Adobe Pro Photography Evangelist George Jardine has posted episode 53 in his Lightroom podcast series. George writes,
This podcast was recorded on Friday, March 7, and Monday, March 10, 2008 in London. It gives us a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the photo shoot for Martin’s upcoming book on Lightroom 2. In this video, Martin shares his inner thinking on the model selection, lighting, camera angles, along with hair and makeup, and how each plays a part in creating the final look for the book assets.
The podcast (labeled "20080310-2 Video Podcast – Martin Evening Book Project") is in the Public directory of George’s iDisk.
With that, I’m sorry to report that this podcast concludes George’s great series. After 2+ years and more than four dozen episodes (linked with descriptions here), he’s retiring his microphone & cameras. On behalf of everyone who’s enjoyed the content, thanks, George!
Here’s a bit of brilliance for your Monday: "The Image Fulgurator is a device for physically manipulating photographs. It intervenes when a photo is being taken, without the photographer being able to detect anything. The manipulation is only visible on the photo afterwards." In other words, it watches for the flash of someone else’s camera & projects an image onto what they’re photographing. Check it out in action. [Via]
On a related note, Wired surveys cameras shaped like guns, cameras on guns, and more. [Via Ellis Vener] For other projected guerilla fun, see previous about Applied Autonomy’s “Streetwriter.”
The work builds upon research by Adobe’s Aseem Agarwala (who was instrumental in bringing Auto-Blend to Photoshop CS3). Adobe Senior Principal Scientist (and UW prof.) David Salesin is helping facilitate more collaboration between Adobe teams & academia, recruiting full-time hires like Aseem & sponsoring visiting researchers like Hany Farid.
(Note: As always, please don’t take my mentioning of various tech demos as a hint about any specific feature showing up in a particular Adobe product. I just post things that I find interesting & inspiring.)
A couple of weeks ago I mentioned SwitchBoard, a Flex library that lets Adobe AIR desktop apps communicate with Creative Suite applications. Now there’s a new version of the AIR-based kuler desktop app that can send color swatches to Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign. Here’s an annotated screenshot. To take it for a spin, first download SwitchBoard, then install kuler desktop (linked from the right-hand nav area of kuler.adobe.com). [Update: Here’s the direct link.]
And Now For Something Completely Different: Photoshop ninja/uncannable rhyme animal Deke McClelland puts his skills to the test, dropping 101 Photoshop Tips in 5 Minutes. As he says, "It’s bold, it’s brash, it’s ridiculous. It’s a podcast with serious issues. Enjoy." The KBSC geek (and occasional Nada Surf fan) in me certainly did.
"Have we created an unattainable image of perfection?" Diet.com explores The Photoshop Effect and the Photoshop guns hired to tune up celebrities. (The video has racked up nearly 900,000 views in just 10 days.) [Via Steve Johnson]
The ‘release candidate’ label indicates that the plug-in is well tested but would benefit from additional community testing before it is distributed automatically to all of our customers. The Camera Raw team would like the community to help verify the quality of the plug-in through normal usage as this will ensure that the plug-in is tested on a diversity of hardware and software configurations not available internally at Adobe.
This release includes new camera support for the Olympus E 420 and E 520 camera models.
Please provide feedback on your experience with the Camera Raw 4.5 plug-in and the DNG Converter on the Camera Raw User to User forum. Lightroom customers who would like to use the new support provided for the Olympus cameras can download the DNG Converter release candidate and convert your raw files to DNG before importing them into Lightroom 1.4.1.
Phillip Toledano has created a photo essay of phone sex operators–a surprisingly articulate, diverse, and self-aware crew. (Fair warning: The photos are tame, but some of the blurbs beneath them are fairly frank.) [Via]
Return of the ’70s Weirdos features 1978 & 2008 photos of a group of early Microsoft employees. [Via] Referring to aging dudes working for MSFT these days, a friend of mine calls the shuttle bus from Seattle to Redmond "The Ponytail Express."
