Monthly Archives: October 2009

Adobe TV: Removing distortions, using Quick Select

These recent posts on Adobe TV might be up your alley:

Photoshop With Matt Kloskowski: Removing Distortion from Wide-Angle Photos

Wide-angle lenses often introduce distortion into photos. Tall buildings look like they’re leaning over, and, depending on how close you are to your subject, some things may look like they’re bulging or curved. This tutorial will show how to fix that.

Photoshop for Digital Photographers: How to Train the Quick Selection Tool

Improve the quality of your selections by first training the Quick Selection Tool. This simple technique shows you how to make better, more accurate selections in half the time.

New Filter Forge 2.0 for PS beta

Filter Forge, the node-based tool for visually creating Photoshop filters, has announced a beta of version 2.0. According to lead developer Vladimir Golovin, new features include:

Adobe Windows 7 FAQ

Adobe has posted an FAQ discussing Creative Suite support for Microsoft Windows 7. For more detailed technical info, see the technote on “Installing and using Windows 7 with Adobe applications.”
Adobe’s support policy for Windows 7 is the same as it is for Mac OS X Snow Leopard: test and focus on the currently shipping versions of software, while also performing some testing on older versions. Hopefully the wording of this FAQ is clearer than the Snow Leopard version was initially.

Lightroom 3.0 public beta arrives!

I’m delighted to report that the first public beta version of Lightroom 3.0 is available for download from Adobe Labs. According to the press release, the LR3 beta offers “more intuitive importing, unparalleled noise reduction and sharpening tools, enhanced slideshow capabilities and direct publishing to online photo sharing sites like Flickr.” Lightroom PM Tom Hogarty writes,

For this latest release we went back to the drawing board and revisited what we believe are the fundamental priorities of our customers: Performance and Image Quality. Lightroom has been stripped down to the “engine block” in order to rebuild a performance architecture that meets the needs of photographers with growing image collections and increasing megapixels. The raw processing engine has also received an overhaul right down to the fundamental demosaic algorithms that now allows unprecedented sharpening and noise reduction results.

He also writes, “We’re not even close to finished in terms of features, performance, or image quality, but we want early feedback on our improvements so that we have time to make sure Lightroom 3 is your ideal workflow assistant.” Check out the rest of Tom’s post for a wealth of feature details.
PS–Can it really be nearly four years since the first Lightroom public beta? Wow.
Update: Here’s Adobe’s Julieanne Kost introducing some of the new features:

Check out parts 2 and 3 as well, plus Scott Kelby’s Top 10 favorite changes & a wealth of other LR3-related posts & resources.

Video: New from Adobe Labs, Content-Aware Fill in Photoshop

You like? 🙂 (Here’s some more background on the technology.) To see higher-res detail, I recommend hitting the full-screen icon or visiting the Facebook page that hosts the video.
As with all such sneak peeks, I have to be really clear in saying that this is just a demo, and as such it’s not a promise that a technology will ship inside a particular version of Photoshop. (As the late Mac columnist Don Crabb told me years ago, “There’s many a slip ‘twixt cup & lip.”) Still, it’s fun to show some of the stuff with which we’re experimenting.

Next versions of AE, Premiere Pro to be 64-bit only

This morning Simon Hayhurst from Adobe’s video group announced that the next versions of Adobe After Effects & Premiere Pro will be 64-bit native & will require a 64-bit system to run (meaning a 64-bit processor and operating system). See Simon’s post, as well as this one from AE PM Michael Coleman, for more details.

If you’re running these apps today on a Mac, you’re probably already set (as CS4 is Intel-only). The only 32-bit Intel Macs were the first-gen MacBook Pros, iMacs, and Mac minis. On the Windows side, chances are again good that you’re running on a 64-bit processor, but you’ll want to make sure to move to a 64-bit version of Vista or Windows 7 if you haven’t done so already.

Does this news mean that the next version of Photoshop will carry the same requirements? No. will still support 32-bit operating systems and processors (alongside 64-bit ones). It’ll be nice to go 64-bit-only someday (just so that we can focus all our development and testing time on this setup), but Photoshop’s user base is diverse, and the time isn’t quite right. In the meantime, supporting both flavors doesn’t compromise Photoshop.

