Monthly Archives: October 2010

Brief Mac tips for parents of tots

Here’s a little something to cleanse the palette from all the Flash/HTML5/etc. bits.

The other day designer Khoi Vinh remarked on his young daughter’s iPhone fascination, lamenting the lack of a toddler mode that could do things like override the home button. Like many parents I know, I’m in just the same boat, as our two toddlers abscond with & modify my phone and iPad.  I can’t offer a lot of tips, though I heartily recommend the fun little audio app Bebot.  15-mo.-old Henry now drags me the tablet demanding “Bebop, bebop!”

On the Mac, however, I’ve found a very winning combo: Alfred (a Quicksilver-style launcher utility) plus AlphaBaby, a shape, letter, and sound generator–both free. I feel like a missile defense system, where milliseconds of reaction time make all the difference between success & disaster. The Alfred/AlphaBaby combo means that I can simply hit Opt-Space, then type “A” to select AlphaBaby and launch it. Unngh, in your faces, little dudes! 🙂

Hope that’s of use to someone. Any other advice and suggestions are welcome.

Lightroom 3.3, Camera Raw 6.3 available on Adobe Labs

Lightroom 3.3 and Camera Raw 6.3 are now available as Release Candidates on Adobe Labs, fixing bugs while adding new lens profiles & new camera support:

  • Nikon D7000
  • Nikon Coolpix P7000
  • Nikon D3100
  • Canon PowerShot S95
  • Canon PowerShot G12
  • Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2
  • Samsung NX100
  • Samsung TL350 (WB2000)


According to PM Tom Hogarty,

This release also introduces the Adobe Lens Profile Downloader.  The Lens Profile Downloader is a free companion application to Photoshop CS5, Photoshop Lightroom 3, and the Camera Raw 6 plug-in. It allows customers to search, download, rate and comment on the online lens correction profiles that are created and shared by the user community.

See Tom’s entry on the Lightroom Journal for complete details., Dreamweaver add HTML5 video playback

I’ve seen some requests for Adobe TV to add HTML5 video playback support.  That’s indeed in the works, though I don’t have a schedule to share.

In the meantime, Adobe’s photo- and video-sharing site,, has added HTML5 video support.  Here’s a random video* you can check out on play on any device that supports Flash or H.264-encoded HTML5 video.

Elsewhere, the Dreamweaver team has released the HTML5 Video Player widget.  The widget leverages both browser support & Flash Player as needed to ensure playback:

Code generated from the widget plays video in the best possible player for the requested platform using a range of video codecs. Based on the Kaltura open source library, the HTML5 Video Player widget is fully cross-browser compatible with support for Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, Chrome, and Opera. [Update: technical details here.]


I have to say, all this absurd zero-sum “Flash vs. HTML5 video” stuff makes me laugh (which is better than making me angry, as it used to do). [Background: H.264 isn’t an alternative to Flash]  Flash is a big reason that H.264 is ascendant, because by serving H.264 video, publishers can reach 98% of desktop machines through Flash, and reach non-Flash-enabled devices via HTML5.  Do you think we’d see that uptake if the content were viewable by only the <15% that use Chrome or Safari?  “Flash remains the dominant player within desktop environments,” and now viewers & publishers have more choices about how to use video online.  That’s all good.  (Er, I mean, it’s all bad and Flash is doomed; sorry, I went off script there for a minute.)

At the end of the day, you want to watch what you want, on whatever device you want. Through its publishing tools, servers, and players, Adobe’s working to get you what you want.


*In case you’re curious, PM Jordan Davis was decorating his baby son’s room & experimenting with time lapse creation.



Adobe demos Flash-to-HTML5 conversion tool

Where there’s pain, there’s opportunity.
Pre-Adobe, I made my living building rich, Flash-intensive sites for Gucci, Coca-Cola, Nike, and other big brands. Doing that job today, I’d be in a jam: How could I create rich experiences that run on desktops (where Flash is the obvious, consistent (cross-browser/-platform) choice) and on iOS devices where Flash isn’t allowed? I’d have to create two versions of a everything–one Flash, and one HTML5*. Good luck getting clients to double their budgets, though, and yet they don’t want richness cut in half.
So, the opportunity: Cut the cost of targeting multiple runtimes & we’ll deliver real wins: more richness for clients, and a competitive advantage for customers.
Check out what engineer Rik Cabanier showed (just a tech demo, no promises, etc.) during MAX sneak peeks Tuesday night:


[You can skip the last minute–unless you happen to want to glimpse William Shatner watching the demo.]

