Hey folks—welcome to my nascent new blog. Clearly it’s a work in progress, but I’ll crank away at that. Meanwhile I’m just hanging this first shingle. May we have fun & learn a lot from one another here.
Category Archives: Uncategorized
Call for entries: Adobe Youth Voices
The Adobe Youth Voices Awards are “a global challenge that invites youth to creatively express their vision for driving change in local communities, and to present potential solutions through visual storytelling.”
If you’re a young storyteller or know a good one, please check out the site & consider submitting work for consideration. Media must be submitted by April 18, 2014.
Demo: Using Image Processor to batch process multiple files
Julieanne shows how to prepare hundreds of images and save them in different file formats at once using Photoshop’s Image Processor script. She demos entering and adjusting Image Processor options such as file location and type, and working with image size.
Create custom toolbars in Illustrator CC
A click here, a mouse drag there—it adds up quickly. Now Illustrator lets you make your workspace more efficient by organizing your tools into custom panels:
I really like the ability to unbury certain tools (e.g. various shapes), especially as I’ve kinda never forgiven Illustrator for changing the way keyboard shortcuts work circa AI9. (In Photoshop, Shift+letter lets you cycle among tools that share that letter. In Illustrator, you can assign Shift+letter to a specific tool. Some people swear by one approach & some by the other.) I know, it’s been nearly 15 years, and I deeply need to get a life. (How am I not typing this from my parents’ basement?)
As for the inevitable, “So, where’s this feature in Photoshop?,” you can maybe blame me. I didn’t want to do just toolbar customization, or do it in just Photoshop. Rather I wanted to let people remix nearly any UI elements together (tools, menu items, etc.) and do so across apps. That’s where Adobe Configurator came from. Hundreds of thousands of people downloaded it, but only a few used it to create & share toolbars & other custom panels. Maybe I let the perfect be the enemy of the good, and I need to write up a post-mortem on that.
Lost Susan Kare Mac ad from 1983
I’ve known designer Susan Kare‘s work for 30 years, but I’d never seen the person herself until now.
Original Mac team member Andy Hertzfeld writes,
Here is another unused commercial for Apple’s original Macintosh computer that was produced by Chiat-Day in the fall of 1983. This one features brilliant Macintosh artist Susan Kare, who designed the Mac’s fonts and icons, extolling the virtues of the exciting new medium.
[YouTube] [Via Mischa McLachlan]
Quick demo: How to create animated GIFs in Photoshop
Hughes shows you how in just over 3 minutes:
Students: Become an Adobe rep
Back in college—in the daaark days for Apple (the lose-$700MM+-in-a-quarter days)—I was an Apple student rep, driving around a minivan full of swag & hipping people to the technologies I loved. It was a bumpy time, but the work experience complemented what I learned in school.
Students these days have a chance to learn while helping fellow students discover new creative power. Check this out:
What you’ll get:
- Serious résumé building, featuring hands-on marketing, event planning, and social media experience with one of the world’s top brands
- Opportunities to develop relationships with campus leaders and expand your network
- Adobe swag and performance-based incentives
- Complimentary Creative Cloud membership
- Top reps will be eligible for additional incentives such as gift cards, portfolio reviews, and features on Adobe Students’ social channels
The ideal Adobe Student Rep:
- Is creative and entrepreneurial, with strong online and offline social networks
- Has a deep knowledge of and passion for Adobe creative applications
- Is able to work independently to meet deadlines and reporting requirements
General responsibilities include:
- Planning and executing at least one Adobe product training workshop
- Promoting workshops through word-of-mouth marketing
- Forming partnerships with relevant campus organizations
- Social media support and amplification
You can apply here. [Update: Evidently the program only exists in the US right now.]
Photoshop talks with a Space Oddity
Col. Chris Hadfield—Space Station commander, orbital Bowie-player, high-tweeting photographer, and more—recently sat down with Photoshop’s Lex van den Berghe for an interesting & varied chat. As you’d expect they nerd out a bit about photography & touch on some interesting details—for instance:
“We keep about eight cameras in the main viewing module—or ‘cupola.’” Hadfield explained. “There are so many high-energy protons coming through the station—things that are usually absorbed by our atmosphere—that they destroy the camera sensor. Pixels start dropping out immediately. On some of my lower light pictures you can see the flaws in the imagery.”
Lex noted later, “Chris was THE MAN… super fun to talk to…fascinating. Killed me that we only had 60 minutes to chat… I could’ve spent all day talking to him, especially if cold beers were also involved.”
Adobe Kuler is up for an Interaction Award
People’s Choice voting is open until February 8. You can vote here and get the app here.
