Current Issue
This Month's Print Issue

Follow Fast Company

We’ll come to you.

01.28.17 | 1:50 am

Let us now praise MacroMind Director

Today, I read that Adobe is discontinuing its venerable Director multimedia authoring package and Shockwave, the technology used to put Director content on the web. After work, I went out for dinner at a shabu-shabu joint and—San Francisco being a small town—found myself sitting a table away from Marc Canter, the industry legend who cofounded MacroMind, the company that created Director back in the the 1980s. (Director was originally called Videoworks; MacroMind later evolved into Macromedia before being swallowed up by Adobe, its archrival.)

I took the opportunity to ask Canter for his thoughts about Director, which was born in the pre-web era when CD-ROMs seemed to be the future. He told me that 85% of the CD-ROMs published in the medium's golden age were assembled using the package. "You'd buy this $800 product and hang a shingle and make multi-millions," he said.

Canter also lamented that Director doesn't receive the same appreciation for its pioneering role in interactive content creation as does Apple's HyperCard, which appeared two years after Videoworks and had a much briefer period of relevance. He's right. Even though Director long ago faded away, it gave way to Flash, which was rendered irrelevant by HTML5—and it deserves a spot on any list of the most significant foundational technologies of all time.   

[Director screen via MacGUI]

10.26.16 | 12:12 pm

It’s good to be Adobe right now

It's always good to be Adobe, maker of arguably the best creative design tools out there. That's especially true in an environment where hardware makers like Apple and Microsoft are focused on making products that allow for really detailed, complex digital illustration. This year Microsoft bestowed on creatives a faster Surface Pro 4 while Apple gave us the iPad Pro and pressure-sensitive stylus Pencil. Now Microsoft has launched the equivalent of an artist's easel with its Surface Studio. That means even more places to get your creative juices flowing with Adobe's signature software.

06.21.16 | 9:01 am

A cool Photoshop feature just moved from mobile back to the desktop

Last December, I wrote about face-aware liquify, a Photoshop feature based on some seriously sophisticated image-processing technology. It identifies facial features such as eyes and mouths, then lets you easily tweak them using sliders so that someone in a photo has big, soulful eyes or a more winning smile. And it debuted first in Adobe's Photoshop Fix mobile app, in a major departure from the era when Photoshop's tablet and phone variants were pretty much just dumbed-down versions of their desktop predecessors.

Now face-aware liquify is arriving in Photoshop for Macs and Windows PCs. It's part of the new update to Adobe's pay-as-you-go Creative Cloud service, which also includes new features such as content-aware cropping (which can fill in white space at the corners when you rotate an image) and the ability to identify fonts in an image and help you acquire a particular typeface or an approximation thereof. The company has also more deeply embedded the stock photography market it launched a year ago, in hopes of making purchasing its images so simple that it's downright irresistible.