Monthly Archives: May 2014

Spin me right ’round: Neat multi-camera projects

Paul Trillo worked with Nokia to rig up 50 Lumia 1020 cameras & capture dizzying slices of New York life, complete with snatches of audio.

Here’s a peek behind the scenes:

Elsewhere Jonas Ginter made a 360º tiny planet using an array of six GoPro cameras:

[YouTube 1 and 2] [Via] [Vimeo] [Via]

Animation: David Bowie on creating characters, doing great work, moving on

Solid life perspective:

An audience appreciation is only going to be periodic, in the best of times. You fall in and out of favor continually. I don’t think it should be something one should be looking for. I think you should turn around at the end of the day and say, “I really liked that piece of work,” or “That piece of work sucked!” – not, “Was that popular or wasn’t it popular?”

[YouTube] [Via]

Handy Application Shortcut Mapper supports Lightroom, Photoshop

Waldo Bronchart interesting little utility shows you interactive charts of the keyboard shortcuts in Lightroom & Photoshop. You can hold down various modifier keys to see what they do in combination with other modifiers + letters, etc., and you can search for shortcuts (e.g. everything related to Print).

Hmm—this would actually be kind of brilliant for the teams to use when finding open shortcuts (never an easy task!).



Help kids, maybe get cast in Star Wars

As The AV Club explains,

Everyone who donates $10 to the charity’s website before July 1 is automatically entered to win a chance to be flown to the set of Episode VII, where they will meet the cast before likely being dressed up as some sort of alien, and probably thrust far into the background behind characters who actually matter. Nevertheless, you will technically “be in Star Wars,” with all the decades of lucrative convention appearances that promises.  


“The 10-Second Résumé”: Tips from Googler Evan Rapoport

“This is not a how-to guide to get a job at Google,” cautions Evan (Google Maps PM for for Views, Photo Sphere, & Panoramio). Having said that, you might appreciate his perspective on how he scans for candidates.

Hand Jim a printout of your résumé and tell him he has 30 seconds to read it. But, after just 10 seconds, grab the paper back. Ask Jim what he knows about you from this.

I’m reminded of Steve Martin finally erupting in Planes, Trains, and Automobiles: “Have a POINT! It makes it SO much more interesting for the listener!!

I also enjoyed this succinct advice from Laszlo Bock, who’s in charge of all hiring at Google: “[F]rame your strengths as: ‘I accomplished X, relative to Y, by doing Z.’” The rest of Thomas Friedman’s conversation with him is well worth a read.

Check out the new Google+ Stories

If you’re like me (and most people), you take a trip, take a bunch of photos & videos, never really go through them, think “Oh, I really should make/share a gallery or something,” and then fail to do so—maybe feeling vaguely guilty about it.

Google+ Stories changes that.

My boss Anil writes

No more sifting through photos for your best shots, racking your brain for the sights you saw, or letting your videos collect virtual dust. We’ll just gift you a story after you get home. This way you can relive your favorite moments, share them with others, and remember why you traveled in the first place.

Here’s a sample story made from Anil’s family photos. My colleague Ben says,

We’ve added not just the photos and videos but the travel information, places and restaurants you went to along the way,” says Google + product manager Ben Eidelson. “We’ve given this all to you automatically when you’ve gotten back from whatever you’re doing so you don’t have to stress about that on top of doing your laundry and unpacking.”

Here’s a nice summary from Ben & USA Today’s Jefferson Graham:

Insane in the Chromatophores

aka, “This is What Happens When a Squid Listens to Cypress Hill.”

I predict that when we attach your body to these stimuli, your smile muscles will fire.

The video is a view through an 8x microscope zoomed in on the dorsal side of the caudal fin of the squid. We used a suction electrode to stimulate the fin nerve. Chromatophores are pigmeted cells that come in 3 colors: Brown, Red, and Yellow. Each chromatophore is lined with up to 16 muscles that contract to reveal their color.

Here’s more info on the project. Now excuse me while I try to explain the concept of membranes (and Cypress Hill) to the beguiled Micronaxx.

[Vimeo] [Via]

“A Step Forward Into The Past”: Analog Efex Pro 2 reviewed

Gannon Burgett writes in PetaPixel,

After spending some time with the program, it seems as though Analog Efex Pro II is a great deal speedier than its predecessor. Not only is speed improved though, it offers a much more diverse array of filter options and far more precision in terms of nailing the toning of an image, adding grain, etc.