Additional resources:

Monday Photos: Dark n' Lovely

  • Take a look at the marvelous intricacy of Hiroshi Sugimoto’s Lightning Fields. The photographer “uses a 400,000-volt Van De Graaff generator to apply an electrical charge directly onto his film.” [Via]
  • I love the understatement of Carlos de Spinola‘s “Drive In” series. Somehow I’m taken back to driving across northern Indiana (where Gary could double as the backdrops for Blade Runner) at night. [Via]
  • The NYT tells the story behind (and features a gallery of) Walker Evans postcards.
  • To quote our little son Finn seeing whirling blades, “Makeitturn makeitturn makeitturnturn!”: Helicopter taking off–in 1949 [Via]
  • Last Suppers is “A series of photographs documenting former Death Row prisoners’ requests for their last meal before execution.” Happy Monday! [Via] Mobile downloaded over 1 million times

Wow–on behalf of the team, thanks again for the warm reception! Here’s the official blurb:

Adobe today announced that its Mobile for iPhone application has been downloaded over 1 million times from Apple’s App Store, a milestone reached in less than one week of availability. Additionally, the application has held the No. 1 position for all “Top Free” applications as well as the “Top Free” application in the Photography category for 10 consecutive days. Thousands of iTunes reviews have provided Adobe with positive feedback, insight and suggestions that will be considered for future versions of the application.

The application is currently available in the U.S. and Canada only. I know that’s frustrating to folks in other locations, and the team will keep working to broaden access.

Video: Photoshop used for age progression

A brief video from CNN shows how the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children uses Photoshop as part of their age-progression efforts (where reference photos of missing kids are digitally altered to reflect the passage of time). The video is light on specifics, but it’s great to be reminded of the positive uses of technology:
Embedded video from CNN Video
I had the chance to visit the NCMEC folks in Virginia a couple of years ago, and I came away deeply impressed with the thoroughness & passion they bring to their mission. Photoshop team members like John Penn continue to work closely with them in hopes of improving how Photoshop for their needs. [Via Adam Pratt]
[Tangentially related: a tutorial on performing age progression in Photoshop.]

Videos: Photoshop, 3D, Web design at MAX

Last week’s Adobe MAX conference featured some great Photoshop-related sessions. Here are a few picks that might be of interest. (Full-screen viewing is always recommended.)
Photoshop CS4 Hidden Gems…including Configurator, Pixel Bender, DNG Profile Editor and more with Bryan O’Neil Hughes

How To Work Creatively With 3D In Photoshop CS4 Extended with Zorana Gee [Actually starts at the 9-minute mark; I don’t know why these things aren’t trimmed at all before they’re posted]

The Essentials of Image Enhancement for Web & Flash Designers
with Michael Ninness

New Adobe Community Help available on Labs

The new Adobe Community Help AIR application is a preview of Adobe’s next-generation product help experience. According to the download page on Adobe Labs,

This beta release is configured to work with Flash Builder and Flash Catalyst content. The Community Help AIR application lets you:

  • Access up-to-date definitive reference content online and offline
  • Find the most relevant content contributed by experts from the Adobe community
  • Comment on, rate, and contribute to content in the Adobe community
  • Locate code examples with integrated code search
  • Download Help content directly to your desktop to use and search offline
  • Use dynamic navigation based on search results to find related content
  • Enjoy content updates and feature enhancements without reinstalling the AIR app

Check out the Community Help beta and send us your feedback. Please keep in mind that this is a beta release and it contains bugs and incomplete features. For known bugs, please see the release notes. We suggest that you use it for testing and exploratory purposes only.

Death, shooting, & other diversions


Despite essentially never taking vacations ever (heck, despite barely leaving throbbing San José*), I’m actually getting out of the house for once and am headed to Death Valley with my buddy/fellow PM Hughes**. Laden with heavy artillery (photographic & otherwise), we’re off to shoot Bodie, the racetrack playa, and other sites; four-wheel through the infamous Goler Wash; make stuff blow up real good; and generally consume mass quantities of meat, propane, beer, and road flares. Last time I caught some shrapnel in the lip; this time, who knows?

I’ve scheduled a few posts during my absence, and provided we’re not kidnapped by hillbilly cannibals/ex-hippies/black helicopters, I’ll be back next week. Provided we are kidnapped by hillbilly cannibals/ex-hippies/black helicopters, well, so long & thanks for all the pixels.

