Were you feeling productive and/or photographically self assured? Here, let me fix one or both of those problems: check out winners of the Red Bull Illume Photo Contest 2013.
Monthly Archives: August 2013
Mario Andretti, brought to you through Premiere Pro
Nicolas de Toth changed from skeptic to convert while editing a new commercial featuring Mario Andretti:
I was aware of Premiere Pro for a long time, but I hadn’t given it a fair shot…
Overall, it was very nimble and I never found myself waiting for anything like I do on occasion with Avid… Editing is somewhat like writing. If your process is interrupted you can lose your train of thought, and with it your overall creativity. Premiere Pro was more fluid than I expected.
Check out the full interview here.
On a related note, this line from a DV Magazine review by Oliver Peters caught my eye:
Premiere Pro CC is definitely the best direct replacement for Final Cut Pro…It’s fast, handles a wide range of native media and is versatile in many situations…Adobe definitely has a winner in Premiere Pro CC.
Terrible Beauty: The Yosemite Rim Fire
The Atlantic rounds up some amazing images of the fire & those fighting it. Here’s a time lapse of what’s been happening:
Adobe's own Survivor
Adobe PM Lex van den Berghe makes me look pretty damn boring:
From fending for himself in the bush of Kenya during Survivor, writing in his local newspaper, being a motivational speaker and starting a new National Geographic reality television series, Lex has had a diverse career, to say the least.
Check out his offbeat career. (As he notes, “In a hundred years we’ll all be dead…what’s the worst that could happen?”)
Check out Adobe/Behance's Pop-Up School in NYC
Sounds like a really interesting event, September 18-20th in New York:
We’re curating a killer program around three skill sets that should be in every creative’s arsenal: career development, entrepreneurship, and brand + digital strategy. Each day will feature an incredible lineup of talks and master classes from creative visionaries like Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, Adobe’s own Scott Belsky, and Facebook designer Ben Barry […]
We’re building out an incredible interactive space called the Playground that will feature a hand-crafted lineup of mentorship sessions, skill-building booths, interactive workshops, and creative tool demos.
Register by Sept. 4 with promo code “adobeschool99code” to get 30% the regular ticket price.
Should I abandon DSLRs entirely?
Answer: No. (Not yet.)
I tried, man—especially after lugging my 5D & big lens around Legoland (and, through constant effort, somehow not accidentally braining my young sons with it). I tried a whole pile of Micro Four Thirds cameras & talked to all the brainiac shooters who build Camera Raw & Lightroom. In short these new small cams, while impressive overall, are just not DSLR-quick at focusing & firing the shutter, meaning I’d inevitably miss shots of the kids & curse every time. Getting there? Absolutely. There yet? Not for me.
Meanwhile autofocus during video on the Canon 70D worked pretty darn well in my limited tests, and AF for still work at least matched the 5D. Video AF is the big draw for me: I struck out completely trying to shoot video with a (manually focusing) 5D Mk. II & Rebel I’ve borrowed, but object-tracking AF Servo promises to make all the difference—and it works with my existing lens. Verdict: 70D is better for stills, and at least as good for video.
Thus a 70D is winging its way from B&H to me. God-willing Wi-Fi connections between cams & phones/tablets will only improve (I’m looking at & pulling for you, AirDrop in iOS7!), so I can start spamming your Instagram feeds with bokeh-rich kid-vids. (You may commence holding your breath in 3, 2…)
How After Effects was used on Oblivion
Emmy-winning animator Navarro Parker talks about how he used AE & Illustrator to build the interface work on Oblivion:
Check out more details in this interview on Pro Video Coalition.
Dreamweaver gets Live Highlights, a new rendering engine, & more
Dreamweaver CC has “integrated a brand new rendering engine, which displays web content with the same performance and HTML5 technology support available in Google Chrome™. Now you can spend more time in Dreamweaver CC and less time switching in and out of the browser to test your content.”
The new Live Highlight feature
enables you to visualize the relationships between the HTML elements in Live View and applied CSS selectors. Inspect and highlight elements in Live View in real time while you interact with the CSS Designer. Simply hover and click Selectors in the CSS Designer to see Live Highlight in action.
Perhaps obviously by now, this is a free update for Creative Cloud members.
How After Effects was used on Iron Man 3
Cool: Stephen Lawes and Venti Hristova from Cantina Creative talk about how AE CC’s new integration Cinema 4D helped create motion graphics and visual effects in Iron Man 3.