A couple people have written recently to request features in Photoshop and Bridge, not knowing that what they’re seeking is already there:
A digital painter named Gracie Rafferty asked for the ability to reorder brushes. To do so, choose Edit->Preset Manager, then rock out. The same goes for gradients, patterns, swatches, etc. You can delete individual items by Opt/Alt-clicking them, which also works in the Brushes palette.
Eric James Wood would like to move from iView to Bridge and asked for a way to see the contents of multiple folders at once. That’s possible in Bridge CS3, but the UI is quite subtle. Open up the Filter panel in Bridge, then click the little "no folders" icon at the top of it. That’ll instruct Bridge to show you the contents of the current folder & all the folders nested within it. From there you can select, rate, rename, hand off to Photoshop, etc.–everything you’d do with files that live in the same folder.
Boston.com’s new feature The Big Picture dispenses with traditional peanut-sized Web photos and showcases great images in the news. Site designer/developer/writer/photo editor Alan Taylor talks about his brainchild and how it came to be. [Via] Lately they’ve been harvesting the best photos that billions of tax dollars can buy:
The Sky, From Above features gorgeous shots of the Space Shuttle at liftoff, as well as of thunderstorms over the American Midwest and more. [Via]
In Martian Skies, you can view panoramas from Mars and watch dust devils skittering across the Martian landscape.
The resulting output delivers a high-quality, photo-realistic image, all from within the Photoshop Extended environment.
LightWave Rendition ships with sample projects and a library of 3D model art. The product also includes support for 3D models from a variety of applications, including LightWave 3D, Google™ SketchUp’s 3D Warehouse or many readily available 3D formats. It includes:
Slider Controls for Render and Anti-Alias Quality, allowing for quick preview renders up to photo-quality images.
Material Presets for the option to apply a preset material or any selected Photoshop materials to the surface of your 3D object for complete flexibility in design.
Light Environments open the use of the default Photoshop Extended lighting environment or users can add to 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.
The product is $149 for Mac and Windows & is available for purchase and download from the NewTek site.
"I’m trying to understand how to make life better for script developers," writes Adobe developer evangelist Mark Niemann-Ross, "and a couple of minutes of your time would tell me worlds about your needs. When you’ve got five minutes to spare, please point a browser at this survey. Thanks!"
[Update: Mark replies to some tea-leaf-reading about doom (or lack thereof) for AppleScript support.]
I’ve gotten a few inquiries lately about whether it’s possible to extract metadata from images and other files using Adobe Bridge. Short answer: Absolutely. Try John Hake’s workflow automation scripts, one of which (Metadata_BR.jsx) extracts metadata from selected files and generates Comma Separated Value (CSV) reports.
(Dang, now I have that Ice-T song "Colors" in my head)
HP’s new monitor eats your mere 16.7-million-color display for breakfast. For $3,499, the 30-bit (10 bits per RGB channel) DreamColor LP2480zx promises up to a billion colors per pixel. The display is aimed especially at people doing cinema post production & was produced in collaboration with DreamWorks Animation SKG.
Firefox 3 is the latest web browser to support the colour managed display of photos with embedded ICC profiles, points out Rob Galbraith. "That’s the good news. The bad news is it’s turned off by default. Here’s how to turn it on." (For why all this matters, see previous.)
Dr. Woohoo has been creating some very cool images by driving Illustrator and Photoshop from Adobe AIR. Check out Generative Painting in AI with 3D Symbols, as well as some good bits on Flickr. "For this animation," says the Adobe Design Center, "Dr. Woohoo developed an AIR app that drives the colors, brushes, and animation timeline in Photoshop CS3 via a swfPanel in Illustrator CS3."
I’m pleased to announce that SwitchBoard, a technology for driving the Creative Suite family of products using applications running on Adobe AIR, is now available from Adobe Labs. As Dr. Woohoo explains, "SwitchBoard is a Flex library that allows you to extend an AIR app by giving you access to the ExtendScript DOMs for the Creative Suite apps. Your AIR app can now easily establish two-way communication with Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign and Bridge." According to the Labs page,
SwitchBoard brings together the power of the automation in the Creative Suite applications with the potential for third parties to extend the creative process with new applications produced using AIR. The result is an extensible, powerful, cross-platform environment that can quickly adapt to today’s rapidly changing creative workflows.
