Archive for Graphic Design

Creating Fonts, also with Photoshop?

creating-fonts-with-photoshopnews

Over the recent years there has been a growing interest in typography and the development of new fonts among artists and crafters. Luckily, this interest was recognized by industry manufacturers and software creators. In honor of this expanding art, let’s take a look at some of the top three tips for anyone that wants to begin creating their own fonts, regardless of their knowledge and expertise level.

1. Start with a Brief

Creating a typeface from scratch can be a drawn out and time consuming process so be sure to pack a bit of patience. It is best to begin the process only when you feel that you have developed a strong and clear vision of the final product that you are looking to achieve in response to a brief. In order to develop the brief, you will need to invest some time into research, as well as, some self-reflection. Take into consideration how you intend to use the font, whether it be just for your own personal use or for a project that will be used or seen by others. Just like with anything that you create, it is important to remember to consider your audience and base your design off of what will appeal to their tastes. Also consider what you are trying to achieve with the development of the new font. Is it strictly for personal expression or is it going to be used to alter the formatting of an important document? The sky is the limit in terms of options so it is important to make sure that your direction is firmly set when necessary.

2. Get Hands-on

Once you have decided on a clear and focused direction for the development for your typeface, it is often suggested that you go back to the basics and begin to draw or sketch it out with pen and paper. This is a good idea because there are no limitations when it comes to free-form handwriting, whereas many computer software programs can make the initial design more time consuming and frankly, awkward. It is also recommended that you use a good quality paper and writing utensil to help everything flow together more smoothly. Once you have everything you need, begin by sketching out a few characters of your typeface, being sure to outline the defining features that will be carried throughout the other characters of the font face. Once those have been clearly defined, it will be easier for you to develop and design the remainder of the characters on a digital platform.

3. Selecting your Software Program

Now that you have designed at least the first few characters of your typeface, and you are ready to get them into the computer to continue with your design, you will need to select a software program. It is a good idea to do your research on a few different programs and be sure to pick one that will work best for you based on your comfort level and the complexity of the program itself. The majority of illustrators will likely select Adobe. However, if you are not comfortable using a program like that there are other options out there like Lyphs, Robofont, and FontLab Studio. Most programs will be available on both MAC and Windows operating systems. Keep in mind that the majority of the software programs out there are pretty expensive but if you are just getting started out, you may be able to find smaller versions or trial versions of the programs available for free or smaller fee than the full version online. Again, be sure to do your research ahead of time to save yourself a great deal of time, money, and frustration down the line.

This process is meant to be one of self-expression, creativity, and fun. Do not let yourself get bogged down in the gritty details that could transform the enjoyable craft of developing a new font into a chore. Do you research, develop your focus and goal clearly, and enjoy the ride? For those that get good at it, there may even be an opportunity to sell the fonts to others for their own use and projects. Just like with any artistic skill or craft, typography is something that will take time to develop and get good at. The more that you practice and play with your characters, the further you will develop your skill and expand your creativity. Before you know it you will find yourself developing special characters and new font faces without even thinking about it.

Mark Hamburg’s Going Away Party

Posted By Jeff Schewe

Mark Hamburg, founder of Adobe Photoshop Lightroom and former architect of Photoshop is leaving Adobe for a post at Microsoft. Mark, who was the second engineer hired to work on Photoshop after Thomas Knoll, has been at Adobe for over 17 years. He joined Adobe in the fall of 1990–the year Photoshop 1.0 shipped.

He left the Photoshop team after Photoshop 7 shipped and spent time in Adobe’s Advanced Technology Group (ATG) where he worked on a “sandbox project” originally called PixelToy which was later renamed Shadowland. Adobe changed that name to Adobe Photoshop Lightroom when it was released as a public beta in January, 2006. See the PSN story The Shadowland/Lightroom Development Story for more info.

Since Mark has been a good friend and co-conspirator over the years, I decided to use some miles and fly out for his going away party at Adobe last week. Mark’s last day at Adobe was Wednesday, April 23, 2008.

Mark’s office was littered with boxes–it’s unclear if those were his new packed boxes or left over from the recent move to 10 West. The Lightroom team was recently moved onto the same floor as the Photoshop team (I guess in an attempt at “togetherness”). Right: Mark explains that he needed to work on one more Lightroom 2.0 bug before going to the video conference with the Minnesota team, his last such conference.

Here we are in one of Adobe’s video conference rooms on the 8th floor. On the screen is the Adobe Minnesota office’s Frostbite Falls conference room. See this story about the Minnesota office on PSN titled A Visit to the Adobe Lightroom Engineers for an explanation of conference room naming.

The two teams, one in San Jose and the one in Minnesota, reminisced about working with Mark. Some of the stories were funny, some poignant and some were melancholy–but all were good natured.

In an ironic twist, Minnesota actually had some pretty good wine while San Jose only had beer to toast with. I say ironic because most of the time the drinks of choice would be reversed (since Mark and George are a bit wine snobbish).

