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In Creative Cloud Push, Adobe Discontinues Boxed Software

Adobe’s David Wadhwani, senior vice president and general manager of digital media, speaks at Adobe MAX on Monday in Los Angeles. (Photo: Adobe/David Zentz Photography/Novus Select)

Adobe is bidding adieu to packaged software, the company announced Monday at its Adobe MAX conference in Los Angeles. As part of an expansion of the Creative Cloud subscription model launched in May 2012, Adobe will not release any further versions of its CS applications, although it will continue to sell and support CS6. Instead, it’s betting big on the cloud. “We believe that Creative Cloud will have a larger impact on the creative world than anything else we’ve done over the past three decades,” explained David Wadhwani, senior vice president and general manager of digital media, in a Monday keynote during which he unveiled a more integrated, collaboration-minded line of Adobe “CC” applications.

Many of the new features require access to Creative Cloud. “‘CC’ represents the next generation of Adobe apps,” he said. “Photoshop CC, Illustrator CC, InDesign CC, and all of the other apps will continue to run on your desktop, whether you’re connected to the Internet or not…but the apps will increasingly be part of a larger creative process centered on Creative Cloud.” The major update will be available in June. Adobe exited the first quarter of 2013 with 479,000 Creative Cloud subscribers and expects to reach 1.25 million by the end of the year.

In Which Letterpress Prints Help to Save Hamilton Wood Type Museum

Wisconsin’s Hamilton Wood Type and Printing Museum is the only museum dedicated to the preservation, study, production, and printing of wood type. Admission is free, thanks in part to the all-volunteer staff, and the collection includes 1.5 million pieces of wood type and more than 1,000 styles and sizes of patterns. In addition to a 145-foot wall of wood type–the world’s largest–the museum even has its own Matthew Carter-designed typeface, Carter Latin Wide. “I’m not a printer, least of all a letterpress printer,” the famed typographer has said of first foray into wood type. “But I tried to think like one and imagine a typeface that allowed me to print something in a way that I could not otherwise do.”

The museum recently moved into a new home in Two Rivers, and the race is on to reopening day, planned for this summer. According to director Jim Moran, Hamilton desperately needs funding–and an army of volunteers–to physically move millions of pieces of type, plates, presses, tools, and raw materials. Enter letterpress-loving Neenah Paper, which has launched a “Help Save Hamilton” campaign that will donate to the museum all money raised from a series of limited-edition prints. First up is “Form & Function” (above), designed by Two Paperdolls. “I scanned the back of some wood type to achieve an authentic texture,” says Jennifer James of the Philadelphia-based studio, “and adorned the letterforms with ornaments you might find in an ‘old school’ letterpress shop.”

‘Tidal Wave of Technology’ Is Transforming Museums

How can technology reinvent and deepen the museum experience? New York’s 92Y recently convened a panel of forward-thinking museum pros to tackle the question, and we sent writer Nancy Lazarus to report back on what the future of museums may look–and sound and feel–like.

A visitor gets in touch with the Cleveland Museum of Art’s “Collection Wall,” a 40-foot, interactive, microtile wall featuring over 3,500 works of art from the permanent collection.

King Tut may finally have met his match: interactive technology. “Digital technology is as much a game-changer now for museums as blockbuster shows” were in the late 1970s, said Cara McCarty, curatorial director of the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum. The Metropolitan Museum’s 1976 Tutankhamen exhibit was a pioneer of the blockbuster, and now many of the Met’s ancient treasures are also viewable on interactive touchscreens.

McCarty moderated a recent 92Y panel about technology trends and the future of museums. When she said, “Technology is hitting us all like a tidal wave,” she wasn’t lamenting, but referring to the overwhelming options. The panelists agreed, including Mark Robbins, director of the International Center of Photography. “Nineteenth-century museums were comprised of a privileged set of objects,” he said. “Now museums offer more immersive experiences without walls.”

