Honda Insight Let it Shine turns hundreds of cars into a giant LED-style display. [Via] The making-of piece is just as interesting, as is the excellent browser integration on the Vimeo site. (Man, years ago I used to dream about doing stuff like this in a browser. Glad to see it in action.)
“Carousel” for Philips Cinema is pretty amazing on every level. The short film works as an endless loop, and as Coloribus writes in its behind-the-scenes coverage, “Visitors to the microsite therefore have the option to ‘spin’ through the film’s single take shot repeatedly, to stop on a specific frame, or to watch it at the preordained speed. The film also contains embedded hotspots, which, when triggered, transport the viewer seamlessly from the heavily posted film to a behind-the-scenes version of the same shot.” [Via Colin Macdonald]
Jonathan Jarvis’s The Crisis of Credit Visualized uses Illustrator & After Effects to great effect, explaining the chain reactions that inflated–then crippled–the world economy. [Via David Macy]
No CGI, no wires needed: Danny MacAskill does some of the most incredible stunts (which just happen to involve a bike) I’ve ever seen. Great musical choice, too. [Via everyone ever]
Reprising the session from a couple of weeks ago, I again joined Deke McClelland & Colleen Wheeler for a Martini Hour podcast. This time we were joined by Adobe creative director Russell Brown. Both conversation & sidecars flowed freely, though only the latter stayed within predictable boundaries.
MySuiteStuff.com offers a whole set of Creative Suite-style icons as pillows. “These 12″x12″ stuffed icons are 100% hand-made with love from the softest, fluffiest fleece there is,” they say. Presumably you’re only a Sharpie away from upgrading the CS3 look to CS4. [Via]
Tom Hogarty points out that the images posted on Flickr by White House photographer Pete Souza are tagged as having been edited with Photoshop CS4 for Mac. Earlier this year, Pete was using CS3, so we’re happy to see that he’s moved up to CS4. (Back in January we looked into sending him a complementary upgrade, but due to some touchiness about giving gifts to government employees, we had to punt on that idea.)
Regarding the low-level fly-over of NYC by an Air Force One 747 trailed by fighter jets–an act that inadvertently terrorized New Yorkers:
“Hey, you know another way you could’ve gotten that picture… Photoshop. Remember? We did it? [showing obviously faked picture of Joe Biden flying the plane] Remember?? Oh, but that’s right, Photoshop can look so fake–when the look of terror on so many people’s faces today, you can’t fake that.”
My wife made exactly the same suggestion upon hearing the news earlier in the day.
If touching your MacBook Pro trackpad produces unwanted canvas rotation/zooming, you can use this plug-in to disable that feature.
You can drag and drop layers between document tabs in CS4; you just need to start the drag from the document surface, not from the Layers panel. (I know, the latter behavior should work, and we’ll work on improving it in the future.)
If I might ask a favor of you: if you hear people complaining about any/all of this stuff, please refer them to this URL (or directly to the ones linked above). I greatly appreciate your help in spreading useful info.
* In case you have trouble installing the panel via Extension Manager, you can download this plain-zipped version, then unzip it and drag the resulting “Curves – Dialog” folder into your “Adobe Photoshop CS4/Plug-Ins/Panels” directory.
What exactly is the best way to construct a Web page comp in Photoshop, then convert it to a clean, CSS-based HTML layout? To many designers the process remains a black art.
At Photoshop World I got to chat with the guys from WebAssist, a developer with a distinguished track record of extending Dreamweaver, Flash, and Fireworks, about their new CSS Designer Starter Kit for Photoshop. In describing the $19.99 training product, the company writes:
Designed to show Photoshop users how to create graphic comps with CSS in mind
Basics of CSS covered
Specific instructions for converting a graphic comp into a Dreamweaver CSS layout
Interactive, self-paced training
2 professionally designed comps included in PSD format: one to follow along with step-by-step and another for practice.
If that sounds appealing, check out the feature tour on the product page.
