DAVID R STONG: October 2007 Archives

more photoshop video

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Recently I heard that there was a problem using SnapzPro video as honest-to-goodness video instead of screen capture video: Bits and pieces of screen capture footage were needed in a promotional video, and screen captured video is made of square pixels while television video is made of rectangular pixels. When the Snapz captures were viewed in a professional video application like Final Cut, the image was distorted- stretched too wide or squashed to short- but unusable.

I knew that Photoshop has long been able to render images for television while the workspace remains on a monitor. In the background, Photoshop does the math to convert a circle I'm creating on square pixels to the ellipse it needs to be to appear round on rectangular pixels. Quite a feat, I think. I thought that, even though Photoshop isn't really a great video tool yet, it might have the algorithms to help.

I grabbed a few seconds of action on my monitor using SnapzPro which saved it as a Quicktime file. Next, I just dropped the Quicktime file onto Photoshop, and Photoshop opened it as a video object; square pixels still square. Next, from the Photoshop New Document dialog, I created a new file for Film and Video: an NTSC DV file that was 720 x 480 pixels in size. The important factor here is that the pixels Photoshop created looked square, but were actually D1/DV NTSC pixels. Little rectangles.

The next bit was magic: I clicked on the video object in the Quicktime file I had open in Photoshop and dragged it onto the new NTSC DV file. It went. It took a couple seconds, but it went. And it looked fine. I was even able to apply a free transform command to make the "image" smaller. Photoshop had allowed me to size and crop my Quicktime file while also converting to NTSC rectangular pixels. To me, that seems pretty cool. Especially considering that I have no idea what "NTSC" or "D1" mean

So while I had Photoshop open, I also opened Flash to see if I could get a feel for which application works best in different animation situations. In a little over a half hour I was able to generate a Flash animation of a multilayered Photoshop document that went smoothly into Flash with layers intact. I was able to export the final Flash animation as a Quicktime file, then open the movie in Photoshop. In Photoshop I added some layers, some text, some more animation, then exported the finished video as a Quicktime video.

...which, oddly enough, I converted to FLV (Flash Video) to stream from our streamin server. So check it out. No sound, really bad timing; no great production. But it's helping me understand the process. Maybe the implication is that good things may still be possible...

Flash/Photoshop work flow experiment.

More old stuff from SquareSpace

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This is old material (September 2006) transferred over from my defunct SquareSpace blog. I wanted to warehouse the drawings:

cartoon panel.

cartoon panel.

cartoon panel.

cartoon panel.

This was all roughed using the Wacom tablet in Photoshop. Nice potential; like pencil thumbnail roughs. Also, the storyline would have made a great set up for sketching across campus. Maybe in the summer...

Photoshop, 3D and me

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Screen cap of Photoshop 6.I've never been super-psyched by 3D modeling. A rendered model rarely appears in 3D, and I don't have much difficulty drawing the side of something that I'm seeing from the front or applying morning light to something that I'm seeing at noon. The times that I can really use a computer's ability to render or to light from any angle are when I need to put flat labels on curved products or compile an image from different objects shot at different angles and light conditions. Back around Photoshop 4, Adobe started including a little filter called 3D Transform, and it served those purposes when I really needed help. It's shown in the first three screen captures- all on a PC.

Screen cap of Photoshop 6.The filter wasn't a hack-perspective was accurate, and it easily beat anthing I could create using Spherize, Polar Coordinates, and Free Transform. Anybody wanting a 3D modeling environment would likely have been disappointed, but graphic designers appreciated what the filter did. Like many of Photoshop's filters, menus and tools, you don't often need them, but when you do, they're the right thing in the right place at the right time.

Screen cap of Photoshop 6.As my duties changed over time, my need for 3D Transform waned. Skills with other techniques allowed me to do what I needed without it. When Photoshop 8 (CS) was released, I didn't even notice that 3D Transform was gone. When I finally looked for it, I was shocked: I had to go online to discover that Adobe had stopped installing it with Photoshop, but still included it as a plug in "extra" on the installation disk. Then when Photoshop 9 (CS2) was released, I forgot all about it and never bothered to load the plug in. The new filter, Vanishing Point ,enabled me to do just about what ever I could imagine.

So flash forward another version. By now you've heard that Photoshop will open 3D objects. They come in as special layers very similar to Smart Objects. Double clicking the layer opens a brand new bank of 3D editing tools. Very cool, of course; you may have to wear an earring to access the tools. But as before, my needs, interests, or responsibilities would never lead me to model something that I would adjust in Photoshop. Though I can see how it could be useful, and I can tell that it's a pretty remarkable software enhancement, I probably would use it even less than 3D Transform. That is, until I saw that Vanishing Point will render to a 3D layer.

Screen cap of Photoshop 10, CS3.This is just a quick screen capture video with no polish- but hopefully it demonstrates some of this software's new power. Certainly there are new skills to hone, but there are new bars to leap, too.

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