“Technology is a tool shaping museums’ future,” added Seb Chan, Cooper-Hewitt’s director of digital and emerging media. Interactive options enrich visitors’ experience, especially for storytelling. Chan described the mobile app at Australia’s Museum of Old and New Art in Tasmania. It senses where gallery visitors are and delivers custom content, thereby eliminating wall labels. London’s Tate Museum has a similar app, the Magic Tate Ball, which promises, “It’s like having the Tate in your pocket.”

Another proponent of technology’s narrative power is Jake Barton, founder of Local Projects, a firm that designs media installations for museums. One client is New York’s 9/11 Memorial Museum, slated to open next year. He previewed an exhibit where visitors will use interactive maps to pinpoint their locations when they learned of the 9/11 news. Then they record messages about that moment, and their voices will play in the background as visitors view the exhibit.
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Friday Photo: Snowflakes in Freefall

Spring has finally sprung, and so it’s possible to gaze upon snowflakes–or at least images of snowflakes–without shivering. These fine specimens were photographed in 3-D as they fell by a high-speed camera system developed by researchers at the University of Utah and its spinoff company, Fallgatter Technologies. “Until our device, there was no good instrument for automatically photographing the shapes and sizes of snowflakes in freefall,” says Tim Garrett, an associate professor of atmospheric sciences. “We are photographing these snowflakes completely untouched by any device, as they exist naturally in the air.” In addition to taking the first automated, high-resolution photos of snowflakes, Fallgatter’s Multi Angle Snowflake Camera measures how fast the flakes fall and according to Garrett, “collects vast amounts of data that can be used to come up with more accurate and more representative characterizations of snow in clouds” for improved weather forecasting.

There’s an App for That: Trace

Get your sketch on with Trace, a simple and beautiful yet incredibly useful iPad app created by the architects of the Morpholio Project. Free to download, the sketch utility allows users to instantly draw on top of imported images or background templates, layering comments or ideas to generate immediate, intelligent sketches that are easy to circulate. “Tracing over something is absolutely the foundation of the app,” says co-creator Toru Hasegawa. “Layers of trace paper are not the same as ‘layers’ in Photoshop or other tools. Here, they are the stacking of ideas, as opposed to the organizing of files.”

Got an app we should know about? Drop us a line at unbeige [at]

Blick Art Materials Acquires Utrecht Art Supplies

In the artistic arms race of Dick Blick versus Utrecht, we’ve always been partial to the one whose jaunty red palette logo implied a connection to the likes of Theo van Doesburg, Gerrit Rietveld, and Miffy (whose creator, Dick Bruna, is among the Dutch city’s most famous sons), despite its founding in NYC by an artist in search of better canvas. But Mr. Blick is having the last laugh. Galesburg, Illinois-based Blick Art Materials has acquired Utrecht Art Supplies from private equity firm Topspin Partners LBO, which purchased the company in a secondary buyout in 2007.

The deal adds 45 stores to family-owned Blick’s existing network of 39. “The acquisition of Utrecht gives us a tremendous, well-established brand and greater geographic reach for our brick and mortar channel,” said Blick CEO Robert Buchsbaum in a statement issued Monday (and initially straining credulity among April Fool’s Day announcements such as Richard Branson‘s news of Virgin Atlantic’s new glass-bottomed plane). Financial terms were not disclosed, and no word on Blick’s plans for the Utrecht brand or its lines of paints, canvas, and other art products.

Chris Anderson on ‘Liberating’ Force of 3D Printing

This week’s episode of NPR’s On the Media tackles the past, present, and future of ownership, from fan fiction and fair use to the strange tale of who owns “The Happy Birthday Song.” Wired editor-turned-robotics entrepreneur Chris Anderson joined host Bob Garfield to discuss 3D printing, the technology so trendy that it was touted in the most recent State of the Union address. Anderson, author of Makers: The New Industrial Revolution, compared the current state of 3D printing to that of desktop publishing in 1985. “There was software that would allow you to do things that used to require a typographers’ union. Kind of extraordinary, because it adds the word ‘desktop’ in front of a word that was previously industrial,” he said. “It didn’t change the world by itself, but what it did do was it kind of liberated the concept of publishing from industry and put it in the hands of regular people.” So what does a 3D-printed future look like? According to Anderson, “When professional tools get in the hands of amateurs, they change the world.”

