Adobe "Hydra" now "Pixel Bender"

No, it’s not a low-res portrait of an "alcoholic, whore-mongering, chain-smoking gambler"; rather, "Pixel Bender" is the official name for Adobe’s new scripting language for writing fast imaging filters.  Engineering manager Kevin Goldsmith explains,


Hydra is an awesome name for a language like the one we created. At the very beginning, Jonathan Shekter came up with it as a code name for this cool language that could run on different kinds of hardware efficiently. The problem is that it’s a great name for any kind of technology that does multiple things, so it is pretty popular. We didn’t want to confuse folks, so we worked with the Adobe branding team to come up with a new name that we could use moving forward. That name is Pixel Bender™.


As someone whose mind was blown by the original MacPaint, I was pushing for "Phat Bits"–a fun way to combine a reference to the old-school "Fat bits" display mode with an equally dated bit of 90’s slang.  But hey, they don’t pay me to come up with the marvels of Adobe branding.


Developers wanting to take Hyd–er, Pixel Bender–for a spin can grab the coding & preview environment from Adobe Labs.

0 thoughts on “Adobe "Hydra" now "Pixel Bender"

  1. Well, so many times before I’ve thought the brand names were just plain dumb… and I turned out to reconsider and change my mind. Maybe that’ll happen this time. Hydra is fine–but, whatever, change it for all I care. But “Pixel Bender”? Sure hasn’t grown on me yet.

  2. So if we fail at scripting a 12-step program, we go on a Pixel Bender? What’s the equivalent for bloggers–binge linking?
    [Heh–totally. I believe one of the file extensions is “.PBJ,” which I think sounds delicious. (Mmm, PB&J bender…) The alternative was to shove an Adobe “A” at the front, leading to “APB“–which I liked as it connotes a sense of “posthaste.” –J.]

  3. pixel bender? – hilarious! Kudos for not going with some generic ‘cool’ sounding name and/or taking yourselves too seriously.

  4. .PBJ? You see PB&J Bender?
    I see Pixel B___ J__.
    Hydra, I like. Much like Phillip however, I’m not feeling ‘Pixel Bender’. Sounds like the silly names half the mac software has.

  5. while lots of the efforts of adobe brand get (rightfully!) flamed, i think this is a good one.
    while hydra could be anything, with “pixel bender” its quite clear what its all about. Pretty important with all those different (new) techniques around.
    i would just prefer it to be a one word name like “pixelBender”.

  6. Software named after a many headed serpent who was slain by Hercules only with great effort? Sounds like something made in Redmond. I loved the name but I can see why it was changed.
    That must have been one fun brainstorming session to come up with the new name. How many verbs can qualify the word “Pixel”? (Snapper? Crackler? Popper?)
    But I’m eating breakfast and who knows how that affects my thinking?

  7. I experienced several times of my station crashing while I was using CS2 and a bunch of other programs.
    I just wondering whether it is possible to add an “Autoback” option. when it is on, every 10 or 15 mins, your work will automatically backup to an temp file?

  8. Hello, I’m probably not the first to ask this. I’m still using PS CS2 and am considering upgrading and also acquiring Lightroom. However, I’m hesitating because I was told by someone in the industry that it’s only a matter of a few months before CS4 and LR v.2 are released.
    How true are both assertions? Does anyone have other notions or insights about the release dates?
    [It’s like buying a car, stereo, computer, etc.: if you wait long enough, sure, there will always be a better version. But if you need tools and functionality, buy now. CS3 shipped last April, and we’re generally on an 18-24 month cycle. –J.]
    Also, is there any sense inside Adobe 🙂 as to what its upgrade policy will be when either or both new verions are released?
    [With CS3 you can upgrade from 3 versions back (PS7, CS, or CS2). I would expect the same relative arrangement to be true in the future. –J.]
    Like for how many months back will free upgrades from C23 and LR v. 1 be permitted? (Right now there seems little point in purchasing these if they’re not going to be released for another 4-6 months and the look back for free upgrades would be only 60 days or so.)
    Any thoughts or insights would be welcome! 🙂

  9. I have heard of worse product names. However, I just can’t think of one at the moment.
    Flex, Flash, (Cold)Fusion, AfterEffects, Pixel Bender (I’d prefer Blender).
    Names I’d have considered:
    – Pixelator
    – Pixie (With a hot sexy pixelated fairie) *lol*
    – Lexip (pixel backwards)
    – iXpel
    I mean, sure some of those ideas ain’t great. But hey, that’s just in 30 seconds of thought.

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