Monthly Archives: February 2015

Lightroom 6 rumored to include GPU acceleration, panos/HDR, and more

You know what’s wrong with the sound of all this? Nothing. Can’t wait to see what my old cronies have been cooking up.

Per PetaPixel, the forthcoming update promises to stitch panoramas while keeping the resulting images raw; merge images to HDR; and offer:

[A]dvanced black-and-white conversions, presets, facial recognition for quickly finding and sorting photos by people, a powerful healing brush, a photo straightening tool that can work even without a horizon line, video slideshows, web galleries, online sharing, and photo book creation.

Check out the new YouTube Kids app

“Dad-O, do you want me to dogfood any new apps?” asks six-year-old Finn. Why yes, son, but happily, this one is now out of dogfood & ready to download for Android & iOS.

From the team blog:

Today, we’re introducing the YouTube Kids app, the first Google product built from the ground up with little ones in mind. The app makes it safer and easier for children to find videos on topics they want to explore […]

  • Timer: Let the app be the bad guy with a built-in timer that lets you limit kids’ screen time. The app alerts your child when the session is over, so you don’t have to. (You’re welcome. 😉 )
  • Sound settings: Sometimes you need a little peace and quiet! You have an option to turn off background music and sound effects, so your kids can keep watching while you catch a breather.
  • Search settings: If you’d rather limit your children to just the pre-selected videos available on the home screen, you can turn off search.
  • Product feedback: Our goal is to improve YouTube Kids all the time, so we’ve included a space for you to give us your feedback.


Photoshop 25th: Interviews, icons, source code, and more

  • has put together 25 PS: Insight & Inspiration. Among many other new & old voices, I got to sit down with filmmaker. Scott Erickson. Some of my thoughts are featured in the retrospective section, a bit in desktop publishing piece, and primarily in the evolution movie.
  • Photoshop creator Thomas Knoll participated in a Reddit Ask Me Anything last week, talking about how he & his brother John teamed up to create the app. (Like Adobe founder John Warnock & his graphic designer wife Marva, they remain a great right-left brain combo.)
  • Did you know that you can download the source code for Photoshop 1.0 from the Computer History Museum?
  • Below you’ll see PS app icons over the years. I loved the 3.0 icon when it arrived & was sad to see the color go away when 4.0 rolled in. The move to the feather generated enormous controversy internally—but nothing like the outrage over the move to the “periodic table” design with CS3.PS icons
  • Lastly, here’s the Photoshop 1.0 coloring book, featuring the Knoll brothers, PM Steve Guttman, and evangelist Russell Brown.PS coloring

[Via Russell Brown, Marcelo Monzón, and Rui Lopes]

Animation: 25 Years of Photoshop

This is rather beautiful, then:

The “lines on my face” bit is a little on the nose—but literally! so maybe that forgives it. 🙂

I’m reminded of the first Adobe video I ever saw, back in 1993 when I’d just started college & attended the Notre Dame Mac Macs user group. I saw it just that once, 20+ years ago, but the memory is vivid: an unfolding hand with an eye in the palm encircled by the words “Imagine what you can create. Create what you can imagine.” I was instantly hooked.

Who knows who this video might inspire. Here’s to the next 25 years of imaging magic.


NYT: “Photoshop at 25: A Thriving Chameleon Adapts to an Instagram World”

Farhad Manjoo writes about how PS “has not just survived but thrived through every major technological transition in its lifetime: the rise of the web, the decline of print publishing, the rise and fall of home printing and the supernova of digital photography.”

The current talk of atomizing & democratizing Photoshop technology reminds me of “Photoshop & Punk Rock,” a Computer Arts guest piece I wrote 6 years ago. As they put it, “Adobe’s John Nack would like to blast Photoshop into a million pieces. He tells us why.”

Let’s measure the development team in the thousands, not in the dozens. Instead of relying on just the comparatively small crew at Adobe, let’s tap into the ‘Photoshop Nation’. And, rather than delivering improvements only every 18 to 24 months, let’s allow everyone to deliver them continuously, on the fly and on demand.

If the arc of my career bends towards one thing, it’s towards removing barriers between people & creative expression, on as large a scale as possible. It’s what I continue to do today.

Power to the people,

Celebrate Photoshop’s 25th anniversary tomorrow evening

Old friends celebrating an old friend, 7pm tomorrow at the Computer History Museum. Hope to see you there!

How did this remarkable tool come to be and what has been its influence on our lives and larger culture? Join us for a remarkable, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to hear the answers from three key people who made Photoshop what it is today:

Russell Brown – Original Photoshop evangelist
Steve Guttman – Original Photoshop product manager
Thomas Knoll – The programming genius who created Photoshop

Please join us for this special panel discussion on Photoshop, a unique creativity tool that has changed our world and how we see it forever.

Google & Mattel bring back the View-Master for immersive 360° panos

Drop your phone into the simple viewer hardware, then move the device to navigate. According to PetaPixel,

The new View-Master is a cheap and simple device that lets users go on “field trips,” visiting “famous places, landmarks, nature, planets and more” through 360-degree virtual reality photospheres. […]

The new View-Master will be available in the fall of 2015 for $30 for a viewer and a sample experience reel. Additional experience reels will cost $15 for a pack of 4 themed reels.



Google’s Steve Seitz & researchers at the University of Washington have devised a rather cool way to put your photos into context—much like the rephotography projects I posted last month.

Given a reference photograph to be uncropped, our approach selects, reprojects, and composites a subset of Internet imagery into a larger image around the reference using the underlying scene geometry. 

What do you think? Is this a capability you’d like to pair with your own travel imagery?


