From the comments:
Why, if there are so many interesting things in this [Cory Arcangel] interview and also this excerpt, the discussion will always start with "I like Flash", "Flash ain't bad", "I like Flash", "it is a tool" etc?? ... i have seen this with 98% of all articles where Flash is mentioned.

Strangely, Photoshop is still out of this circle. Photoshop is also mentioned here, but never anybody jumps in and says it sucks or it is gr8 or just a tool or whatever. Actually Photoshop is mentioned everywhere and never such strong opinions as about Flash pop up.

Let's change that! Who will start?
- drx (guest) 3-31-2006 3:15 am

Allow me to say as strongly as I think you'd like to hear, I hate Photoshop. I hate its characteristic '70s airbrushed look, I hate the "bicubic mush" from resizing (your term, drx, and it's great--I'm thankful Paul Slocum told me about "nearest neighbor" resizing or I'd be screwed with these pixeled bitmaps I do), I hate all those "artistic" paintbrushes, I hate the instantly recognizable effects ("mezzotint," "craquelure"), I hate the lazy "surrealist collages" people make with Photoshop, I hate working with layers, I hate the un-intuitive interface, I hate Adobe, which has criminalized the gray area of intellectual property disputes, I hate the constant upgrades that add features no one needs (I'm still using a version of 5 that came bundled with a scanner)--I mainly use Photoshop for cropping and maybe tweaking the contrast of a photo for the blog. I hate making art with it.

- tom moody 3-31-2006 3:40 am
I also especially hate the "smudge tool."

- tom moody 3-31-2006 11:54 am

I like to use Photoshop to crop stuff and the 'save for web' feature, but I don't really make art with it. Cheezy filters & brushes in Photoshop don't much do it for me, but I LOVE to design my own (possibly cheezy) filters & brushes in Synthetik Software's Studio Artist Graphics Synthesizer 3.5. Among about a millionzillion other features, Studio Artist has a great "supersizer" interpolater resizing feature which actually works pretty nicely. If I had to use only one piece of software, Studio Artist would be it.
Back to Flash, many people say they don't like it because it 'makes everything look the same', I guess they mean the look of vector-drawn shapes and colors. I don't really like that so much myself, and I usually don't use straight Flash vector images in my Flash work (exceptions are narrative animations such as The Adventures of The Christian Pirate Pussies), lately I have been making trippy mandala-flower type animations in Flash and then exporting quicktime movies, taking those into Studio Artist, working with layers & alpha channels, then exporting sequenced PNG images out & back into Flash, which makes it so I can publish it at 40 - 50% quality with no real noticable image degradation, and the file-size for what you get in the end is a lot smaller than if you had just made it a quicktime movie, plus you get interactivity (I know some people don't care for it), audio (even interactive audio), random functions and "intelligent" behaviours of objects with actionscript coding. For some really cool coded-generative-animated type art, check out the book "Flash Math Creativity" published by Friends of Ed (
- Thor Johnson (guest) 3-31-2006 7:56 pm [add a comment]

I knew the topic Flash would return on this post as well!!
- drx (guest) 3-31-2006 8:59 pm [add a comment]

I would have more to say about Photoshop if I thought it was a really intersting app.
- Thor Johnson (guest) 3-31-2006 9:12 pm [add a comment]

Photoshop is mighty interesting if just for its wide adoption. It is taught in probably 120% of art and design schools and everybody uses it. Maybe only for cropping, but everybody uses it. It has its cemented place in the workflow for print and video and anything, and through this blob called Creative Suite it is cemented even more, dragging all the other Adobe apps with it.

This is why you cannot really have an opinion about Photoshhop, because it looks like it doesn't look as if there is an alternative. But there is for example:

• IrfanView, a freeware image viewer, but it grew so many plugins that you can crop and stuff with it.
• Paint Shop Pro, the real amateur's tool. Comes free with some ISP contracts. Awesome effects like lightning and fire.
• Cool3D, the phattest font rendering tool on the planet. Completely different approach to pixels!
• Tile Studio, freeware to make nice patterns and tiles.
• Don't have to tell about MSPaint i guess!

etc etc ... You can always copy-paste from one app to another to get all the cool functions!
- drx (guest) 3-31-2006 10:29 pm [add a comment]

I think the active debate about Photoshop has died down because of age. When it first started getting popular there was a huge backlash against it, especially in the photo world. It used to be we believed what we saw in a photo and only those in the know were aware of how malleable the medium really was. Photoshop blew the doors off that notion as any idiot with a macII could put Lady Di’s head on the Hulk’s body. The biggest problem with Photoshop today is that there isn’t another application as powerful. Photoshop swallowing up Macromedia is a huge and nasty problem.
- joester 3-31-2006 11:14 pm [add a comment]


