Microsoft Is Cutting the Adobe Flash Cord in July

Illustration for article titled Microsoft Is Cutting the Adobe Flash Cord in July

Image: Sam Rutherford

Adobe Flash officially reached end of life at the end of 2020, and now Microsoft is removing Flash from Windows 10 this summer.

Advertisement

While Microsoft had already started to remove support for Flash from a number of its apps, including its Edge browser, there is still some native support for Adobe’s Flash Player built into Windows 10 itself, which Microsoft is now planning to remove via Windows Update KB4577586: “Update for Removal of Adobe Flash Player.”

In a recent update to a previous blog post on the matter, Microsoft said it will begin sending out the patch to remove Adobe Flash from Windows 10 starting in June, first to users who are part of Microsoft’s Preview program before the patch becomes a mandatory update in July. Microsoft says that going forward, all systems running Windows 10 version 21H1 or later will have Flash removed by default.

In addition to removing native Flash support from Windows 10, Microsoft is also planning on removing Flash from older versions of Windows as well, including Windows 8.1, Windows Server 2012, and Windows Embedded 8 Standard. And in case you don’t want to wait for June, you can also remove Flash from Windows 10 manually by downloading and installing the KB4577586 update from the Microsoft Update Catalog here.

Adobe Flash has been on its way out for the past several years, so it makes sense for Microsoft to do a final pass and remove native support for Flash from Windows 10, thereby eliminating all the security issues often associated with Adobe’s outdated multimedia format.

However, for those feeling nostalgic about Flash games from days gone by, you can still play a number of titles using the Internet Archive. And if you don’t find the specific game you’re looking for, you can also try apps like BlueMaxima’s Flashpoint, which is essentially a multi-platform Flash emulator for Windows, macOS, and Linux PCs.

Depending on which install you choose and what OS you’re on, Flashpoint even comes with a library of more than 38,000 old Flash games (the total file size for Flashpoint Ultimate 9.0 is a whopping 532GB), providing you with a wealth of content from a previous generation of the internet.

Advertisement

Flash is dead; long live Flash.

Adobe Co-Founder and Inventor of PDFs Charles Geschke Dies at Age 81

Adobe co-founder and University of San Francisco chairman Charles Geschke (left) presents an honorary degree to the Dalai Lama alongside USF president Steven Privett (right) in San Francisco, California in 2003.

Adobe co-founder and University of San Francisco chairman Charles Geschke (left) presents an honorary degree to the Dalai Lama alongside USF president Steven Privett (right) in San Francisco, California in 2003.
Photo: Justin Sullivan (Getty Images)

Charles “Chuck” Geschke, a co-founder of the leading software company Adobe who invented PDFs, died Friday at age 81, the company said in a statement.

Advertisement

“This is a huge loss for the entire Adobe community and the technology industry, for whom he has been a guide and hero for decades,” Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen wrote in an email to staff.

“As co-founders of Adobe, Chuck and John Warnock developed groundbreaking software that has revolutionized how people create and communicate, “ he continued. “Chuck instilled a relentless drive for innovation in the company, resulting in some of the most transformative software inventions, including the ubiquitous PDF, Acrobat, Illustrator, Premiere Pro and Photoshop.”

After earning a doctorate from Carnegie Mellon University, Geschke met Warnock while working at the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center, according to the Mercury News. The two left the company in 1982 and founded Adobe to develop software. Their first product was Adobe PostScript, which Narayen lauded as “an innovative technology that provided a radical new way to print text and images on paper and sparked the desktop publishing revolution.”

Geschke retired as president of Adobe in 2000 after nearly two decades of managing the company. He served as co-chairman of Adobe’s board of directors alongside Warnock from 1997 until 2o17 and was a member of the board until April 2020, when he became an emeritus board member.

“I could never have imagined having a better, more likable, or more capable business partner,” Warnock said in a statement shared by Adobe. “Not having Chuck in our lives will leave a huge hole and those who knew him will all agree.”

President Barack Obama awarded Geschke and Warnock the National Medal of Technology in 2008.

Advertisement

Geschke’s wife said he was just as proud of his family as he was of his career achievements.

“He was a famous businessman, the founder of a major company in the U.S. and the world, and of course he was very, very proud of that and it was huge achievement in his life, but it wasn’t his focus—really, his family was,” Nancy “Nan” Geschke told the Mercury News on Saturday. “He always called himself the luckiest man in the world.”

Advertisement

In addition to his lasting impression on the tech industry, Geschke also famously survived a kidnapping attempt in 1992. Two men seized him at gunpoint as he was arriving at work one morning and held him hostage for four days, demanding ransom, the Associated Press reported at the time. He was eventually rescued by agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Geschke is survived by his wife, three children, and seven grandchildren, the Mercury News reported.

Advertisement

Adobe Adds Collaborative Tool to Photoshop and Illustrator

Quarantined meme-makers and beleaguered graphic designers can quietly rejoice in the fact that Adobe’s making it easier to work together in some of its flagship products.