What Would Warhol Do…with 3D Printing?

We suspect it would involve desserts, skulls, or a delicious combination of the two, but the call is yours in a new contest from Materialise. The Belgian 3D printing (a.k.a. additive manufacturing) giant is challenging everyone and anyone to “design what you think Andy Warhol would have produced with 3D printing technology if he were alive today.” Five semifinalists will get their fifteen minutes of fame this June in Pittsburgh, as the Society of Manufacturing Engineers kicks off its 2013 RAPID prototyping fair with a bash at the Warhol Museum, where Murray Moss (who is among the contest judges) is cooking up a 3D-printed installation. The semifinalists’ designs will be 3D printed by Materialise and displayed at the museum during the event, when the grand prize winner will be announced–and will take home the 3D-printed version of his or her design. Fire up your “originality, inventiveness, and creativity” (the judging criteria), start thinking in paintable resin, and whip up something Warholian by March 15. Click here for complete contest details.

President Touts 3-D Printing, Manufacturing Hubs in State of the Union Address

Rare is the design angle on a presidential address, but last night’s State of the Union included a shout-out to 3D prototyping. Early in the speech President Obama highlighted recent gains in domestic manufacturing jobs–more than 500,000 have been added in the past three years–offering examples of in-sourcing in progress at Caterpillar, Ford, and a little company in Cupertino. “This year, Apple will start making Macs in America again,” he said [cut to shot of a grinning Tim Cook] before turning to his administration’s manufacturing preservation initiative:

Last year, we created our first manufacturing innovation institute in Youngstown, Ohio. A once-shuttered warehouse is now a state-of-the art lab where new workers are mastering the 3-D printing that has the potential to revolutionize the way we make almost everything. There’s no reason this can’t happen in other towns. So tonight, I’m announcing the launch of three more of these manufacturing hubs, where businesses will partner with the Departments of Defense and Energy to turn regions left behind by globalization into global centers of high-tech jobs. And I ask this Congress to help create a network of 15 of these hubs and guarantee that the next revolution in manufacturing is made right here in America. We can get that done.

To which approximately half of the audience responded, “Yes we can!”

Chuck Close Goes Digital with Catalogue Raisonné from Artifex Press

Artist Chuck Close has described his work as “monumental in scale and brutal in detail.” The phrase is just as apt when referring to the painstaking process of cataloguing his oeuvre, according to Carina Evangelista, the editor of the Chuck Close Catalogue Raisonné. The just-launched publication puts a new spin on the form–a comprehensive, annotated listing of all the known works of an artist either in a particular medium or all media–as Chuck Close: Paintings, 1967-present also marks the official launch of Artifex Press, a New York-based startup dedicated to the production of digital catalogues raisonnés.

“Our catalogues are every bit the equal of the catalogues raisonnés you know in book form,” said Artifex Press editor-in-chief David Grosz at the launch event held recently at the New York Public Library. “We’re a publishing company, but we’re also a software company.” Grosz co-founded Artifex in 2009 with Pace Gallery’s Marc Glimcher. The Close catalogue debuted alongside Jim Dine: Sculpture, 1983-present, and will be followed by catalogues raisonnés of Sol LeWitt and Agnes Martin. Projects are also in progress with contemporary artists including Tara Donovan, Thomas Nozkowski, James Siena, and Richard Tuttle.

With the help of a Macbook, Grosz and Evangelista clicked through a tour of the Close catalogue and its fuss-free functionality as the charismatic artist himself provided running commentary. “It’s a nauseating amount of images,” said Close, as they did a quick sort for self-portraits and his “Big Self Portrait” (1967-68, pictured above) filled the screen. “When I put this image in books I have to add a disclaimer telling kids not to smoke.” Later, it was on to archival photos. “Oh look, there’s Joseph Beuys looking at my painting,” Close said of a 1974 snapshot of the German artist sizing up a Close canvas. “I didn’t know he cared.”
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