Check out more details in this interview on Pro Video Coalition.
From NASA: "The Best of IceBridge Arctic '13"
Here’s a rather beautiful aerial tour of the arctic:
According to Universe Today, “IceBridge… is the largest airborne survey of Earth’s polar ice ever flown, and it will provide an unprecedented three-dimensional view of Arctic and Antarctic ice sheets, ice shelves and sea ice.”
"shoot NYC" scheduled for October 24th & 25th
I know it’s a ways off, but if you’ll be in New York in October, check out free photography seminars from Photoshop PM Bryan O’Neil Hughes and many others:
One-time opportunity to see FREE seminars at shoot nyc with the following industry professionals: Beth Taubner. Brian Smale. Jodi Jones. Roberto Valenzuela. Skip Cohen. Lindsay Adler. Peter Hurley. Rick Friedman. Michael Grecco. Rafael “RC” Concepcion. Andre Rowe. Lara Jade. Catherine Asanov. Matt Karas. Paul Mobley. R Lee Morris. Erik Valind. Bryan O’Neil Hughes. Scott Markewitz. Adam Sherwin. Alexandra Niki. Clay Patrick McBride.
Check out Adobe's new "Inspiration Is…" gallery
Beautiful stuff—”creative work with a story behind it”:
The Inspiration.Is Gallery is devoted to great projects from the portfolios of Behance users that showcase the story behind the work.
InDesign CC updated with Sync Settings
Not much to it, but that’s by design: Syncing settings (keyboard shortcuts, presets and workspaces) among multiple copies of InDesign should Just Work.
What is it we value?
- “Studies have shown that people prefer inexpensive wines in blind taste tests,” writes James Surowiecki in the New Yorker, “but that they actually get more pleasure from drinking wine they are told is expensive. If lobster were priced like chicken, we might enjoy it less.” [Via] See also “Veblen goods.” Maybe we should just quintuple the price of mobile apps & see what happens (though for most that’d be five times zero…)
- Hmm, this Quora posting is anonymous, but interesting if true: “The loading screen exists because when the information is returned to the user as quickly as possible, he or she will often perceive it to be less valuable. It’s as if the server didn’t put much effort into really finding a great deal. No customer ever actually articulates that; but surveys, customer testing sessions, and most importantly conversion rates support the notion that when a seven or eight second loading screen tells the user that the numbers are being crunched just for this one query, the result is perceived to be more valuable.” [Via Geoff Badner]
Animation: A paper-letter history of typography
Neat, informative work from Ben Barrett-Forrest. According to Web Designer Depot,
The History of Typography is a paper-letter animation with 291 paper letters and 2,454 photographs, detailing the history of typography. It took Ben Barrett-Forrest of Forrest Media 140 hours to create. The whole thing is really fun and educational, in addition to being beautifully designed.
Illustration Kickstart: "The Altered States of America"
Klaatu barada nikto! Our friends at Chopping Block are Kickstarting a cool “illustrated map of America populated with the legendary events and characters from popular science-fiction, horror and fantasy.” Check out the fun video:
"Riding the New Silk Road"
The NY Times makes interesting use of very short videos, mixing them together with stills & tying them to a scrolling map. The long-predicted “Vine-ing” of the world is well underway, with animated GIFs & looping vids fully blurring the lines between “still” and “video.”
Hmm—this is kind of interesting:
Melbhattan is part homage, part pastiche of the opening sequence of Woody Allen’s seminal 1979 film Manhattan.
Drawn and animated by Melbourne-based cartoonist and illustrator Oslo Davis, Melbhattan features more than sixty black and white tableaux of Melbourne each composed to mimic images in Allen’s film.
National Geographic's glorious "Serengeti Lion" presentation
Just go check it out (and max out your browser window), though know now that you can’t bill me for all the time you’re about to lose. (The whole thing makes me wish we had Google Fiber so the video didn’t have to be a bit soft. But still, it’s lovely.)
[Via Veronique Brossier]
Lego's 3,000-piece Sydney Opera House set
Epic. I spied this monster at the Lego store Monday & had to know more. “‘Considering it took engineers eight years to figure out how to make the real Opera House sails, I feel quite proud that it only took us three,’ [creator Jamie] Berard says.” I love the evident pride & joy these folks take in their work.