Thanks to resident brainiac Bernd Paradies for making it happen. With the ability to create desktop-based Flash interfaces for the Suite, I’m looking forward to seeing what developers can devise, and I look forward to sharing some examples here soon. (Oh, and Bernd has more good tricks up his sleeve, too.)
Cameron Moll talks about techniques for designing with type characters–creating shapes and illustrations using just letterforms. "Don’t attempt this in one sitting. I take it back–this is the most important tip. Not only is type character designing extremely time consuming, it’s also monotonous work that requires a constant zoom in, zoom out dance to get things right."
He points out some cool examples of these techniques in action, including the all-type design for the Seed Conference. (I know I’m betraying my age & lack of CSS currency, but I’m surprised by the typographic fidelity that’s possible in modern Web browsers.)
He also points to Veer’s Flash-based Type City, an interactive journey through buildings made from letterforms. (Lovely letterpress prints of the pieces are available.)
Related bits from the archives: Bembo’s Zoo is a fun bestiary from Roberto de Vicq de Cumptich & Matteo Bologna’s; click any letter to see it turn into an animal made from letters. If that’s up your alley, peep their follow-up in the type-based portraiture in Words at Play.
Roi Sabarov’s Typeflow animation is poetry in motion. ("That is awesome. That goes on the blog." –Margot, Licensed Nackwife.)
Fatal Farm makes some super, ah, unique remixes of 80’s TV themes. Knight Rider is brilliant, though be warned that you won’t be getting the song out of your head. The rest are of mixed taste, so don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Mato Atom’s "Champions" probably won’t change any hearts and minds about Bush, Blair, & Co., but it’s impeccably executed. [Via Sebastian Meyer]
I like the lo-fi stylings of these animated videos for Welsh band Los Campesinos!, created by Simon Ampel & Chris Seimasko.
By the way, if you’re going to be in NYC in a couple of weeks & are interested in After Effects, you might want to check out the next AENY meeting. Jim Geduldick writes to say that the June 26th meeting will feature some cool speakers:
Visual Designer Marc Coleran, whose work has been seen in films like The Bourne Ultimatum, Domino, Alien vs. Predator, The Bourne Identity, Blade II, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, The World Is Not Enough – just to name a few.
Visual effects artist John Montgomery, co-founder of the online visual effects news site fxguide, as well as the training site fxphd. His Clients and Credits include Super Bowl commercials for McDonald’s, Disney as well as work for Budweiser, Miller, Hallmark, Sears, Moen, Gatorade, Morgan Stanley, and the ESPN and CBS television networks.
The curiously named DestroyFlickr has nothing to do with destruction & everything to do with browsing your images via a desktop application. Specifically, it’s an Adobe AIR app (essentially a Flash SWF running on the desktop, outside the browser) that lets you navigate your photostream through an attractive, minimalist gray interface. According to the developer,
With the support of both drag and drop uploading and downloading, posting and saving photos is done in one easy motion. Now you can download the highest resolution version of a photo without having to see it first—just drag a thumbnail to the download menu and the download begins. [Via]
Matthew Bloch, Shan Carter and Amanda Cox have created an interesting Flash-based infographic that totes up "All of Inflation’s Little Parts." I often find presentations like this dense, impenetrable, and/or over-designed, but this one’s an exception. [Via]
Not to be outdone, an Xbox blog talks about paint customization features in the NASCAR ’09 game. "The online connectivity of Paint Booth allows players to download a car template from easports.com and import it into editing programs, such as Photoshop, giving users a multitude of design options."
The Photoshop team is recruiting for a color-savvy Quality Engineer:
Are you a specialist in digital imaging science? Do you possess an in-depth knowledge of color management? Are you eager to bring your experience and analytical skills to a dynamic testing environment?
The Photoshop team is looking for an eager Quality Engineer who specializes in the area of digital imaging science and possesses an in-depth knowledge of color management. You need to exhibit potential in the areas of understanding QE methodologies and approaches, which encompasses scripting and automation capabilities. You must also be able to work independently to complete deliverables and tasks on time, have excellent communication skills and work well in a team environment with members of all functional groups.