I lucked out and got a Pilsner Urquell…

Mark and Kevin Conner (right) joke about “life with Mark”. Kevin stated his most memorable aspect of Mark’s career was his pure refusal to accept anything but the best. Mark joked that it was “never too late to change a feature”.

My main comment represented the general consensus of the alpha testers who have worked with Mark over the years; “Be careful what you wish for because you just may get it”–and Mark will make it completely different than you thought it would be.

The last goodbye from Minnesota wishing Mark well.

Mark’s last walk down the Adobe halls (on his way to his Adobe HR exit interview).

We walked out of 345 Park Avenue on the way to the Paragon restaurant where Mark’s going away party was to be held.

VP of Engineering for the Digital Imaging Group, Winston Hendrickson (left) and Kevin Connor, Senior Director of Product Management for the same group (right) hosted the party (and paid for the first two rounds–well, I think they paid for every round actually–there were a lot of rounds).

Here’s Kevin saying a few “words” about Mark’s tenure at Adobe…

…and Mark listening carefully.

Kevin presented Mark with a going away present. A 3D print made by Russell Brown.

On close inspection you can see it says “Mr. Microsoft”. But the 3D part actually shows more…

Here’s the 3D arrangement of image planes (below) showing that Mark is actually holding a sign saying Mr. Lightroom that turns into a sign saying Mr. Microsoft. With fire below of course.

Another parting gift was a guitar (I believe from a Photoshop World keynote or party) signed by the “Photoshop World Dream Team” instructors including Scott Kelby, Dave Cross and others.

If you don’t know, Mark is a bit of a guitar buff (spending a lot more money on guitars than camera equipment).

Winston said a few words, claiming he will always go down as the guy who was Mark’s boss when Mark left Adobe.

Bryan Lamkin, former Senior VP of Adobe’s Creative Solutions Business Unit, showed up to say a few words as well. Bryan retired from Adobe in March of 2006 (see the PSN story)

Sean Parent (center in red: researcher at Adobe Systems and manager of the Adobe Software Technology Lab) recounted the time he had spent working with Mark on Photoshop, including the time he wrote a script on Mark’s computer to turn every iteration of the word Photoshop to be spelled PhotoShop (the intercap was a pet peeve of Hamburg’s).

Russell Brown also talked about the importance of Mark’s contributions to Photoshop.

Mark didn’t seem to mind all the attention.

But Mark’s son Gavin didn’t like so much attention–people with cameras…

Gavin decided to hide.

Gavin was pretty much done (he was hungry). Here is Ann, Mark’s wife getting ready to go to McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood Restaurant for a last supper.

Kevin was melancholic. Obviously Adobe would have preferred not losing Mark, but Mark had already “made his mark” at Adobe and was looking for a new challenge. Mark on the other hand characterized his departure as the scariest thing he had ever done (and mentioned something about RAIN).

At the restaurant, Winston points out that Mark was missing. Seems the long goodbyes took a long time. Finally Mark showed up.

Zalman Stern (from the Camera Raw team) pours some wine for Ann. I think George picked the wine (he usually does, otherwise he tends to complain about the wine).

Mark was eating oysters (left) while Gavin got his fav grilled cheese.

In a more serious moment, Winston wishes Mark well.

Mark’s now defunct Adobe ID–pretty well worn out.

The next morning, Mark and Ann were due to fly up to Seattle to start house hunting. The prospects were daunting–Mark noted that Seattle had just had snow the previous weekend (April 19/20) and that housing costs in Seattle weren’t a lot cheaper than San Jose. And there’s this thing called “RAIN” up there…

As for Mark leaving Adobe, I wasn’t surprised. Mark had talked about leaving the Lightroom team after 2.0 shipped for the last few months. He felt he had pretty much done what he wanted to at Adobe: 11+ years on Photoshop and almost 6 years on Lightroom. And while Mark is a brilliant coder and conceptually creative in the digital imaging/processing realm, he felt a strong pull to do something completely different. For somebody like Mark, there are really very few options; a startup or going someplace where there are few if any limits. He was heavily recruited by Microsoft and given an unbeatable opportunity to work outside his normal digital imaging field. Mark was invited by David Vaskevitch to come lead a team working on the future of OS User Experience at Microsoft.

This is the way Mark phrased it:
Now, given that I find the current Windows experience really annoying and yet I keep having to deal with it, this opportunity was a little too interesting to turn down. I can’t imagine doing serious imaging anywhere other than Adobe, but, I needed to do something other than imaging for a while.

Mark is leaving the Lightroom team at a time when 2.0 is pretty much done except for the bugs (which Mark was literally working on his last day) and the future of Lightroom is really no longer in doubt. The team that Mark has helped assemble for Lightroom’s development and engineering will now actually be able to step out from underneath Mark’s rather large shadow and take Lightroom where it needs to go.

The raw processing pipeline that Lightroom uses is in the capable hands of Thomas Knoll, Zalman Stern and new hire Eric Chan (and a few others). So there will be no let down there. And Mark has long been gone (but not forgotten) when it comes to Photoshop (although the Photoshop team aways seems to get Mark to try to “explain his code” when they come across something he wrote).

