Results tagged “Adobe” from kwc blog

Photoshop Express

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Adobe is previewing an online photo editor called "Photoshop Express", but like many of their "Photoshop" products is something entirely different from Photoshop. As much as a single screenshot can be indicative, it looks like it could be a good product, an online version of Picasa, a simplified editor for personal photos. I like how Photoshop Express lets you choose from different candidates in the autocorrect.

Photoshop product manager John Nack has a bit more.

Online demo of seam-based image resizing

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Some of you may have seen video of the interesting image resizing technique by Shai Avidan and Ariel Shamir. Patrick Swieskowski managed to whip up an online demo of the technique that you can try on your own images -- not perfect, but impressive given that it's only been two days since the video really made its rounds.

There's hope of seeing it in real product -- Shai Avidan has just been hired by Adobe.

This t-shirt saved me $1600

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Maker Faire225

I won a copy of Adobe Creative Suite Web Premium (it has the super bells and whistles) for my t-shirt design above (top 2-3 designs every 4 hours gets the prize). Adobe's Experience Design (XD) group had a fun booth at Maker Faire where you could create your own stencil design on a computer, have it cut by a laser cutter, and then airbrush it onto a t-shirt. It was all great fun, though we had to wait two hours in line (many thanks to d who convinced me to keep waiting when I was on the verge of giving up).

d and I both made the cut for the top six, so we're feeling really good about beating out all the little children and grandmas we were up against -- there was an adorable design (also top six) where a girl held her stuffed dog up to the camera. I didn't win for my design as much as I probably won for creative use of their software. The stencil software was fairly basic: you could add a text layer, a drawing layer, or a B&W photo layer. Apparently I was the first person to figure out that you could stack photo layers on top of each other to create concentric outlines. My use wasn't that masterful, though: I didn't properly visualize the stencil process and ended up having to throw away portions of my stencil that were disconnected.

NOTE: this now counts as my second big prize win ever, following my laptop. Seeing as these will both be big tools in my freelance photography adventures, it shows that there is more than one way to run a business ;).

Fun videos

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Kodak shows that it has a sense of humor about its dinosaur status -- originally produced for a conference via Scoble

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The Strata 3D plugin will make you oooh and aaaah over Photoshop CS3's new 3D features (Extended Edition only) via John Nack

CS3 makes a difference

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Omotesando Hills - Ando

The Photoshop CS3 black & white conversion feature is everything I hoped it would be. As a test, I did my normal B&W conversion routine for my Omotesando Hills photos using Photoshop 7 and the Channel Mixer. The lighting was fairly funky so each conversion took minutes.

Then I tried doing one photo using CS3's B&W tool -- it only took seconds and I had better control over the result. I had enough time left over that I played around with the Refine Edges tool to produce the cutout above. I still haven't really figured out the Refine tool -- its a bit complicated for all its power -- but there is some promise if I can master it.

B&W Photoshop CS3 tutorial

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I've done some very basic playing around with B&W conversions using Photoshop (since then, I've taken to using the Channel Mixer when lazy). All of those techniques seem to pale in comparison to the potential of CS3, as demonstrated by this Russell Brown CS3 B&W tutorial. The tutorial starts off basic enough, but wait until he shows off the click and drag adjustments.

adobe iconsWe got a sneak peek with the Photoshop CS3 announcement, but now that John Nack has announced all the new Adobe icons, we've got a good ole' icon war. Dave Shea's Icon't post recaps some of the classic icon design criticisms: uniform shapes, bad for the color blind, and icons are supposed to be so you don't have to read. John Nack isn't shying away from the criticism and you read more critiques and his response in his post. In case you need help decoding the icons, cdharrison has notes on Flickr.

Photoshop CS3! (Beta)

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Photoshop cs3The Photoshop CS3 Beta site is live now. You can take the new Mac/PC betas for a spin and, yes, there is a Mac version Universal. Anyone is free to try, though to go beyond a 2-day trial you need a CS2 serial number.

So what's cool about CS3? The best roundup of links I've run across so far is at John Nack on Adobe. I'm personally excited by smart/live filters, which lets you add filters as layers -- I've loved using adjustment layers and smart/live filters is a necessary addition for that style of workflow (lossless compositing, rather than sequential modifications). You can even add a mask to these filters.

I'm also excited by the new black and white conversion tool (implemented as an adjustment layer). I've used the Channel Mixer to do conversions when lazy, but this looks like a much more precise tool. You get more channels to mix across and tinting (hue/saturation) tools.