Elsewhere, PSDTUTS lists a set of 30 Brilliantly Flexible Templates & WordPress Themes. Each one goes for $15 or so. Meanwhile, PSDtoWordPress will have a real person do just what it says, for a fee. [Via] Adobe Blogs use Movable Type, so I can’t evaluate either offering, but I certainly see the appeal: I found skinning this blog fairly painful.
For “effortless conversion of your Photoshop designs into standards-compliant, CSS-rich webpages,” check out MediaLab’s SiteGrinder 2. The plug-in runs entirely within Photoshop and promises to require no hand coding. Check out the product’s feature tour for more info.
If you know of other good tips or resources in this department, please feel free to share them.
Update: How I could have failed to mention Fireworks, I don’t know. FW offers excellent PSD import, and in CS4 its CSS-generating chops are better than ever. See John Wylie’s notes on Exporting CSS and images in Fireworks CS4 for more details. [Via Kevin Stohlmeyer]
Scott Hansen has created a tutorial (with source files) demoing the techniques used to create a Dylan poster homage.
Heh–I had no idea that it’s possible to designate a “key object” in Illustrator & align objects to it. Check out Terry Hemphill’s quick tip to learn more.
The Chopping Block does symmetry with these Illustrator reflection templates. (Illustrator’s combo of live effects + the ability to target anything from individual paths to groups to layers is enormously powerful–and woefully underused. The Appearance panel in CS4 makes things much easier, but I find that many artists just won’t make the cognitive leaps necessary to harness this power.)
3D Invigorator for Photoshop allows you to create complex 3D objects using Adobe Illustrator files and fonts. You can easily model 3D objects based on the vector files, adding depth, bevels, and other 3D features. The drag and drop materials makes it simple to apply reflective, transparent, or bump mapped textures to your objects. You can combine textures, adjust the position of the textures, and add multiple lights to give every 3D object a different look.
Although the plug-in doesn’t (yet) create native 3D layers in Photoshop, it works with Smart Objects, meaning you can go back and modify 3D geometry, lighting, etc. The tool costs $199, supports Photoshop CS2-CS4 on Mac & Windows, and is available for download as a tryout from Digital Anarchy’s site.
Tangentially related: Corey Barker of NAPP points out that Archive3D.net “offers an enormous collection of free 3D models in a number of different categories.”
I don’t have a lot of background on the project, but WiiSpray.com–using a Nintendo Wii controller + Flash to enable collaborative graffiti painting–caught my eye:
The site is light on info, but you can see a few photos of the spray can controller. I particularly like the idea of controlling a stencil with one hand while spraying paint with the other.
Previously in a similar vein:
Thanks for all the feedback on the CS interface ideas I posted Monday. I’m still on the road, so I haven’t yet been able to reply to most comments. I look forward to reviewing them in more depth.
One key point of clarification: I wasn’t suggesting that Adobe try to merge the applications into one behemoth. In fact, I specifically said that’s a total non-starter. Why a number of people wrote in to then say, “Oh my God, don’t merge the apps into a behemoth” is kind of puzzling.
Some other points:
I’m also not sure why a few folks said (paraphrasing), “You should only make the individual apps better, and then (when you’re done with that) worry about integration.” Of course, there’s no such thing as “being done” improving the individual tools, and there’s no excuse for putting integration improvements on hold.
Philip Kerman wrote, “Look at what software people really love… it’s the awesome fast apps that do one thing and do that one thing very well.” Wasn’t I just saying that instead of building further redundancy into various Adobe tools, we should focus on making each one great at what it does, and on making them all function as an integrated whole? That to me is is the antidote to bloat.
Adobe apps are being developed in more modular ways. The Flash panel extensibility that got wide adoption in CS4 hints at a future where modular features can be written once, then dropped into multiple apps.