Be prepared to detail your expertise and experience, answer some technical questions, describe details of imaging science and be able to speak to your color management background.
For more info see the PDF, and if you’re interested in applying for the position, please send your info to recruiter Juliya Alvarez.
Photoshop engineer Jerry Harris is responsible for the application’s painting tools, and he’s always got an eye open for interesting developments in the field of computerized painting. This morning he passed along a cool demo video of James McCann and Nancy Pollard’s Real-time Gradient-domain Painting technology.
In a nutshell, according to the video, "A gradient brush allows me to paint with intensity differences. When I draw a stroke, I am specifying that one side is lighter than the other." Uh, okay… And the video is a little ho-hum until the middle. That’s when things get rather cool. Check out cloning/duplicating pixels along a path, plus the interesting approach to painting a band of color.
So, what’s Adobe up to interface-wise in the next versions of Creative Suite applications?
We’ve been working hard to make the interfaces of the various apps more consistent. Because the Adobe Fireworks and Dreamweaver betas are available on Adobe Labs, you can now see some of the interface changes that will appear in the next version of Photoshop as well. I’d like to address some of the concerns and questions I hear bubbling up. In particular, I hope to put Mac users’ minds at ease about a few things.
First, I want to lay my Mac bona fides on the table. I’ve been using the platform since Sept. 1984, and I really sweat the little details and conventions. (That’s one reason I’ve raved about NetNewsWire, Panic’s Transmit, and other great Mac apps.) I use Safari instead of Firefox in part because FF’s use of Windows-style buttons & form elements feels alien on my system. So yeah, I care deeply about this stuff.
As the CS3 product cycle was wrapping up, Adobe’s user interface designers started showing their ideas for subsequent releases. Lots of things (tabbed documents, improved panel management, more usable workspaces, etc.) seemed like slam dunks. On the other hand, the designs all featured a prominent "application frame"–a window containing both UI elements & documents–on both Mac and Windows.
I think my initial reaction can be boiled down to three letters: "WTF?"
"Are you telling me," I asked, "that we’re going to put a huge, battleship-gray box into the background on the Mac, as it is on Windows? Why would we do that?"
The designers pointed out that the app frame has a number of advantages:
It facilitates N-up (2-up, 3-up, etc.) document layouts that adapt as you adjust the interface. Think "live window tiling"–great for comparing, compositing, etc.
It makes it easier to move the entire application and its contents, including from one monitor to another.
It prevents documents from getting obscured by panels (palettes).
It blocks out the contents of the desktop, minimizing visual clutter. (A number of Mac users have requested this option for many years. I’ve known quite a few people who open a small blank document, hit F to put it into full-screen mode, and then put it into the background to hide the desktop. Willingness to live with that kind of hack demonstrates some genuine desire for a real fix.)
On the Mac (unlike on Windows, where an app frame has always been present), using the app frame is optional. It’s a one-click enable/disable via Window->Application Frame. On either platform you can also float documents above the app frame, mixing them with docked windows if you’d like. Whether on Mac or Windows, you can resize application windows by dragging any side, not just the lower-right corner.
I’ve recorded a quick demo that shows the app frame enabled & disabled; documents in & out of tabs; and some of the N-up layout options available with or without the app frame enabled:
After I’d used the app frame for a little while–well, what do you know? I like it, and not because they pay me to say so. It’s easy to flip the frame on and off, but I find that I like the way it reduces distractions. Your mileage may vary, and that’s why we made using it an option.
The app frame has brought to light the questions of what is & is not considered "Mac-like." This inspired me to do a little investigation into the state of Mac software.
It’s interesting to note that showpiece Mac apps like Scrivener and NetNewsWire feature the ability to run in full-screen mode, blocking out the desktop and other distractions. Panic’s Coda Web development tool is among those combining interface and content into a single window.
What about Apple’s own applications, as they would be presumably be the definition of Mac-like, right? I noticed a couple of things:
The pro video apps (Final Cut Pro, Motion, Color, DVD Studio Pro) configure their windows/panels to take over one’s screen completely.
