All aboard the Carousel - Adobe talks us through its cross-platform sharing service
When Adobe Carousel was announced, back in September 2011, the initial responses were that it looked like an expensive cloud storage service. Adobe's ambitions for the system are much greater than this, though - we spoke to Chris Quek, Senior Product Marketing Manager, about what Carousel offers and where it might go next.
The basic idea of the service is to make it possible to view and edit all of your images on any of your devices. To achieve this, Carousel exists as a series of apps that are used to interact with the cloud-based storage that underpins the service.
'Tablets and smartphones are changing people's workflows - we wanted to create something that allows you to use these as part of your workflow and always have access to the images, whichever device you decide to use.'
'There are a lot of people with huge catalogues of images - maybe tens of thousands of photos, usually on their hard drive or some kind of backup. It's very hard to connect and get access to all of these on your tablet or smartphone. It's also really difficult to share a large library of images. And, when you get on to your mobile device, there's a very different user experience. That can be a real barrier to productivity and causes a lot of frustration.'
'We wanted to get away from the need to physically connect one device to another or consciously have to remember to sync your images.'
All your images, anywhere on any device
'We asked ourselves "what do people want?" and concluded that they wanted to be able to access their entire library on all devices. They wanted a common set of tools that let them do what they want to achieve. And they want to be able to share that catalogue. And we wanted to make all of this as easy-to-use as possible - simple to set up and easy to use. If it's difficult, most people won't do it at all.'
'But although we've tried to make it easy to use, we haven't dumbed-down the experience - we've taken our imaging processing technology for desktop computers and optimized it for mobile devices.' And he is insistent that corners haven't been cut to accommodate the less powerful processors used in mobile devices. 'It runs well, even on phones,' he says.
Initially the service will only be available on Mac desktop machines or recent Apple iOS devices but other versions are coming, Quek says: 'In 2012 there will be clients for Windows and Android. The key thing is that it feels like you're using the same app in each environment, because essentially you are.'
The main distinction between the devices is the way files are added to the 'photo carousel' - they use each device's native file picker. As such you select images from the camera or 'Camera Roll' of the iOS devices and use a standard OS X file dialogue or drag-and-drop on a Mac. 'Anything you can do on one machine, you can do anywhere - we want to turn every device into an equal participant.'
Once an image has been added to a photo carousel, each device can apply a series of edits. There are three tabs in the software - one that applies preset 'Looks,' a second 'Adjustments' tab and a Crop/Rotate tab. At present there are 17 Looks which can't be combined or modified, though this may be changed in later versions. The second two tabs will be more familiar to users of image manipulation software.
|The interface looks essentially the same, regardless of the device you use it on. Large, simple sliders allow its use with touchscreen devices, such as the iPad, pictured here.|
Like the first version of Adobe Lightroom, all the other edits affect the entire image, whether it be white balance adjustment, exposure correction (with highlight and shadow adjustment) or contrast adjustments. Both the Exposure and White Balance tabs have an 'auto-correct' option that shows what changes it's making. Opening an edited image on another device reveals the control sliders in exactly the position you left them when you made the last change. This gives you the option of beginning your edits on one device then moving to another to finish off - or hand over to someone else, with the knowledge you'll be able to see and undo any changes they've made, if you wanted.
'I wouldn't trust my images to the cloud'
Although Carousel is explicitly a cloud-based system, it recognizes that people don't want to just trust their images to a remote server they can't directly control. 'By default the Mac version of Carousel is set to copy all imported images on any computer you install Carousel on. It's very important for people to know they have the originals of their images. We want people to be in control, to know where thier images are.'
This, in turn, answers the question of what happens if you were to cancel your subscription to the service: 'The only thing that you'd risk losing are your edits. The user has all their original files but if they haven't exported the edited version, they could lose that. We store your edits for 60 days, so you wouldn't lose them just because you forgot to renew your membership or something like that.'
And, if you prefer, you can set up more than one machine to store your files, so Carousel can essentially make a backup on a second machine, every time it's connected to the web. Because all images are copied back to the primary computer, the amount of hard-drive space on your primary machine(s) defines the limit of your storage on Carousel.
Invite friends aboard the Carousel
As aspect of Adobe Carousel that wasn't highlighted at launch is the ability to give other users access to your catalogue of images. Each license allows the user to create up to five photo carousels, each of which can be shared with up to five people. Those friends then have the same level of access and control over the images as the 'host' - they can also upload their own images - the only thing they can't do is create new carousels or change who has access to the carousel being shared with them. They don't need their own license which means groups of people could club together to pay for Carousel access, so long as they designate one person to act as host/admin. This would allows participants on a photographic course or photo walk to easily share their images and propose image edits to one another's work.
Quek is keen to stress that Carousel isn't specifically designed for off-line working but it's clear that the intermittent nature of mobile connectivity has been considered in its design. 'The device you're working on will cache thumbnails of any image that has appeared in the track, and screen resolution (1440 x 900 pixel) proxy versions or any images you've looked at with the loupe. It will then pull down the full-size original version of any image you've edited.' These images remain cached until the devices' storage is needed for something else, whether that's newer images for Carousel or a movie downloaded from iTunes. This caching does mean you can continue to work on images while you're not connected to the internet. 'As you re-connect, it will re-sync all your updates.'
And there's more...