The one thing I noted was the gracious manner in which Mark left and the way everybody at Adobe honestly wished him well. Yes, there was a sense of melancholy and a degree of sadness at Mark’s leaving. But no bridges have been burned and Mark will always have a home at Adobe (hey, Adobe even has a Seattle office if the Microsoft thingie doesn’t work out).

Good luck Mark and best wishes. To Microsoft I’ll only say “be careful what you wish for, you just may get it”…

:~)

 

Photoshop CS3 Beta Q&A

Posted By PSN Editorial Staff

Got questions about the Adobe Photoshop CS3 beta release?
These are the official answers from Adobe…

Q. What is the Adobe¨ Photoshop¨ CS3 beta?
A. Adobe Photoshop CS3 is the next version of Adobe Photoshop software, the professional standard in digital imaging, to be released in spring 2007. The Photoshop CS3 beta is an unfinished version of the application that we are making available to you now, to enable you to work natively on the latest hardware and operating system platforms prior to our ultimate release of the final product.

Q. What’s the big news?
A. Adobe is delivering a widely available Photoshop CS3 beta to enable customers to more easily transition to the latest hardware platforms, particularly Apple’s new Intel based systems. The beta is available as a Universal Binary for the Macintosh platform as well for Microsoft¨ Windows¨ XP and Windows Vista computers, with the final shipping release of Adobe Photoshop CS3 planned for spring 2007. The software can be downloaded at: http://labs.adobe.com/technologies/photoshopcs3/

Q. Why is Adobe making the Photoshop CS3 beta available now?
A. Adobe has a long-standing commitment to the Mac community and this release is Adobe’s way of delivering native performance to our Mac customers many months earlier than we otherwise could have done. Over the years, Photoshop has consistently done right by Mac customers, offering a free PowerPC¨ update for Photoshop 2.5 and a free G5 update for PS 7, even though new versions were right around the corner. Making the Photoshop CS3 Beta available to all of our Mac-based Photoshop CS2 users is a further proof of our commitment to the platform. Since a large portion of our customer base is on Windows, Adobe is simultaneously releasing a Windows version of the Photoshop CS3 beta to Windows XP and Vista users.

Q. Who is eligible for the Photoshop CS3 beta?
A. The Photoshop CS3 beta is available in English only but to Photoshop CS2 users worldwide. It is available to licensed users of either the Photoshop CS2 (full, upgrade, and education), Adobe Creative Suite 2.x Standard or Premium (full, upgrade, and education), Adobe Production Studio Standard and Premium (full, upgrade, and education), Adobe Video Bundle (full, upgrade, and education) or Adobe Web Bundle (full, upgrade, and education). You will need to provide your Photoshop CS2, Creative Suite, Production Studio or Bundle serial number in order to get a Photoshop CS3 beta serial number, enabling you to activate the Photoshop beta and use it beyond the 2-day grace period.

Q. Where is the Photoshop CS3 beta available for download?
A. The Photoshop CS3 beta is available on Adobe Labs (http://labs.adobe.com/ technologies/photoshopcs3/). Adobe Labs is the source for early looks at emerging products and technologies from Adobe. It is not just for developers, but also for technology enthusiasts. On Adobe Labs, you can get early access to downloads, samples, documentation, release notes, tutorials, and more.

Q. What are the system requirements of the Photoshop CS3 beta?
A. The Macintosh and Windows minimum system requirements are as follows:

Macintosh
PowerPC® G4 or G5 or Intel based Macintosh processor
Mac OS X v.10.4.8
320MB of RAM (512MB recommended)
512 minimum of RAM if you are running Adobe Bridge as well
64MB of video RAM
1.5GB of available hard-disk space
1,024×768 monitor resolution with 16-bit video card
DVD-ROM drive
Internet or phone connection required for product activation
QuickTime 7 software required for multimedia features

Windows
Intel® Pentium® 4, Intel Centrino®, Intel Xeon®, or Dual-Core Intel Xeon processor
Microsoft® Windows® XP with Service Pack 2 or Windows Vista™
320MB of RAM (512MB recommended)
512 minimum of RAM if you are running Adobe Bridge as well
64MB of video RAM
650MB of available hard-disk space
1,024×768 monitor resolution with 16-bit video card
DVD-ROM drive
Internet or phone connection required for product activation
QuickTime 7 software required for multimedia features

Q. What’s new in the Photoshop CS3 beta?
A. Our primary reason for releasing this beta version is to allow our Macintosh customers to run Photoshop natively on the latest Intel based systems, but we have no doubt that all of our customers will enjoy exploring the application and seeing some of the new features we have in store. The application is not yet complete, but some of the features you may want to check out in the beta include: Non-destructive Smart Filters, Quick Selection tool, Refine Edge, Automatic layer alignment and blending, Vanishing Point with multiple, adjustable angle perspective planes, Black and White conversion and of course many more for you to discover. For more information on the new features, please go to http://labs.adobe.com/ technologies/photoshopcs3/. Photoshop CS3 beta also includes a pre-release version of a major upgrade to Adobe Bridge as well as a preview release of the all-new Adobe Device Central.