Aperture and iPhoto put all the UI into a window & optionally take over the screen in a dedicated full-screen mode.
The iLife and iWork apps (Keynote, Pages, iWeb) all feature a UI approach that marries together content & interface in a single window. (For reference, here’s a little gallery of all these apps.)
And so, I’d argue, putting UI + content into a single, manageable window (as the CS4 app frame does) isn’t "un-Mac-like" at all. Despite my initial freak-out (the one being echoed by others when seeing an application frame in Fireworks), you could argue that the application frame makes Adobe tools more Mac-like–if "Mac-like" means "Apple application-like."
I’ve also heard comments about the new Adobe apps’ custom interface elements and their ability to resize windows by dragging them from any side, not just from the lower-right corner (as required in most Mac apps). On Daring Fireball John Gruber characterized this capability as "just like in Windows." Digging a bit more, I fired up Final Cut Pro 6.0 and made some discoveries:
You can drag-resize panels and document windows from any side, not just from the lower-right corner.
The close/minimize/zoom buttons are extremely small; they always appear monochrome (instead of respecting the OS appearance preference of Blue vs. Graphite); and they don’t show a dot in the close box of files with unsaved changes.
The UI is full of unique elements that don’t appear elsewhere in the OS–e.g., custom scrollbars sitting next to OS-standard ones.
I then took a look at Motion. Again scrollbars are custom (though different from Final Cut’s), remaining monochrome regardless of OS appearance preference. Application windows can be resized individually and together from any side, though with more apparent limitations than in FCP. Things are similar in DVD Studio Pro, where you can resize what amounts to an app frame from any side.
Instead of "just like in Windows," "just like in Apple’s own apps" might be a better way to put it. In any case, whether the convention exists elsewhere is beside the point. The point is, Is it useful?
As I wrote earlier, I believe Adobe teams need to work hard to make their products feel like polished, native citizens on each OS. Deviation from the norm for its own sake is unhelpful. Having said that, OS conventions should support innovation, not stifle it. If we can improve functionality (e.g. enabling more flexible document resizing) without imposing any burden (extra UI chrome, etc.), why shouldn’t we?
Our job is about functionality, not ideology. Whatever works best, wins. Obviously the Apple development teams feel free to depart from strict adherence to the baseline OS when they feel that doing so would benefit their customers. I’d argue that Adobe teams should have similar latitude.
Now, at the end of the day, will we ship with the application frame visible by default on the Mac? I don’t know; maybe not. We want people to feel invited–not forced–to use the new functionality. No matter how much I write here–and thanks for reading this far–some Mac users are going to have the "WTF" reaction to the application frame. Hopefully they, and you, will keep an open mind until you’ve gotten to try it out. I think you’ll find–as I did–that there’s a lot to like.
Adobe kuler (the rich Internet application for color exploration and sharing, in case you’ve been chilling under a rock) now features some cool integration with Flickr, creating color harmonies from images. To try it, click the "Create" button at left, then choose "From an Image." Next to the button that lets you upload your own shots, you’ll see a Flickr button that lets you browse and search images that you & others have shared. (Here’s a screenshot.) Foxy.
Other new tweaks debut today on kuler as well:
Time-based theme browsing (last 7 days, last 30 days, all days), to surface more user-generated content
Theme details now includes a More Info view, where you can choose your avatar and find the theme’s direct link (for blog links, or to email or IM, etc.)
I’ve been getting quite a few inquiries about problems saving files from Photoshop directly to
network drives when using the recently released Mac OS 10.5.3. (I’m told the issue can affect InDesign and maybe other apps as well.)
The short story is that we’ve been working closely with Apple to troubleshoot the issue and have identified the cause. Apple is working on a fix, and we expect they’ll release it in the next System Update.
The slightly longer story is that saving directly to a network is a generally bad idea. Here’s what I’ve heard from a contact in engineering:
Directly writing to a network filing system adds a level of complexity, which includes timing issues, network noise, performance, and other potential issues. We’ve occasionally run into bugs with different configurations/combinations, but as there are too many variants for us to reliably test and certify all the clients, servers, hardware and software, we recommend the safer course of working with files locally and then copying them up to a file server when you’re done. While directly reading/writing to network file systems should work in theory, and while we do some limited testing in the most popular configurations to verify that it does, we can not certify that it will work reliably in your configuration.
