As I customer I always found it so much more interesting to hear from fellow designers than from toolmakers. On Friday at noon Pacific, Aaron Macdonald, the principal of A3 Creative Solutions, will talk about how his shop used Adobe Muse to broaden their skills:
A year ago A3 was specializing in print and brand design and turning web design work over to other agencies. When he became a Creative Cloud member, Aaron began experimenting with Adobe Muse to leverage his print design skills to design his first website. Aaron will discuss how this has changed his business, discussing his evolution from a traditional print designer into cross-media design agency utilizing Creative Cloud, Adobe Muse and Business Catalyst to design for the web and provide an enhanced service to his customers.
Adobe Muse, the new visual HTML creation tool, has gotten a raft of much-requested new functionality, including hierarchical master pages, widget updates, and a new spellchecker. Check out the details here, and apply the update simply by opening Muse and clicking “install now” from the updater screen.
I’m delighted to see that following up on the very popular tablet version, Photoshop Touch for phone is available on the Apple App Store and Google Play for $4.99. PM Stephen Nielson writes,
Much like the tablet version, Photoshop Touch on the phone has core Photoshop features like layers, advanced selections tools, adjustments and filters. We also packed in features exclusive to Photoshop Touch, like Scribble Selection for high-precision selections using only your finger, and Camera fill for real-time creative blending of your camera feed with layers. This app features the same creative filters as the tablet version, like Color Drops and Acrylic Paint, and also a new Ripple filter.
With Photoshop Touch and the Adobe Creative Cloud, I can start a project on my phone, continue it on my tablet, and polish it off at my desk in Photoshop CS6. Photoshop Touch will automatically keep my projects in sync on each device, at the full resolution and with all the layers intact. This capability is available to every customer with a free Creative Cloud account. There is no paid subscription requirement for syncing.
Give it a whirl & please let us know what you think.
Lightroom 4.4 is now available as a Release Candidate on Adobe Labs. The ‘release candidate’ label indicates that this update is well tested but would benefit from additional community testing before it is distributed automatically to all of our customers. The final release of Lightroom 4.4 may have additional corrections or camera support.
New cameras supported:
Canon EOS 1D C
Casio Exilim EX-ZR700
Nikon 1 V3
Nikon 1 S1
See Terry’s post for a list of bugs fixed in this release.
It’s refreshing to see an artist trade slickness for candor, and that’s just what Julieanne does in showing off the trial, error, and production techniques that went into creating her still life piece “Cyclical”:
Camera Raw 7.4 and DNG Converter 7.4 Release Candidates are now available on Adobe Labs. (Remember, release candidates are versions that we think should be ready for use, but which still need a bit more testing & are being offered as public previews.) This release includes bug fixes, new camera support, and new lens profiles.
“The Adobe Creative Cloud, Zombies and Beer – It doesn’t get better than that,” says Russell Brown. He points out that his ADIM13 show (April 7-10 in Boulder, CO), features some great speakers, including
According to the show site,
You’ll begin with still images to create monster-themed beer packaging, then you’ll create an online beer advertisement utilizing advanced Photoshop video features. In the process you’ll master many of the wonders of Adobe Creative Cloud… You’ll follow your very own monster-themed project from inception to completion, including: printing, laser engraving a glass bottle, and hand assembly. Your finished packaging will be displayed in class for all to see.
Just as interesting to me, from a geeky perspective, is the way the famous & simple Ken Burns effect has morphed into something richer & more ambitious, imparting parallax movement to the various pans & zooms. In fact, the clip above prominently credits After Effects artist Elliot Cowan. Let’s hear it for Content-Aware Fill, “postcards in space,” and more.
“We invented a way of dual-path encoding where we would shoot still and video simultaneously with no data loss,” Whitehorn says. “We wouldn’t drop data yield down at all. We would bring in full-resolution video and full-resolution stills at the same time… What that means is you have this living asset, that moment will be alive — you can always scrub that moment and get that perfect smile.”
The camera trades away megapixels (coming at 4, vs. a more typical 8+) for quality: “What we realized is that megapixels is just a metric for blue shirts in Best Buy.”