The Adobe video applications (After Effects, Premiere Pro, Encore DVD, Soundbooth) can already share screen content via Dynamic Link. That is, you can do things like send an AE comp to Premiere (or a Premiere sequence to AE) without rendering, with the data changing live in one app as it’s updated in the other. Isn’t that better than stuffing lots of each app into the other (adding overhead and inconsistency)?
As you’d imagine, my ideas around app integration are closely tied to my ideas about Configurator & customizability. I believe that each Adobe app should present solutions via task-oriented workspaces, and I believe that each app should itself be a workspace of the greater Creative Suite. You’d effectively be able to pick the parts of the Suite app you’d want for any given project, and within each app you’d pull up just the components needed for the task at hand. (For example, Photoshop would be the pixel-editing workspace of the Suite, and within PS there’d be workspaces geared towards sub-tasks (e.g. color correction).) I’ll try to elaborate on this when time permits.
Aiming high doesn’t mean forgetting the small stuff. When I started on Photoshop, PS7 had just shipped. The two biggest applause grabbers were the Healing Brush (crazy Buck Rogers image science) and being able to rename a layer inline in the Layers palette (a completely humble change, one that saved literally zero clicks, but one that just felt totally right). Apps have to deliver both the sizzle and the steak, and we’re working harder than ever onboth.
I don’t claim to have any magic bullets here, nor do I claim that any of this would be easy. I don’t accept, however, that “good enough is good enough.” How is developing the Creative Suite going to be interesting for the next 5 years, the next 10? Taking only little steps, going to work while muttering “time to make the donuts” ain’t gonna get it done–not for me, anyway. I believe Adobe can–and must–aim for more transformative changes.
The Dear Adobe blog asks, “Why does Adobe have 14,000 different applications?,” then makes a modest proposal:
So here it is. The Worst Idea Ever. Combine ‘em all. All of them…. What I want is to open a .adobe file in my Adobe.app, click a “Mode” dropdown, select Photoshop, and get my photoshop windows. Edit all my layers with bitmappy precision. Then, when I need to edit something in vector, I don’t use the pathetic excuse for vector tools in Photoshop mode, I switch to Illustrator mode, and all my bitmappy layers suddenly work as Illustrator objects…
Outrageous! Impossible! And yet, maybe not crazy at all. Read on if interested.
Numerous sites (including Adobe’s own Exchange) facilitate the sharing of Photoshop brushes, but BlendFu caught my eye for its inclusion of a cool Flash-based preview engine. You can load up a brush tip, then vary brush engine settings (e.g. size, scatter) & lay down some sample strokes. Groovy. [Via Freddy Wang] Incidentally, I continue to long for a day when a background synchronization agent (a la the one that syncs contacts & bookmarks between a desktop & an iPhone) would observe the creation/modification of all Adobe app files (brushes, swatches, actions, styles, etc.) and sync them with an online repository.
Your settings–i.e. that little layer of DNA that makes your copy of an app yours–would be backed up at all times, period.
To share any bit of content (e.g. a set of brushes), you’d simply check a box, then optionally add some metadata (keywords, description, etc.).
You could browse & use others’ shared content right from within your app. For example, in the Brushes panel you could type “airport signage” to get matching brushes–no need to leave the app, start downloading & installing files, etc.
Note: I’m not hinting at anything specific, just sharing a very long-standing desire to plug the “Photoshop Nation” that much more directly into the software itself, helping people continuously improve the tools for themselves & for others.
I’m happy to see that Imagenomic has released 64-bit versions of Noiseware Pro and RealGrain plugins for Photoshop CS4. The upgrades are free for registered users of these products, and are available for download now. As Imagenomic’s David McDonell points out, “This latest release completes the upgrade of Imagenomic’s Pro Plugin Suite to full CS4/64-bit compatibility following the earlier release of the Portraiture 2 Plugin for Photoshop.” [Via Bryan O’Neil Hughes]
I obviously scan a ton of content in order to create this blog, and rather than just spray random links, I like to group them & add a little context. The process consumes more time than you’d think, though, and I’ve managed to rack up hundreds of links that just haven’t fit into other posts. Therefore, being on vacation this week, I’m clearing out a bunch of old, random, potentially interesting stuff that would otherwise go unmentioned.
