Russell Brown: Renaissance Man

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Russell and I will be co-teaching a pre-conference Photoshop CS5 workshop, From Reality to Renaissance, at Adobe MAX 2010 this coming October 23-25 in Los Angeles, CA. Using brushes from my Artists' Brushes for Photoshop CS5, I painted the above promotional image based on a photograph of Russell. Yes, he really dressed up for the occasion! Here's more on the workshop:

Starting with photographic portraits we will turn reality into renaissance. Participants will unleash the powerful combination of cameras, computers, and Adobe Creative Suite® 5 software to produce an original artwork on canvas.

This class will introduce you to a new set of creative techniques that will be useful for both designers and photographers. Our goal will be to turn the normal into the unique. Taught on the latest Mac computers, Russell Brown@MAX offers a limited class size and an intimate, inspiring environment for in-depth instruction on Photoshop CS5 and many of its new features. This unique, project-based class gives you time to ask questions of industry experts and network with others in your field. If you like crazy and inspirational events, then this is what you've been waiting for.

For more information, visit the Russell Brown website.

John's Artists' Brushes for Photoshop CS5 Now Available!

I'm pleased to announce that my Artists' Brushes for Adobe Photoshop CS5 are now available. Above is a short preview video of the tutorials included with the purchase of the brushes. Utilizing Photoshop CS5's new Mixer Brush and Bristle Tips, my goal with regard to the brushes was to create a set of expressive tools that can be immediately used without the need to tackle all of the available settings. The Artists' Brushes come with 48+ brushes, a set of 6 custom-built canvas textures, John's Cloning Layer Action, and over an hour of instructional tutorials.

John's Artists' Brushes are available at an introductory price of $19.95. For more information and purchase details, visit the Artists' Brushes webpage.

Photoshop CS5: John's Artists' Brushes Deliver the Goods

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This is a close-up sample of painting with my new Artists' Brushes for Adobe® Photoshop® CS5. As can be seen in the sample, my goal is to have these brushes provide a high degree of natural-media realism. The selection of six custom canvas textures that ship with the Artists' Brushes supply an authentic paint character to the applied strokes.

The Artist's Brushes for Adobe Photoshop CS5 are $24.95 and will go on sale within the next 2 weeks. As an introductory offer, they will be available for $19.95. This special offer will be limited to a 30-day period starting the day the brushes go on sale.

If you would like to be notified when the Artists' Brushes for Adobe Photoshop CS5 go on sale, email me at

Happy 20th Birthday, Photoshop!

It's hard to believe that the venerable Photoshop was released 20 years ago today. In 1987, Thomas Knoll developed a pixel imaging program called Display. It was a simple program to showcase grayscale images on a black-and-white monitor. However, after collaborating with his brother John Knoll, the two began adding features that made it possible to process digital image files. The program eventually caught the attention of industry influencers, and in 1988, Adobe made the decision to license the software, naming it Photoshop, and shipping the first version in 1990.

I remember meeting the Knoll brothers at a trade show in 1989 while demoing Time Arts Oasis (an early painting application I was involved with) in the Wacom booth. John was rather, hmmm—brash. He took a look at Oasis and said there was no use to even try going up against their new application. He certainly was prescient.

One of Oasis's innovative features at the time was the Lightbox. This feature enabled the user to place a blank image window over another open image and see through to the underlying image. The effect was akin to tracing paper (Mark Zimmer later related to me that he had seen the Lightbox feature and appropriated the idea in Painter 1.0 as Tracing Paper). I wrote up a concept document that proposed—with some additional engineering—how Oasis and Photoshop could interact with one another utilizing the Lightbox to trace Photoshop images.

We sent to proposal to Adobe and they indicated that they might be interested in Oasis beyond the Lightbox cooperation—they were interested in acquiring it. Oasis had been getting a lot of press for its natural media emulation in concert with the Wacom tablet. As a result of the Adobe interest, we were sure we had a cash cow.

Photoshop Product Manager Steve Guttman and Adobe Ventures' Fred Mitchell came up to Santa Rosa to meet with us. The discussion went well until the matter of what we would consider selling Oasis for. At that point, we really felt that it was worth more to us as a product as opposed to selling it (especially with Adobe showing interest!), so the meeting ended amicably, but with no sale taking place.

Oasis ultimately failed as a product. Time Arts was small and didn't have the capital to properly develop and market a shrink-wrapped product. Who knows what may have happened had Oasis gone to Adobe. Another application, Fractal Design Painter, would shortly take center stage as the niche-defining natural-media digital paint application. It wasn't long before I was at Fractal, working with Mark and Tom on Painter. Steve Guttman came to Fractal a few years later as Vice President of Product Marketing.

Photoshop has continued as the premier image editing application, and deservedly so. If you would like to hear about Photoshop's history, Adobe and the National Association of Photoshop Professionals will be webcasting a live stream of a lively celebration of Photoshop along with member of the Photoshop team tonight at 7:30 PST. A lot of interesting discussion is sure to ensue!

Happy 20th Birthday, Photoshop!