Another neat feature: Zoe mode starts recording video before you even press the record button so you don’t miss a moment. “Think of it as TiVoing your life.”
Video also can be shot in an “always on” HDR mode at full 1080p resolution or in slow motion.
Whether inspired by the clean, commercial look of films like Fuji FP 100c or the sun-drenched vibe of Polaroid 690, VSCO Film 03 for Lightroom 4 and Adobe Camera Raw 7 represent the most diverse VSCO Film pack yet. With over 115 presets, VSCO Film 03 is overflowing with both present day film stock, as well as expired vintage films. The pack also includes a custom Toolkit specifically created to help you emulate the varying looks of instant films. This is not an update or an upgrade. It is a completely new VSCO Film pack with completely new film emulations and tools.
What was born during Thomas Knoll’s vacation to Italy (wherein he was so frustrated by his camera’s raw conversion software that he downloaded their SDK & wrote his own) has come a long, long way. PM Tom Hogarty says, “I count 42 official releases over those 10 years or 1 update every 2.8 months. However, when you include all of the public RC builds you could easily double that!”
Click through to the Photoshop team blog to see an infographic that marks this milestone. Thanks to all the engineers & QE who’ve made this engine so invaluable, and to all the passionate photographers who help the team keep doing what they do. Here’s to the next 6, 10, & 23 years!
I can’t claim to have known his name, but like you I know his work: Petro Vlahos pioneered blue- and green-screen techniques & founded Ultimatte before passing away this past week at the age of 96. The BBC writes,
Mr Vlahos’s breakthrough was to create a complicated laboratory process which involved separating the blue, green and red parts of each frame before combining them back together in a certain order.
He racked up more than 35 movie-related patents and numerous Academy commendations.
By coincidence, I came across the following peek behind the scenes of The Hobbit. It bears out what Robin Shenfield from compositing firm The Mill says of Mr. Vlahos’s work: “It’s the absolute building block of all the visual effects that you see in television and movies.”
I’ve previously linked to the incredible aerial photography of George Steinmetz, much of it captured while dangling from an ultralight wing over Africa. I think you’ll enjoy this 20-minute talk about his life of adventure, replete with fantastic images, as much as I did:
I use Lightroom to publish to folders in Dropbox via the built-in Hard Drive Publish feature. This is also one of the ways I go from Lightroom to my iOS devices.
In this latest update to FolioBook, FolioBook Now “Syncs” with Dropbox. That’s right! Real syncing. Simply choose the folder on your Dropbox.com account that you wish to sync with as a gallery in FolioBook and it will “sync” the new photos to FolioBook and remove the old ones. Hooray!
My mother made me a scientist without ever intending to. Every other Jewish mother in Brooklyn would ask her child after school, “So? Did you learn anything today?” But not my mother. “Izzy,” she would say, “did you ask a good question today?”
That difference – asking good questions – made me become a scientist.
John Gruber once wrote, “In hindsight, I think the use cases for the original iPad are simplicity and delight.” Haze for iPhone nails that mission for weather:
“Is it going to be warmer tomorrow? Don’t read it. See it. The beautifully animated background shows you the trend. Use Haze frequently to unlock colorful themes and customize the look.”
The UI rewards exploration with lots of polished details, and the use of theme unlocking is an interesting way to encourage active use.
The one downside I’ve detected thus far is that the reliance on taps & gestures rather than on traditional buttons & labels leaves some functionality obscure. I feel dumb for not having discovered one of the most basic operations (tapping the central readout circle) on my own. (I hadn’t seen the video before downloading the app.) Even so, the app’s easy to navigate & a joy to use.
Oh, and if you like this sort of thing, check out Summly for news. It crashes too much & the summaries aren’t always great, but it’s lovely enough to explore that I stick with it.
“Photoshop speaks a fundamentally different language from the web,” writes PM Jacob Surber. That’s great for many things, but Adobe’s new Edge Reflow—available to download now, for free—takes a different approach, creating designs that present themselves differently depending on device (phone, tablet, desktop):
Focus on standards: Reflow will ONLY enable designers to create experiences that are compatible with the web. In some situations this can be limiting, but as the capabilities of the web changes, Reflow will evolve as well. Adobe has committed to contributing and advancing web standards. Our goal is to integrate that work, as experimental features, in our web tools such as Reflow.