A 3-minute video shot in 5 seconds

Guillaume Panariello & Thomas Rames took a rather fascinating approach to shooting the video for Unconditional Rebel by Siska:

This is a real video, a slow motion video, a sequence map with a traveling in front of 80 extras placed on 80 meters along a little road, lost in an industrial area. Filmed at 1000 frames/second with a camera (Phantom 4k) from a car driven at 50km/h, the shooting took 5 seconds for a 3’30 video: a living and dreamlike mural.

“5 seconds of camera roll, on the 23rd take, after 11 hours of positioning and choreographing extras, who need to eat …” quips my colleague John Schlag, a longtime VFX industry vet.

[Vimeo] [Via Claude Knaus]

The world’s largest GIF, made via satellite

British graffiti artist INSA (whom you may remember creating animated building art; see Adobe’s interview with him) has been crafting giant GIF-iti. According to Design Taxi,

To create the massive animated GIF, INSA and a team of 20 people painted a huge mural on the ground in Rio de Janeiro over four days.

They photographed their artwork with a pair of satellites sponsored by Scottish whisky brand, Ballantine’s, to capture four frames that are then used to produce the GIF.


Google face-painting tech can put your Valentine on a Times Square billboard

My imaging teammates (the guys who brought you World Cup & Halloween face painting) have implemented a fun way to plant a kiss on your sweetie:

Using Google technology consumers simply select their favorite Revlon Ultra HD™ Lipstick Color, upload an image of their Valentine (or themselves), and watch as the perfect kiss – the physical symbol of love – is placed directly on their cheek. The result is a shareable GIF, with a special love note… [U]se the hashtag #LOVEISON when sharing on social media for a chance to be featured on the Revlon Global Love Beacon in Times Square.

Here’s one of the guys behind the curtain, Alex Powell, being congratulated by girlfriend Bridgette:



Affinity Photo arrives to challenge Photoshop

This new Mac app looks surprisingly complete in its first public beta form:

According to PetaPixel,

Tools that come in the box include Frequency Separation editing, live blend modes, and inpainting (i.e. Photoshop’s Content Aware Fill). Affinity Photo supports 16-bits per channel editing, a full history of reversible edits, ICC color profiling, LAB color, end-to-end CMYK, and Photoshop PSD and 64-bit plug-in support.

When the program leaves beta testing and officially launches, it will be available through the Mac App Store for $50 with no subscription charges and free updates for two years.

You can download a copy in exchange for your email address.

What do you think of it?

Paper app now free

Fiftythree’s lovely & opinionated sketching app Paper is now completely free to use—no more in-app purchases. The company plans to make its money selling hardware:

“We want to make the complete Paper experience accessible to as many people as possible, and the global success of Pencil is enabling this,” says [founder Georg] Petschnigg. “Pencil’s sales have been fantastic — the walnut version sold out within weeks of launch, and one year later, Pencil remains the top­-selling digital stylus internationally.”

More jaundiced take: No matter how good your creative app is, if it runs on a mobile OS, people just aren’t going to pay for it. They’ll drop 30 bucks on an iPhone case or 40 on an iPad cover, but even $5-10 for beautiful software? That’s “pricey.” (See also people buying $700 telephones every two years but balking at paying even $1/mo. to protect their lifetimes’ worth of photos—this despite the fact that people run out of burning buildings with just their kids & photo albums. So weird.)

Cool new image-stitching technology

Check out some hotness from Microsoft Research:

According to PetaPixel,

A new Automatic Image Completion feature is similar to Adobe’s Content Aware Fill, except Microsoft’s version is geared toward filling in the missing sections that are often found in stitched panoramas. This creates (albeit artificially) a nice clean look without having to crop your panorama and throw out details.

There’s also a new video-to-panorama feature that lets you take frames from a video and stitch those together to create a motion panoramic image that shows a subject multiple times as they travel through the frame.



Paleo future: Casanova the robot

As a childhood admirer of the Omnibot 2000, I find this slightly creepy slice of history fascinating:

Back in the 1980s, David Leventhal ran a small business renting out his robot to perform at parties around Los Angeles. The robot, Casanova, was a crass womanizer and an LA scenester. Today, Casanova is rusting away in Agua Dulce, an isolated town north of Los Angeles.


The Toontastic guys are joining Google!

I’m ecstatic to finally get to say that the crazy-talented guys behind Toontastic & other brilliant, kid-friendly apps are joining Google!

We’re proud to announce that our little toy company is joining a great big team of tinkerers to empower gajillions of playful storytellers around the world. Launchpad Toys is joining Google to create even more amazing creativity tools for kids. Today, we’ve made our digital toys and tools free to creative kids everywhere. Tomorrow… well, we can’t wait to share 🙂

I’ve been a huge fan of these guys for years, and I can’t wait to see what we can do together. Stay tuned!


NYC 1981: A most violent year

I really enjoyed this short, gripping peek into the city circa “Escape From New York”:

An original short documentary featuring stories from one of the most dangerous years on record for New York City.

Featuring Guardian Angels founder Curtis Sliwa, performance artist and former Warhol Factory fixture Penny Arcade, actress Johnnie Mae, Harlem street-style legend Dapper Dan, auto body shop owner Nick Rosello, and trucking union rep Wayne Walsh.

It’s featured on a blog dedicated to that blighted period, created by the makers of A Most Violent Year.

[YouTube] [Via]

Google Earth Pro is now free

Once costing $399, the service is now available free of charge. According to TechCrunch, the pro version lets you:

  • Print images at 4800×3200; non-Pro is capped at 1000×1000.
  • Automatically import a few thousand addresses at once to be pinned on a map
  • Capture HD videos of what’s on screen.
  • Measure distances/areas using lines, paths, polygons, circles, and more. Non-pro can only handle lines/paths.

Sign up via this form, then download the free Pro client. (Several commenters noted that they got an error message upon submitting it, but that re-submitting fixed the problem.)