Monthly Archives: March 2015

Adobe introduces Comp, a new ideation app for iPad

Draw simple shapes to automatically create layouts that you can use in Adobe desktop apps. Check it out:

Designer Khoi Vinh writes,

It’s not a desktop tool that has been ported to the iPad or a replica of real world art materials, but a wholly different approach to turbo-charging creativity that builds on what the iPad is uniquely suited for […].

He notes the rich type support & gesture library:

Comp CC is the first implementation of the full Typekit catalog, completely optimized for touch and fully embedded for easy access. That alone exponentializes the value of the iPad as a creative tool, if you ask me. […]

Not only can you draw primitive shapes and text objects, but you can also draw rounded image objects, rectangles with chamfered corners, polygons, paragraphs of text, lines of text and headlines.

I’m hoping the app finds a great niche. What do you think?

[YouTube] [Vimeo]

Google+ Photos can now appear in your Google Drive

You’ve long been able to make images you store in Google Drive show up in Google+ Photos, but what about the other way around? Why can’t you automatically back up photos from your phone, then have them synced down to your Mac or PC via Drive? Well, now you can:

To get started, just look for the new Photos menu in Drive for Android, iOS and the web. From there you’ll be able to manage your photos and videos alongside other types of files. For example, you can now add pictures of wedding venues and cakes to the same Drive folder as your guest list and budget.

Google+ Photos will of course keep helping you store, edit and share your pics. But if you want to organize all your files, all in one place, Drive is here to help. You’ll start seeing your photos in Drive today—immediately if they’re new, and a few weeks for your entire library—so give it a try, and let us know what you think.

Check out details if you’re interested.


Periscope is a fascinating, game-changing app

I remember exactly where I was & what I was doing when I first saw NCSA Mosaic, Photoshop, Flash, Google, and YouTube. Periscope—the live-streaming video app from Twitter—just joined that rarefied list.

After failing for weeks to “get” the similar Meerkat, I tried Periscope this weekend & was spellbound. In ~30 minutes of total usage, I…

  • learned that Scott Kelby was doing a street shoot in Amsterdam, sent him comments, and heard him reply
  • learned that Scott’s colleague RC Concepcion was doing a shoot in Florida & interacted with him
  • saw a former YouTuber broadcast from her balcony, said hi, and heard her reply
  • learned that a comedian I follow on Twitter is near me, walking to Wrestlemania at Levi’s Stadium
  • watched a friend’s kids play on the beach & said hi

I’m fascinated by the storytelling potential here & in tools like Snapchat Stories—which are evidently mindblowingly popular.

Like a fool, perhaps, I poured myself into trying to help normal people craft better stories (better-chosen shots, better-looking/sounding content). But people don’t do that: they want something “easier than iMovie,” and instead of trying to make things “better,” you can instead make people not care. That is, you replace technical quality (lighting, sound, edits) with immediacy. If your creation is here today, gone today, no one will judge you on aesthetic merits.

Getting all this right will take time, but it feels thrillingly fresh in ways I didn’t—and don’t yet—foresee.

“Smile for the computer!” Crowdsourcing better portraits

Interesting exploration from researchers at Adobe (including Aseem Agarwala, who just joined Google) and Berkeley:

[T]rain a model that can automatically predict attractiveness of different expressions of a given person. We also train a cross-subject model that evaluates portrait attractiveness of novel subjects and show how it can be used to automatically mine attractive photos from personal photo collections. Furthermore, we show how, with a little bit ($5-worth) of extra crowdsourcing, we can substantially improve the cross-subject model by “fine-tuning” it to a new individual using active learning. Finally, we demonstrate a training app that helps people learn how to mimic their best expressions.


Illustration: “The world’s first pancake printer!”

File under brilliant/insane/possibly “Why They Hate Us”: PancakeBot.

Our included user-friendly software allows you to design your own pancake by tracing any image right on your computer.  From your favorite piece of art or character, a child’s drawing, a product image or your company or team logo, the software creates the file and the PancakeBot does the rest. As the artist, you control what lines are drawn first, which in turn lets you determine the shading of the pancake. 

These guys need to partner with Adobe Shape.

Priime app: filter recommendations + marketplace

PetaPixel reports on the new photography app Priime:

The app goes beyond apps like Instagram, however, with features such as filter suggestions and a filter marketplace.

For each photo being edited with the app, Priime will analyze its properties — things like color palette and dynamic range — and then suggest a certain style to apply as a photo filter. Pre-made filters offered by the app are highly curated looks that were designed in collaboration with well known photographers from around the world [example].

What do you think? I find the idea of content intelligence & revenue sharing with photographers interesting, though boy is it hard to carve out time & mental space for yet another app.