Check out a quick tour:
[Update: An overview from Forbes concludes, “None of these tools design the site for you, and they don’t address the engineering issues that I mentioned above, but they sure make the multi-screen design process a lot more accessible to a lot more designers. Someone deserves to be knighted for that!”]
Adobe Edge Animate 1.5 has arrived, bringing support for CSS filters & gradients that can be animated, plus enhanced Web font support (powered by Typekit). You can download it here, and check out the details in this blog post and in the demo below:
Okay, I’ll admit it: my first reaction was basically “Man, the world needs to wax Jay Maisel’s proverbial car even further about as much I need a hole in my head.” But dang if this 7-minute piece by The Big Picture isn’t totally charming. (If only it were higher res! But still, the images & personality come right through.)
This subject came up at lunch as we chatted about whether tools can & should aspire to help people be better illustrators, storytellers, etc.
My initial reaction was that no, Instagram doesn’t make you better, but it makes a great many people feel better (giving photos some flair, paving over flaws like crappy lighting). Making people feel cooler than they are is nothing to sneeze at, but one could argue that a shortcut to “interestingness” detracts from doing harder work around composition, lighting, etc.
On second thought, though, I think Instagram does make me a better photographer—or at least it makes me work harder to make interesting images. People love to put on fancy conferences about gamification & incentives, but the game here’s simple: When my photos draw likes (especially from, say, photographers I respect or some cute girl I knew 20 years ago), I feel good; when they don’t, I feel bad. (Hey, I’m human.) Thus I’m highly motivated to share only my most interesting work.
Photojojo—the effortlessly, inimitably charming little photo newsletter/store—has just introduced Photojojo University. Site creator Amit Gupta explains, “It’s photography fundamentals, taught for people discovering photography for the first time with a phone.”
Each lesson is lovingly crafted for the small screen and sent straight to your email for anytime reading. Each week, you’ll get two bite-size lessons complete with photo challenge to practice your skills.
“WOW!!!” writes Russell Brown. “This is a fantastic set of Photoshop CS6 tips and techniques for FREE! Really fantastic stuff.”
In the free 77-page CS6 Superguide eZine, “The new features of most of the CS6 Products are covered in depth, with articles from industry leaders such as Jack Davis, Colin Smith, David Blatner, Janine Warner, Stephen Burns, Chana Messer, Weston Maggio and more.”
If you’re currently using Photoshop or Lightroom and want to go the next step to create video, join this session to learn the basics of video capture, editing and delivery with Adobe Creative Cloud. Adobe Evangelist Jason Levine will show how creative pros can get started with Adobe Prelude, Premiere Pro, and Adobe Media Encoder, all included in Creative Cloud membership. You’ll be amazed at what you can create with a little coaching!
I’ve compared working on mature apps to so many things—changing the wings of a plane while it’s in flight, building Johnny Cash’s Frankenstein car, and more. People always say, “Stop adding anything new… except this handful of things for me, personally.” And they always push us to “simplify” and “just reduce” the apps, yet they flip out if you take away their cherished anachronism. I always think of the Onion article, “98 Percent Of U.S. Commuters Favor Public Transportation For Others.”
Ah well—still good fun. [Via Foster Brereton]
The Create Now World Tour is underway, likely coming to a city near you (check the site for details). If you’re a Creative Cloud subscriber, there’s likely so much more you could be taking advantage of; if you’re not, come see what you’re missing.
Russell Brown’s ADIM conference is set to take place in Boulder, CO, April 7-10. I’ve always had a blast at ADIM. “You’ll begin with still images to create monster-themed beer packaging, then you’ll create an online beer advertisement utilizing advanced Photoshop video features. In the process you’ll master many of the wonders of Adobe Creative Cloud… You’ll follow your very own monster-themed project from inception to completion, including: printing, laser engraving a glass bottle, and hand assembly. Your finished packaging will be displayed in class for all to see.”
