Posts with «software» label

Adobe brings Photoshop and Illustrator to the web

Adobe has announced that it's taken "a major step forward for collaboration" by bringing its Photoshop and Illustrator apps to the web. The idea is not to do let you do complex work from a web page, but allow collaborators to open and view your work from a browser to provide comments and feedback — much as you can with a Google Doc. 

It's currently possible to store your work in Adobe's Creative Cloud and let anyone open it from anywhere, but they need to have the desktop or iPad app. Now with Photoshop or Illustrator, your colleagues "can review and add comments right in the browser without having to download apps or have a Creative Cloud subscription," Adobe notes. That means you could show your work directly to ad agency or other clients who don't need or want Adobe's products. 


On top of the basic collaboration tools, Adobe is preview some basic browser editing tools that would allow you to make "minor tweaks and quick edits" without having to launch the full Illustrator or Photoshop apps. Those include things like selection, minor color correction and more. 

Taking a page from Microsoft Teams, Klaxoon and similar apps, Adobe is also launching "Creative Cloud Spaces" that allows creative teams to bring "content, context and people together to one place," according to Adobe. That's essentially a whiteboard available to project members, showing documents, images and whatever else is required. 

You can start sharing Photoshop and Illustrator work via the web, for the purpose of commenting and feedback, simply by updating the latest versions of the apps dropping today. If you want to try the basic editing capabilities, they're available via beta for Photoshop (within the Creative Cloud app) or as a private beta for Illustrator. You can request access for the latter here

Adobe adds automatic sky and subject masking to Lightroom

At its annual Max conference, Adobe detailed some enhancements that are coming to its Lightroom and Lightroom Classic software suites. To start, the company is introducing a “re-envisioned” set of selective adjustment tools. Set to make their way to all devices where you can access Lightroom and Lightroom Classic, the tools are accessible via a newly added masking button. Much like you can do in Photoshop, they allow you to create multiple masks, including color and luminance ones. In turn, those will allow you to make precise adjustments to specific parts of a photo.


Of course, individually masking elements of an image can be time-consuming, and so Adobe is also introducing an AI-powered tool that can automatically detect the select the subject and sky in your photos. In addition to rolling out to Lightroom Classic and Lightroom on Mac and PC, this is coming to select Android and iOS devices. And that’s where Adobe envisions it being the most useful since it should help with editing on a smaller screen.

If you like to start your edits with a preset, a new recommendation engine in Lightroom for Mac, Windows and mobile will suggest ones based on the subject of your photos. The presets will come from the Lightroom community, so you can expect to find “hundreds of thousands,” according to the company. Additionally, Adobe is introducing eight new premium presets, adding to the seven it released previously. Those are available to use in all versions of Lightroom.


To make cropping easier on Lightroom for Mac and Windows, Adobe has added the option to select a variety of overlays for different aspect ratios. Some of the options on this front include thirds, golden ratio and diagonal.

Lastly, the company is introducing a new feature in Lightroom for Mac and Windows called Community Remix. It allows you to upload a photo edit and invite other photographers to take it in a different direction. Adobe says it plans to bring Community Remix to other versions of Lightroom in the future.

Adobe says it will begin rolling out all of the above updates starting today. They should become available to everyone by the end of the week. At its Adobe Max conference, the company also detailed updates for Fresco, Photoshop and other apps.

Adobe adds motion, reference layers and more to its Fresco painting app

Adobe Fresco has given artists and designers the ability to draw and paint with lifelike digital materials for two years now. Last fall, the company expanded the app to iPhone, but this year the updates are much more robust. With the additions announced today at its annual Adobe Max design conference, the company gives its free-to-use drawing and painting app handy tools that expand how and what artists are able to create. 

First, Adobe is adding motion to Fresco. This gives artists and designers the option to add timelines and motion frames to individual layers. The company explains that this allows you to assign specific movement to each element. Adobe says you can also draw paths for objects to follow and the goal is to keep things simple so the concept of motion is approachable for all skill levels. 