And hey, as long as we’re screwing around with Lego-related links…
Wacom introduces new Cintiq tablets, stylus
Exciting news from our friends at Wacom: According to their site,
- “The Cintiq Companion is a fully functional, Windows 8-based tablet that enables you to run full versions of creative software such as Adobe Photoshop.” With 8GB RAM & 256GB of storage it costs $1999.
- “The Cintiq Companion Hybrid [$1499-1599] functions as a traditional Cintiq when connected to a Mac or PC. When unplugged, it is perfect for light, spontaneous work when on the go using Android apps.”
- The $99 Intuos Creative Stylus for iOS [iPad 3-4, Mini] “sports a unique pressure-sensitive pen tip that recognizes 2048 levels of pressure.”
I can’t help but think of John Gruber musing, “How ironic would it be if the iPad becomes the dominant mass market computer and the Surface becomes the one for artists?”
Demo: Making your raw photos much easier to transfer
Following Friday’s post about shrinking raw images for emailing, here’s a demo of how Colorati makes it much faster & easier for clients to submit work for manipulation:
Uploading your Raw files can be painfully slow. We came up with a solution that enables you to shrink your files and upload them in a fraction of the time. In this video we show you how to do this and still retain the full quality of your Raw files.
This demo applies to Lightroom 4 (and thus 5), but Smart Previews in LR5 streamline things substantially. Colorati’s Leon Sandoval writes, “Essentially, when we edit the DNGs, we have a series of self-prescribed hoops we jump through to extract a clean, functional set of XMPs that will match up with the client’s full size CR2s or NEFs. Smart Previews [in LR5] eliminate the need for this completely,” making the process significantly easier.
Black Ink, a new generative-art tool
The new drawing app Black Ink features a node-based visual editor for creating brushes, letting you “Tweak, combine, create new tools and discover the power of generative art!”
“Custom brushes can then be shared with the community,” the creators write, “giving everyone a wide choice of tools.” The Windows-only (yeah, I know) app can be downloaded in tryout mode or purchased for €35.
Generative-art tools are as old as the hills (e.g. on my hard drive I just stumbled across a screenshot of Nowhouse Propeller—from 12 years ago), and they always seem to hang out on the periphery. Hmm—is now the time for one to become more popular?
[Via Jerry Harris]
Interesting illustrations: Legos & Lyons
- Matt Molloy creates gorgeous skies by stacking hundreds of time-lapse photos. Here’s a bit more about his process.
- Diggable dimensionality, palettes, and textures: “Andrew Lyons’ illustration is shaped by a passion for music.”
- I love Petri Damstén’s simple, graphical rendering in Lego, Opposite Directions.
Lean Startup books we're using at Adobe
We’re working to start a new business within Adobe, and to that end my partner Chris Prosser has been reading books you might find interesting:
As an entrepreneur/intrapreneur you have to be able to lie to yourself a little. Otherwise you would just stay at home and not pursue the new idea that you have. But lying to yourself until you ship your product to the marketplace can be expensive and emotionally devastating.
For those of you new to the Lean Startup Methodologies, they are tools that help you stop lying to yourself and check in with reality at all phases of developing your business. My own path with these tools has been somewhat backward. I originally thought we were further along with our business when I picked them up. But as I applied a tool that I thought was appropriate for the phase of development (for instance a retention graph for our private beta), reality would come through and we need to go a step earlier in the chain to find the problem. We finally ended up all they way back at the beginning.
Demo: Interactive prototype creation using Photoshop
Make your raw files small enough to email
It sounds a little crazy, but George Jardine has found a clever use of Lightroom 5’s Smart Previews feature: you can shrink your files by a factor of 10x, then email them around together with their intact Develop settings. Raw files from his Canon 5D Mark III fall from ~27MB to ~2MB, trading some resolution (from 5760 to 2560 pixels wide). Kind of a funky technique, but neat to know that it works. Meanwhile I’m staying tuned for the day when the underlying tech enables fast syncing among desktop & mobile devices & the cloud.
New app Composite helps Photoshop design for screens
“Design with Layer Comps… Link screens by naming layers… Open in Interactive Mode.” Sounds promising.
Composite is a brand new way of creating interactive prototypes. It automatically connects to your Photoshop® documents and converts your mockups into interactive prototypes in seconds. No need to export images or maintain tons of hotspots.
While designing in Photoshop® you can also get a live preview of your design directly on your device, ensuring the design works in the right scale and context.
