Monthly Archives: May 2013

Adobe Kuler arrives for iPhone

Check it out:

The new Kuler iPhone app allows you to capture inspiring color themes anytime, using the iPhone camera. You can then sync those color themes to the Kuler website, which allows you to create and edit color themes and browse thousands of themes created by other users. All the themes you create with Kuler will be accessible in Adobe Illustrator CC and Ideas.

The Kuler Web app has also been redone in HTML5.

If you have any feedback or questions, we want to hear from you. Please join the conversation on the Kuler forum.

Update: Here’s a quick demo:


Demo: Photoshop Power Shortcuts

I can all but guarantee you’ll learn a lot & enjoy this presentation from the guy who brought me into Adobe, Michael Ninness.

This energetic, fun, and fast-paced session will leave you smacking your forehead and saying “I wish I’d known that years ago!” This session will reveal as many tips and techniques to boost your productivity as can be packed into 60 minutes. In this session, Michael Ninness, Senior VP of Product and Content,, will cover:+ The top 20 power shortcuts every Photoshop user MUST know.+ Easy techniques for correcting color and tone and recovering image detail.+ Automating certain tasks — without recording Actions!+ Optimization tips for smaller and more efficient web graphics.

A turntable that "plays" the rings of a tree

Kind of fascinating:

Creator Bartholomäus Traubeck says,

It is mapped to a scale which is again defined by the overall appearance of the wood (ranging from dark to light and from strong texture to light texture). The foundation for the music is certainly found in the defined ruleset of programming and hardware setup, but the data acquired from every tree interprets this ruleset very differently.


Creative Cloud team: We're listening; stay tuned

The Creative Cloud management team has updated their blog:

[W]e have heard some concerns around our move to Creative Cloud. Three main themes are coming through:

  • File access. Customers want to be sure that, if their membership to Creative Cloud lapses, they will still have access to their files.
  • Photographers, particularly photo enthusiasts, are looking for a more tailored offering that focuses on their particular workflows.
  • Some customers are not convinced that Creative Cloud is right for them and would rather continue to purchase desktop applications as before.


For photographers, we are looking at potential offerings that recognize the photography community – because it is so broad – has some unique needs.

With regards to file access, Adobe completely agrees that customers should have access to their files if they choose to stop their Creative Cloud membership. Our job is to delight our customers with innovation, but there are a number of options open to us here and we expect to have news around this issue shortly.

They ask that if you have comments or questions, “please post them in our forums, where we are continuing the conversation.”

Update: CNET has posted an interview with Creative Cloud SVP David Wadhwani.

Demo: Lightroom 5's new "Visualize Spots" feature

From Terry White:

Lightroom 5 has a great new non-circular spot removing/healing brush. However, theres a feature that many will over look for using the tool for what it was originally intended for. It’s always been great at removing dust spots from dirt on your lens or sensor dust as long as you could see the spots in your images. Now with the new Visualize Spots feature you can find them much easier.

Congrats to John Knoll

Dang… how strong must your résumé be that “Photoshop co-creator” doesn’t even get mentioned? Congratulations to John Knoll on his promotion to Chief Creative Officer of Industrial Light & Magic:

Knoll’s credits as vfx supervisor include the first three “Pirates of the Caribbean” pictures, the “Star Wars” prequel trilogy, two “Mission: Impossible” pics, two “Star Trek” films and the upcoming “Pacific Rim.” He won a vfx Oscar for the second “Pirates” pic and was co-leader of ILM’s production team on the Oscar-winning animated feature “Rango.” […]

“Folks tend to get very busy on their own shows,” said Knoll, “and don’t have time to periodically share with everybody else what they’re working on. ‘Have you thought about that?’ We have this wealth of talent that if we’re smart we leverage on all projects.”

My friend Philip worked at ILM and said, “It’s really intimidating to use Photoshop in front of a guy who wrote Photoshop.” On the upside, he reported, if a lens flare doesn’t look good, John will just go and write you a new one.