[Vimeo] [Via Gabriel Campbell]
Photoshop Playbook: Removing Red Eye & Whitening Teeth
News you can use, from Hughes:
Terminators, Flavawagons, Grandfalloons, & more: A podcast with me
“From Kierkegaard to breadsticks…”
I had a ball talking Photoshop development, craftsmanship, the Mac community, and more with developers Brent Simmons & Chris Parrish in their new podcast, The Record.
You can hear about me living in a halfway house, sleeping in a van, imbecile marketroids typing with their fists, and more (my God, look at the length of those show notes!). I hope you have as much fun listening as I did rambling.
NYC imagined as a giant playground
After filling Buenos Aires with fanciful rides, Fernando Livschitz is back to take on New York City. Just try not to smile:
Behold… "Tiger Train"
I had no idea that this is what my morning needed (how could I??)—but it so did. Brilliant madness from Liam Lynch:
Question: What if *all* we did was make apps faster?
After Effects Steve Forde asks a provocative question:
What if we did NOTHING else in After Effects during 2014 other than make it faster? I mean MUCH faster. I mean much faster without a specific hardware requirement (new CPU, GPU, disk, machine, etc., etc.)?
To be frank, that’s not what’s in the works currently for 2014. A lot of our developer resources are going to focus on performance, but also on workflow and creative capability. I am curious though what your reaction would be if we ditched the workflow and creative stuff for 2014, and put ALL of our resources on nothing but making After Effects killer fast. Great!, good, bad, ugly?
What do you think?
My knee-jerk reaction is, “Of course, make everything faster!” How important that is, however, varies case by case. Do I need my iPhone to be faster—or would I trade away additional speed to get better battery life? And of course “faster” depends on much more than operations per second: I’d generally prefer an app that asks me to perform fewer steps en route to a result, even if those steps are a bit slower to calculate. Net performance depends on computer efficiency plus operator efficiency.
What are your thoughts & needs, app by app?
Track your time automatically inside Adobe apps
Oh God did I hate filling out time sheets at my old design agency. CreativeWorx TimeTracker was built by Adobe veterans to help take the drudgery out of that process:
The basic extension (for individual use) is completely free & runs inside Photoshop, InDesign, InCopy, Illustrator, and Flash Pro. Other features (e.g. support for teams) start at $7.95/mo.
Adobe Inspire Magazine for January 2014 is here
Check it out on the Web and the App Store (for free). Articles include:
- Day into night with Photoshop CC: Learn how to turn a daytime photo into a convincing night scene with Adobe Photoshop CC.
- Using Typekit fonts to perfect web designs: Create pixel-perfect web mockups with Typekit desktop fonts in Adobe Photoshop CC.
- Eclectic book covers of Cardon Webb: Cardon Webb’s book cover designs tell fascinating stories.
- Inspiration into art with Illustrator CC: See what happens when visual artist Don Clark creates the perfect treehouse using Adobe Illustrator.
- Construct web pages visually in Dreamweaver CC: Build web pages more efficiently with new Dreamweaver CC features that give visual feedback when you’re designing web content
- Improved sound using Premiere Pro CC and Audition CC: It’s easy to improve a videos sound quality with Premiere Pro CC and Audition CC.
- Creating complex web layouts with CSS Regions and Edge Reflow: How to preserve the integrity of your design when creating magazine-style layouts for the web.
- Parallax scrolling, animation, and text effects in Edge Animate CC: No one will ignore your web banners when they move up, down, and sideways!
- The Cutting Edge award: Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator are just two of the tools used to create three mind-blowing websites.
My holiday break @ 120 frames per second
Expressive kid + coaster + iPhone 5s + RCHP = good times.
In memoriam: Thank you, Whit.
I remain, as do so many people in the extended Adobe family, in sad disbelief at the passing of our dear friend Whitney McCleary—warm wit, defender of the little guy, fighter for what’s right, twinkling soul—on New Year’s Eve following a long illness.
I struggle to find the right words—any words, really—to share here, and yet I just don’t feel like writing about anything else for a while. I think she wouldn’t want us to dwell too long in sorrow—I think instead of good Irish wakes, full of laughter and tears—but it’s right to pause for just a bit.
Perhaps you didn’t know Whit personally, but if you’ve spent any time as an Adobe customer, she probably touched your life in some small, positive way. To say just that she marketed InDesign, Creative Suite, and imaging apps seems like absurdly short shrift. As folks are pouring onto Facebook to say, Whitney was always quick to take a chance, support a new creative conference, find work for a promising designer. Her love of creative people & delight in helping them was infectious.
