Dec 28, 2006

The Secret Life of Smart Filters

John Nack is on a roll…I can tell it’s holiday time at Adobe because John must be really bored-no engineers to push around. He’s posting a lot of interesting things on his blog, John Nack on Adobe. The most recent post is The Secret Life of Smart Filters.

John talks a bit about the history of how Smart Filters came about and why the previous incarnation called “Filter Layers” was yanked from Photoshop CS1 during development because, well, they didn’t work real good (ok, they sucked on a performance level). Based upon what the dev team learned about Filter Layers, a Photoshop CS2 feature called Smart Objects was born. Now in Photoshop CS3, re-editable filters have reappeared called Smart Filters.


I particularly enjoyed his explanation (defense?) of the name “Smart Objects”:

Okay, about the name: I technically work in marketing, but I hate cheesy names, and making everything “live” this or “smart” that starts to have a whiff of fromage to it. Finding a simple, factual name proved difficult for a feature that’s really general–one that enables, among other things:

  • Turning one or more layers into something that can be scaled, rotated, or warped losslessly
  • Creating multiple instances, all of which update when one is edited
  • Preserving complex vector data & re-editing it in Illustrator
  • Preserving raw data & re-editing it in Camera Raw
  • Potentially enabling linking to external files
  • Potentially lots more that I can’t get into here/now

So, we went with a pretty generic name–”Smart Objects.”

John plans additional posts about the challenges involved in making Smart Objects easier to use, so keep checking his blog…
For additional information regarding Smart Filters, check out Russell Brown’s Smart Filters QT Movie.


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