It’s a small quality of life tweak, but if you use Photoshop, Illustrator, or Fresco and work with other people, the “Invite to Edit” button will likely become a part of your daily life. Adobe announced the feature on Tuesday, and it should’ve already rolled out to users’ updated apps. Just look up in the right corner of the interface and you should see a button that looks like this:

Illustration for article titled Adobe Adds Collaborative Tool to Photoshop and Illustrator

Screenshot: Gizmodo

Advertisement

Clicking the button opens a field to invite a collaborator via their email address. A successful connection will share the document within the program between multiple parties, but unfortunately, only one person can work on it at a time.

Still, it beats sending and resending and re-re-sending FINALforReal7.psd via email every time a member of the team makes a small tweak. And version history is supported on collaborative docs.

Adobe’s also added the ability to sync brushes, swatches, gradients, patterns, styles, and shapes across devices with your Creative Cloud account.

The new features are out now for desktop, iPad, and iPhone apps.

Advertisement

Adobe Just Released Its Premiere Pro Beta for Apple’s M1 MacBooks

Illustration for article titled Adobe Just Released Its Premiere Pro Beta for Apples M1 MacBooks

Screenshot: Joanna Nelius/Gizmodo

Anyone curious to see how a native version of Adobe Premiere Pro runs on Apple Silicon now has the chance. Last week, Abode released a beta version of Premiere Pro for M1 systems, reports The Verge, joining the already released beta versions of Photoshop and Lightroom.

Advertisement

Early adopters of Apple’s newest Macs who have been relying on Rosetta 2 to translate the Intel version of the software don’t have to do that anymore—assuming they don’t need to do anything more than convert a video to a popular format, or using any of the advanced functions.

In its blog, Adobe says the beta includes all core editing functions and workflows, like “color, graphics, and audio,” in addition to the Productions features and multicam. It also supports some of the most popular video codecs, like H.264, HEVC, and ProRes ,as well as JPG, PNG, GIF, WebP, and HEIF/HEIC extensions.

Advertisement

Adobe also notes that anyone moving from the Premiere Pro Intel version to the Apple M1 version will need to upgrade their project file format. The Apple M1 version uses the new captions workflow, which is also in beta. Needless to say, save a back-up of your project before upgrading the file format, just in case something goes wrong.

But like Photoshop, the Premiere Pro beta is comprised of only the core functions at the moment. (Lightroom is a full version.) There are still many features missing: After Effects and Media Encoder aren’t ready yet, so anyone who needs to use those will have to run the Intel version of Adobe Premiere Pro via Rosetta 2. Depending on what features and functions of Premiere Pro you use regularly, it might be a better idea to keep using the Intel version under emulation and wait until Adobe finalizes a full version.

An example of what happens when there’s a feature or file type that’s not compatible with the M1 version.

An example of what happens when there’s a feature or file type that’s not compatible with the M1 version.
Screenshot: Joanna Nelius/Gizmodo

It should also be noted that, at the time of this article’s publication, Adobe has yet to update its Premiere Pro user guide to include requirements for M1 systems, nor updated this page to note that Premiere Pro is now available in beta for Apple Silicon. To find the beta version of Premiere Pro, users will need to open their Creative Cloud desktop app and navigate to the Beta apps section.

Advertisement

Depending on the task, some things like converting a video file can be sluggish if a non-native program is run through Rosetta 2. Gizmodo compared how long it took to convert a variety of files in different programs on Apple Silicon versus a few Intel and AMD-based systems, and the results were mixed. Converting an MP4 video to HEVC, for instance, took 4.6 minutes on the MacBook Pro compared to 1.4 minutes on the MSI Prestige 14 Evo, which has an Intel Core i7-1185G7 with Iris Xe Graphics.

However, running the same test again with the native M1 beta version takes 3.1 minutes. This has a lot to do with how the M1 chip processes information compared to Intel and AMD chips, which you can read about here. At the moment, Premiere Pro users have to make a compromise if they own an M1 Mac: Either give up some advanced program features and possibly run into some bugs, or use the Intel version and sacrifice some speed.

Advertisement

This AI-Powered Sky Replacement Tool Is Smart Enough to Change Reflections Too

There are lots of valid reasons to raise concerns over the capabilities of AI-powered image editing tools, but if you’re a professional pixel pusher, there are just as many reasons to be excited about them too, as Skylum Software demonstrates with its new image editing software, Luminar AI that does automated sky replacements so thorough they even modify reflections.

Advertisement

Ahead of the (virtual) Adobe MAX Creativity Conference that happens this week, the company teased an upcoming feature update for Photoshop. Leveraging Adobe’s machine learning Sensei platform, a new Sky Replacement tool promises to streamline at least one task professional photo editors occasionally have to deal with: replacing a boring sky in an image with one that adds more drama or better matches the intended mood of a shot.