Big companies are inherently bonkers, I think, and I’d always look to Whitney to cut through fog & silliness. As my old Photoshop boss Maria puts it, “I don’t know what we’ll do when we can’t call her mobile in a crisis. I keep thinking ‘What would Whit do?’ and a silly smile comes to my face.”
Oh, Whit—we miss you terribly. Thank you for making things better, for so many people over so many years. May we all aspire to do the same, with even half the good cheer you did. God bless.
"Final Cut 2013": The year in films
Let’s send the year off right with this nicely edited montage of 2013’s moments in film:
How many people post Vines?
Does anyone know? I’ve struggled to find any real info on the subject.
There’s no doubt that Vine coined an idiom (essentially animated GIFs + sound) that’s proven flexible & often compelling in the right hands. I’m less sure, though, that regular people create vines with any frequency. Of the 674 people I follow on Twitter, not one has shared a vine.co link in the time frame that Twitter searches.
For my needs Instagram video has been perfect for most cases, taking a huge bite out of my YouTube usage (though that’s changed a bit over the holidays; most Christmas carols won’t fit into 15 seconds!). I suspect that most people find it easier to make compelling content without looping & with more breathing room, and that for most video creation/sharing is a feature rather than a product unto itself.
[Update: If you routinely post vines, please speak up.]
Layrs Photoshop panel automates tedious tasks
Layrs looks handy. It promises:
- Layer name editor
- Remove unused layer effects
- Flatten all layer effects
- Delete empty layers
- Rasterize all Smart Objects
[Via Eric Snowden]
Check out this fun bit of urban art from Germany:
From the project site:
StreetPong is a concept about playful urban interactions. The starting point was the problem of waiting for a long time at pedestrian traffic lights. StreetPong can be played during the red phase at traffic light on a touchscreen display. The opponent can be anyone on the other side of the street who is also waiting to cross the street.
…and Festivumakwanzanukkah and everything!
Wherever you are & whatever you may celebrate*, I wish you a safe & joyous day. I am profoundly grateful for the chance to help creative people express themselves better. Thank you so much for that.
*No matter what, I hope & trust you’ll have a far cheerier day than this guy:
"Our Drone Future"
Check out Alex Cornell’s dystopian vision:
In the near future, cities use semi-autonomous drones for urban security. Human officers monitor drone feeds remotely, and data reports are displayed with a detailed HUD and communicated via a simulated human voice (designed to mitigate discomfort with sentient drone technology). While the drones operate independently, they are “guided” by the human monitors, who can suggest alternate mission plans and ask questions.
Specializing in predictive analysis, the security drones can retask themselves to investigate potential threats. As shown in this video, an urban security drone surveys San Francisco’s landmarks and encounters fierce civilian resistance.
Ah, but as that’s a bit dark, let’s see the real-life Mistletoe Drone:
Retrospective: Behance Portfolio Review Week
Behance Portfolio Review Week #4 wrapped up a few weeks ago, and Adobe’s released a video compilation reflecting back on some of the great moments from this week-long events series put on by the design community. I’m reminded that nearly 14 years into this gig, it remains such an honor & privilege to serve creative people like you. Thanks for letting me be a part of it.
A life-size Lego car powered by air
From the project site:
Super Awesome Micro Project Factoids
- More than 500,000 LEGO pieces were used.
- The car engine is made from standard Lego pieces and runs on air!
- The engine has four orbital engines and a total of 256 pistons.
- Top speed is not very fast, around 20-30km (We were scared of a Lego explosion so we drove it slowly)
- It was built in Romania and shipped to a secret location in suburban Melbourne.
- It’s a Hot Rod design, mainly because hot rods are cool.
Just as I was discovering this link, my boys were playing with their pneumatically driven Lego Unimog—which I previously would’ve called giant.
[YouTube] [Via Lin Kayser & Uri Ar}
Some interesting findings about digital publications
To be honest I’ve been kinda skeptical about the viability of high-gloss, tablet-oriented publications. In a world of Buzzfeed & Flipboard, they’ve struck me as nouveau CD-ROMs. I’m pleased to see that evidently I’ve been wrong. Check out some recent findings from Adobe:
The number of downloads of magazine editions created with DPS since its launch in March 2011 passed the 150 million mark this month. Downloads have increased 115% year over year, and DPS-created apps have three times as many unique monthly readers as they did a year ago, Adobe announced. […]
Adobe found that subscribers spend around 50 minutes a month in a DPS app – a number that surpasses the 40 minutes per issue that GfK MRI found among print magazine readers in the fall of 2012. While that’s not an apples-to-apples comparison of engagement, it does indicate that digital magazines are replicating the lean-back print experience. […]
Social sharing tools are becoming increasingly popular, for example, as is the web viewer technology that Adobe added to DPS earlier this year, which lets readers sample tablet editions via their web browser.