Q. Is the Photoshop CS3 beta feature set complete?
A. By definition, a beta is not the final build of a product. Since the Photoshop CS3 software is far along in its development cycle, there will not be time to incorporate feature feedback from this public beta into the final release. However, engineering and testing work on Photoshop CS3 will be ongoing until the launch in spring 2007, and feature suggestions gathered during the public beta may still influence future releases of the software.

Q. Can I use the Photoshop CS3 beta in my professional workflow? What are the limitations of a beta?
A. Although some may find the Photoshop CS3 quality good enough to use in a production environment, the nature of beta software is that it is not production quality, so not everything may work perfectly. Customers should be aware that Adobe will not offer any technical support for the Photoshop CS3 beta.

Q. Will Adobe provide support for the Photoshop CS3 beta?
A: No. Adobe will not be providing any technical support for the Photoshop CS3 beta. If you would like to exchange ideas with other customers using the beta, please go to the Adobe Labs page (http:// labs.adobe.com/technologies/photoshopcs3/) for helpful links, including the Photoshop CS3 beta forum, and John Nack’s blog (http://blogs.adobe.com/jnack/). If you have a question or want more information about mobile authoring in Photoshop software, visit Bill Perry’s blog athttp://www.flashdevices.net/mobileauthoring/. Perry is manager of Adobe’s developer relations for mobile and devices. If you have questions about Adobe Bridge, go to the Bridge team’s blog at: http://blogs.adobe.com/bridge/.

Q. If I make a feature suggestion about the Photoshop CS3 beta, will I see it in the shipping product?
A. The timing of this release is such that our plans for Photoshop CS3 are already set. Adobe is always eager to hear what users think, however, and feedback will be considered for future versions of Photoshop.

Q. What if I find a bug in the beta?
A. If you find a bug in the Photoshop CS3 beta, please file a bug report via the form on Adobe Labs at (http://labs.adobe.com/technologies/photoshopcs3/). With Microsoft® Windows Vista, Mac OS X (Leopard) and the Intel based Macintosh transition all coming at once, Adobe welcomes customer feedback to make our products production ready.

Q. Will there be updates to the Photoshop CS3 beta before the final product ships?
A. We do not plan any additional beta releases for Photoshop CS3 before it is announced and ships.

Q: When will the Adobe Photoshop CS3 beta expire?
A. The Photoshop CS3 beta will expire soon after the launch of Photoshop CS3 in spring 2007.

Q. Will the Photoshop CS3 beta be available in languages other than English?
A. No. The Photoshop CS3 beta however is available to licenced Photoshop CS2 users worldwide.

Q. Are there any training materials available?
A. Adobe will provide Release Notes on the Adobe Labs page at (http://labs.adobe.com/technologies/photoshopcs3/). There is also a Photoshop CS3 beta Forum where you can exchange feedback. John Nack’s blog is also a good information resource at http://blogs.adobe.com/jnack/. If you have a question or want more information about mobile authoring in Photoshop, visit Bill Perry’s blog athttp://www.flashdevices.net/mobileauthoring/. Perry is manager of Adobe’s developer relations for mobile and devices. If you have questions about Adobe Bridge, go to the Bridge team’s blog at: http://blogs.adobe.com/bridge/

Q. Can this beta help third-party developers?
A. The availability of the Adobe Photoshop CS3 beta provides developers with a head start in developing plug-ins before Photoshop CS3 ships. Photoshop CS3 beta APIs can be used to develop third-party tools now and then tested once Photoshop CS3 is available, allowing your product to be available shortly after Photoshop CS3 ships. Since this beta is not a final build of Photoshop CS3, however, Adobe will not provide third-party support at this time.

Q. When will Photoshop CS3 ship?
A. Adobe Photoshop CS3 is due to ship in spring 2007.

Q. Will I get a discount on Photoshop CS3 if I download the Photoshop CS3 Beta?
A. There are no discounts planned for Photoshop CS3 Beta users.

Q. If I buy Photoshop CS2 today in order to get access to the Photoshop CS3 beta, will I get a free upgrade to Photoshop CS3?
A. No. The rich feature set and productivity enhancements of Photoshop CS2 already provide a strong upgrade value, and the opportunity to preview the upcoming CS3 release is an additional bonus. In addition, customers who are still using Photoshop version 6.0 or earlier will benefit from taking advantage of a more liberal upgrade policy for Photoshop CS2. Adobe will not offer upgrade pricing more than three versions back on Photoshop CS3. Go to www.adobe.com/products/photoshop/index. html for more information on Adobe Photoshop CS2.

