Subject: General Tech | January 23, 2019 - 09:16 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: Adobe, allegorithmic
In a modern 3D workflow, it’s common to paint materials onto a model from a library. The artist could, for instance, place apply an iron base to their geometry before painting a rust material atop certain sections of it. There can also be stencils of paint and so forth. The software package that they use then bakes those materials into PBR textures that a game engine can combine to recreate the look of the material.
The former, Allegorithmic, was just purchased by Adobe for an undisclosed amount. Adobe plans to “incorporate Allegorithmic’s Substance tools into Creative Cloud over the coming months” but the subscriptions are (at least as far as I can tell) unchanged for now. The logo changed, but that’s about it.
As a bit of an aside, Allegorithmic just announced RTX support for light baking in their Substance Suite. I haven't used it myself, but I've heard that it works well.
Image Credit: Allegorithmic. Model by Glauco Longhi.
The reaction to this announcement is a bit all over the map. Naturally GIMP responded by tweeting out that people should donate to Blender – which is a good idea, but using proprietary tools is okay, too. It’s not like the tools are required to use the products going forward, as is the case with an operating system. There was also some non-specific complaints on Twitter about the software being absorbed into Adobe. At the same time, there’s been some excitement from those who have at least one subscription to Adobe and/or Allegorithmic already. (I am in this group.)
I am curious what will happen to their Linux support when being absorbed by Adobe, however. Mac and Windows should not change any time soon, but Allegorithmic serves Linux and Adobe is historically flippant about the penguin. Hopefully that will continue.
So it looks like the 3D painting suite is coming to Creative Cloud with a time frame of “over the coming months”. What are your thoughts?
Subject: Graphics Cards | October 18, 2018 - 08:57 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: Adobe, nvidia
The Adobe MAX conference took place earlier this week. It consisted of several keynotes, live streams, workshops, breakout sessions, announcements, and it aligned with an update to several Creative Cloud applications.
One such announcement is that NVIDIA RTX is coming to Adobe Dimension CC.
While the application has not exactly taken off yet, it is interesting to see Adobe and/or NVIDIA put the engineering into bringing their ray-tracing units to it. First, for its audience, the speed boost (and thus increased preview size) should make the experience much better. Second, if NVIDIA helped with the engineering effort, which I suspect they did, then it suggests that they are hoping to bring RTX basically everywhere. I’m curious to see who else gets RTX support. Fingers crossed for an announcement at BlenderCon next week. I shouldn’t hold my breath, but I am.
So, for gamers, RTX content is still pretty-much MIA, as is constantly reported. The same is mostly true for professionals… but that might change soon. We’ll need to see.
Subject: General Tech | October 21, 2017 - 05:13 PM | Scott Michaud
One of the highlights of the Adobe MAX show is their Sneaks segment, where they show off cute demos from their research labs. Some, but not all of these end up in future products. They can be related to any product category, from audio editing to photo touch up to video. This one was hosted by Kumail Nanjiani, a comedian and actor on HBO’s Silicon Valley, and Paul Trani of Adobe.
For a complete list, check out their blog post, but I’ll highlight some that interest me.
First, Project Cloak is like content-aware fill, but for video. Using a command-line tool, because research projects are research projects, the algorithm follows a mask as it moves over time. It then performs content-aware fill on this mask, and it does so in a way that tries to look natural from frame-to-frame. About two-thirds of the way through the clip, you see a backpack strap be removed, even as lighting conditions change throughout the environment. They then remove the whole people from the scene because why not.
Second, Project Sidewinder allows 3D VR video to be viewed from slightly different angles. If you play PC games, then you will probably notice the effect devolve like parallax occlusion mapping does, but that’s not its goal. The human brain tracks the tiny movements of the head and uses it to build a 3D environment in our mind. Since these movements are tiny, it should stay within the believable tolerance and enhance the immersion... from a stationary, pre-recorded camera.
Third, Project Scene Stitch. This one looks very practical, and it seems like something Adobe will want to roll out. Content-aware fill is an algorithm that looks at your selection, tries to find other places on the image that is compatible, and pastes from there into the fill. Project Scene Stitch is similar, except that it crawls through Adobe Stock (using their Adobe Sensei deep-learning algorithm) to find parts of other images that are compatible. They joke about how it breaks down in certain situations, but I could definitely see this being a part of their Adobe Stock push going forward.
Subject: Systems | October 1, 2017 - 10:41 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: amd, Adobe
AMD is bundling two months of Adobe Creative Cloud with a selection of PCs, ranging from Ryzen-enabled desktops to APU-enabled laptops and all-in-ones. There are also two other bundles available: ~$40 of Square Enix Collective indie games, and a 3-month subscription to Adobe Creative Cloud Photography (Photoshop and Lightroom). This started a couple of months ago, but it looks like AMD didn’t make too big of a deal out of it, so I decided that a late post is better than none.