Here's PhotoshopUser's top ten list of new features. There seem to be a lot of great features targeted at making compositing easier: auto align, auto blend, quick select/refine edges, cloning/healing updates.

One thing really stunned me about CS3: they didn't change any keyboard shortcuts! Maybe Adobe forgot who it was after it acquired Macromedia, but regardless, I'm happy to not have to print out a list of keyboard shortcuts to refamiliarize myself. You can find the very short list of new shortcuts here.

CS3 does overhaul the user interface, which I will refrain commenting on until I actually try it. At the very least, you can revert the behaviors to CS2-style without much trouble.

Adobe Soundbooth Beta

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Adobe Labs has put up Adobe Soundbooth Beta for people to try out. In the increasing trend towards pro A/V tools for novices, Soundbooth is an audio-editing application targeted for whom Audition has a bit too many levers.

Soundbooth is billed as a brand new application, but it has its roots in past business actions by Adobe. Adobe acquired Syntrillium in 2003 and turned Cool Edit Pro into Adobe Audition. Adobe then acquired Macromedia in April of 2005, several months after Macromedia discontinued its SoundEdit 16. Soundbooth claims to be "built in the spirit of Sound Edit 16 and Cool Edit", which is a bit funny given that Adobe Audition is built on Cool Edit.

New Lightroom and Aperture

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Photokina brings two good software announcements for digital photographers: Lightroom Beta 4 and Aperture 1.5. My Windows workflow means that it will be Lightroom B4 that I'll be giving a go -- my previous experience didn't wow me, but I'm willing to see if this latest rev is gentler on my CPU. Apple claims that Aperture will even run on Intel Mac minis, so my expectations are higher for Lightroom now.

LightroomI was excited by the announcement that the Adobe Lightroom Beta had been released for Windows. I had been jealous of the Mac platform, which saw the arrival of both Aperture and Adobe Lightroom in fairly quick succession, whereas the Windows platform strangely had no product really targeted at the SLR-amateur-to-pro category. I was also excited because I am currently sitting under a mountain of photos -- 2000+ to be exact -- as I've been one of the 'official' photographers for two weddings this month, and I also have two cycling races and my photos from my Japan trip (in May!) to process.

Aperture and Lightroom are both photo workflow apps and, as far as I know, they are the first of their kind. After watching the positive results of anthropological studies of workflow at PARC, I have been really excited to try out these apps that claim to be the result of workflow studies on digital photographers. Granted, they targetted pros, but I hoped to reap the benefit, and perhaps even learn a thing or two about my process.

There is quite a lot to optimize in a digital photography workflow: if I only spent 1 second processing each of the 730 photos I took at the wedding last weekend, it would still take me over 10 minutes to go through them all. More realistically, it takes 1-5 seconds to decide whether or not to process a photo -- even longer if you have to decide which shot is the best out of several takes -- and another three minutes (my average) to process the selected photos. Anything software can do to either be faster, batch process, or get out of the way can provide huge time savings, which can either be used to enjoy life, or process even more photos.

What follows is a review, but with the caveat that as this really is a beta product, so perhaps a better call this 'feedback'.

Adobe Lightroom beta, now for Windows

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A Windows version of Adobe Lightroom beta is at last available. Lightroom is a photo-editing and organizing software package aimed at the SLR crowd: this Apple Aperture, but free (at least until January 2007). I look forward to trying it out when I get back from Comic-Con. I've got a lot of photos to process in my backlog.

Adobe Lightroom Beta

del.icio.us Adobe

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The good folks at Adobe have signed up for a del.icio.us account and are populating it with links related to Adobe products, such as Photoshop tutorials. It's a work in progress, but isn't that useful?

del.icio.us/adobe

Adobe Lightroom

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It's exciting to see Adobe announced their Aperture competitor, Lightroom, though it might be awhile before I can evaluate it seeing as the Windows version is lagging. But with those tasty Intel Macs coming out, who knows?

Glancing at the first looks, my hunch is that Lightroom has the advantage. Although it's clear that both products have had a long germination, Lightroom will be able to learn from the lessons of Aperture before a final product is released. Even with the beta release it's clear that Lightroom will be less of a resource hog than Aperture, allowing it to run on laptops (ln m says it even runs on his old TiBook). Adobe also has far more experience with image processing, especially with RAW conversion. The poor RAW conversion was one of the biggest complaints about Aperture, and certainly an Achilles' Heel for a professional product.