Q. What is Adobe Bridge?
A. Adobe Bridge software is a powerful, easy-to-use media manager for visual people. Bridge helps clear the clutter and lets you focus on what’s critical with features such as the Filter Panel to quickly locate assets by attributes such as file type, camera settings, and ratings. Bridge shows immediately what’s in your hard drive, network or storage device without the need to import into a catalog or database. Staying organized is as simple as viewing your project files with Adobe Bridge.

Q. Who should use Bridge?
A. Creative professionals that need to deal with visual assets quickly and efficiently. Photographers will welcome new features such as quick thumbnails, image stacks, and multiple image previews. Multimedia workflows benefit from the versatility of the software’s ability to preview video, audio and animation assets. Creative pros can rely on Bridge’s simplicity to navigate the challenges of multimedia workflows – from camera raw editing and processing to multiple media creation to mobile output.

Q. Where can I get more information on Bridge?
A. Adobe will provide release notes regarding Bridge on the Adobe Labs page. The Bridge team has also setup a blog at: http://blogs.adobe.com/bridge/.

Q. What is Adobe Device Central and why is it included in the Photoshop CS3 beta?
A: Adobe Device Central is an integrated tool in Photoshop CS3 software, enabling you to design, preview, and test compelling mobile content. Creative professionals and mobile developers can quickly browse, search, and group device profiles, as well as start a new mobile project in Photoshop. The Photoshop CS3 Beta includes a beta version of Adobe Device Central to give you a taste of how Adobe is working to facilitate the workflow for authoring mobile content. The beta version only includes a limited number of “generic” device profiles. “Generic” device profiles are not associated to any particular device manufacturer. When Photoshop CS3 ships in spring 07, Adobe Device Central will include a more extensive library of device profiles, from actual phone and device manufacturers.

Q. Who should use Adobe Device Central and why?
A. Adobe Device Central is geared towards creative professionals interested in designing mobile content, as well as for experienced mobile designers and developers. Now Photoshop users can view mobile content, such as phone wallpapers or application mockups, using Adobe Device Central software’s built-in device profiles and testing environment. Draw on Adobe Device Central to tune your designs for various mobile screen sizes and lighting conditions.

Q. How can I learn more about Adobe Device Central and creating content for mobile devices?
A. Adobe will provide Adobe Device Central Release Notes on the Adobe Labs page athttp://labs.adobe. com/technologies/photoshopcs3. Adobe’s Bill Perry’s Blog is also a good information resource on mobile authoring at http://www.flashdevices.net/mobileauthoring. Bill Perry is the global manager of Adobe’s developer relations for Mobile and Devices. There is also a Photoshop CS3 beta forum on the Adobe Labs page where you can exchange feedback. To learn more about creating content for mobile devices, go to http://www.adobe.com/go/mobiledeveloper. To find out more about the Adobe Mobile Developer Program, go tohttp://www.adobe.com/go/mobileprogram.

Q. What is Adobe¨ Stock Photos?
A. Adobe® Stock Photos is a royalty-free service located right inside the Adobe® Creative Suite® family of products. This convenient, integrated service gives you:
-Hundreds of thousands of images, all in one place—Search, download, and buy all the royalty-free images you need from a single location.
-Uncommon images at unbeatable prices—Get streamlined access to some of the world’s leading providers, like Getty Images and Jupiterimages, without ever paying extra for the convenience.
-A simple way to purchase—Buy all your royalty-free images at once, from a single location—even if you’re purchasing images from multiple providers.

Q. Who are the stock image providers, and does Adobe plan to sign up additional providers?
A. Adobe Stock Photos provides access to hundreds of thousands of images from some of the world’s leading stock image providers, including collections from Getty Images and Jupiterimages. Adobe plans to continue to sign up new providers so that designers have access to a wide selection of high-quality, royalty-free images.

Q. How does Adobe Stock Photos’ integration with the Adobe Creative Suite family of products improve my productivity?
A. Only Adobe Stock Photos gives you a complete royalty-free service right inside the Adobe Creative Suite family of products. This integration allows you to find, download, manage, and buy all your royalty-free images from a single, integrated location. Here’s how it works:
-Easily access Adobe Stock Photos from the new Adobe Bridge file browser in Adobe Creative Suite 2, Production Studio, Photoshop CS2, Illustrator CS2, InDesign CS2, GoLive CS2, After Effects 7.0, Adobe Premiere Pro 2.0 , Adobe Audition 2.0, and Encore DVD 2.0 software.
– Place edited or original comps into InDesign CS2 layouts.
– Open downloaded comps for editing in Photoshop CS2.
– Edit and rename images without losing metadata.
– Find comps and purchased images fast: They’re automatically saved in folders within Adobe Bridge.
-Use InDesign’s built-in preflight function to check for images that need to be purchased and purchase directly from ASP.

Q. Will I have to pay more for images that I purchase through Adobe Stock Photos?
A. The price of a stock photo varies from image to image, but one thing remains constant: Customers never pay more than list price, no matter what collection they purchase from. Here’s how it works: Customers can download a watermark-free, low-resolution comp version of any image at no cost. The final price of a downloaded image depends on the resolution of the image and other non-quantifiable factors. Prices can vary from about US$50 for a low-resolution image to more than US$499 for a high-resolution image. Stock-image prices in Adobe Stock Photos are non-negotiable.