Are you surprised? Don’t be. As I’ve written many times, Adobe lives or dies by its ability to help customers solve real problems. That means putting pragmatism ahead of ideology.
Flash is great for a lot of things, and this week’s demos showed it’s only improving. It’s not the only game in town, however, and Adobe makes its money selling tools, not giving away players. Let’s help people target whatever media** they need, as efficiently as possible.

* Someone will probably start quibbling with the use of “HTML5” as a stand-in for SVG, CSS3, Canvas, etc. I know, I know. I use the umbrella term in the loose, commonly understood sense: “Flash stuff without Flash.”
** Historical fun fact: Flash Professional used to export Java, as that was the relevant runtime of the day. Tools evolve to meet viewer demands.
Final footnote/disclaimer: I don’t work in the Flash group, so all this just represents my take on what’s possible. Your feedback is of course most welcome.

Eye-roll o’ the day

In response to Adobe demoing a new HTML5 authoring/animation tool, I’ve seen a few comments like this:

“Adobe could have been pioneering this about 6 years ago, but better late than never!”

Here’s the thing, guys: I came to Adobe ten years ago specifically to build a Web-standards-based animation tool, LiveMotion, because we were told that ubiquitous browser support for SVG & more was right around the corner.  And even before that, Macromedia and Adobe had both deployed timelines (in Dreamweaver and GoLive) for animating with JavaScript, DHTML, SMIL, etc.  Point is, some of us have been working for a long time to make things better, and it’s nice to see browsers* making such efforts more viable.

So, please excuse me if I get a little peevish in response to some of the righteous finger-wagging.  Thanks for your understanding.

*By the way, speaking of finger-wagging, Adobe isn’t just waiting for browsers to get better. More on that in a bit.

"Witchcraft": Content-Aware Fill & paint mixing on tablets

During Monday’s MAX keynote, Kevin Lynch demoed a couple of the tablet explorations we’ve been doing:

As you can see, we’re trying some different design directions, making stand-alone imaging tools for tablets, as well as companions to Creative Suite apps. Props to Iván Cavero Belaunde, Christoph Moskalonek, and the other folks who brought these features to life.
So, what do you think? How would you like to see these technologies evolve?

Watch today's Adobe MAX 2010 keynote live

Lots of interesting info will be forthcoming in Adobe’s keynote presentations today & tomorrow.  I’ve had a little hand in whipping up some cool stuff for today, and I’m looking forward to seeing other secret sauce unveiled.  Check out the sessions live:


Welcome to the Revolution
Monday, October 25, 9:30 am-11:30 am PDT (convert time zone)

We are in the midst of a revolution across a variety of screens, new input methods, new formats, and new distribution models. Join Adobe CTO Kevin Lynch as he shares insights, future perspectives, and plenty of demos.


User Experience: The Next Generation
Tuesday, October 26, 10:00 am-12:00 pm PDT (convert time zone)

User expectations and experiences are evolving rapidly, and Adobe has long taken the lead in creating the tools and services to design for the future. Join us to be inspired (and, yes, entertained) as we show you the future of building interactive and engaging experiences in ways you’ve yet to imagine.


New Lightroom Develop tutorial series from George Jardine

Our friend & former Adobe Photo Evangelist George Jardine has published a new 15-video tutorial series on the Lightroom Develop module, giving special emphasis to features that are new to Lightroom 3, including the new sharpening and noise reduction controls, the all-new Lens Correction panel, and the new 2010 raw processing options.
[Previous: Asset management tutorials from George.]

Fireworks "Ask A Pro" session today

I know that it sometimes seems that Photoshop and Fireworks are at odds (at least per comments left by passionate Fireworks users anytime I ask about PS & the Web), but it really is a great app.  If you’re free today and want to learn more, read on.