According to postings on their discussion board, it sounds like the Mac version came out first because they were able to leverage some OS X capabilities that won't exist in Windows until Vista, but who knows. Releasing a free Adobe Lightroom beta to compete against a $499 Aperture, which has enough bugs to be a beta product, and it sounds like a great strategy to me. I hope that the final pricing for Lightroom ends up being low. There's really not that much difference in overall functionality from a product like Photoshop Elements or Bridge. A lot of the difference is which audience the UI is being targetted at. UI is worth paying for, but I'd rather buy a new lens for my camera.

Upgraded to Photoshop Elements 4.0

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photoshop.elements.jpgI've been a devout user of Photoshop Album for organizing my photos, but my copy was getting a bit old and I've been looking to ditch it for something faster and with improved organizational features. I took advantage of the Black Friday discounts to get a copy of Photoshop Elements 4.0 packaged with Premiere Elements 2.0 for $50. I skipped Photoshop Elements 3.0 because, even with the 'stacks' feature, it wasn't worth $100 to upgrade from Album.

I only care about the organizational features of Elements -- I do all my edits in Photoshop -- and so far the upgrade has been worthwhile. Several things stood out immediately (NOTE: the Mac version is very different from the Windows version): * Most important 'feature': faster browsing performance. It's hard to organize your photos if you can't quickly scan through them. * Stacks and version sets let you group similar shots and different edits, respectively. Very nice. * Tags are now stored within the image so that it is easier to share that metadata with others. * The biggest timesaver will probably be "Find Faces for Tagging." The name says it all -- it scans your selected photos, finds faces, and then lets you tag them. The tagging interface for faces is much improved over the generic tagging interface. It keeps tracks of your most recently used tags so that you don't have to keep scanning over all your tags to find the ones you need. I used it on some wedding photos and it almost did too good of a job picking out everyone in the dance photos. * The documentation notes that there is a Photomerge utility, which has to be better than the one that Canon gives you, but I have not tried it out yet.

The only disappointment so far is that it is less well-integrated with Photoshop than Album is. Album doesn't have a builtin editor so they made it very easy to do your advanced processing with other applications. Although Elements allows you to do external editing as well, it appears to be much less smart than before. It doesn't notice when you've finished external edits and it tries to import the edits as new photos instead of new versions of the original.

Elements is not a bad photo-editing tool, so I don't know how much I'll hate upon it. I'm planning to move to Photoshop CS2, which includes it's own photo workflow features, so it may not matter too much in the long run. I may just end up using Elements to organize and CS2 to edit, but this will take some time and money (to buy CS2) to sort out.

I'll end this quick impressions review noting that the Amazon reviewers don't seem happy with the new version, with several complaining that they prefer Photoshop Elements 3.0. I've never really used the previous versions of Elements, so my ignorance in this case appears to be bliss.

CS2: Smart Object and Layer Comps

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I just got a copy of Photoshop CS2 at work so that I could do some software UI mockups. I've already discovered two features they've added since Photoshop 7 that are huge timesavers for this type of work.

Layer Comps: With mockups I often have to toggle different layers on and off to show different steps or variations. "Here is a mockup with the button to the left and here is one with the button below," or "Here is the first step where the user types in, 'I want a pony,' and here is the next step where the results for ponies are returned." Layer comps let you save the current state of your layers so you can easily switch between the different variations all within one Photoshop file. These presets let you save the visibility, position, and styles of each layer.

You can access Layer Comps by going to Window -> Layer Comps. Here is a tutorial on using Layer Comps.

Smart Objects: In UI mockups you often have a lot of repeating elements. You may have the same set of buttons appear four times on a screen and if you want to change the appearance of one of the buttons you used to have to edit all four copies. With Smart Objects you can edit the original and have all the copies update. Smart Objects also keep all the original data, so you could paste in a photo, shrink it down to 10x10 and then later decide to resize it to 100x100. I'm told that this is the same as the 'Place' feature that other Adobe products have had for some time now, which makes me wonder what took them so long to put such a useful feature into Photoshop.

There are a lot of different ways to create Smart Objects. You can use File->Place to create a Smart Object from another file. You can also select a bunch of layers and group them together into a Smart Object.

Photoshop Album 2.0 on the way

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... including a free version with some of the more important features stripped out. This was a glaring problem with the first one - there was no way for people to try it out beforehand. I love using Album 1.0 and I hope 2.0 will solve my very few complaints with the original version (too much scrolling in the tags pane, can't export source images with the Web photo gallery, tags are organized hierarchically - even though they themselves are relational).
Adobe offers free Photoshop Album | CNET News.com