[Via Tim Riot]
Words to make your mouth ex-er-cise
When he’s not being attacked by my sons, our designer Dave Werner is making fun music videos that have racked up over a million views on YouTube:
In a new interview on Pro Video Coalition, Dave talks about how he uses After Effects & Premiere Pro together (having bailed on Final Cut before coming to Adobe) to make “Extraneous Lyrics 2012.” Oh, and it looks like he’s already getting prepped to make the 2013 edition.
Adobe Muse adds scroll motion effects, more
Adobe’s visual HTML authoring tool gets new features, free for Creative Cloud members to download:
Now designers can:
- Experiment with scroll motion effects quickly using the new Scroll Effects panel
- Make long, single page sites easier to navigate
- Have confidence that sites with scroll motion effects will work more smoothly on tablets and smartphones, including iPhones and iPads
With over half a million websites created with Adobe Muse, there are a lot of great ideas for inspiration to get started. Visit the Adobe Muse Site of the Day to see some of the more engaging sites Adobe Muse users are creating.
Short film: "Experiments in Speed"
“Inspired by those great men of the salt flats, those men that in the 60s pushed the Land Speed Record from the 300s up towards the 600mph mark in jet-propelled cars built in their sheds,” write the creators of this beautifully shot piece, “we decided to do what we do: build a bicycle, but this time, in the spirit of those pioneers of speed, build it to see how fast we could go…”
"$13,238.86 left in an NYC taxi"
I really enjoyed this short, affirming story from Casey Neistat. I was immediately transported back to discussing faith & morals late one night with a great cabbie en route to Brooklyn. It’s those little moments, those little human connections—rare as they sometimes may be—that make city life possible.
[Vimeo] [Via Bianca Giaever]
Matryoshka-doll theremins play Beethoven
Google doodles Schrödinger & his cat
Heh—today’s Google Doodle honors Erwin Schrödinger (who would have turned 126 years old today) and the notional cat of his hypothetical experiment:
Stop making crummy-sounding videos
“Nothing will take an audience out faster,” says DP of Saturday Night Live’s film unit Alex Buono, than bad audio. “They’ll sooner accept out-of-focus, underexposed shots” than bad sound.
Well-regarded audio engineer & trainer Larry Jordan agrees: “The best way to improve the quality of your picture is to improve the quality of your sound.” He recently recorded a session on demystifying Adobe Audition for video editors.
During this 45-minute presentation, you’ll discover:
- Send files and projects between Premiere Pro and Audition
- Remove hum from an interview
- Remove background noise
- Maximize audio levels without causing distortion
- Do an audio mix of your project
- Create “stems,” or submixes, of your dialog, effects, and music tracks
- Test your final mix to be sure it meets all technical specs before submitting it to the client
Air Brony: Air Force design gets ironic
This is weirdly great:
“During a slideshow presentation while previewing the different patch options, the student presenter threw the ‘My Little Pilot’ patch design into the mix as an ironic joke,” Barger said. “That patch made it all the way through the approval process and is even more ironic since the class never really wanted it in the first place.”
An artist's trippy 3D painting technique
I’ve heard Photoshop layers referred to as “sheets of acetate,” but Juan Miguel Palacios’s work takes that literally:
A recent transplant to Brooklyn’s Bushwick neighborhood, Spanish artist Juan Miguel Palacios is making a splash in the New York art scene with a series of work focusing on the human form. Palacios uses a unique technique which involves layering a series of paintings on top of each other to create stunning three-dimensional pieces. We spent some time with Palacios in his studio to discuss his influences, his background and the complexities of his creative process.
[Vimeo] [Via Bryan O’Neil Hughes]
108 Years of Herman Miller (in 108 Seconds)
“I will have that Noguchi table someday,” notes Margot, shooting me the people’s eyebrow.
[YouTube] [Via Talin Wadsworth]
New Adobe HTML5 tooling updates
Looks like good stuff:
- Edge Reflow CC. Create and manage responsive comps for your entire site with new support for multi-page web designs.
- Edge Code CC. Test content across devices with new Edge Inspect CC integration, and get access to your favorite Kuler themes as you code.
- PhoneGap Build. Extend the functionality of your mobile app with third-party plugins.
You can grab the updates from creative.adobe.com.
"The Centrifuge Brain Project"
What a droll, understated little piece of 3D animation; stick with it:
Here’s more info, including a set of terribly ill-advised blueprints. Evidently it comes from Till Nowak.
[YouTube] [Via Jerry Harris]
"Shark Dream": Gorgeous footage from a 5K RED Epic
Let’s get hammerheaded with Andy Brandy Casagrande.