Overall, it’s a rather impressive improvement and while I was admittedly skeptical at first, it’s most certainly worthy of calling itself 2.0.

Download it now for Mac and Windows.

Three quick improvements to Google+ Photos on the Web

My new team is constantly working to polish the Google+ Photos experience. Recently we’ve introduced three small enhancements that make it easier to find, manage, and download your files:

  • Easily find old photos you’ve just uploaded with the “Recently added” view (available via the “More” menu within Photos). This view sorts your collection according to upload date, rather than capture date, so all the images you’ve just added appear first.
Photos Recent
  • Want to see all the images from a particular camera model or manufacturer? Open any photo, look in the “Photo details” section, then click the name of your camera (for example “Nexus 5”). Google will search your library and show all matching images.

Search by camera

  • Google+ can store full-resolution copies of your images, including RAW originals. That’s great, but how do you download the originals? Open any image in Google+ Photos, then choose “More->Download photo,” then choose “Original.”
Download original

As I say, the team is constantly cranking away, so let us know what else you’d like to see!

Introducing Analog Efex Pro 2, part of the Nik Collection

I’m delighted to announce that Google has just released Analog Efex Pro 2.0 for Mac & Windows, a big free update to the Nik Collection. I think you’re going to love the way you can sculpt blurs, make cool diptychs & triptychs, create really interesting double exposures, and more.

  • New control points – Delivering one of the most requested features by our users, control points let you fine-tune the presence of Photo Plates, Light Leaks, the Dirt & Scratches filter, and Basic Adjustments using our U Point® Technology.
  • New Cameras and Presets – Expanding on the Cameras from the previous version, you now have access to a larger assortment of new Cameras and presets that take advantage of the powerful filters of Analog Efex Pro 2, such as Black and White, Subtle Bokeh, and Simple Color.
  • New creative ways to present your images – We’ve also built three new filters into the Camera Kit, that let you showcase your photos in truly creative ways with Motion Blur, Multilens, and Double Exposure.


You can download the update immediately via the Try Now button. (It’ll recognize your license if you’ve already bought the collection.)

Meanwhile, check out my colleague Brian Matiash putting AEP through its paces in this series:

Enjoy, and please let us know what you think!


The Making Of Edward Burtynsky’s “Watermark”

Huge photography, hugely important subject:

Photographer Edward Burtynsky and director Jennifer Baichwal give us an inside look into the making of their cinematic feat, Watermark. The documentary was shot using groundbreaking 5K ultra high definition photography and aerial technology and explores mankind’s complicated relationship with water, using a diverse set of stories that challenge how easily we take it for granted.



Illustrated: The 12 basic principles of animation

A quick, neat tour courtesy of Cento Lodigiani:

The 12 basic principles of animation were developed by the ‘old men’ of Walt Disney Studios, amongst them Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston, during the 1930s. Of course they weren’t old men at the time, but young men who were at the forefront of exciting discoveries that were contributing to the development of a new art form. These principles came as a result of reflection about their practice and through Disney’s desire to use animation to express character and personality. This movie is my personal take on those principles, applied to simple shapes. Like a cube. Check also the animated GIF gallery.


Clean design quotes in motion

Nice, understated typography for Adobe’s 99u conference:

Each year at the 99U Conference we feature a motion reel of inspirational quotes from our speakers that plays in a loop throughout the conference.

How do you create a reel that you don’t get tired of? We focused on telling a story.

In past years we relied on the use of depth of field and 3D effects moving on changing axes. However, this year we focused on very few elements and simple 2-Dimensional designs that could morph into each other seamlessly, making the objects not only design elements but ‘characters’ of the story. We drew a lot of inspiration from movie title sequences we love and to the master of it all: Saul Bass.


Can technology help you improve your typography?

Adobe’s Aseem Agrawala (whom you have to thank for tons of great Photoshop features like auto-alignment/blending of layers) & Aaron Hertzmann have been working with university researchers to apply crowdsourcing data to the problem of font selection:

Have you ever been overwhelmed by the huge menu of possibilities when choosing a font? A simple menu of fonts made sense when there were 20 fonts on our computers, but now we have hundreds and even thousands. Online font repositories have over 100,000 fonts. Our interfaces our based on the idea that fonts can be described with attributes, like “friendly” or “legible;” We use crowd-sourcing and machine learning to compute attributes for any font.