Check out what Daring Fireball calls the “Jedi Mind Trick Error Dialog in Dreamweaver.” I have to smile a little thinking about similar alerts that could pop up from time to time: “Photoshop is not messing with picutres of your exes. Nope, don’t know where you heard that. [OK]*”
Elsewhere, I just stumbled upon this old weirdness in the bowels of my hard drive. It’s a screenshot I took ~15 years ago, squirreled away, and forgot until now. Props to that old developer for having a sense of humor. * Absolutely tangential, and in no way work-related, but tied to the “don’t sweat it vibe”: Peter Bjorn & John’s “Nothing To Worry About” video.
Sex, Lies, and Photoshop: Jesse Epstein interviews retouchers and talks about, among other things, the French government’s desire to mandate the disclosure of image manipulation. [Via Marc Pawliger] Much related conversation ensues on The Online Photographer blog. This reminds me of a Kurt Vonnegut/Kilgore Trout story in which unrealistic body images pave the way to interplanetary conquest.
I’ve recently had gotten a few type-related questions, so thought I’d jot down a few suggestions:
Support for type styles (i.e. the ability to define a set of text characteristics as a style, then to modify the style & have text layers updated) was the top requested feature among those I proposed to improve management of complex PSDs. Photoshop doesn’t yet support type styles, but in the meantime a couple things may help:
You can select multiple text layers at once, then change their characteristics via the Character & Paragraph panels. Shift-clicking or Cmd/Ctrl-clicking works, or you can select a text layer, then choose Select->Similar Layers to select other text layers.
You can grab the type tool, set up the characteristics you want, then make a new tool preset (Window->Tool Presets, or hit that T-shaped icon in the upper left corner (y’know, the one that neither you nor any other human being has clicked :-)). You can then choose among these presets via the Tool Presets panel.
Adobe Evangelist Julieanne Kost pointed out a trick I didn’t know: “To change the Type tool’s default options, the key is to close all documents. Then choose the Type tool and select your font family, style, size, anti-aliasing, alignment and color. Whatever options you choose, will become your new default.”
Julieanne makes another good point: While typing text, hitting Return will add a line break instead of getting you out of text mode. Hit Cmd-Return (Mac)/Ctrl-Return (Win) to get out of text mode.
I know this is an incredibly specific thing to blog about, but as it recently affected me, I thought I’d mention it: If you’re using Photoshop CS4 on a new MacBook Pro (as I am; thanks, ‘Dobe), I recommend turning on the beefy GPU (graphics card) you paid for.
The new MBPs ship with two GPUs, and they default to running the lower-power embedded GPU that’s also in these machines. You have to switch on the faster one by choosing System Preferences->Energy Saver, then setting Graphics to “Higher performance.” Doing so requires logging out of the machine–kind of a drag.
I made the switch, and I see a noticeable difference in the smoothness of rotating the canvas & zooming. There’s a very large difference when running the Pixel Bender Gallery plug-in. In terms of battery life, I haven’t been able to notice a difference. Apple.com shows the higher-power GPU taking battery life from 8 to 7 hours. I wasn’t getting anything like 8 hours of life using the slower GPU (more typically 3-4 with WiFi on, maybe 5-6 with it off), so I’d read those number in percentage terms (i.e. the faster GPU should cost you something like 12% battery life). Were I taking a cross-country flight, I’d switch off WiFi & revert to using the lower-power GPU.
Developer Garrett Dimon has posted a nice set of suggestions for making feature requests. None of them are likely to come as a surprise, but it’s still a good refresher of things to bear in mind.
