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Adobe MAX Sneak Peeks

Adobe MAX Sneak Peeks

There's magic happening at the Nokia Theatre tonight as all the Adobe product teams show sneaks of what they're working on. The MAX attendees got to see things like HTML export from Flash, new ways to measure SWF performance, PixelBender3D, Flash Builder with a Live Design view, Video Tapestry, Photoshop magic and more.

This years sneaks (and MAX Awards) at MAX was going to be co-hosted by Leonard Nimoy from the StarTrek movies. Due to recent surgery, he was unable to attend but the audience was in for a treat! Who could better replace Leonard than the captain of the Enterprise? William Shatner entered the stage to standing ovations and this turned out to be some really great sneaks! Keep in mind that some of these sneaks may not make it into the product. This is really just a public showing of R&D at an early stage.

Rick Cabanier was first up on stage to show an early version of Flash to HTML5 conversion/export for Flash Professional. The exported HTML looked well structured and was easy to edit and the whole operation was done in a snap. A feature like this will make it really easy to make alternate versions of a site for devices that don't support Flash such as the iPad.


Kevin Goldsmith showing Pixel Bender 3D

Kevin is the engineering manager for the Adobe Image Foundation team, the team that develops the Pixel Bender language and GPU and multi-core image processing technologies for Adobe products. With the 3D api for the Flash Player coming up (Molehill), Adobe are working on tools to aid in the creation of shaders. PixelBender 3D allows you to create and export fragment shaders & vertex shaders for use in the Flash Player. Kevin showed how to create and export advanced shaders such as water with reflections so this is a tool to check out once it hits Adobe Labs.


Kevin presenting PixelBender3D. Note the StarTrek shirt that all presenters were wearing

Anirudh Sasikumar - Flash Builder live editing

Anirudh is on the Flash Builder team and he showed how a possible change to the Design View will let you run and modify you apps as it is running in the IDE.

You can toggle between live and static mode as you run the app so you navigate the app until you reach the state you want to change, click pause, do the change and then click play again to see the change live in the app! He showed instant updating of List Item Renderers and also added a button with a clickhandler that was then clickable and started working. You can also initiate debugging directly from Live view that then grabs the conditionals for that breakpoint from the apps current state. Very impressive stuff.


Dan Goldman - Video Tapestry

Dan is working in Adobe's Creative Technologies Lab - the arm that works on experimenting with advanced new technologies that often makes it into the products. A few years back this team showed us Content Aware fill and Seam Carving. This year they had taken on the problem of navigating video. Thay had come up with a too that was using Patch Match to build a tapestry (a strip of images) containing the relevant parts of images from the video. This automatically generated tapestry contains key images from the movie, but it's more than just a timeline. You can also Zoom in on the tapestry and doing so will reveal more images from the zoomed sequence, making it super easy to navigate to the key parts of the movie that you want to see. Dan also showed this as a live deom running on the Samsung Galaxy Tab in a player made by Veronique at MTVNetworks. Very impressive!


Note how the images picked contain faces and core imagery and not irrelevant parts of the movie

Sebastian Labs & Lalit Balchadani - Flash performance testing

Have you ever wondered what resources your SWF files are using while they play back? These guys showed a possible performance test-tool that allowed you to profile CPU and memory directly from Flash. It's implemented as a Flash authoring panel that analyze the movie frame by frame as it's playing. You send the swf from the IDE to a special browser app and this will display graphs that display performance as the movie is running in the browser. Not only could they do this on the desktop, but the also showed the same realtime debugging live on an Android device. Given how well progressed this sneak seamed, this feature is quite likely in a new version of Flash Professional.


Live performance monitoring of SWF files


Shilpi Khariwal - ColdFusion multiscreen demo

There is an internal rule in Adobe that says that anything you show during the sneaks have to be working code. You can't just fake someting up on stage and since this is all cutting edge things that are on a early Alpha stage, things may fail. Shilpi was really unlucky during her presentation where she showed upcoming features in ColdFusion. The first was the ability to grab device info so that you can serve up different content to mobile devices. The next was geolocation support via a new cfmap-tag and here things really failed.

To help her through the problems, William Shatner and the Adobe host chatted a bit while she was trying to make the demo work and she also got comforting advice from Shatner - "It's like a joke that does not work. You just go back and rework it." Shatner was fantastic during the sneaks and the whole show went really well.


Sylvain Paris - Photoshop whirlwind

This next demo was by far my favorite. Sylvain showed a couple applications running in X11 that can possibly make it into future versions of Photoshop. The first one can use other images as a model for image adjustments! If you have an image with a visual style that you would like to achieve, you just load it and the tool will tweak your images to get the same contrast, lighting, color style. This is one of those "you had to be there" moments but I just can't wait to get this in CS6!

He also showed a sick tool that could fix image brightness/exposure errors. He showed examples of images that had too little contrast/exposure and how this tool could more or less fully restore the picture to what you would have wanted it to be. That's just crazy as he is kind of restoring information that isn't present in the image and so was the next demo! He could remove motion from a blurred image. It's actually an Unblur command! I can't wait to get this!


Possible new Photoshop features sneaked at MAX

David Durkee - Typography of code

David presented some good ideas on how to advance from the current code editors that use same-size monospace fonts to use richer editors that use fonts, color and sizing to make it easier to navigate the code. He showed a prototype called DLEdit and while a slow start, this made more and more sense as he progressed through his demo.


Hartmut Warncke - Noise to meaning

This demo was also very impressive. Navigating video is always hard but what if you could search for sounds within video? By analyzing the video you will get a timeline that shows where this sound occurs in the movie! This data may also be exported as actionscript cuepoints so you can use these in your video player to trigger things.


Notice the small dots below the video? That's where the sounds searched for appear in the video!

Tinic Uro - Stage video

In Flash Player 10, Adobe started to use the GPU in modern graphics cards for decoding h264 video. In an upcoming version, the Flash Player will also get a possibility to play back the video using the GPU and this is what Adobe calls "Stage Video". Stage Video is a video object that is pulled out of the DisplayList and put behind the other Flash content. By doing this it's possible to increase the performance massively (as shown on Flash On The Beach).

Tinic said that they will take Stage Video to more than just desktop. Tinic showed demos on both low powered Netbook and Macbook Air. On the Macbook Air he played HD video with a Flash overlay that was using only 7-8% of the cpu as it played. Tinic said that they will take Stage Video to more than just desktop so this is going to make all those small computers able to play back video very smoothly. He ended by showing a new feature that he said "may be a little over the top". He then showed a 4k video playing in Flash at full framerate! This is iMax resolution people! Adobe Flash Player - coming to a silver screen near you soon...


Stage-video will always place itself behind the Flash content

MAX Awards

Before the sneaks were the MAX Awards. This is the list of this years winners and a special congratulation to the people behind Litl, that we interviewed recently.

  • Advertising & Branding: The Secret Annex Online by Anne Frank House and LBi Amsterdam
  • Digital Publishing: The Complete National Geographic Updated by The National Geographic Society and Effective UI
  • Enterprise/Government Rich Internet Application: Reuters Insider by Thomson Reuters
  • Entertainment: HBO Go by HBO
  • Multiscreen: litl channels by litl
  • Social Computing: Bamboo Dock by Wacom Europe GmbH with Gugga and Fantasy Interactive


@chuckstar receiving the prize for Litl


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