* The Hose/The Ho’

** Couldn’t get Hogarty from Lightroom this time as he’s busy pounding the app

Adobe's iPhone app goes live

I’m pleased to see that Mobile for iPhone has gone live on the App Store (see screenshots).
[Update: Don’t be confused by the name: the app is useful for on-phone editing, not just uploading/sharing.]
According to the product page, with the app you can:

  • Transform your photos with essential edits like crop, rotate and flip.
  • Correct and play with color by adjusting the saturation and tint, enhancing the exposure and vibrancy, and converting images to black and white.
  • Use the Sketch tool to make photos look like drawings, and Soft Focus to give photos a subtle blur for artistic effect.
  • Apply dramatic changes with effects such as Warm Vintage, Vignette and Pop. Edits or changes can be undone or redone so you can experiment without the worry of losing your original photo.
  • Upload photos to The app provides the ultimate digital photo wallet, providing access to your entire library. offers 2GB of free online photo storage (equal to more than 1,500 photos).

The app is free. Happy shooting!

Sneak peek: Illustrator + Flash + Dreamweaver -> CANVAS

Check out this demo of Illustrator handing vector art to Dreamweaver, and DW binding the artwork to data so that it can be displayed via the HTML5 CANVAS tag:

Mordy Golding summarizes the demo as follows:

[The engineer] starts by taking art drawn in Illustrator and copies it to the clipboard. Then he goes into Dreamweaver, selects a DIV and chooses a function called Smart Paste. Dreamweaver then pastes an FXG conversion of the Illustrator art directly into the page. If you aren’t familiar with FXG, it’s basically a better SVG* (you can get more information on the open source FXG spec here). In other words, you draw in Illustrator, copy and paste into Dreamweaver (which converts it to code), and the art displays as vector art in a web browser. What’s more, the engineer proceeded to actually bind XML data to the chart.

After that, the presenter copies an animation in Flash Professional as XML, then pastes it in DW as a CANVAS animation.

It’s kind of funny to see this demo now, as Illustrator could export XML vector graphics (SVG) to the Web some 10 years ago. Later people made various efforts to display & manipulate SVG using Flash. This new demo uses different tools & a different display engine to do similar things.

I think this is a key point: Adobe makes money selling tools, not distributing viewing software. Those tools must address customer needs. If Flash Player is the right choice for some projects & HTML/CANVAS for others, no problem: we get paid to help you solve problems, not to force one implementation vs. another.

* I have no idea whether FXG is “better” than SVG overall & don’t want to get into a debate on that subject. FXG is based on SVG but maps more closely to the Flash drawing model.

PhotoSketch: Internet Image Montage

Oh, that’s rather cool, then:

I’ve seen various experiments at Adobe that fetch & automatically composite images, but the idea of basing searches on sketches is new to me. Details are in the researchers’ paper (PDF).
Almost completely unrelated, but in the spirit of cool image science, during last night’s sneak peeks at Adobe MAX, Dan Goldman showed a little taste of “PatchMatch” (“content-aware healing”) integrated into Photoshop. (As always, no promises, this is just a test, yadda yadda.)

Hats off to Seetha

Hats off to Seetha Let me be possibly the first person ever to ask, What’s up with all the mustachioed, middle-aged Indian dudes + lens flares? 😉
Adobe engineering heavy hitter Seetharaman Narayanan was honored last week at Photoshop World, becoming the newest member of the Photoshop Hall of Fame. Congrats, Seetha! (Somewhere in the depths of the PS code base, his hands caked with Cocoa, he nods a quick acknowledgement.)
I like to imagine Seetha walking through the show floor in slow mo, firing double finger-guns like the engineer featured in this Intel ad*. I couldn’t help but notice the similarity between the lens flares added in the video and in “Seetha’s fan club,” juxtaposed here (slightly larger version). And no, I didn’t touch either image besides resizing them.
Well, whether it’s old-school filters, Don Julio, or something else that keeps Seetha’s mojo flowing, we’re grateful for his efforts & wish him more success.
* I’m a little sad to learn (via Wikipedia) that the “Ajay Bhatt” featured in the Intel spot is an actor. Here’s the real guy. Perhaps someone should set to work lens-flaring (and mustache-ifying) him. [Update: And, what do you know, 20 minutes after I posted this, John Eakin sent me this image. Nice.]

Flash CS5 demo + many more vids from MAX

I’m impressed that today’s sessions from Adobe MAX are already live & streaming on Adobe TV. Check out numerous entries in the Design, Develop, and the sort of vaguely named Envision categories.

Being an old-school Flash user, I like seeing this preview demonstration of the version in development:

For some odd reason the first 20 or so minutes are empty, so just click ahead to reach the demo content.