© 2006 Adobe Systems Incorporated. All rights reserved.
Adobe Systems Incorporated
345 Park Avenue
San Jose, CA 95110-2704 USA

Adobe, the Adobe logo, After Effects, Creative Suite, Dreamweaver, Flash, Illustrator, Lightroom, Photoshop, Premiere, and“Better by Adobe” are either registered trademarks World Wide Web or trademarks of Adobe Systems Incorporated in the United States and/or other countries. Mac OS and Macintosh are trademarks of Apple Computer, Inc., registered in the www.adobe.com United States and other countries. Intel, Intel Centrino, Intel Xeon, and Pentium are trademarks or registered trademarks of Intel Corporation or its subsidiaries in the United States and other countries.PowerPC is a trademark of International Business Machines Corporation in the United States, other countries, or both. Microsoft, Windows, and Windows Vista are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries. All other trademarks are the property of

Announcing Adobe Lightroom

Posted By Jeff Schewe

Adobe announces Adobe® Lightroom®, a new digital photography application and provides a free Public Beta download.


Adobe Lightroom Public Beta 1 splash screen.

While not known for being adept at keeping secrets (see the PSN article; Adobe accidently leaks Photoshop CS2), Adobe has succeeded in keeping Lightroom (AKA Shadowland) very low profile up until a leak at AppleInsider on January 6th, 2006; New Adobe app to take on Apple’s Aperture and one brief mention 3 days earlier on Duke Of Digital; Shadowland – 287. Of course, AppleInsider got the name goofed up-there is no innercap on the “R” of Lightroom. If you know Mark Hamburg, you know that would NEVER happen. See this PSN article: It’s Photoshop, not PhotoShop–Fact

So, it might come as a surprise to many people that Adobe is taking the unusual route of announcing a new application and making it available as a Public Beta on the same day. It’s a rather un-Adobe sort of thing to do, but then Lightroom is a rather un-Adobe sort of application. The download and additional resources which include a User Forum and video tutorials will be hosted on the new Adobe Labs web site (see PSN story; Adobe Labs Delivers Early Access to Emerging Technologies)

What is Lightroom?
Well, in Adobe’s own words “Adobe Lightroom Beta is a new, exciting image handler built from the ground up for professional photographers.

Ok, I have no idea what an “image handler” is, but let me tell you what I think Lightroom is; a robust front-end and back-end for Camera Raw with lots of cool stuff in the middle and in need of some additional tools-which will come.

Remember, this is a Public Beta (some might argue it’s really alpha) Lightroom is not yet “feature complete”.

What will be added or changed in Lightroom?
That is for the professional photographers who download it and use it to help decide. Unlike another certain “A” company that recently released an application directed to pro photographers (whose development was was shrouded in KGB like secrecy) Adobe is hoping that those people who download and use it will have a positive and direct impact on it’s development. Thus, Lightroom will truly be an application designed by photographers for photographers.

What will Lighroom cost?
I have no idea-I’m not sure Adobe even knows for sure-although I know they have certain “target price points”.

When will it be released as a full commercial application?
Again, I have no idea but Adobe has stated an intention to ship it “before the end of 2006″.

So, what does Lightroom look like?
Glad you asked, because it’s pretty nice.

Library

Click on the image to see the full dialog in a new window.
The main window of Lightroom defaults to the Library module (more about modules later). The window includes the Library info (left panel) and the image info (right panel) and a grid of images in the center. At the bottom is the Film Strip (I’m actually getting kinda tired of analog film analogies). At the top are application menus. The interface is considered a “single document interface” (SDI) meaning everything except for the menus are within the main window-no palettes.

Develop

Click on the image to see the full dialog in a new window.
The next module is Develop (shown with the left panel of small preview and Presets Browser hidden). The Develop module allows for a wide array of image controls over tone and color as well as additional controls (ala Camera Raw) for sharpening, noise and lens corrections. All edits are “metadata edits” meaning the original files are preserved and only previewed with the adjustments made. Adjustments are not actually applied until images are rendered upon Export. The controls are a superset of Camera Raw controls with very interesting additional controls added.

Basic
Controls for rough tone and color adjustments.

Tone Curve
Adds some interesting and useful touches to a curves adjustment.

Split Toning
Adds interesting color adjustments for both color and B&W.

Grayscale Mixer
Adds a unique approach to converting color to B&W.

HSL Color Tuning
Allows for very precise and accurate hue, saturation and lightness tweeks.

Detail and Lens Corrections
Ala Camera Raw.

Calibrate
Also from Camera Raw’s functionality.

Slideshow

Click on the image to see the full dialog in a new window.
The next module is called “Slideshow” for lack of a better name at the moment. Slideshows are only the tip of the “iceberg” of what this module can actually do. Yes, it’s there to be able to create slideshows but those shows can be exported as HTML, PDF files or Flash movies. So Slideshow has a bit of an under-promise in it’s name.

