Monthly Archives: June 2015

Amazing drone-captured surfing footage

You can try, as I did, reading a longish essay from John Lasseter on “Technology and The Evolution of Storytelling,” or you can just spend about 10 seconds watching this footage and go, “Bam, I get it.”

In this film, Steven worked with Team O’Neill surfer and professional athlete Malia Manuel to capture a unique perspective on a single day’s surf session in Western Australia. Utilising drones for the majority of the videography, Steven plays with perspective, taking the viewer into, above, and beyond the waves.

[Vimeo] [Via]

The brilliantly weird Float Table

“Hey, my kids don’t manage to knock enough stuff on the floor. Wait—let’s get this thing!”

The Float table is a matrix of “magnetized” wooden cubes that levitate with respect to one another. The repelling cubes are held in equilibrium by a system of tensile steel cables. It’s classical physics applied to modern design. Each handcrafted table is precisely tuned to seem rigid and stable, yet a touch reveals the secret to Float’s dynamic character.

[Vimeo] [Via]

Drawing app Mischief adds pins for navigation

I’ve long admired the fast, highly zoomable drawing app Mischief, and their latest addition seems like a smart way to wrangle one of its best features (namely the nearly infinite canvas):

The addition of ‘Pins’ allows easy navigation of the infinite canvas, with the ability to drop pinpoints of interest, creating an index of sketches and visualizations. Managed by a Pins panel, creatives can journey sequentially, jump around between pins, or zoom out at any time to see the full picture, transforming the canvas into an ideas map. Mischief provides a fluid, compelling and creative way to look at art, concepts or stories.


Recent illustrations I’m digging

  • I love Ollie Cortum’s polygon portraits. I sometimes wish for an app that could generate equally nice results, though then I remember how drop shadows were cool before Photoshop made them mass-accessible. (Humans find scarcity special. No one’s bragging about breathing right now, mind-blowing as that process is.)
  • Van Orton Design’s terrific stained-glass style portraits cover everything from Robocop to the new Mad Max.


Is Photoshop’s “Save for Web” going away?

And will designers therefore finally stop making The Claw?

Not at the moment, according to Photoshop PM Stephen Nielson, but it’s quite old and is being superseded. Stephen writes,

The new Export As workflows are a complete redesign of how you export assets out of Photoshop. Export As has new capabilities like adding padding to an image and exporting shapes and paths to SVG. We also introduced the Quick Export option, which allows you to export an entire document or selected layers very quickly with no dialog.

Check out the post for a full (but brief) FAQ.

Semi-related: Developer Marc Edwards has for years been providing terrifically detailed Photoshop tips & tricks for screen/UI designers, and now he’s covered Photoshop CC 2015 improvements in concise detail.

Of Photography & Bad Wine

I’ve grudgingly come to accept that most people regard photography much like I regard wine: there’s bad wine, and then there’s wine. I know there’s crap (crummy liturgical stuff, etc.), and I know that all the rest tastes pretty good. Sure, I might notice & like something outstanding, but generally good enough is good enough.

That’s how it is with most people’s photos: “Is it way too dark or blurry? Is my head cut off? No? Fine, then.”

No matter how well or poorly I do my job, most people simply won’t edit photos—at all, ever. They just don’t care. And if they do edit photos, it’ll overwhelmingly be to crop & rotate them, and maybe to brighten things up & add a filter. None of this is unique to Google: we saw exactly the same thing with Adobe Revel (built on the world-class—and for its audience, irrelevant—Lightroom engine).

So, on a per-user basis, editing hardly matters, and yet the scale at which Google operates is enormous, so the editor gets used millions of times. “A small number times a big number is still a big number.”

I’m reminded of an observation from Adam Carolla. Paraphrasing my recollection:

Let’s say you loved watermelon. If someone gave you a watermelon the size of a minivan, you’d probably say, “Wow, that’s a ton of watermelon!!” But then if you realized they carved it out of a watermelon the size of the Hindenburg, you’d probably say, “Come on, that’s all I get?!”

I’m proud of the new Google Photos editor—of the way we were able to radically streamline the UI while retaining tons of smarts under the hood (e.g. centering vignettes on faces, treating faces specially when applying midtone contrast, etc.). And I’m proud of the new Snapseed, which puts big power one tap away for nerds like us. I just have to be happy driving my fruity little minivan next to a Zeppelin—or metaphors to that effect.

Linus Torvalds: “The Real Star Is Google Photos”

The father of Linux commenting on one of my product areas:

So Google Photos seems to want to make odd videos of the random movie clips I uploaded from last week.

And apparently, with dramatic music, some color tinting, and by making the cuts be frequent enough, you can make even my blurry fish butt videos entertaining.

There is a shark in there. And Daniela, who got certified last year and did very well as a dive buddy. But the real star is definitely Google Photos.

Dramatic fish butt FTW!

[Via Steven Johnson]