I don’t yet see a video for today’s session on How to Write a Plug-in for Photoshop, but I’ll keep my eyes peeled.

Use Flash to build native iPhone apps

Today at Adobe MAX, the company announced that Flash tools will be able to build applications for iPhone that can be distributed through Apple’s App Store. A beta version of Flash Professional CS5 with this new capability is planned for release later this year. These aren’t Flash SWF files, they’re native iPhone apps.

My first question was, “Wait–so how native are these apps? Do they feel right, or do they seem like crappy ports?” The good news is that you can judge for yourself:

As of today, participants in the Adobe pre-release program have submitted 8 applications and all of them have been accepted into the App Store. The applications are: Digg Pics, South Park Avatar Creator, Chroma Circuit, Just Letters, Trading Stuff, Red Hood, Fickleblox, and That Roach Game.

Following the announcment at MAX, additional applications have been submitted including the Acrobat Connect application.

So, what about running Flash SWF files directly on the iPhone? The iPhone SDK License does not currently allow runtimes such as Flash Player or Adobe AIR. Hopefully Apple & Adobe will be able to work together on a solution in the future.

Before I get an earful about the Flash Player’s CPU & battery usage, note that on mobile devices, “engineers have increased Flash’s operating performance by 87 percent and reduced memory consumption by 55 percent” (more info). Adobe CTO Kevin Lynch said that Flash performance on mobile was “not very good,” and that video was “more like a slideshow than a video.” He then demonstrated excellent new hardware acceleration for Flash Player 10.1 on mobile, as well as solid multitouch support.

I’m not directly involved with these efforts, so your best sources of details are likely to be Adobe evangelists like Mark Doherty, Ted Patrick, and Mike Chambers. I’ll try to share other interesting details as I come across them.

[Update: Here’s more info from Aditya Bansod and the FAQ on Adobe Labs.]

A little Adobe-flavored bloodletting

Longtime InDesign PM Will Eisley has decorated his inner forearms with some bold type (larger image). Replying to my sharp-eyed wife, he says, “Yes, the marks are color and grayscale bars which are part of InDesign’s printing marks.” Hard core.

Next up, he says is “a series of 3’s in ITC Franklin Gothic Heavy. One of the best 3’s in all of typography, IMO.” Will also recommends checking out Body Type, dedicated to tattoo typography.


[Photo courtesy of John Cornicello]

New iPhone-based Photoshop training apps

The folks from Adobe Press have introduced Adobe Photoshop CS4: Learn By Video. The application introduces the most essential topics in Photoshop CS4. Users can:

  • Take a quick tour of the Photoshop CS4 interface
  • Mark any movie for later viewing
  • Share tips and comments with others
  • Quizzes: Test yourself! Track your progress and review problem topics.
  • Stay up-to-date on Adobe Press news through the Twitter group

The companion video package features 19 hours of training from Gabriel Powell and Mikkel Aaland, as well as quizzes & review materials.
In a similar vein, Richard Harrington’s Understanding Photoshop: Quick Fixes (iTunes link) offers the following:

  • Includes 17 training videos edited specifically for the iPhone or iPod Touch.
  • Offers easily viewable screens, with zooms and close-ups of the action.
  • Includes hands-on files & interactive quizzes.
  • Includes search, a quick reference guide, commenting, and a Twitter client.

These are just the apps I’ve encountered so far. If you know of other good ones, please mention them via comments.

Watch MAX keynotes, streamed live from LA

At risk of driving you criminally insane via ceaseless MAX/PSW references, let me plug the live streaming of the MAX keynotes. I’m not kidding when I tell you there’ll be some very interesting news.

Join 10 minutes early and participate in the backstage behind the scenes action. Seats/connections are limited, so registration is required. Participants will also be able to connect with the community during the webcast through Twitter at #adobemaxgs

  • Monday, October 5, 9:20 A.M -11:00 A.M. PST–Technology as the Engine of Reinvention
  • Tuesday, October 6, 10:20 A.M.-12:00 P.M. PST–The Flash Platform and the Community

Video: Sneak peek of new Photoshop technologies

Russell Brown showed off some new “from the labs” painting and warping technology during today’s Photoshop World keynote address, and now he’s posted a recording of the demo on Facebook. Check it out!
[Update: Terry White has posted videos of the keynote itself.]
[Update 2: I’ve belatedly figured out how to embed a Facebook-hosted vid, so it’s now inline in this post. Use the fullscreen option to see it in higher resolution.]