BBC timelapses captures a train ride in '53, '83, '13
It’s intriguing to see what changes over time & what doesn’t.
"A Handy Tip for the Easily Distracted" by Miranda July
I’m deeply tempted to try this with my ever-whirring fleet of devices:
[YouTube] [Via John Maeda]
Short film: "The Record Breaker"
I noted the running time of 25 minutes and thought, “Oh, I’ll just watch for a sec”—but dang if I didn’t get sucked in. Try it just for a minute:
“The Record Breaker tells the life story of Ashrita Furman, the man with the most Guinness World Records of all time. [It] follows Furman as he trains to set a new record: climbing Machu Picchu on stilts.”
‘A swimmingly edited, life-affirming film. Genuinely touching.’— Robert Silva, IndieWire
‘Hands-down the funniest documentary of the year.’— Marianna Torgovnick, TED
Behind the scenes: Wheelchair freestyle
Last week I linked to the amazing aerobatics of Aaron “Wheelz” Fotheringham. Now filmmaker Devin Supertramp has posted behind-the-scenes footage. (It’s probably not a great sign when one’s neck brace shatters on impact.)
New course: Optimizing Photoshop performance
Bryan O’Neil Hughes has recorded a new Lynda.com course on tuning Photoshop performance for your particular workflow. Watching the whole thing requires a membership, but Bryan points out that Lynda offers trial memberships.
Bringing Storytelling to Wedding Videos
“Wedding films should do the same as feature films or documentaries do. It’s never just about relaying facts: it’s about finding humanity – the real moments – in every story.” So says Jawad Mir, your host for a live demo/Q&A this Thursday at 10am Pacific. You can register here.
In this session you will learn how to bring storytelling techniques and feature film polish to your projects so that you can deliver great wedding films that stand out from the crowd. Discover how you can do more with Creative Cloud video applications, including:
- How to organize content with Adobe Bridge CC
- Building timelines that tell stories in Premiere Pro CC
- Output to DVD with Encore CS6
A giant tot points skyward
British Airways (the first really big site I ever helped design) is running a clever new campaign. Per Engadget,
[T]he new advertisement, installed front and center at London’s Piccadilly Circus, uses “custom-built surveillance technology” to track incoming BA aircraft, prompting the screen to display a child pointing directly at the plane as it passes overhead. The adjacent text offers up the flight number and its origin or destination, along with a custom message, such as the lowest fare for that route or the current weather where that plane is headed.
[YouTube] [Via Al Mooney]
Fun with compositing: "Mad Men Without Smoking"
Just like it says on the tin:
GoldieBlox, Rube Goldberg, & Beastie Boys
Check out this fun commandeering of “Girls”:
And you might want to hurry before it’s gone: The sample-loving B-Boys have filed suit against the video’s creators.
[YouTube] [Via Talin Wadsworth]
Get your own drone
…now cheaper, thanks to Russell Brown. If you’ve enjoyed his aerial photography tutorials from the last couple of days, check this out:
I teamed up with my friends at DroneFly.com to give you the special Russell Brown deal of the day. If you use my name “Russell Brown” as a discount code then you get $40 dollars off the price of a DJI Phanton 1, and you get a FREE battery! How cool is that?! My name is worth $40 dollars + Battery Power! This offer is good until November 28th and it is only good for the DJI Phantom 1 model, not the DJI Vision. I personally guarantee friendly service and great products from DroneFly.com. Be sure to enter the DJI Photo Contest.
Batkid, as seen by the SF Chronicle
In case you’ve been living under a rock (or in a bat cave):
Make-A-Wish foundation grants 5-year-old Miles wish to become Batman. Turning San Francisco into Gotham City, Miles shows the community just how strong of a fighter he is. After being diagnosed at 20 months-old with Leukemia, Miles has beat cancer and is now in remission.
Here are more photos & coverage from the Chronicle.
Photoshop Playbook: Making Fine Hair Selections
Great tips from Bryan O’Neil Hughes:
Betcha didn’t know—or had maybe forgotten about—the ability to drag-resize your brushes.
Adobe Muse gets new Library, social chops, & more
Great upgrades to the highly popular visual page-design tool:
- Access the new Adobe Muse Exchange providing downloads to over one hundred design elements submitted by the Adobe Muse community to-date. Includes starter templates, prototyping tools, interactive widgets, and more.
