Thursday, March 1, 2012

REVIEW: Photoshop Touch for iPad2

Price: $9.99
Rating: • • • •

If you work as a graphic designer or a web developer, you don't need me to sing to you the merits of Photoshop. Everyone in the industry knows how valuable the software is and why it's considered a standard. It's for these reasons that I was very excited when I first read about Photoshop Touch for the iPad2 earlier this year and even more so when I got to download it this week. Right off the bat, I'll tell you that this is not just another photo editor. This is very much Photoshop for the iPad which is a really great resource for traveling bloggers, designers and developers. No matter how much you love your Mac/PC, it's nice to know that you can travel lightly with just your iPad2 and still able to work.

Opening screen of
Photoshop Touch
When you first open Photoshop Touch, you are presented with two options, tutorials or intro. I wanted to have a personal tour so I chose the tutorials route. Immediately I noticed one thing that will make or break your Photoshop Touch experience: if you have (to borrow a phrase from Seinfield) "man hands", get a good stylus. I personally suggest the Wacom Bamboo but any good stylus will work. Without a stylus, you may find that your view of the cursor is somewhat obstructed. The tutorials do a great job of walking you through simple graphic editing tasks which help to illustrate what is possible. At this point my kinetic side took over and I decided to go rogue and just play. I was easily able to add and delete layers, use blends and create simple effects that I was already familiar with from the desktop version. Many of the tools that you are used to using are here, including the lasso, magic wand and clone tools. I really like the fact that I can create new layers and blend them as I would on the desktop version.  There are also preset effects that you can use to quickly spice up any image.

Photoshop Touch offers many
familiar tools to choose from.
Of course, nothing is ever perfect and PSTouch is no exception. Throughout my experience, I did notice a few bugs, some were more annoying then others. There were times when the app seemed to drag when I was drawing a selection that was particularly complex. Other times it seemed that if certain features were used in a particular order, some of the functionality would break without any type of user warning or message. There is a limit on file dimensions at 1600px square, but I don't think this is as big an issue as some people are making it out to be. After all, this software is best suited for web designers/developers on the go, not photographers and if you need to work on such large images, you shouldn't be doing it in an iPad2. Speaking of which, you'll notice that I'm calling out the version of the iPad throughout this blog. This app requires the iPad2 running iOS 5 or later. I'm sure there are very good technical reasons why, but it would have been nice to see this made available (or some version) for the iPad1. I personally do not like to add to our already growing mentality of being a "throw away" society.

You can easily get great results
in a very short time.
In the end, Adobe has created a great solution for those on the go who need some functionality, but not the full suite available in CS. There are some more than minor bugs and you really need a stylus (or boney fingers) to make full use of this app which is why I rated it a four instead of a five, but I know that Adobe will fix that so patience is key. In the meantime, we now have a functional photo editor for the iPad2 which makes owning one that much cooler and makes me that much more productive.

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