I mention this, by the way, not just as someone on the receiving end of feature requests, but as one who frequently makes them. Working with other teams at Adobe, we frequently pass along what we’ve heard from customers plus our own ideas for other products. Interacting with teams like Flash Player, I have to remember that they’re just as overwhelmed with good suggestions as we are on Photoshop, and that everyone comes to them asking for “just this one thing.”
Before I came to Adobe, I’d frequently craft suggestions for Adobe, Macromedia, and other companies. (In fact, I think they hired me in part to say, “Okay, smart guy–let’s see *you* do it!”) Garrett’s suggestions ring true in my experience. [Via]
[Update: I meant to mentione that the Acrobat.com team has kicked off ideas.acrobat.com to help gather community feedback & conduct discussions. We’re thinking about similar options for Photoshop. –J.]
Not long ago, I was snatched off my bike, thrown in the back of a dirty Econoline van (is there any other kind?), and taken to the undisclosed location of Martini Hour, the imbibing-positive podcast featuring long-time Photoshop expert Deke McClelland & editor Colleen Wheeler. Over the course of a half hour or so, we talk about sidecars (.XMP & otherwise), “the labyrinthian nature of Photoshop” (not in the David Bowie/Muppet-sense), Eyes Wide Shut, and more.
Elsewhere, photographer & author Derrick Story sat down with the man who oversees Photoshop & Lightroom engineering:
The perfect blend for a Photoshop discussion: an expert who oversees the Photoshop engineering team, and who is a photographer too. Meet Winston Hendrickson, Sr. Director, Engineering, Digital Media, forAdobe.
During this chat in a conference room at Adobe headquarters, Winston and I talk about what’s happening under the hood for Bridge, ACR, and Photoshop. He explains lots of goodies such as, the difference between the Lightroom and Bridge “databases,” the similarities between the Develop module in Lightroom and the sliders in ACR, improvements in Photoshop, and some great lesser-known features such as Camera Profiles. Terrific, informative interview.
The chat, downloadable directly here, runs 29 minutes.
I was excited to hear that researchers at Adobe have submitted 22% of all papers accepted at SIGGRAPH this year. That’s a pretty incredible accomplishment*. In addition, Wojciech Matusik has been selected as this year’s recipient of the ACM SIGGRAPH Significant New Research Award. Congrats, guys!
The company has been making significant investments & attracting top talent in this area in recent years, and it’s great to see those efforts bearing fruit. It’ll be even better when we start harvesting more of this research as real-world features in Photoshop and other apps–and believe me, we’re working to do just that. * By way of comparison, Microsoft had 6 papers accepted this year (vs. Adobe’s 17). Microsoft has 90,000 employees; Adobe has 7,000.
“Danish photographer Peter Funch stakes New York City street corners out for two weeks at a time, taking pictures of passersby from the very same spot.” He then uses Photoshop to composite the results into single images. I love the mass of yawners. [Via Dave Dobish & VSL]
Adobe is developing a new version of the ExtendScript Toolkit for use with CS4, and the development team is looking for input. Program manager Elba Sobrino writes:
I am collecting the names of any external developers who may be interested in installing and testing this new ESTK CS5 with their CS4 products, including InDesign, After Effects, Photoshop, and Illustrator. Please contact me directly if you’d like to participate and provide your feedback.
The San Francisco Photoshop User Group is meeting tomorrow night, and the San Jose chapter is meeting on Tuesday the 21st. Here’s the agenda for both meetings:
Photoshop Product Manager Bryan O’Neil Hughes will deliver a presentation on the many new technologies released since CS4, including the DNG Profile Editor, Pixel Bender, updates to Camera Raw/Lightroom and a recent performance update to Photoshop CS4. Additionally Bryan will show and discuss some hidden gems for photographers in CS4.
The new version of Bryan’s Black & White book is now out, so he may well show some interesting B&W techniques.
To RSVP & for details, check out the San Francisco and San Jose meeting pages.
