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1) Yes and yes. It is part of the installs of Flash Authoring CS4 and After Effects CS4. We will also continue to post builds of the Pixel Bender Toolkit on Adobe Labs for free download.
2) The language spec is part of the toolkit download and has always been freely available. The command-line compiler will also be freely available.
3) "open" is a pretty loaded word and has a lot of connotations to a lot of people. The language is public, we encourage 3rd party authoring tools, but you may not write your own Pixel Bender run-time right now. I'm speaking of Pixel Bender Kernel and Graph files. Pixel Bender Bytecode is part of Flash and has different licensing.
We're pretty firm on 1 & 2, but the situation on 3 will change over time. If you have something specific in mind that you aren't sure about, contact me privately.
Kevin, thank you for answering. My major concern was that in order to write pieces of code for one of the Adobe programs, people would need to buy another (expensive) program, such as Flash. I'm happy that's not the case.
As to my point (3), I understand the decision to keep the run-time Adobe-only (for now) and by 'open' I was indeed referring mostly to authoring tools.
Oh, I'm not sure whether this is the correct place, but let me sneak in a feature request in relation to Photoshop: it would be really great if the Pixel Bender plug-ins for Photoshop would get the option to be supplied with color data in a standard color space, such as RIMM RGB (used in ACR/Lightroom). That way, the plug-ins would effectively be color managed, without the hassle of performing color transformations inside the kernel.
Just a quick update: I had not realized that the version of Pixel Bender that is up for download on Adobe Labs was already final (1.0), because the referring page still mentions 'technology preview release 4'. That would have answered my first question right away. I had not bothered to actually download a recent release of the toolkit because I was waiting for the Photoshop plug-in to appear.
Technically it is preview release 4. It is pretty close to the final CS4 release that gets included with After Effects and Flash Authoring. There will be an official 1.0 release on labs soon that will actually include more stuff than is on the CS4 DVDs. That will be the last 1.0.x release.
your suggestion on the color spaces is something that we'd already been considering for a future Pixel Bender release. Glad to know that someone besides us wants it!
Ok, the version thing starts to dawn on me now. I'm curious to see 1.0 proper.
Good to know that the team is looking into color management as well. I can't wait to retire some hard-to-maintain PS plugin code in favor of Pixel Bender. :)