Here’s John re-creating his original demo of Photoshop 1.0.

The Visual Storytelling Tour

This tour (hitting 31 cities around the US this summer) sounds pretty cool:

[The tour] delivers an intense educational overview of the artistic elements and core principles of cinematography. Taught by Oscar nominee and Director of Photography of the Saturday Night Live Film Unit, Alex Buono, this all-day class features training that will dramatically increase the impact of your films. 

I was talking about attending with a couple of teammates, only to discover later that Adobe’s a sponsor. Maybe I’ll see you there!

Demo: Hidden gems in Photoshop CS6

Photoshop PM Bryan O’Neil Hughes writes, “This presentation of Hidden Gems was popular enough to get a second session added and the feedback was overwhelmingly positive. I don’t touch CC (as that’s all still a “hidden gem”), and instead focus mainly on CS6 (though I also show some cool stuff in CS5 and CS4… and people really seemed to appreciate that).”

A Leap Motion- & Arduino-controlled marble labyrinth

“Strange,” mused the Director, as they turned away, “strange to think that even in Our Ford’s day most games were played without more apparatus than a ball or two and a few sticks and perhaps a bit of netting. Imagine the folly of allowing people to play elaborate games which do nothing whatever to increase consumption. It’s madness. Nowadays the Controllers won’t approve of any new game unless it can be shown that it requires at least as much apparatus as the most complicated of existing games.” [Brave New World]

[Via John Dowdell]

Camera Raw 8.1 brings Retina support to Photoshop CS6

In addition to HiDPI support, the new release (available via Adobe Labs) supports a number of new lens profiles plus the following cameras:

  • Hasselblad H5D-60
  • Olympus PEN E-P5
  • Olympus PEN E-PL6
  • Phase One IQ260*
  • Pentax Ricoh GR
  • Panasonic LUMIX DMC-G6
  • Panasonic LUMIX DMC-LF1


Once Photoshop CC is available, this release will run there as well, but with new features (e.g. radial gradients) enabled.

It’s worth noting the distinction between bug fixes, compatibility updates, and feature enhancements. Adobe has always delivered the first two for currently shipping software, and Photoshop CS6 falls into that camp. New features are reserved for new apps, and that’s where CC fits. [Via]

Apples, Oranges, & Creative Cloud: My Thoughts on CC

I joined Adobe to make the tools that my friends & I wanted to use. I was a Web designer & animator who loved what I could do with Photoshop & Flash, but who hated all the barriers that got in the way. My whole mission was—and has remained—to hijack the brains of smarter people and get them building the stuff we (creators) need. My loyalty has always been to that mission.

Like most big changes, the move to Creative Cloud is both exciting & disruptive. So far some people love it while others are very upset. I’m not writing this post thinking I’ll change everyone’s hearts & minds. I just want to tell you how I personally have thought about the change, from the perspective of someone who deeply wants to help creative people thrive.

My overriding thought for months has been, “How can I take advantage of all this to do good things for customers—things we couldn’t do before?” If you’ve come to know me at all through the years, I hope you’ll know how sincerely I say that.

A few key points about the change:

Continue reading

The Coen Brothers switch to Premiere Pro

How cool

The next version of Adobe video tools has been developed with features created in direct response to the needs of filmmakers, broadcasters and video professionals. In fact, the multiple Academy Award winning Coen brothers have been working directly with the Adobe Premiere Pro product team and are switching to Adobe Premiere Pro for their next feature film slated for late 2013.

I remember Apple demos at NAB featuring these guys. How times change. [Via]

The World's Smallest Movie

I remember in the early 80’s “drawing” on an IBM PCjr, fastidiously pecking out pixel after pixel. Now the company behind that artistic juggernaut has taken that approach to an insane extreme:

You’re about to see the movie that holds the Guinness World Records™ record for the World’s Smallest Stop-Motion Film. The ability to move single atoms — the smallest particles of any element in the universe — is crucial to IBM’s research in the field of atomic memory. But even nanophysicists need to have a little fun. In that spirit, IBM researchers used a scanning tunneling microscope to move thousands of carbon monoxide molecules (two atoms stacked on top of each other), all in pursuit of making a movie so small it can be seen only when you magnify it 100 million times. A movie made with atoms.