- Collect reusable design elements like icons, buttons, headers, footers, styles, and grids using the new Library panel. These elements can also be shared with teams or other designers.
- Easily connect sites to social media with a dozen new drag-and-drop social widgets including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google maps, Vimeo and YouTube videos.
- An updated Scroll Effects panel offers more options including the ability to apply opacity and fading to scroll elements, and add scroll effects to Adobe Edge animations and slideshows.
- Set a full-screen slideshow that adjusts to the width of the screen, whether viewing on a desktop or mobile device.
- Plus additional enhancements and ongoing code improvements.
Free vector icon search comes to Illustrator
I mentioned BlendMe.In, a panel that helps you search thousands of free icons & add them to Photoshop docs, a couple of weeks ago. Now I see that the company has extended support to Illustrator. All the icons are licensed via Creative Commons.
Amazing quadrocopter ballet
There’s no way these aren’t CGI:
And yet, somehow, they’re real*:
The ad was made possible by the folks at KMel Robotics who’ve developed a whole suite of tools to program and control the swarm of quadcopters. They’ve even adapted an infrared motion capture system—typically used for computer animation—to keep track of all the drones mid-flight, and individually direct them to where they need to be.
*I’m still skeptical about the last portion.
Camera 8.3 RC for Photoshop CC & CS6 available on Adobe Labs
Camera Raw 8.3 is now available as a release candidate on Adobe Labs for Photoshop CS6 and Photoshop CC on Adobe Labs. For both versions it includes the new camera support mentioned below, and for Photoshop CC includes the following new features:
- Whites and Blacks now support Auto Levels-like functionality via shift-double-click on the sliders.
- Separate Auto Temperature and Auto Tint feature. Shift-double-click to invoke “auto temperature” and “auto tint” separately.
- Ability to option-click shortcut in Synchronize, New Preset, Save Settings, and Copy/Paste (Bridge) dialog boxes. Option-click a checkbox to check that box exclusively. Option-click again to toggle previous checkbox state.
- Set the background color of the work area. Context-click outside the image in the work area to select a background color from a popup menu.
- Canon PowerShot S120
- Fujifilm XQ1
- Fujifilm X-E2
- Nikon 1 AW1
- Nikon Coolpix P7800
- Nikon D610
- Nikon D5300 (*)
- Olympus OM-D E-M1
- Olympus STYLUS 1 (*)
- Panasonic DMC-GM1
- Phase One IQ260
- Phase One IQ280
- Sony A7 (ILCE-7)
- Sony A7R (ILCE-7R)
- Sony DSC-RX10 (*)
* denotes preliminary support [Via Jeff Tranberry]
"Fitting In Cardboard"
A short life lesson, beautifully told through cardboard by Ze Frank:
Guerrilla marketing with a happy Coke machine
A rather brilliant bit of low-fi filmmaking:
[YouTube] [Via Bill Roberts]
Most profane. Photoshop plug-in. Ever?
“Built by slave fairies and unicorn horns, this Photoshop Plugin couldn’t possibly be any more f___ing amazing.”
That—and more—are the promise of the cheeky mofos making the Perspective Mockups Plugin for Photoshop. Check out the demo:
(“It really couldn’t be any more f___ing amazing,” notes PS UI designer Tim Riot.) [Vimeo]
PS—Apropos of profanity (hey, why not?), I dig the light projections in the video for this great Nada Surf track.
How Hogarth makes things efficient with Adobe Anywhere
Hogarth is a new media company that creates ads & versions them across languages & media (TV, radio, print), sometimes making hundreds of versions of each ad. They’re using the new Adobe Anywhere & Premiere Pro to manage video production around the globe. Here Mark Keller gives a peek into their process:
Adobe Inspire: CSS 3D, Ideas->Illustrator, and more
Lots of good stuff in the November issue of Adobe Inspire Magazine:
- Accelerated web design workflows with Adobe Photoshop® CC
- Alternative poster art of James White
- Video editing for non-professionals with Adobe Premiere Pro® CC
- Creating 3D assets with CSS
- The Cutting Edge award
- Creating HTML5 video effects: Part 2
- From sketch to masterpiece using Adobe Illustrator® CC
- Best of Behance™
- Web designers become app developers with PhoneGap
Framer makes PSDs interactive, animated
This prototyping tool sounds promising:
Framer can help you to quickly build interactions and animations. Built for designers and integrates with Photoshop. Great alternative to Quartz Composer, Flash or Keynote.
Hmm—seems like a great match for the new Generator feature in Photoshop CC. Something tells me they might be working on integration…