Next, the company is adding reference layers to Fresco. This should help speed up the process when you need to add color to line art. Once you set the reference layer, you can begin working on a separate layer for fills. Fresco will still recognize the lines on the original layer without applying edits to it. This will work if your reference layer is vector or pixels and keeps your original drawing intact.  

Adobe/Kyle Webster

Vector brushes are already available in Fresco, but Adobe is expanding that library to include a new set with "jitter." Basically, these brushes will help you quickly give drawings texture. Lines are still sharp, but there's variation in the stroke for a more naturally drawn look. As always, vector brushes are infinitely scalable and can be combined with pixel brushes in the same Fresco file. 

Lastly, Adobe is helping you keep your perspective correct with new guides. Perspective grids will help you keep illustrations looking realistic when it's time to add depth. You can set vanishing points anywhere, even off the the artboard, and lines will snap to the grids as you work. Adobe says this should allow artists and designers to focus more on art and less on the heavy lifting.  

Adobe Fresco is free for anyone to use on iPhone, iPad and Windows without a Creative Cloud subscription. There are more tools available if you do pay for Adobe's apps, like access to an expanded library of brushes. 

macOS Monterey is out now without SharePlay

Apple has at long last released the latest major version of its Mac operating system, macOS Monterey. While it's perhaps a more modest update than in previous years, there are some significant changes in some areas of the OS.

The redesigned Safari might be the most obvious transformation for many users. Apple initially planned to remove the tabs bar before it thankfully saw sense and decided to leave it as is in a later developer preview. The bar will match the color of the web page you're viewing, and there are some new features, such as Tab Groups.

Apple has overhauled FaceTime in macOS Monterey too. It works a little more like other conference calling software, in that you can start a call and then invite other people. This includes folks using Android or Windows devices through the new FaceTime web app. In addition, M1 Macs will support spatial audio for FaceTime and other features through AirPods and AirPods Max.

Elsewhere, macOS Monterey adds the Focus Modes seen in iOS 15 and iPadOS 15, Quick Notes, Shortcuts and a new-look Maps app. Live Text, Apple's answer to Google Lens, is another new tool at macOS users' disposal.

SharePlay, the feature that lets people sync streaming videos and music with friends, isn't available just yet on macOS, but Apple rolled it out on iPhone today as part of iOS 15.1. You'll also need to wait a little longer for Universal Control, which brings Mac and iPad together. You can move your cursor from one to the other and drag files between devices. SharePlay and Universal Control will arrive on macOS later this fall.

Discord now displays more detailed information about the EA games your friends are playing

For a while now, Discord has offered a feature called Rich Presence. It’s an API developers can use to connect their games to Discord and make it easier to jump into them from the chat app. We’ve mostly seen studios add the integration to individual titles, but now EA is doing it at the launcher level.

Starting today, its EA app will allow you to connect your Discord account. Once you link the two together, your Discord contacts will not only see that game you’re playing through the EA app but they’ll also know how long you’ve been at it and the specific game mode you’re in at the moment. They’ll also see if you’re ready to group up to play something different. That last point is important since it might help push your friends to play a game they hadn’t planned to when they first launched Discord.

You can connect your accounts by navigating to the settings menu in the EA app, and then clicking on “My account” followed by “Connected accounts.”

Google Meet moderation gets easier with audio mute locks

Back at the start of the year, Google gave Meet hosts the ability to mute everyone in a call all at once. Now, the company has a solution for situations that require more nuance and control. It’s introducing an audio and video lock feature that allows hosts to turn off the microphones and cameras of select participants, in which case they can’t turn them back on until they’re allowed to do so again. 

Anyone using a version of Meet on Android or iOS that does not support audio and video locks will be removed from the call if the host enables the feature. If they try to join one such call, they’ll also be prompted to update their app. Google has begun rolling out the tool to rapid release domains today. Scheduled release domains will start getting access to it beginning on November 1st. The locks should be particularly useful for corraling rowdy participants, but some hosts may also find it helpful for encouraging specific individuals to participate more often. 