Although Quek is adamant that it isn't the case, it's hard not to get the impression that the level of functionality offered by Carousel has ended up defining Adobe's target audience (rather than the feature set being developed for with that particular audience in mind). In part this is because it seems pretty clear that Carousel will quickly grow beyond being a friends and family-friendly cross-platform sharing service. There are a couple of obvious features missing (such as the ability to specify aspect ratios when cropping), and other, more advanced ones that Quek says they hope to add: 'Raw is on our list of features for future versions. We're always thinking about how to balance accessibility and power - we don't want to make the experience too complicated.'
There will also be improved support for off-line working, he suggests: 'at the moment we don't show the user which full-sized images are available for editing from cache. We are looking to improve off-line support in further versions.'
The message seems to be that this is just the beginning: 'We're targeting mainstream consumers with our first version but we also want to give our more advanced users a glimpse of what can be done.'
|Bald Eagle by anisah|
from Features - lips/mouth
|heron and fish by APenza|
from A Big Year - birds
|Cows Cowering Under Rare California Super Cell by RBFresno|
from -The Old Cows-
The new iZugar 3.25mm F2.5 super fisheye lens offers an insane 220-degree angle of view. That means it can basically see behind itself... good luck keeping your feet out of the shot.
You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll remember that time you took a picture of the frozen pizza baking directions.
A Craigslist poster has discovered the worst possible way to photograph a car: taking pictures of pictures displayed on a cracked and scratched up smartphone screen.
With the iPhone X coming out soon, the title probably won't last, but the iPhone 8 Plus is officially the best smartphone camera DxOMark has ever tested, and the iPhone 8 is second.
Kodak's new Facebook Messenger chatbot is trying to bring back the 'Kodak Moment' by digging up your old social media photos and trying to sell you prints and custom coffee mugs.
Affinity Photo for iPad was touted as "the first full blown, truly professional photo editing tool to make its way onto the Apple tablet." This update makes it that much more convenient.
Yashica has released a new teaser video, and this one claims they'll be releasing an "unprecedented camera" in October on Kickstarter. Ready... set... speculate!
Storage solutions company Synology has just released its very first 6-bay NAS tower. Combined with the DX1215 expansion units, it can hold and control up to thirty drives.
We're always expanding our collection of product overview content, and we've just added videos for the Canon EOS 6D Mark II, the EOS Rebel SL2 and EOS M6.
The venerable Canon PowerShot G1 was announced seventeen years ago this week, marking the start of a line of enthusiast-focused compacts that's still alive and kicking.
Super macro photographer Can Tuncer captured these incredible close-ups of a single peacock feather using a special setup and three different microscope lenses.
After successfully crowdfunding the Biotar 75mm F1.5, Oprema Jena is at it again. This time they're bringing back the Biotar 58mm F2: the world's only lens with a 17-blade aperture.
Adobe's move to a subscription model is treating it very well indeed. The company has posted record revenue for the second quarter in a row, hauling in a mind-boggling $1.84 billion.
More details have emerged about the potential sale of Blackstone's 45% stake in iconic camera brand Leica.
Popular mobile editing app Snapseed just got a major update that includes a new interface and 11 new presets for both Android and iOS, as well as adding the Perspective tool to the iOS version.
It might sound like a strange idea, but taking macro photos of boiling water can actually result in some really cool photographs. A good photo experiment for a rainy day.
The database was created to "break with the narrow lens through which history… has been recorded" by equipping those who commission photography with "the resources to discover photographers of color available for assignments.
Lensbaby has released two new optics for their special "optic swap system." The Lensbaby Sweet 80 Optic gives you that trademark sweet spot of focus, while the Creative Bokeh optic gives you 9 different drop in aperture plate options to play with.
TechCrunch has already posted their review of the upcoming iPhone 8 (not yet the iPhone X), and they're calling it "a look into the augmented future of photography."
Affinity Photo is a $50 photo editing software with no subscriptions. That's it – pay for it once and you're done. And we think it's actually pretty darn good.
Instagram is currently testing a major change to the app's profile layout: replacing the 3-photo across grid with a 4-photo grid... and some users are NOT taking the news well.
A report by USSRPhoto is shedding some light on the return of the famed Zenit camera brand. It seems the full-frame mirrorless camera they're working on will be made in part by Leica using components from the Leica SL.
According to a reliable Korean report, Samsung is developing a smartphone sensor that's capable of super slow motion. Translation: Samsung's next batch of Galaxy smartphones may be able to shoot 1,000fps.
This simple photograph of a seahorse and Q-tip has taken the internet by storm. We spoke to photographer Justin Hofman about how it was captured, and what it means to him.
After a massive leak last week, Profoto has officially debuted the Profoto A1: the company's first on-camera flash system that they're calling "the world's smallest studio flash."
"When the first hyperfocal distance charts were designed, someone decided that an acceptably sharp background contained some blur — enough to notice in a medium-sized print [...] After that point, nearly every other hyperfocal chart followed suit."
The Canon EOS Rebel SL2 (also known as the EOS 200D) is the company's impressively compact entry-level DSLR. Packing a 24MP APS-C sensor, DIGIC 7 processor and Dual Pixel AF, it promises a lot of bang for the buck. And while not mind-blowing, it handles most tasks very well.
Correct these four common composition mistakes and your photos will be more balanced, tell a better story, and lead your viewer's eye where you want it to go.
The rugged, compact 360° action camera Kodak unveiled at Photokina in 2016, the Kodak PixPro Orbit 360, is finally available in the United States.
iOS 11 launches tomorrow, and it'll save all of your pictures in a new high efficiency image format called HEIC. Fortunately, there's now a converter that will let you turn those photos back into JPEGs.