The LIX 3D printing pen draws in air

Bizarre team presentation style notwithstanding (were these guys media-trained by Michelle Bachmann?), this project looks rather cool:

LIX 3D printing pen has the similar function as 3D printers. It melts and cools coloured plastic, letting you create rigid and freestanding structures. Lix has a hot-end nozzle that is power supplied from USB 3.0 port. The plastic filament ABS/PLA is introduced in the upper extremity of Lix Pen. The filament goes through a patented mechanism while moving through the pen to finally reach the hot-end nozzle which melts and cools it down. An interesting fact about this light-weight, engineered pen is that these structures can be formed in any imaginable shape.



Tell animated stories ridiculously easily with Adobe Voice

I’m really pleased to see that Adobe has officially introduced Voice, a crazy-easy way to make animated explainer videos, product pitches, etc.:

I had the chance to work closely with Tom, Ely, and the team over the last year, and it was amazing to watch how kids in particular would pick up the app and instantly start creating things they’d never made before. The combination of touch editing plus easy voice recording is oddly magical. I’m really excited to see where things go from here.


Field Notes Shelterwood

Though it veers a bit close to fetishizing materials, I found this short film introducing a new notebook line compelling:

Thanks to the natural texture of the wood, no two “Shelterwood” memo books are the same but all share their origin in the same few hand-picked cherry trees from Northern Illinois and Southern Wisconsin. The wood covers are sustainably produced, with just a few 60″ logs converted into 5000 feet of “Sheer Veneer,” with very little waste (the waste is recycled into wood pellets to heat the factory!). The process can be seen in the film above.


Former Photoshop chief “establishes Photoshop-free zone”

I’m so pleased to see that my longtime boss & friend Kevin Connor, together with imaging forensics pioneer Dr. Hany Farid, has introduced Izitru (pronounced “Is It True?”), a free app & Web site for checking whether digital images have been manipulated:

CNET’s Stephen Shankland writes,

To use Izitru, a photographer can upload a photo through the Web site or an iPhone app. Izitru then runs a battery of tests that can identify editing or authenticity. It then posts a version of the photo with its trustworthiness rating. […]

Izitru is free to use, but the company hopes to make money by letting other Web sites tap into it through an application programming interface (API), which lets software use the service automatically. That could help social-media services, journalism sites, or insurance companies, Connor said.


“It’s so arbitrary that you have to hit the shutter button to get a great moment.”

New iPhone app Vhoto scans your videos to find (hopefully) amazing still photographs: “Use the Vhoto camera to record video, or import your existing videos. Vhoto’s Chooser looks at hundreds of still photos hidden inside your videos and finds you the best pics.”

GeekWire has a few more details.

Thoughts? I’m reminded of this paper from Adobe’s Aseem Agarwala & UW researchers on selecting candid portraits from video.


YouTube can auto-blur faces (?)

Who knew? But so you can, and to enable good causes:

Visual anonymity in video allows people to share personal footage more widely and to speak out when they otherwise may not. […]

YouTube is proud to be a destination where people worldwide come to share their stories, including activists. Along with efforts like the Human Rights Channel and Citizentube that curate these voices, we hope that the new technologies we’re rolling out will facilitate the sharing of even more stories on our platform.

To use the feature:

Once you’ve chosen the video that you’d like to edit within our Video Enhancements tool, go to Additional Features and click the “Apply” button below Blur All Faces.

Photography: Google Street View adds time travel capabilities

You can now view a given point in space at multiple points in time—useful for things like the Washington Post showing the rapid development of parts of DC.

If you’ve ever dreamt of being a time traveler like Doc Brown, now’s your chance. Starting today, you can travel to the past to see how a place has changed over the years by exploring Street View imagery in Google Maps for desktop. We’ve gathered historical imagery from past Street View collections dating back to 2007 to create this digital time capsule of the world.



Fun with visual clichés: Women, salad, and superheroes

  • Women Laughing Alone With Salad is “A blog devoted to the bizarre stock photo trend of women looking WAY too happy to be eating salad, sometimes literally in the middle of cracking up laughing at their hilarious greens, while alone.
  • Three-Point Landing is a supercut of superheroes landing in a very distinctive way. (Prediction: This will be like the Wilhelm Scream for me now, instantly taking me out of a movie.)