AMD and Microsoft issue fixes for Ryzen CPU slowdowns on Windows 11

Shortly after Microsoft released Windows 11 earlier this month, AMD warned that the OS could slow down apps on systems with Ryzen processors. The chipmaker promised to fix the bugs, and now AMD and Microsoft have issued patches that should do just that.

The latest chipset driver (version should take care of the UEFI CPPC2 issue, which in some cases didn't "preferentially schedule threads on a processor’s fastest core," AMD said. That could have slowed down apps that are sensitive to CPU thread performance. AMD noted that the problem was likely more noticeable in more powerful processors with more than eight cores and 65W or higher Thermal Design Power (TDP).

Meanwhile, Microsoft is rolling out a software update tackling a bug that increased L3 cache latency. The issue impacted apps that need quick memory access, which in turn caused CPUs to slow down by up to 15 percent. The patch, Windows 11 update KB5006746, will be available starting today, but at the time of writing, a page containing instructions for installing it isn't yet live. You should be able to install it via Windows Update too.

Google cuts Play Store fees for subscriptions and music streaming apps

Google is cutting Play Store service fees for more developers. The company currently charges a 30 percent commission for the first 12 months of a recurring subscription, which drops to 15 percent after the first year. Starting on January 1st, Google will lower the service fee to 15 percent from day one. The company said it's making the change because developers say "customer churn makes it challenging for subscription businesses to benefit from that reduced rate."

Elsewhere, fees for music streaming apps and e-books will be as low as 10 percent. "The new rates recognize industry economics of media content verticals and make Google Play work better for developers and the communities of artists, musicians and authors they represent," Sameer Samat, vice president of product management for Android and Google Play, wrote in a blog post. The service fees for apps "primarily offering video, audio or books in which users pay to consume content" will be between 10 and 15 percent if they meet certain conditions as part of the Play Media Experience Program.

Earlier this year, Google reduced its Play Store fees from 30 percent to 15 percent for the first $1 million in annual income that an app generates. The company said that move would cut the fees that 99 percent of Android developers pay the company by half.

Apple has also slashed App Store fees in certain cases over the last two years. Apps that make under $1 million in annual revenue, news organizations who use Apple News and some streaming video services give Apple 15 percent of payments rather than the standard 30 percent. However, as CNBC notes, Apple still takes a 30 percent slice of subscriptions for the first year before lowering its cut to 15 percent, so Google's making its move before Apple this time around.

Google and Apple have been facing more intense antitrust scrutiny over their app stores in recent times. Dozens of state attorneys general filed suit against Google in July, in which they accused the company of maintaining a monopoly over Android app distribution.

Both companies are tangled up in litigation with Epic Games as well. Apple largely won its case against Epic, though it asked for a stay in the sole ruling in Epic's favor: a requirement to let App Store developers direct users to alternate forms of making payments. Google, meanwhile, countersued Epic this month for bypassing fees on in-app purchases and allegedly violating the Play Store developer agreement.

The Morning After: Will Facebook change its name?

So, will Facebook pull the trigger and change its name? Maybe it's an attempt to dominate the conversation around the, ugh, metaverse, which has been around for years, perhaps to follow Google’s own reorganization around Alphabet or to simply create some distance from all the negative publicity, sentiment and impressions that Facebook is now associated with.

If the change is metaverse related, it could be very important to the company’s unreleased social virtual reality world called Horizon Worlds.

The funniest take I’ve seen, from Time’s Alex Fitzpatrick, is that Facebook is doing it just to meddle with people that write about the company, like how we remind readers that Google is now just a facet of the bigger Alphabet entity, a bullet point that we sometimes have to mention.

— Mat Smith

Is Apple’s M1 Max really the fastest laptop chip ever?