We’re delighted to learn that young Gareth David Clark Graham, the 2.0 launch from our fellow product mgr. Pam Clark & husband Greer, has come into the world. The little hombre is 8 lbs 6 oz, 21 inches, and quite sleepy, but everyone is doing great. Congrats, guys! Now it’s up to Margot & me to round out the explosion in July (Project “El Segundo” remains on track), bringing the total to six MicroPMs in sixteen months (!). (No word yet on whether the babies will join together to form one large, Suite-steering megachild.)
Do you read/write the old PICT file format in Photoshop? We’re not aware of current workflows that have any dependency on the format, but if you have one, please speak up ASAP.
As we move Photoshop forward, we need to keep pruning dead branches off the tree (rather than spend time rewriting them for Cocoa, 64-bit, etc.). We’d like to drop PICT support unless there’s a good reason to keep it around.
[Update: Thanks for the quick & copious feedback. I got a kick out of reader Gordon Williams’s suggestion that the Photoshop team put old features “On Notice,” Colbert-style.]
[Update 2: Based on your feedback, the plan is that in the future, Photoshop will keep reading, but will no longer write, PICT files.]
Not long ago the folks at Computer Arts featured an article in which illustrator Jason Cook talked about how Adobe Configurator has helped streamline his use work. (“Configurator puts the user many steps closer to making things quicker and easier to use.”)
This inspired me to write a little manifesto on what Configurator means in the big picture–how it’s really about subverting Adobe’s authority (in a good way) over what constitutes “Photoshop.” The article will appear in the magazine’s forthcoming all-Photoshop issue (see cover), but in the meantime, Computer Arts has graciously let me post it here (PDF) in case you’re interested.
To the barricades,
The folks responsible for managing the Adobe User-to-User Forums are excited to announce that the legacy Adobe and Macromedia forums have now been integrated onto a single platform, and they asked me to help spread the word.
Integration of Adobe ID for true single sign-on to all forums
Updated look and feel, more consistent with other forum systems
Email participation, including starting a new discussion and alerts
RSS feeds for many parts of the forum (topics, users, announcements, etc.)
Improved moderation capabilities (hosts can delete inappropriate content)
Rich text options: inline images and videos, file attachments, code samples
Improved search capabilities:
Wildcard searches (Multiple or single character)
Fuzzy Search (e.g. searching for “foam” also retrieves “roams”)
If you’re planning to attend the NAB tradeshow in Las Vegas in a couple of weeks and would like to discuss your ideas for Photoshop vis-à-vis film & video production, drop me a line. I’m planning to be in town at least part of Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday & would love to hear your thoughts. The company is planning a number of events at the show, so check out this list for more details.
A new version of the Pixel Bender Toolkit, used for writing imaging filters that run super fast in Photoshop, Flash, and After Effects, is available for download from Adobe Labs. Engineering manager Kevin Goldsmith writes,
This new version includes the ability to edit, compile and run Pixel Bender Graphs (supported in Photoshop and After Effects). It also has a number of bug fixes, specifically in areas around PBJ generation.
Bryan O’Neil Hughes and I were looking at the very raw guts of a prototype camera today–a bunch of naked circuit boards, wires, etc. Someone mentioned the mass of the whole contraption, and Bryan said, “Looks like it’s the size of a VHS tape.”
This got me thinking: How about making a hipster camera that’s actually housed inside the shell of a VHS cassette? Turning the big wheels could flip through photos or adjust camera settings. C’mon, you know some goateed weasel would just love taking off-axis shots using a ginormous plastic case. For bonus points, kit it out with a greasy little lens & call the results “artsy.”
In any case, some people have reported hitting a problem where files from Google’s 3D Warehouse–or other Collada-format files–are imported into Photoshop fully or partially invisible. This happens because many Collada exporters invert the opacities in materials (meaning that 100% opaque will come in at 0% & thus be invisible). If you hit one of these files, try running this script to invert the opacities in your model’s materials. (For reference here’s the official tech doc.)