Adobe MAX goes down May 4-8 in Los Angeles & features more than 300 sessions and labs taught by industry leaders and Adobe experts, covering everything from Web & design to digital publishing, gaming, and video. Note that attending also gets you full year membership to the Creative Cloud, so admission is actually a lot cheaper than it seems. (Oh, and if you attend the Create Now tour, they knock another $200 off MAX attendance.)
“I had tried it out on two other jobs and decided to just jump in and go for it,” he says. “When Final Cut X came out, I tried working with it for a while, but it just doesn’t do what I need it to do. After my engineering guys here suggested I try Premiere, I started to play with it and it seemed very familiar to me, right from the get-go.”
“It’s probably the most responsive of all the nonlinear editing software that I’ve used… The trimming tool alone made this particular job a breeze because I could instantly see where all my ins and outs were. I also love not having to render any more.”
The piece talks about other aspects of the shoot & edit, too—not just about software.
Color me deeply skeptical, but intrigued: The BBC reports on an app that modifies the paper version of The Tokyo Shimbun in ways kids might appreciate:
“What it’s really about is something that’s been talked about for a long time, about content being presented in different ways depending on who the user is,” he said.
“It means two versions of the content – a grown-up one and the kids one. That has enormous potential. It also tackles a big gap in young readership.
This makes me oddly wistful: I’m Proust-ing out, almost smelling the newsprint & listening to the “funny papers” rattle as my dad read me cartoons, or as he’d read news & obits with a drink after work. The real obit, of course, is for the paper newspaper: I’m afraid all this will show up as a quaintly hilarious discovery that flits by on some future adult’s in-optic-nerve newsfeed. But whatever; I’m suddenly, and surprisingly, all choked up.
Made with approximately 2000 silhouettes extracted from PVC plates using a computer-controlled cutter, the video is a rush of color and a parade of movement. For Kijek/Adamski, the video is “an everlasting chain of convulsive memories”.
Okay, enterprising coders, here’s your free million-dollar (or at least multi-dozen-dollar) idea o’ the day: I need a way for my wife to assign me a task/reminder & geofence it.
For example, yesterday she sent me to the kids’ preschool with a tuition check in hand—which I promptly forgot to deposit. I wished she could have sent me a reminder that was associated with the school’s location. 30 seconds after arriving I could have gotten a notification. Then this morning she forgot her phone & asked me to bring it to work. I wanted to turn her text message into a reminder pegged to my current location: if I try to leave here, ask me about that phone.
I did a little poking & I see that the iOS Reminders app lets me geofence items (i.e. remind me either when I arrive somewhere or when I leave), but I can do this only if I have my phone handy. Via iCloud.com you can add people to reminders—but then you can’t (as far as I can see) make those location-specific.
So, who’s gonna code up not “Find My Friends,” but “Remind My Friends”? (This seems like a great addition to the fun couples’ app Avocado.) C’mon, it’ll be fun to get Sherlocked at WWDC, won’t it? ;->
While building new apps I keep thinking of the quote attributed to the CEO of Black & Decker: “People don’t buy our tools because they want one-inch drills. They buy them because they want one-inch holes.”
As technologists we think about the guts of things, but customers often favor the simpler thing (Twitter, Mac OS Spotlight) over the more conceptually powerful one (Google Wave, WinFS). My career’s full of this: advocating general, interesting stuff (e.g. HTML layers for Photoshop) only to get pantsed by simpler approaches (just tweaks to the existing PS vector tools).
I’ve heard that Amazon starts projects by writing a press release of what features the user will see, then working backwards to check that they’re building something valuable. We’d do well to do the same. As Einstein said, “If you can’t explain it to a six year old, you don’t understand it yourself.”
It’s hard to put your camera down in India. With so much beauty and filth, food and poverty, happiness and stress: its an overwhelming (and wonderful) place to film. We came back exhausted, full and still overwhelmed (this time with the task of editing all the footage into a short video). Because India is a big place, and each area varies dramatically, we attempted to construct a day across India: from north to south, from dawn till dusk.