ll really be annoying:

1)  Writers gin up controversy about Apple vs. Adobe, portraying this as a case of some tit-for-tat (“This one time, Steve wouldn’t play golf with Shantanu, so Adobe is sulking!”).  Oh, come on. This is why Lightroom x64 is a such a nice counterpoint: Adobe’s decisions are pragmatic, not ideological. Look, Apple and Adobe share the goal of maximizing Photoshop performance on Mac hardware, and we’re working together on all aspects of that story–64-bit included.

“If it bleeds, it leads,” however, and writers looking to drive ad impressions will try to fabricate a grudge match.  Please don’t let them.

2)  Adobe gets castigated for “dragging its feet” on Cocoa/x64.  This charge will be inevitable, I suppose, but I want you to know that we started work on the problem immediately after WWDC ’07.  We started peeling senior engineers off the CS4 effort, and we’ll keep pouring on the muscle in the next cycle.  This work comes at the expense of other priorities, but so be it.

3)  We start hearing all about “Cocoa Über Alles”–about how Adobe should have known that Cocoa is the One True Way™ and should have started the move years ago.  Most Mac users don’t know Cocoa from Ovaltine, and nor should they: it’s just an implementation detail, not a measure of quality.  I think Brent Simmons, creator of wonderful Cocoa apps like NetNewsWire, put it most elegantly: “Finder + Cocoa = Finder.”  That is, rewriting one’s app in Cocoa doesn’t somehow automatically improve its speed, usability, or feature set.

I’ll also note that Apple’s Carbon Web site says, “Carbon is a set of APIs for developing full-featured, high-performance, and reliable applications for Mac OS X…  The Carbon APIs are also well-suited to cross-platform development.”  I don’t mention it to detract from Cocoa; I mention it to point out that each approach has its pros and cons, and in hopes that we don’t hear all about how Cocoa is clearly the only way to write “real” Mac software.

So, the summary is this: 64-bit computing is an important part of the Photoshop and Lightroom story going forward, but it’s not a magic bullet and we’re not going to oversell it as one. We’re delighted to be offering a 64-bit-native Lightroom on both Mac and Windows now, and to deliver a 64-bit-native Photoshop on Windows as part of the next release. As for Mac x64, we’ll continue working closely with Apple (just as we’ve been doing) to make the transition as quickly and efficiently as possible.

PS: I know
that users of other Adobe applications will want info on those apps’ plans for 64-bit transition, and we’ll work on sharing more info.  Broadly speaking, we’ll be applying similar criteria to what we followed in our digital imaging products to determine our 64-bit roadmap for the rest of Adobe’s applications. We’ll be prioritizing our 64-bit work based on the potential user benefits and the complexity of the code transition.

If you’re a plug-in developer, you’ll want to start reworking your code to run 64-bit native.  Note that there’s an upcoming Creative Suite Developer Summit, and contact Bryan O’Neil Hughes if you need documentation on making the transition with Photoshop plug-ins.

[Update: The official FAQ on this subject is live on]

Lightroom 2: The deuce is loose!

I’m delighted to announce that the beta of the 64-bit-native Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 2.0 has been posted to Adobe Labs.  Everyone is free to download the beta build and try it for 30 days, while customers of Lightroom 1.x are free to use it for the duration of the beta program.  (This build expires Aug. 31.)

My favorite feature(s)?

Unbeatable Photoshop CS3 Integration:

  • Open files in Photoshop as Smart Objects.  (This way you can tweak your Lightroom adjustments within Photoshop just by double-clicking the Smart Object layer that contains your raw file.)
  • Select multiple images to merge as a panorama
  • Merge multiple exposures into a single Photoshop HDR image
  • Load multiple files (or virtual copies of a single file) into Photoshop as separate layers in a single document

Selective image editing that rocks:

  • Lightroom 2 adds a Retouch tool right within the Develop module (see screenshot).  That means you can paint regions of the image to dodge, burn, saturate/desaturate, adjust contrast, and more.  Edits are stored as metadata, just as all other LR adjustments are stored, and are applied directly to your raw images. (Because people will quickly ask, I’ll point out that unlike Apple’s newly released Aperture 2.1, Lightroom integrates its selective editing tools right in with the other adjustment tools.  In Lightroom you don’t have to generate a TIFF file for editing, and unlike in Aperture, you can always tweak the results later.  In addition, Lightroom features Auto Mask technology for tweaking the clicked region without bleeding into neighboring areas.)