Join David Hogue for Ask a CS Pro: Fireworks CS5 for Designers & Developers, today at 1pm PDT.  If you are new to Fireworks, just upgraded from an older version, a developer who uses it for image slicing and optimization, or a designer who uses other tools and wants to know what Fireworks is all about, join us for an interactive online discussion where we will highlight some of the new features and lesser known features of Fireworks.

Shoot NYC next week

If you’re a photographer who’ll be in NYC next week, you might want to check out Shoot NYC, an event running Thursday and Friday in parallel with PhotoPlus Expo.  On Friday PM Bryan O’Neil Hughes will be presenting an Adobe Lightroom Review, 12:30pm–2:00pm on Friday. Check out the full session listing here.

[Update: Author & PS expert Katrin Eismann also notes that SVA’s Optic Nerve photography show will be running during the show, with a reception being held on Wednesday the 27th.]

Better PS Techniques mag comes to iPad

The folks behind Better Photoshop Techniques magazine have put together an interactive iPad version using Adobe’s new Digital Publishing System. Publisher Philip Andrews notes,

It is called DI Magazine and is now available as a free download on the iTunes AppStore store. It’s the first Photoshop magazine of its type in the world and has the great augmented reality ‘back cover’ that we trialled with the print magazine earlier this year.

Stories include photos from Lightroom team member Kelly Castro. The app is a free download from the App Store.

Incidentally, I know people are hungry for more info about when they can get their hands on InDesign-to-tablet publishing tools.  I don’t have any inside scoop to share, but with Adobe MAX coming next week, I’m hoping we’ll see more info soon.

Todor talks plenoptic imaging

Did you know that the Photoshop team has a resident theoretical physicist? If you’d like to meet him, check out next Thursday’s Silicon Valley ACM SIGGRAPH talk:

Recently we and others have gained deeper understanding of the fundamentals of the plenoptic camera and Lippmann sensor. As a result, we have developed new rendering approaches to improve resolution, remove artifacts, and render in real time. By capturing multiple modalities simultaneously, our camera captures images that are focusable after the fact and which can be displayed in multi view stereo. The camera can also be configured to capture HDR, polarization, multispectral color and other modalities. With superresolution techniques we can even render results that approach full sensor resolution. During our presentation we will demonstrate interactive real time rendering of 3D views with after the fact focusing.

See previous video: Adobe demos refocusable images.

Photoshop: One million Facebook fans & growing

Put your finger to the corner of your mouth: The Photoshop Facebook page has passed one miiiillion fans.  (You hear the footsteps, Bieber? We’re coming for you, haircut.)  Adobe director Maria Yap talks about how the page has quadrupled in popularity since last summer, adding:

We hope you’ll join us throughout the week for some fun and giveaways as we celebrate YOU. Today, leave a comment below answering the question, “If we could make one improvement to Photoshop specifically for YOU, what would it be?” We’ll pick 5 random people from the comments to receive a free copy of both Photoshop and Lightroom as a thank you for your dedication. [Note: Please submit the comments via the FB page, not via this post.]

Thanks to everyone for your enthusiasm, support, and passionate feedback!

New Animoto Lightroom plug-in ships

In case you don’t know them, online service Animoto “automatically produces beautifully orchestrated, completely unique video pieces from your photos, video clips and music.”  Now they’ve released their free Lightroom Plug-in:

This plug-in allows Adobe® Photoshop® Lightroom® users to preload Animoto video projects on directly from Lightroom. Just select the photos you want to use and press Export — that’s it!

The plug-in automatically resizes your images before exporting them to an Animoto project, so you get the best quality videos and a fast upload time.

Solid. [Via]

What's your favorite photo-capture app?

I’m pleased to say that I’ve just taken on product management responsibilities for Photoshop Express, Adobe’s photo capture, editing, and sharing app that’s been downloaded some 13 million times for iOS and Android devices. We’re excited about the interesting directions we can go with Express, and I look forward to sharing more details soon.
In the meantime, I thought I’d ask: What app(s) do you use for capturing images with your mobile devices? What’s missing, and what could be improved? (I’ll leave the question open-ended to avoid leading the witnesses.)