[YouTube] [Via Jim Goldstein]
Damn cool 3D animation from Honda
What a great little tour of their product history:
[YouTube] [Via Mel Brown]
Let Russell Brown help you make gorgeous aerial videos, like this one
This is nice, right?
If you like that, check this out: Russell will be teaching a pre-Photoshop World workshop in Las Vegas on Sept. 3:
If you’ve always wanted to learn how to fly the remote quad-copter and take aerial photography then this is the class for you. With advances in helicopter technology combined with small lightweight cameras, the age of aerial photography is easy to learn, and at reasonable prices. With the help of some expert flight instructors you will learn the basics of flight and some of the techniques for capturing images with the DJI Phantom. Representatives from DJI Innovations and GoPro will also be available for questions, answers and advanced tips and techniques.
After landing the unit safely back on the ground, Russell Brown and his team of experts will discuss some of the best ways to work with your still, and video images from the GoPro cameras.
The early bird price is $89 (regular price $99), and participation is limited to 65 students.
Friday demo/Q&A: Controlling Time in AE & Premiere Pro
Live, this Friday at noon Pacific:
During this interactive webinar Richard Harrington will show how to craft dramatic visual sequences using the various motion effects & time-lapse tools in Adobe Creative Cloud.
Demo: How To Use Adobe Camera Raw as a Filter in Photoshop CC
Photographers seem to be digging this one:
The beauty of Adobe Camera Raw (ACR) is that it provides you with a non-destructive way of making several adjustments to your images easily. However, the problem has always been that once you were in Photoshop and you had an image open, if you wanted to edit that image in ACR you would have to close it first and reopen it in ACR. Now with Photoshop CC you can use ACR with ANY layer on any image without having to close it first. In this new episode of Creative Cloud TV I show how to use the new Camera Raw Filter in Photoshop CC.
Creative Cloud for teams, now available for single apps
Wait—why does Creative Cloud for teams cost more than the version for individuals? Well, you get more functionality:
The Creative Cloud for teams complete and single app plans are both managed by an easy-to-use, web-based admin console, so your plan administrator can centrally purchase, deploy and manage seats across your organization.
Now there’s a version for teams that need just a single app. It’s $30/mo. (or $20/mo. if you own a CS3 or higher license), and in addition to the single app,
You’ll also get 20GB of storage, the ability to sync, store and share your work and seamlessly collaborate with colleagues, as well as access to Behance ProSite so you can publish to the world’s leading creative community. That’s 1.6 million creative professionals viewing your projects!
This last point is vague: unlike regular posting to Behance, ProSite makes it easy to put up a custom portfolio using your own URL & more.
"Wolverine: A Film By Woody Allen"
Interesting art made from unusual materials
- “Be water, my friend.” Okay, Bruce Lee—and you be milk. French artist Vivi Mac uses milk, chewing gum, honey, and all sorts of odd media to create interesting portraits. (Reminds me of the time in college I drew a letter to my girlfriend using tiny Camemberts handed out in flight. By the time she received it I think the “art” had been reduced to grease stains. In retrospect I’m surprised we didn’t break up sooner).
- Samantha Lee makes her kids meals that are too cute to eat. I kind of have to hate her. (More ripped-up cheese & bread, Micronaxx? Works for me.)
- Sarah Rosado has created “Dirty Little Secrets,” drawing using dirt gathered in NY parks. “There is no cropping, or digital enhancements before or after. It’s all real.” Love those ants!
"The path less traveled"
One of my favorite benefits of working at Adobe is the sabbatical program. Starting at one’s 5-year anniversary, you get an extra three weeks of paid vacation time (which grows longer on subsequent 5-year marks). Adobe Life Magazine has published a nice piece about a number of employees who’ve elected to spend time serving others during their sabbaticals. In it I talk a bit about the brief time I spent last year in Guatemala.
Tangentially related, I’m also proud that Adobe matches each employee’s charitable contributions up to $10,000/year. I think that speaks to the fundamental decency of the founders, Chuck & John.
LayerVault enables copying text from PSDs
Ah, now isn’t this clever: Via a Web interface, you can mouse over PSDs you’ve synced with the LayerVault service, then copy text objects it contains. Check it out:
Enabling the type tool will allow you to click any text in a PSD and copy it to your clipboard. You’ll be able to use the Type Tool with some older PSDs and any PSD you work on going forward.