The making-of is fascinating:

Presumably, notes Adobe video PM Al Mooney, it was edited in Premiere Proton. 😉

Can you open a Photoshop CC file in CS6?

Over the last few days I’ve seen numerous questions about what data, exactly, is backward-compatible when opening a Photoshop PSD file in an older version of the app. The Photoshop team has worked to keep things as compatible as possible even with 20+ years of evolution. Just for reference, here are some points that might be useful to know.

  • Generally speaking, features that don’t depend on new functionality (e.g. bitmap layers) open just fine in older versions. (In theory an 8-bit layered PSD full of images should open in Photoshop 3.0, released in 1994.)
  • Photoshop makes a point of storing rasterized copies of layers (e.g. text) to avoid cases where the appearance could get lost (e.g. when a font is missing).
  • In cases where a previous version of Photoshop doesn’t support a newer feature, it tries to retain the appearance of the file, but the behavior may vary case by case. Some examples:
    • A Smart Object layer that depends on a newer version of Camera Raw would be retained as a Smart Object, but the older version of Photoshop wouldn’t be able to open & edit the layer’s contents.
    • Text layers retain their appearance, even if the underlying text engine has changed, unless you try to edit them. At that point you may receive a message saying that layout & appearance changes may occur.
    • For a major change that affects multiple layers (for example, 32-bit layers), the older version may need to try opening a flattened version of the file.


I should also note that the PSD format specification is freely downloadable from so that third parties can build their own readers/writers.

What about raw photos?

When you edit the settings of a DNG file using Camera Raw or Lightroom, you can opt to update the embedded JPEG data as well as the settings themselves.  This means, as photographer Peter Krogh likes to say, that a DNG file can serve as a “job jacket”: a container that holds your negative, your development instructions, and your print. (See “The DNG Advantage.”)

Friday demo/Q&A: New Ways to Work with Creative Cloud

10am Pacific time with evangelist Paul Trani:

Creative Cloud is so much more than just the apps available. It’s about removing the clutter from work and focusing on producing great projects. It’s about sharing and collaborating. It’s about syncing more than just a file, and more than just with yourself. In this session, Paul Trani will take you through this new way of working and new ways of thinking about Creative Cloud.

Welcoming a new storyteller to Adobe

I’m delighted to say that accomplished young storyteller Bianca Giaever has just joined my team at Adobe.

Bianca recently graduated Middlebury College, where she created her own program as an Independent Scholar in Narrative Studies. Her short film “The Scared is scared” (below) recently crossed the million-view threshhold on Vimeo, and in 2011 she conducted interviews with veterans across the country by bicycle for the War In Voice Project through a grant from Davis Projects For Peace. She’s been all over public radio, featured at TED, working at the New York Review of Books, and generally making me feel like an underachieving slacker.

Now, why exactly would Adobe want a storyteller on staff? I can’t explain in full yet, but it’ll make sense soon enough. (In the meantime, if that piques your interest, shoot me a note: tinyElvis at adobe.)

For now I’ll just say welcome, Bianca!

Illustrator adds CSS export, more features an overview of forthcoming Illustrator CC features. Of particular interest to Web & interface designers:

Another major addition to Illustrator CC will help you create layouts for websites and mobile devices. The new CSS Properties panel can generate the CSS code automatically for named objects and styles that correspond to your HTML or for unnamed objects, although the feature works better with named objects and styles. Use the Export Options dialog to define how Illustrator treats the objects for the CSS, including whether or not the CSS includes vendor prefixes for working with the very latest CSS features.