I know that’s not what you may want to hear, but it’s a long-standing advisory. Saving files locally, then transferring them, offers better performance as well as greater reliability.
[Note: I’m motivated to write the following as I’m hearing increasing speculation about future Adobe UI changes based on what’s appeared in screenshots, the Fireworks beta, etc. That topic deserves its own post, and I’ll work on publishing one in the next couple of days. Until then I won’t be tackling any of those specific issues/questions.]
I had a rather eye-opening experience the other day. I over heard an Adobe employee using Photoshop exclaim, “No way… they overloaded Cmd-H!” In other words, he was surprised that pressing Cmd-H didn’t hide the application. He was obviously A) a Mac user, B) relatively unfamiliar with Photoshop, and C) assuming that Photoshop had made a decision to go against Mac OS conventions.
Er, no. 🙂
The actual history is that Photoshop has used the Cmd-H shortcut since something close to the dawn of time (at least as far back as 1993, when I started using the app) to hide/show the current selection (the “marching ants” that go around a selection). This convention (like essentially all PS shortcuts) is consistent between Mac and Windows, and it’s worked the same way in Illustrator for a similarly long time.
When Apple introduced OS X, they decided to implement some new conventions for shortcuts. Notably, Cmd-H hides apps; Cmd-M minimizes docs to the Dock; and Cmd-~ (technically Cmd-`) cycles among open documents. Over time the OS has appropriated more and more shortcuts that have been used by Photoshop (F9-F12 were for actions, Cmd-Space/Cmd-Opt-Space was for zooming, etc.).
This puts us in a tough position. On the one hand, I totally appreciate Apple’s efforts to drive consistency across the platform. On the other, we have to tread very carefully around keyboard shortcut changes. Pros’ fingers dance over Adobe apps like musicians’ on instruments. When certain things have worked a certain way for 10 or 15 years across multiple Adobe apps, you don’t just toss out those conventions and all the associated muscle memory.
My colleague’s comment reminded me, though, that new users don’t know or care about the history here. For them, it just looks like Adobe is blowing off useful, consistent shortcuts, going its own way for no reason.
So, what do we do? “Let me customize shortcuts,” you might say–but of course we do already (and have for years), and that doesn’t affect the default experience. No matter what we do–change or sit tight–someone is going to be P.O.’d.
I think we have to take things case-by-case. As it happens, I expect we’ll change Photoshop to use Cmd-~ to cycle among document windows. PS already supports the Windows-standard Ctrl-Tab for this function on both platforms, and by honoring both conventions we can offer cross-platform consistency. This move will undoubtedly frustrate people who rely on Cmd-~ for displaying the composite channel, but we’ll do our best to ease the pain. Remapping Cmd-H and Cmd-M are a progressively tougher sell for me, given the importance of selections & Curves in PS. Note, however, that on the Mac by default Photoshop assigns Cmd-Ctrl-H to hiding & Cmd-Ctrl-M to minimizing–i.e. the standard conventions + the Ctrl key.
I mention all this in order to shed some light on the tricky issues we face with the Photoshop & other Adobe tools. No one I know here views OS conventions as unimportant; on the contrary, they’re always among the first issues considered. It’s just that we have to weigh them against possible disruptions to user habits and workflows, and against the user benefits of consistency between applications and platforms.
[PS–I know people are eager to hear more & to discuss the application frame idea, etc. As I say, I plan to post plenty of detail shortly. (In other words, please don’t fill the comments with tons of questions/rants just yet. :-)) More to come… –J.]
"God Is a Graphic Designer?" Chip Kidd plumbs the meaning of a curiously torn newspaper. (This reminds me of when I returned to my laptop once and found the "Y" key missing from the keyboard. I was convinced that my legitimately crazy and dangerous roommate was trying to send me a message. Turned out to be the work of my cat, though… I think.)