Adobe Photoshop Touch £6.5
1st Mar 2012 | 12:12
Tablet version of Photoshop for Android tablets and iPads
When you think of photo editing with Adobe Photoshop you'll probably think of sitting at a desk working on a reasonably powerful desktop PC or Mac. However, as much as many of us wish that it were the case, creativity doesn't always come naturally when sat at a desk.
A solution to this is the Adobe Photoshop Touch app, designed for tablets such as the iPad 2. This mobile version of Adobe's market leading photo editing software, Photoshop Elements, is currently available for Android tablets from the Android Market. It will be released for iPads later, through Apple's App Store.
See the new tablet version of Adobe's image editing software in action, as we take a quick run through the features:
While the move from editing photos from your desk to editing them on the go is a welcome one, how well does Adobe Photoshop Touch perform?
In the transition from powerful desktop computers with plenty of processing power, RAM and dedicated graphics cards to the relatively limited hardware of the tablets, you'll inevitably make compromises.
Considering the fact that Adobe Photoshop Elements costs around £50, compared to the app's price of £6.99, surely something has got to give?
If you've ever used a desktop application that hasn't been optimised for touchscreen on a tablet - so pretty much anything on a Windows 7 tablet - you'll be pleased to know that Adobe has obviously put a lot of thought into the interface for Photoshop Touch.
It takes a little while to get accustomed to the layout if you're used to using the desktop program - it took us a while to figure out how to save our creations, for example - but once you understand it, it feels comfortable and intuitive to use, especially when choosing various tools and paintbrushes.
Features and ease of use
At first the tool bar looks deceptively simple, but holding and dragging your finger over the tools reveals more options, with sub options for each tool that can mould the tool to suit your needs. Choosing and customising tools such as paintbrushes is easy through touch gestures.
One of these tools enables you to create a layer over or behind other layers and then take a photo with the tablet's built-in camera. This photo is then added to your project. It's a good idea that enabled us to replace the background of a photo we were editing with one taken from our tablet's camera.
What could have been a complicated process was straightforward, and accomplished in just a few taps. The results weren't great, however, and even on high-end tablet the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, the shots looked pixelated and low-res.
Nevertheless, the ease in which we used that tool is emblematic of Adobe Photoshop Touch's intuitive layout. It makes using the touchscreen interface a help, rather than a hindrance.
The only problem is the lack of labelling on tools, with just icons to identify them. This isn't a problem when you're familiar to the program, but if you're new to Photoshop then you're going to feel a bit lost at first.
The home screen of the Adobe Photoshop Touch app gives quick access to tutorials. There are a number of tutorials included to explain tools and effects and guide you through complex steps. However, they can be annoyingly vague at times, often naming tools without describing what they do.
When loading up the app, you're given a choice of where to get a photo from for editing. Local Photos enables you to choose from photos stored on your tablet that have come from your computer or taken as screenshots.
The Camera option enables you to take pictures using your tablet's camera and edit them directly - a feature that you probably won't use unless you have one of those rare tablets with a camera that isn't dreadful.
The Google option enables us to choose a photo to edit from Google Image Search, providing a virtually limitless library of stock images to play with.
By default the search only includes images that have been marked as 'reuse with modification', so you're free to edit and publish them. You can change the search criteria to include all images, but this isn't recommended if you're going to be publishing the altered images as your own, because copyright problems could arise.
A safer option in Adobe Photoshop Touch then is the Facebook tool, which connects to your Facebook account and enables you to open and edit the pictures that you have uploaded to the social media site. It's easy to use, although we needed to grant access permissions to our Facebook account, something we try to avoid with all but the most necessary Facebook apps for privacy reasons.
Browsing our albums and photos worked as if they were already stored on our device, and downloading them to open in Adobe Photoshop Touch was a simple case of tapping the desired photo. The only problem is that photos uploaded to Facebook are shrunk and compressed, so you'll be working with pretty low resolution photos that won't look great.
The most interesting, and useful, of the photo source options is Creative Cloud. This cloud-based service shares your work between Adobe Photoshop Touch and the desktop Photoshop software. This meant we could start editing a photo on our PC, save it to Creative Cloud then continue editing it on our tablet.
It's a great tool that highlights the potential of Adobe Photoshop Touch and marks it out as more than just a simple mobile photo editing app.
With Photoshop Touch, Adobe has done a great job of creating a tablet app spin-off of one of its most popular products. Adobe Photoshop Touch doesn't just work around the inherent limitations of tablets - namely the lack of power and touchscreen-only controls - but also plays to their strengths.
The interface is very well laid out, granting easy access to some pretty complicated tools and effects.
Adobe has obviously spent a lot of time thinking about every tool in Photoshop and how it can be tweaked to work well in a touchscreen environment. That time has been well spent, since very few compromises have been made, with most of the tools you'd expect to find present and correct, without being dumbed down.
The Creative Cloud feature is also a great addition.
Don't mistake Adobe Photoshop Touch as a beginner's version of Photoshop. While it's not as complex as the professional version of Photoshop CS, there are still a number of tools and concepts included that might confuse beginners at first.
Step-by-step tutorials are included to help you get to grips with the tools, but these can also be confusing.
The Adobe Photoshop Touch app for tablets is a step above most tablet photo editing apps, and well worth the extra money.