Tuesday in SJ: Bert Monroy

Master digital painter Bert Monroy will be speaking at the San José Photoshop User Group Tuesday evening at 7pm:

Bert Monroy is an accomplished teacher and lecturer, having served on the faculty of a list of institutions that includes The School of Visual Arts (New York), Center for Creative Imaging (Maine), California College of the Arts, the Lepp Institute of Digital Imaging (California) and currently teaches at San Francisco State University. He also consults with and trains corporate clients, including Pixar and Disney Animation. His film credits include work for Industrial Light & Magic, Pacific Data Images, and R/Greenberg Associates.

Bert is a member of the Photoshop World Dream Team. In 2004, he was inducted into the Photoshop Hall of Fame.

Bert Monroy returns to show us some of his recent work, sharing techniques he has developed in the creation of his photo-realistic paintings.

Check out the event page for full details.

Beautifully Lettered Dylan

“Inspired by Bob Dylan´s Subterranean Homesick Blues video,” writes designer Leandro Senna, “where he flips cards with the lyrics as the song plays, I decided to recreate those cards with handmade type. I ended up doing all the lyrics, and not just some of the words, as Dylan did.”

“There are 66 cards done in one month during my spare time using only pencil, black tint pens and brushes. The challenge was not to use the computer, no retouching was allowed. Getting a letter wrong meant starting the page over.”

Time lapse: Two months breaking ice

“I’ve been on an icebreaker for almost two months now,” writes marine scientist Cassandra Brooks, “traveling through the Ross Sea, Antarctica… To share the incredible experience of an almost infinite variety of scenes, I’ve compiled a time-lapse montage shot over the last two months, condensed into less than five minutes, with a surprise at the end. Enjoy!”

Check out more from Cassandra’s travels on the NatGeo site.

You should never lose access to your work, period.

A number of readers have raised a very valid concern about Creative Cloud subscriptions: How can you retain access to your intellectual property (the work you’ve made with the apps) if you end your subscription? For example, Paul Howson writes,

What makes “Creative Cloud only” an unacceptable option for me is becoming locked into a perpetual “Adobe tax”. If I stop paying the tax, I lose access to the work I have created using the Adobe tools (which is my “property”, not Adobe’s).

Your work is absolutely your property. Adobe fully agrees, and that’s why we’ve worked so hard over the years on things like the DNG standard (meant to ensure that your photos always stay readable), turning PDF into an ISO standard, etc.

There are solutions here, and we’ll work on sharing more details. In the meantime, your suggestions are most welcome. Reader Alan Ralph writes,

Adobe should change their software so that when it’s used outside of a subscription, it will only allow opening, printing and exporting to other formats. That would ensure that you could still access your documents and make use of them. Seems like a no-brainer to me.

Would that address your concerns?

"Adobe Love" from Jeffrey Zeldman

After admitting that he’d viewed Adobe as a company “slowly leaking relevance… like a beloved but somewhat shameful old uncle,” Jeffrey Zeldman (one of the most respected voices in Web design & standards, in case you didn’t know) writes about how attending this week’s MAX event spun his perceptions 180º:

Every Adobe employee I saw seemed to be excited, happy, and on-board with the mission. I see that kind of energy at good startups and small studios. I never see it in big corporations. It sometimes seemed to me that Adobe hadn’t so much acquired Typekit as the reverse…

I never expected to see that in my lifetime, and to me, it is even more impressive than the amazingness and realism of the new product line or the transformation of the company from a shrink-wrapped product manufacturer to an inventor of cloud-based services. I never expected to see people like us running companies like that.

It makes me feel good about the future, when so many other things conspire to make us feel the opposite.

Obviously there’s a wide range of reactions to Adobe’s moves to Creative Cloud. I’m glad to see such a strong, positive response from a thought leader from the design community.

Sneak Peek: Perspective Warp in Photoshop

If I may echo Rainn Wilson, “Oh my God, that’s ridiculous.”