As for the value of the deal? Eh. Two months of Creative Cloud is quite good from a value perspective -- about a hundred US dollars. That said, a free trial from Adobe is a month, and that's on a per-application basis, so you could also see it as “just a double-length free trial”. (Possibly a triple-length if you can use the free trial first, then redeem the Creative Cloud subscription for an extra two. I’m not sure, though, but the redemption period ends on December 31st so it might be possible.)
The list of applicable products and OEMs, as well as other terms and conditions, is available on AMD’s website.
Subject: General Tech | July 31, 2017 - 01:11 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: flash, Adobe, bad idea, open source
Just when you thought it was safe, there is a group who are attempting to ensure that Adobe Flash never dies, just like the killer from a horror movie in the 80's and 90's. These poor misguided fools feel that by making Flash open source, the community will be able to salve the open sores which Flash is covered in. If you can pass a sanity check, you might wonder why anyone would want to keep this application alive. It would seem that the developer who started this petition on GitHub because "Flash is an important piece of Internet history and killing Flash means future generations can't access the past,". One could make the same argument about Geocities and sound roughly as coherent. You can pop over to The Inquirer for a name, as well as a link to the petition.
"A LOYAL but misguided fool has started a petition in the hope of convincing Adobe to take Flash's source code into the open source."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- It Is Easy To Expose Users' Secret Web Habits, Say Researchers @ Slashdot
- The complete history of the IBM PC, part two: The DOS empire strikes @ Ars Technica
- Microsoft won't patch SMBv1 flaw that only an idiot would expose @ The Register
- Microsoft's Windows 10 subsystem for Linux is out of beta @ The Inquirer
- Yeehaw! And welcome to another rootin'-tootin' storage pony wrangling @ The Register
- OpenGL 4.6 Released With Vulkan/SPIR-V Ingestion, Parallel Shader Compiles & Finally AF @ Phoronix
Subject: General Tech | July 27, 2017 - 10:13 PM | Scott Michaud
It’s been a long time in the making, but Adobe, Mozilla, Microsoft, Google, Apple, and others will completely end-of-life Flash Player by the end of 2020. Adobe will not update or even distribute the player after that point, and the browser vendors will block the plug-in. Until then, however, Adobe will continue to ship updates that improve security, fix bugs, and even possibly add features.
Tilt your head 90-degrees left and you'll see why I chose this icon.
Now if only we could agree on a date for IPv6.
Subject: General Tech | December 13, 2016 - 02:47 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: google, chrome, Adobe, flash
Google is about to begin transitioning their users away from Flash, unless they explicitly enable it on a site-by-site basis. This is a step beyond click-to-activate, which refuses to activate the plug-in until the user permits it, that will not even acknowledge the plug-in’s existence unless the user requests it. The difference is that this tells sites to treat the browser as not having Flash, which, for PC Perspective as an example, should load our HTML5 article carousel instead of presenting a click-to-activate Flash one that has an expanding oval transition animation.
Because changes like these could have side-effects, Google is dipping their toe before jumping in. About 1% of users on the current Chrome 55 (and ~50% of Chrome 56 pre-release users) will have this change flipped on any day now, which contains the outrage if it breaks something popular or, otherwise, causes user grief. If it all goes well, though, it will be enabled for everyone when Chrome 56 arrives for the general public in February.
Subject: General Tech | November 8, 2016 - 03:00 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: voco, stylit, premiere pro, clovervr, audition, Adobe
At their annual MAX show, Adobe hosts a keynote called “Sneak Peeks”. Some of theses contain segments that are jaw-dropping. For instance, there was an experimental plug-in at Adobe MAX 2011 that analyzed how a camera moved while its shutter was open, and used that data to intelligently reduce the resulting motion blur from the image. Two years later, the technology eventually made its way into Photoshop. If you're wondering, the shadowy host on the right was Rainn Wilson from the US version of The Office, which should give some context to the humor.
While I couldn't find a stream of this segment as it happened, Adobe published three videos after-the-fact. The keynote was co-hosted by Jordan Peele and, while I couldn't see her listed anywhere, I believe the other co-host is
Elissa Dunn Scott from Adobe. ((Update, November 8th @ 12pm EST: Turns out I was wrong, and it was Kim Chambers from Adobe. Thanks Anonymous commenter!))