Apple is making some big promises with its new Macbook Pro chips


This week’s Upscaled show is all about Apple’s promises with its newest chips. The new M1 Pro and M1 Max bump the core count to eight high-performance and two low-power cores and add 16, 24 or 32 GPU cores. With twice the high-performance CPUs and up to four times the GPU cores as the original M1, these chips should be incredibly fast. Could Apple offer a compelling laptop option for gamers?

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Netflix CEO says he 'screwed up' on Dave Chappelle as employees stage walk out

But Ed Sarandos continues to stand by the Chappelle special.

Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos said he "screwed up" communication with employees following backlash over Dave Chappelle's The Closer, according to a report from Variety.

He also stood by the show, saying the company heavily values "artistic expression." His comments come just ahead of a planned walkout today organized by LGBTQ+ staffers, creatives and allies.

As part of the walkout, employees will reportedly have a list of demands for Netflix, and Sarandos has been meeting them to hear their views. He said that while the company is "deeply committed to inclusion," it's equally committed to "supporting artistic freedom with the creators who work at Netflix."

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Some Windows 11 users can start testing Android apps

Only a handful of apps will be available at first.


Microsoft has released an Insider Preview beta that enables the Amazon Appstore and support for running Android apps within Windows. Only 50 apps are available as part of the initial test (such as the Kindle app, Lords Mobile and Lego Duplo World), but Microsoft is promising more in the "coming months."

The aim, as before, is to make Android apps feel like they belong in Windows 11. You can multitask, check notifications and use Windows accessibility features. Mouse and keyboard input is available, but many apps will predictably benefit from a touchscreen.

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DJI's new cinema camera has a built-in gimbal and LiDAR focus system

The LiDAR should offer 'sharper, faster and more reliable focusing.'


DJI has revealed the Ronin 4D, a new cinema camera system with a built-in 4-axis gimbal, 8K resolution and LiDAR rangefinder that promises "sharper, faster and more reliable focusing." With a price starting at $7,199, it's clearly aimed at the professionals, but we can all dream, right?

The Zenmuse X9 camera is exclusively for the Ronin 4D. It's available either in a 6K model that can handle 6K at 60 fps and 4K at 120 fps, and there’s the 8K 75 fps version. It can capture files in RAW, ProRes or H.264, allowing maximum flexibility in production. DJI claims 14 stops of dynamic range, and it should be good in low-light thanks to the dual-native 800/5000 ISO.

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‘Cyberpunk 2077' PS5 and Xbox Series X/S upgrades delayed until 2022

CDPR also postponed its upgraded version of 'The Witcher 3.'

Despite CD Projekt Red insisting at the beginning of September it was still on track to release the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S versions of Cyberpunk 2077 by the end of the year, that's no longer the case. The developer now plans to ship the console and PC upgrades for the same game in the first quarter of 2022 (i.e. by the end of March).

In its financial report for the first half of 2021, CDPR included a chart suggesting that around a third of its development staff was working on Cyberpunk 2077 support and the current-gen version as of June 30th.

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Windows 11 beta users can start testing Android apps

You finally have a chance to try Android apps in Windows 11 — provided you're willing to live on the bleeding edge for a while. Microsoft has released an Insider Preview beta that enables the Amazon Appstore and support for running Android apps within Windows. Only 50 curated apps are available as part of the initial test (such as the Kindle app, Lords Mobile and Lego Duplo World), but Microsoft is promising more in the "coming months."

The aim, as before, is to make Android apps feel like they belong in Windows 11. You can multitask, check notifications and use Windows accessibility features. Mouse and keyboard input is available, although many apps will unsurprisingly benefit from a touchscreen.

The beta is only available in the US for compatible devices using AMD, Intel and Qualcomm chips. This won't do much to satisfy those frustrated that Android apps weren't available on launch. You'll still have to wait a while before an official release, let alone an Amazon catalog large enough to make a meaningful difference. It's a start, though, and it suggests the delay won't be as long as you might have feared.