Note: This is a technology demo, not a feature that’s quite ready to go in Photoshop CC. With the move to subscriptions, however, Photoshop and other teams are moving away from “big bang” releases & towards more continuous deployment of improvements.
[Update: I know that a number of people aren’t digging Wilson’s schtick. Hats off to Sarah for being such a pro under pressure.]

Is Fireworks dead?

It won’t get new features, but Fireworks CS6 will remain available for purchase, and it will get updated to support the next major releases of Mac OS X and Windows. Check out the Fireworks team blog for more info.

History: Macromedia had effectively shut down Fireworks development before being acquired by Adobe. Adobe revived the app and invested heavily in making the app more powerful for rapid prototyping & more.

The Web moves fast, though, and Adobe has to focus. Design means making decisions, and there’s more benefit now in building new, modern tools like Edge Reflow, and in making those work well with Photoshop & Illustrator.

Fireworks is full of great features (which, as noted above, you can continue to download & use). Going forward, my recommendation is to focus on ends, not means. Fireworks lovers, tell the Photoshop & other teams exactly what you need. They’re listening—hard. Photoshop CS6 was the biggest Web/screen design upgrade in 12 years; I think you’ll love what’s arriving in Photoshop CC (smart rounded rectangles, improved type rendering, new CSS generation power, and more); and they’re just getting warmed up.

New FAQs about Photoshop, Lightroom, & Creative Cloud

I’ve highlighted some key points:

  • Photoshop and Camera Raw: Photoshop CS6 (non-subscription) will remain available for sale alongside CC, and it will get free updates that add new camera support (though not new features).
  • Creative Cloud: You don’t need a constant internet connection (in fact, yearly subscribers can be offline for up to 3 months at a time), and you don’t need to store your data in the cloud. If you’re really going to Antarctica for 6 months or work in a disconnected environment, please call customer service & we’ll get you taken care of. You can keep running older versions alongside the CC versions.
  • Lightroom: LR5 will be included in Creative Cloud, but you won’t have to subscribe to Creative Cloud to get it (that is, you’ll be able to keep buying it via perpetual (non-subscription) license).

Shouldn't loyal Adobe customers get a discount moving to Creative Cloud?

Short answer: Absolutely.

Longtime Adobe customers have been very clear in their comments here throughout the last year: they’ve invested serious money with the company over the years, and they want that to be honored as we move forward.

Adobe agrees, so check this out:

  • If you own CS3 or later:
    • You can get Creative Cloud Complete (the whole $2,600 Master Collection & more) for $29.99/month. Even better, if you own CS6, you can get Complete for $19.99/month (60% off the new-user price of $49.99).
    • If you don’t need or want everything in Complete, you can get Photoshop CC and other new CC apps for $9.99/month. That’s about 35 cents per day.

[Update: These prices are an intro deal for a 12-month commitment.]

Photoshop CC is coming soon

[Note: Photoshop CS6 will remain available (non-subscription); you don’t have to upgrade/subscribe to keep getting camera updates to CS6; and owners of CS3 and above can subscribe & get Photoshop CC for just $9.99/month. More complete FAQs are available, too.]
PM Zorana Gee writes,

We’re thrilled to announce that the next version of Photoshop, the world’s most popular digital imaging software, will be available to Creative Cloud members this June! This release, called Photoshop CC, will deliver dozens of new features, including capabilities in sharpening, upsampling and reducing blur, improvements to designer tools, added capabilities in Adobe Camera Raw, and much more.

My favorite feature is support for “smart” rounded rectangles:
Check out the rest of Zorana’s post for more info, and stay tuned for even more (cloud-synced settings, integration with Behance & Typekit, automated file export, and more).

Retro homage: "Drive" for Sega Genesis

Heh. The creator writes,

9-bit colour, divvied up into 4 palettes of 15+alpha colours each, just like momma used to make. the song was made with an emulator for the Yamaha YM2612, the chip used to create the sound in the sega genesis.

Note: It’s just the intro graphics plus three minutes of song, and sadly not a deeper re-enactment of the movie in this style—though wouldn’t that be amazing?