As demonstrated in a brief three-minute video by Photoshop Product manager Meredith Stotzner, Photoshop’s new Sky Replacement tool produces results as impressive as the feature is easy to use, automatically adjusting the colors of a photo to match the complexities and shading of the sky being swapped in. However, one area of concern in the demonstration was the new tool’s ability to ensure that areas of a photo reflecting the sky, such as windows or the surface of a lake, are also accurately updated so that new additions to the sky, like added clouds, are accurately reflected.

Advertisement

We’ll be curious to see how well the new Adobe Sensei-powered feature performs once it’s officially introduced to the Photoshop toolset, but Skylum Software appears to have an automated sky replacement tool that already outperforms what Adobe has teased.

A year ago Skylum Software first introduced an AI-powered sky replacement tool that streamlined the editing process to a nearly one-click one that swapped out the heavens and color-corrected the image appropriately, but it too lacked the ability to take into account highly-reflective areas in a photo. For 2021, alongside its new photo editor called Luminar AI, Skylum Software is introducing a new tool called Sky AI that takes automated sky replacements to the next level.

Doing a proper sky replacement manually is a time-consuming process, particularly when picturesque reflections are involved, as the new sky has to essentially be swapped in twice, with a second version mirrored and distorted on the water’s surface. Sky AI not only figures out where reflections need to be, but does it automatically, while preserving details like sunken objects in the water, or things floating on top, like a family of ducks, on top of all the color corrections needed to match everything else in the image to the tones of the recently upgraded sky.

Every automated image editing tool works perfectly in demonstrations; it remains to be seen how well Sky AI and Luminar AI perform on everyday photos. But on a nearly weekly basis we’re seeing these kinds of AI-powered image editing tools get better and better, and the nature of how they’re created means that the more images they process, the better they actually get at their specific task. Some professionals might argue that automating these tasks minimizes the art and craft of photography, but the digital color grading and image editing tools at their disposal now, even without the assistance of artificial intelligence, eclipse what photographers had access to even a decade ago. There’s certainly an argument to be made about creativity, or the lack thereof when an AI-powered tool does all the work for you, but until that’s the norm it’s hard to complain about tools like these simply streamlining an arduous workflow.

Advertisement

Adobe Now Lets You Easily Adjust Where Everyone in a Photo is Looking

Gif: Adobe

The larger the group (or the younger the subjects) the harder it is to ensure that everyone in a photo is looking in the right direction. Should they all be looking at the photographer? The camera lens? At someone else in the shot? With Photoshop Elements 2021, Adobe will let users fix it in post and change where every person is looking by simply adjusting a few sliders.

Advertisement

If you’re not familiar with Adobe Photoshop Elements, you can think of it as a version of Photoshop, Adobe’s flagship image editing application, that’s been streamlined and simplified for amateur photographers who don’t necessarily want to spend hours tweaking pixels. The underlying algorithms are no less powerful than what Photoshop relies on, but the Photoshop Elements interface is less intimidating to new users. As a result, Photoshop Elements is also often the first application to get Adobe’s latest and greatest AI-powered automated correction and enhancement tools.

Preset animations turn still images into animated GIFs in Adobe Photoshop Elements 2021.
Gif: Adobe

Advertisement

For Photoshop Elements 2021, Adobe is introducing a handful of new features including the ability to turn a photo into an animated GIF by slicing up various elements and moving them around in parallax to create the illusion of 2D and 3D camera moves. It’s an effect often used in documentaries like The Kid Stays in the Picture to breathe life into still images, but instead of requiring an artist to spend hours painstakingly slicing up a photo into separate layers to be animated, it’s a one-click effect in Photoshop Elements 2021 which intelligently separates elements and animates them autonomously.

If you can’t figure out how to operate these three simple sliders, then maybe photography isn’t a hobby for you.

If you can’t figure out how to operate these three simple sliders, then maybe photography isn’t a hobby for you.
Screenshot: Adobe

If your images are destined for social media, Adobe is also introducing text overlay templates potentially making anyone a master of memes, but the most interesting addition to the Photoshop Elements 2021 toolset has to be its new Face Tilt feature. The app automatically recognizes faces in a photo and then using a set of three simple sliders, users can change the angle and orientation of the face to make it appear as if it’s looking in a different direction.

The days of jangling keys or making funny faces to grab a child’s attention when snapping their photo could soon be over.

The days of jangling keys or making funny faces to grab a child’s attention when snapping their photo could soon be over.
Image: Adobe

Advertisement

The tool has its obvious limits. If a child is momentarily distracted and looking off to the side in the image so their face isn’t actually visible, Face Tilt won’t be able to bring it back into frame. But any photo editor who’s had to manually merge heads from multiple takes into a single image to ensure everyone is looking in the same direction, the tool should reduce a couple hours worth of pixel-pushing into a ten-minute tweak.

Adobe Photoshop Elements 2021 is set to arrive sometime this Fall before the year is out, and unlike Adobe Photoshop which is only available through an Adobe Creative Cloud membership (with monthly or annual fees) Photoshop Elements can be purchased outright as a standalone app for $100.

Advertisement

Update, 11:58 a.m. EST/EDT: Adobe Photoshop Elements 2021 is actually available as of today on Adobe.com and through other official retailers.