Print

Click on the image to see the full dialog in a new window.
The last module in Beta 1 is Print. This is one that will really attract photographers who wish to go from raw to print with as little fuss in-between as possible. Unlike Photoshop where each image must be handled as a separate document, Lightroom treats images as pages and allows for far more efficient and robust printing-while keeping things such as color management very simple.


Click on the image to see the full dialog in a new window.
Most users will be spend most of their time in the Library. The Library module allows for a wide variety of configurations (currently not savable as “workspaces”) and users can easily hide the info panels to better view the image grid.


Click on the image to see the full dialog in a new window.
When you select a single image, you have access to the EXIF metadata as well as IPTC Caption, Copyright and Keyword fields.


You can also do a quick adjust of the image tone and color using the Quick Develop controls .


Click on the image to see the full dialog in a new window.
From the Grid view, double-clicking (or clicking on the Loupe button or clicking the E key or hitting the space bar) brings you to the Loupe view to see a single image.


Click on the image to see the full dialog in a new window.
The view is limited to the screen real-estate of the center panel but you can access a 1:1 zoom view by clicking in the image. Zoom out by single-clicking (the space bar will also toggle between fit in panel and 1:1) The hand tool allows panning or you can use the small preview in the upper right to navigate throughout the image. At this point, there are only two zoom views available, either fit in panel or 1:1. Hopefully additional viewing options will come.


Click on the image to see the full dialog in a new window.
From the Loupe view you can easily add additional images for the Compare view of two or more images. Command clicking on additional images in the filmstrip adds images, command clicking on the image previews dismisses images from the Compare view.


Click on the image to see the full dialog in a new window.
Back in the Grid view with the left & right panels hidden, a user can expose the panel by hovering in the hot-point area on the far left & right. The respective panels appear as opposed to sliding in/out.


Click on the image to see the full dialog in a new window.
Here the right panel is exposed…


Click on the image to see the full dialog in a new window.
…here the left panel is exposed. Command keys allow exposing and hiding the panels as well.

Other than the drop down or fly out menus in the Lightroom window, the only other menus are the application menus;

The main Lightroom menu.

The File menu.

The Library menu.

The Photo menu.

The View menu.

The Window menu.

And the Help menu.

Importing into Lightroom

Click on the image to see the full dialog in a new window.
One of the most critical aspects of Lightroom is the main “Import Photos” dialog. Lightroom uses a relational database for maintaining its knowledge over all of the images in its photo library, all of the image settings as well as all metadata. This database is critical to keeping Lightroom fast when accessing image thumbnails and previews as well as being able to do fast searches.

In the Import Photos dialog you are given a very important choice-either copy/move images or maintain references to images in their existing locations. If you move or copy, the images will end up in the Lightroom “Library” wherever you’ve chosen to locate it-either in the default location of User/Pictures/Lightroom/Photos or wherever you’ve selected in the Lightroom preferences.

This is a critical decision because at this point there is no easy or elegant method of moving the Library location once you’ve set the preferences. Also, depending on how you have set up your computer’s hard drives, the copy/move options can rapidly fill up the main boot drive where the User folder is located.

Each import can have its own designation–either reference or copy/move. But at this early stage of development, one should use caution. At this point, I’m going to punt and generally only reference files in their current location (often on my server) instead of doing a copy/move. As there is no current ability to do a double-copy, Lightroom’s Import can not really be considered a full featured ingestion procedure.

Exporting from Lightroom

Click on the image to see the full dialog in a new window.
As with Import, the only way to get images out of Lightroom is to either Export them or open them in another application. The Export dialog allows for some innovative renaming capabilities as well as 3 standard file formats; JPEG, TIFF or DNG.

The bit depth is relevant only for TIFF, the color space only for JPEG and TIFF. At this point, exporting a DNG does not produce Camera Raw settings reliably as Lightroom contains far more metadata editing than Photoshop’s Camera Raw plug-in can understand.

This is an issue that must be addressed, I’m just not sure how it will be resolved. On one hand, I would hate to have Lightroom’s editing capability limited. On the other hand, it would be useful to be able to export DNG’s that could be used by users inside Bridge and Photoshop. This falls under the heading of TBD (to be determined).

Speaking of preferences, Lightroom’s preferences are very simple.

Click on the image to see the full dialog in a new window.


Click on the image to see the full dialog in a new window.
The location of the Managed Photos folder is an important consideration. But other than that, there is no general color management nor other complicated preferences. Simple, huh?

In point of fact, Lightroom is itself very simple. But this is deceiving. Lightroom is much more powerful than its current application size of 10.1 MB might suggest. Even with only the current four modules, there is enormous functionality already in Lightroom. With the prospect of additional modules either by the Lightroom engineers or future 3rd party developers, the sleek and modern architecture of Lightroom leaves a lot of room for expansion-which was one of the fundamental reasons that the engineers wanted to do a modular design for the application.

Simplicity vs. Complexity.