Other goodness:

  • Library Module:
    • Streamlined Library layout
    • Smart Collections (based on search criteria)
    • Powerful Filter Bar to search and refine images
    • Suggested Keywords for simplified keywording
    • 10,000 pixel size limit raised to 30,000 pixels
    • Output-based collections
  • Multiple monitor support:
    • Four flexible modes for an alternate window: Grid, Loupe, Compare, Survey
    • Live Loupe mode
  • Export functionality:
    • Auto-add exported images to the Lightroom catalog
    • Auto Output Sharpening for images on export
  • Develop Module:
    • Non-Destructive Localized Correction for dodging and burning specific areas of an image
    • Post-Crop Vignette
    • Basic Panel Keyboard Shortcuts
    • Improved Auto Adjustment
    • Improved memory handling through 64-bit support on OS X 10.5 and Vista 64-bit.(Not limited to develop module)
  • Print Module:
    • Picture Package for multi-page layouts
    • Print Module output directly to JPEG
    • Enhanced Print Sharpening based on PhotoKit Sharpener algorithms
    • 16-bit Printing for Mac OS X 10.5

A ton of blogs and publications are starting to push great info live as I type this, so I’ll
update the following list of resources as I see things pop up:

As you probably know, betas have their pros and cons.  On the upside, revealing Lightroom 2 as a beta now allows Adobe to continue the very successful dialog we’ve been having with photographers, incorporating their feedback before releasing the finished product.  The trade-off is that the beta is unfinished, so you may want to check out the list of known issues before diving in.

With that, I’ll shut up and let you get cranking.  Enjoy!

PS–Lightroom running 64-bit-native allows it to address large amounts of memory, something that can pay off when using large images in the Develop module.  Tomorrow I’ll post more details about what 64-bit means & how it factors into our Photoshop roadmap.

Photoshop Express off to a rocking start

When you show up as an answer in Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me‘s lightning round, people must be starting to take notice. 🙂

Adobe’s Photoshop Express service tore out of the gate last week:

  • 1 million+ visitors to the PX homepage on the first day
  • More than 3 million images uploaded to PX on the first day (3.5 terabytes of data!)

Adobe VP Doug Mack says, "This was way more than the team expected for the beta launch (pretty exciting).  With all this activity all at once, the service slowed down, but it’s now back to running nicely as things have normalized.   If you found it slow, you may want to come back and check it out this week."

Doug reports that on day 1, "Service ramped up so fast that account verification emails and sharing emails were literally flying out of the service.  As the email traffic ramped from literally ‘zero’ to ‘full tilt’ in just a matter of hours (basically starting at 9am EDT), many email services and spam filters thought we were spammers and some gray listed us.  We worked with them so they knew we were legit and had it sorted out by lunchtime."

In case you signed up but didn’t get a new account verification email, please try going back to the site; try logging in with the account you set up; and choose the option to have the email resent.  You’ll get an email with a new key to activate the account.

One other thing to note: Even though the beta is listed as US-only (due to the incomplete state of the server infrastructure), the service is being used around the world.  Doug writes:

  • We’ve been seeing a high level of activity around the clock.  We have not seen things go quiet through the middle of the night at all.
  • Either we have some serious photo-loving insomniacs in the US, or people are ignoring the "US Only" beta period and we are already global, like it or not.
  • Just a reminder that the beta is US only.  And while anyone around the world is welcome to try the beta, the experience will be nothing like that of when we expand to beta globally (as right now, they are accessing US-based servers)