App review: Adobe Photoshop Touch

Sim Ahmed looks at the cut down version of the standard desktop suite

Earlier this month Adobe released an iPad 2 version of Photoshop called Photoshop Touch.

The image editing and graphics design app is a cut down version of the industry standard desktop suite. While a price tag of $13.99 is cheap compared to a standard Photoshop license, it's pretty steep compared to other similar products in the app store.

Adobe already offers Photoshop Express for iPad and Android tablets. It's free but compared to Photoshop touch, it's a glorified red-eye tool.

Photoshop Touch has layered editing, refined edges, font editing, filters, and tools that are easy to use for fingers on a touch screen and very refined if you're using a stylus.

All this functionality is organised neatly on the screen with icons and the interfaces that will be familiar to many Photoshop users.

For people who aren't familiar with Photoshop, or old pros trying to find their way around the touch interface, there are guided project tutorials to get you started.

You can start new projects from images in your iPad's gallery, or by using Google search or Facebook directly from the app.

The iPad version is almost identical to the Android version which has been available since the end of last year.

The main difference is from the extra screen real-estate that's afforded by using a 10.1 widescreen Android tablet, as opposed to the iPad's 9.7-inches.

Photoshop Touch is fun to play around with, but serious image editors will find it lacking.

Processing and editing large images on tablets is painfully slow. In the Android versions a delay is noticeable for a lot of filter processing, and while the iPad version fares slightly better, it has a tendency to freeze without any indication that the app is still processing.

Both versions have a canvas size limit of 1600 x 1600 pixels, which makes it difficult to work with high resolution raw images.

Photoshop Touch saves files either as flattened images, or layered .psdx. The latter can only be exported by uploading to Adobe's Creative Cloud platform, which is a subscription product starting at US$49.99 a month.

If you're looking to do minor editing of photo files on your iPad I'd recommend getting iPhoto. If you want the Photoshop experience you have on you computer, you should stick to your computer - because Adobe Photoshop Touch falls woefully short.

2 stars

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