Their approach is reflected in “The Five Rules
(under the Help menu).

Rule One
Module Picker
The Module Picker strip is located at the top right of the Lightroom window. The choices found there — Library, Develop, Slideshow, and Print — describe a loosely sequential “garden path” of tasks common to a photographer’s work. Change the contents of the panels (at right and left onscreen) to provide the tools necessary for that particular task or set of tasks.

Rule Two 
Panels
The Panels are found at the right and left of the screen. Each contains the elements needed for tasks associated with the current module. The panel to the left will generally contain content and preset browsers; the panel to the right will generally contain the tools needed to accomplish the tasks at hand. Clicking on the section headers hide and show their content.

Rule Three
Filmstrip
The Filmstrip at the bottom of the screen is a persistent view of the current images in the library grid. The contents of a selected shoot or collection will be reflected in the Filmstrip. The other modules will use the images in the Filmstrip as source materials for operations undertaken therein. Change your selection in the Filmstrip to change the images used by the other modules. To change the contents of the Filmstrip, simply return to the Library and select new images.

Rule Four
Important Key Commands
Tab Hide and show panels
Shift-Tab Hide and show all panels
F Cycle screen modes
L Dim the lights
~ Go between Loupe and Grid mode

Rule Five
Enjoy.

I particularly like Rule Five…which I also interpret as have fun…and Lightroom is indeed fun to work in. Yes, it’s very feature incomplete. But unlike other apps that may have been released prematurely with a fixed set of functionality and usability, Lightroom is open to a lot of room to grow in ways that are important to users.

I suppose a lot of people will look at Lightroom and think Adobe is simply doing a last minute panic reaction to Apple’s Aperture. They would be wrong. I know for a fact that both Adobe and Apple have been working on their respective applications for years. Both companies took different development strategies and both companies worked in near secret-although it’s pretty clear both companies knew the other company was working on an application “for photographers”.

It’s both ironic and also encouraging that two talented sets of developers seem to have found some common solutions to photographer’s problems.

The ideal way of evaluating Lightroom is to download the free public beta and see for yourself. It doesn’t take long to get the gist of using Lightroom. Check back in the Lightroom forums-the Lightroom engineers and development folks will be hanging out there to answer questions and give suggestions for using Lightroom to its fullest. The Lightroom forums will also be the primary place for users to put forth their feature requests and bug notifications. A lot of the early alpha and private beta testers will also be visiting-I know I’ll be there a lot to see what users think.

Lightroom Resources:
Project Lightroom at Adobe Labs
(home of the beta downloads and forums)

Introductory Lightroom video tutorial by George Jardine-Lightroom Evangelist (Quicktime required)

Adobe Lightroom A First-Look & Primer by Michael Reichmann
of The Luminous-Landscape.

Michael Reichmann (and myself) will be releasing an in-depth look at Lightroom with tutorials in Issue #14 of his The Luminous Landscape Video Journal due to ship in February.

Check out my story The Shadowland/Lightroom Development Story with an inside look at its development and some of the players involved.

Read Adobe’s Lightroom FAQ’s.

PhotoshopNews will be adding a Lightroom editorial catagory so PSN readers can keep up with news and info pertaining specifically to Adobe Lightroom.

Ian Lyons (our Leprish Iricon) has posted a Lightroom Preview

About Mark Hamburg:
Mark Hamburg was the second engineer hired to work on Photoshop-after Thomas Knoll. Mark actually interviewed at Adobe the same month that Photoshop was first released-February of 1990 but wasn’t brought on-board until the fall.

Mark has been responsible for both features and core architectural engineering since Photoshop version 2. Mark’s first feature implementation was Bezier curves added in 2.0. Mark was responsible for a major UI and usability overhaul for Photoshop 4.0 along with Andrei Herasimchuk–who returned to Adobe to initially team up with Mark for Shadowland. I worked with Mark extensively while he developed the Photoshop History feature for version 5.0.

Mark was named Photoshop Architect and was responsible for helping guide the direction of Photoshop through Photoshop version 7-after which he moved over to Adobe’s Digital Media Lab. Under the guidance of Greg Gilley, he started working on early experimental developmental versions of what would eventually become Shadowland/Lightroom back in 2002. He recruited the additional engineering help of many of the former Adobe ImageReady engineers (called the Minnesota Phats) from the Adobe Minneapolis office including Troy and Melissa Gaul.

Mark is married with two children and lives in Scotts Valley, CA. He has developed a keen interest in digital photography-one of the reasons he wanted to work toward developing an application for photographers. He is also an avid musician whose musical interests have lead to the code naming of a lot of the early Photoshop beta versions. His musical style might best be described as “Ambience“.

Listen to a short sample of Mark’s music: Dark Water (Coda)
from the CD The Evolution Of Desire (available only from Mark Hamburg).
(1.4 MB .mp3, run time 1:15 minutes)

Photo of Mark Hamburg by Jeff Schewe. Images shown in the Lightroom screen shots ©2005 by Jeff Schewe–all rights reserved.