"I'm an art professor, and last semester I embarked on an exciting
new adventure by erasing Mac OS X from nearly all of the Macintoshes
in our digital media lab and installing Ubuntu in its place.
"I began seriously planning this change last school year, when I
realized how fully the current feature sets of free software programs
could satisfy the technical needs of the students in my classes. I
decided that the time had come to teach our undergraduate art
students about free software programs such as the GIMP, Scribus, and
Quanta Plus, instead of proprietary programs such as Photoshop,
QuarkXpress, and Dreamweaver.
The switch to free software has been a big success here in the
Department of Art and Design at Maharishi University of Management in
Fairfield, Iowa. This semester I plan to take the switch further in
my video classes by replacing Avid DV Express, Final Cut Express HD,
Soundtrack, and iDVD with Kino, Cinelerra, Rosegarden, and DVDstyler."

- Thor Johnson (guest) 3-31-2006 11:21 pm [add a comment]

Last year I was going to do a guest artist workshop at a private school in NYC. We had these nice agreements over email about how the computer, in the art making process, should be “used as a tool”. I cooked up a couple projects that I thought would work well for students and fit that mind set. One was an imovie project where students would use their digital still cameras to make stop action animations. I was going to do homemade matrix style “frozen in time” animations. It was going to be really fun, and took full advantage of the hardware and software that they had on hand.
When I got to the school the teacher who I’d been writing with showed me the project that an artist did the year before that the teacher was very proud of. The artist had them making geometric colour compositions in appleworks. In essence, her project could be done with construction paper or paint just as easily (or easier) than using the computer. I realized that our ideas of “using the computer as a tool” were completely different. Opposite, in fact. The Teacher wanted to reduce it to a tool, I wanted to elevate it to a tool.
This year in Berkeley I took a few weeks of an experimental digital music class. One of the professors was very interested in simulation, and spent a great deal of time talking about the technical hardware and software problems involved in making a digital keyboard sound like a violin. The technical issues are complex and seductive, but in the end he’s playing his expensive keyboard through his expensive computer coming out of (really) expensive speakers and it sounds pretty good but nowhere near as good as a 200 dollar violin would sound in the same room. It was maddening.
I didn’t get the workshop gig and I dropped the class.
- joester 4-01-2006 12:56 am [add a comment]

I wondered what happened with that gig!
My fault, but this discussion has bifurcated into two threads on the exact same topic. I recommend reading both.
Re: that music class: a lot of so-called digital art is concerned with problem solving that operates in an absolute taste vacuum.
Making a keyboard sound like a violin, making ice that looks like real ice.
Forget that that violin will be used in a composition that sounds like Mantovani and that ice will be in some third rate sorcery game.
The irony is a kid in Brazil will make kick ass songs with a Playstation that get a room full of people up on their feet holding their cell phones aloft.
Sometimes sheer energy can override all programming limitations.
- tom moody 4-01-2006 1:24 am [add a comment]

A teacher here saw a kid working on Maya and said "Maya, where talent goes to die".
And he teaches the stuff.

- joester 4-01-2006 3:49 am [add a comment]

Yeah, exactly--"industry leading innovations such as Autodesk Maya Fluid Effects, Autodesk Maya Cloth, Autodesk Maya Hair, Autodesk Maya Fur and Autodesk Maya Live, for the creation of superior digital content."

"Great fur, how did you do that?"
"Autodesk Maya Fur, the leader in the industry."
"You are such a good artist, man."

- tom moody 4-01-2006 4:02 am [add a comment]

So suppose I want to make a 3D mockumentary about Furrie culture. Should I first learn how to accurately render 3D fur using my own custom designed 3D rendering algorithms? What about the idea that Maya's industry leading Autodesk Maya Fur allows me the freedom to not worry about my fur and concentrate instead on my ideas?

(and maybe I have too much faith in the art world, but I think comments like "great fur" are a million times more likely to be uttered in a design school, ad agency or special effects house than a gallery or museum)
- mbs (guest) 4-01-2006 4:24 am [add a comment]

nothing says fake fur like real fake fur.

- bill 4-01-2006 4:27 am [add a comment]

OK, if you were going to make a 3D mockumentary about Furry culture, you would want to use Autodesk Maya Fur and save yourself time.

I think comments like "Great fur" still occur in the art world--someone has surely asked a painter like Laurie Hogin how she paints fur--but it would all be framed with apologetic irony, like "I know this is a stupid question, but..." or "I don't want to sound like a formalist, but..."

- tom moody 4-01-2006 5:33 am [add a comment]