Leonard Nimoy vs. Russell Brown in a Vulcan throw-down

Crazy. According to Flash evangelist Ted Patrick,

At Adobe MAX 2010, Leonard Nimoy will be joining us as Host for MAX Awards and Sneaks. Given his presence at Sneaks, the team is going all out. We have 10 amazing sneaks from Adobe research labs, Colin Moock is hosting Star Trek trivia with Megaphone between Awards and Sneaks, there are some fairly serious costumes in development, and it is sure to be a great time.

In response, Adobe’s Russell Brown–who you will have no trouble believing already had a Vulcan get-up just lying around–writes,

In honor of Mr. Nimoy attending the show, the crazy Russell Brown of Adobe will make an appearance as a Vulcan on Tuesday, October 26th. Look for Mr. Brown at the show!

Video: Real-world Puppet Warp

“We can all do the stupid demo where you move the puppet around,” says Russell Brown, “but how does this apply to real-world projects?” Russell shows a couple of examples, getting most interesting around the 3-minute mark (demoing the various distortion modes, then correcting lens distortions).

[Via Andrew Kavanagh]

Video: A Paul Rand retrospective

Great work from Jeremy Cox:

For Paul Rand’s posthumous induction into The One Club Hall of Fame, Imaginary Forces created this short film, combining original animation with a videotaped interview of Rand himself, that encapsulated his unique and timeless contribution to the design community.

After I’d proposed to Margot, I sent her this graphic in an email simply titled “You.” She deciphered (and loved) the meaning, which is why she’s The One. 🙂

It’d be nice for Mad Men to give Rand a little shout-out, she notes. [Via]

Video: Reshaping human bodies on the move

Built at last, built at last, thank God almighty, I’ll be built at last… According to Popular Science:

Developers at the Max Planck Institute for Informatics in Saarbrücken, Germany compiled 3D scans of 120 men and women of varying sizes, merging them into a single model that can be morphed to any shape and overlaid atop original footage.
The software, called MovieReshape, builds on existing programs that track an actor’s silhouette through a scene, mapping the body into a morphable model. Using the compiled 3D scans, the program can create realistic-looking and moving body parts to the programmer’s specifications.

Check out the project site for more info. [Via Jerry Harris]

New Photoshop 3D book, iPad app

Photoshop 3D PM Zorana Gee & lead engineer Pete Falco, working with expert digital artists, have created new new book 3D in Photoshop, together with a free interactive version for iPad. Zorana writes,

Check out the only book of it’s kind that breaks down everything you need to know about working with 3D in Photoshop. Not only is it written directly by the Photoshop 3D Team themselves but also Photoshop masters, like Bert Monroy, have contributed useful and inspiring tutorials that will benefit any designer wanting to learn 3D.

Further, the team has put together a companion iPad app that takes the first chapter of the book (basic 3D concepts) and added interactive animations to each page to help illustrate the concepts. Scrolling across will read as the first chapter of the book plus interactivity and scrolling down will introduce 15 unique tutorials (only found in the iPad app) that show you how to create all the animations directly in Photoshop CS5 Extended.


Paddy enables hardware UI control of Lightroom

No, not an Irish dude, but rather this open-source project: “Paddy radically improves the workflow in Lightroom 3.0 by allowing you assign any adjustment setting – including moving the sliders and applying a preset – to essentially any key, your number keypad, external keypads, and MIDI controller knobs and sliders.”

Interesting stuff. Let us know if you give it a whirl and have feedback. [Via Adolfo Rozenfeld]

The New Yorker comes to iPads through InDesign

Adobe & Condé Nast have worked together to launch The New Yorker tablet edition. Here’s Jason Schwartzman’s intro:

I found this bit about the publishing technology’s evolution interesting:

The New Yorker […] demanded not only design fidelity, but flexibility due to its weekly, text-heavy nature. To solve this design and production challenge, The New Yorker used HTML pages as part of its tablet edition. HTML provided flexibility for The New Yorker to rapidly flow text into the magazine application and meet the requirements of a frequent publishing cycle. In the future, the Digital Magazine Solution will provide the option of using either HTML pages for flexible publishing or rasterized images for publishers that demand pixel-perfect layouts.

My translation: Yes, the team is well aware of file size concerns, and they’re using various technologies (e.g. HTML) to give publishers choices. I expect we’ll be hearing more details soon.