The first (and most popular one to be reported on) is VoCo, which is basically an impressive form of text-to-speech. Given an audio waveform of a person talking, you are able to make edits by modifying the transcript. In fact, you are even able to write content that wasn't even in the original recording, and the plug-in will synthesize it based on what it knows of that person's voice. They claim that about 20 minutes of continuous speech is required to train the plug-in, so it's mostly for editing bloopers in audio books and podcasts.
In terms of legal concerns, Adobe is working on watermarking and other technologies to prevent spoofing. Still, it proves that the algorithm is possible (and on today's hardware) so I'm sure that someone else, if they weren't already working on it, might be now, and they might not be implementing the same protections. This is not Adobe's problem, of course. A company can't (and shouldn't be able to) prevent society from inventing something (although I'm sure the MPAA would love that). They can only research it themselves, and be as ethical with it as they can, or sit aside while someone else does it. Also, it's really on society to treat the situations correctly in the first place.
Moving on to the second demo: Stylit. This one is impressive in its own way, although not quite as profound. Basically, using a 2D drawing of a sphere, an artist can generate a material that can be applied to a 3D render. Using whatever they like, from pencil crayons to clay, the image will define the color and pattern of the shading ramp on the sphere, the shadow it casts, the background, and the floor. It's a cute alternating to mathematically-generated cell shading materials, and it even works in animation.
I guess you could call this a... 3D studio to the MAX... ... Mayabe?
The Stylit demo is available for free at their website. It is based on CUDA, and requires a fairly modern card (they call out the GTX 970 specifically) and a decent webcam (C920) or Android smartphone.
Lastly, CloverVR is and Adobe Premiere Pro interface in VR. This will seem familiar if you were following Unreal Engine 4's VR editor development. Rather than placing objects in a 3D scene, though, it helps the editor visualize what's going on in their shot. The on-stage use case is to align views between shots, so someone staring at a specific object will cut to another object without needing to correct with their head and neck, which is unnecessarily jarring.
Annnd that's all they have on their YouTube at the moment.
Subject: General Tech | November 1, 2016 - 12:49 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: Adobe, linux, mozilla
Apparently I missed this the first time around, but Adobe has decided to continue supporting the NPAPI version of Flash Player on Linux. They have just released their second update, Flash Player 24 Beta, on October 28th for both 32- and 64-bit platforms. Before September, Adobe was maintaining Flash Player 11.2 with security updates. Adobe has also extended NPAPI support beyond 2017, which was supposed to be the original cut-off for that plug-in architecture on Linux, and pledge to keep “major version numbers in sync”.
This took me by surprise. Browser vendors, even Mozilla, have been deprecating NPAPI for a while. Plug-ins are unruly from a security and performance standpoint, and they would much rather promote the Web standards that they work so hard to implement, rather than being a window frame around someone else's proprietary platform.
So what are Adobe thinking? Well, they claim that this “is primarily a security initiative”. As such, it would make sense that, possibly, and again I'm an outsider musing here, the gap between now and 11.2 was large enough that it would be easier to just maintain two branches.
Whatever the reason, Flash on Linux is continuing to be supported for all browsers. If you find yourself at the intersection of Linux, Firefox, and hobbyist-developed Tower Defense games, you can pick up the latest plug-in at Adobe Labs.
Subject: General Tech | June 4, 2016 - 10:55 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: windows 10, uwp, Adobe
So a company, who refuses to port its applications to Linux, is experimenting with UWP for future products. Adobe's Experience Design (XD) CC is going to arrive on Windows later this year, and a representative from Adobe claimed on Twitter that it will use Microsoft's UWP platform. Granted, we're not talking about something like Photoshop or After Effects, but rather a UX mock-up tool, sort-of along the lines of Pencil Project.
It's unclear whether UWP will be a choice.
The logo looks like it's laughing at us with its tongue out.
I still find UWP a concern as Microsoft, while responding to some feedback, still has some key restrictions in play that limit free sharing. Until it becomes technically (or legally) unfeasible for Microsoft to lock down the platform, there will always be the concern that they could, for instance, revoke people's ability to develop software or remove (or prevent installation) of existing software. Even if they don't want to do it themselves, someone with authority over them may just compel it, such as a government who is against encryption.
If you build it, someone will abuse it. The only thing preventing Microsoft from realizing their Windows RT vision, if they still choose to, is the popularity of Win32 applications and how incompatible they are with that framework. We, as a society, want them to remain popular enough that Microsoft cannot afford to abandon it. They want to. They hate the stigma that Windows is where viruses are. That's reasonable, but they're not just throwing out the bathwater.
As an aside: they also want a platform that is less reliant upon x86, and could be recompiled for other hardware if Intel doesn't go where Microsoft wants to be. This is kind-of ironic if you think about it.