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Photoshop Touch brings hardcore image editing to iOS and Android

Jackie Dove | Aug. 5, 2013
Photoshop Touch 1.4.1 brings the power of Photoshop image editing to mobile devices.

The usual Photoshop adjustments and filters are accounted for: brightness and contrast, color saturation and temperature, noise reduction, transform, and shadow/highlight. Within these tools are additional slider-based adjustments. You'll also find Photoshop's signature curves and levels tools, where you adjust via histogram, and in separate color channels. You can also rotate and flip images.

Interface 
At first glance, Photoshop Touch doesn't appear easy to use, but it's not hard to learn, especially if you already know Photoshop. After tapping around for a fairly short while, I was able to memorize the location of most controls. Newcomers without Photoshop references, however, will likely find the path rough going.

When you launch the app and hit the Magic Wand button to begin a project, you can get images from a number of places. Photoshop Touch conveniently worked with all of my camera phone libraries and hooked directly into my Camera Roll, Instagram, and several other social networking subscription services.

You can also access images saved to your Creative Cloud account, where Photoshop Touch gives you 2GB of space free of charge. You can shoot a photo from within the app, or access photos from Google and Facebook. The Google interface lets you search by category, photo type (face, photo, clip art, drawing), color, and even usage rights. For designers looking for a quick mockup using royalty free images, this is very cool.

On the iPad, the interface is limited to landscape orientation. The toolbar along the left-hand side of the app is a facsimile of the desktop version's toolbar. There's plenty of room for maneuvering, but given that there are unlabeled interface elements lining three sides of your image by default, it can be intimidating. After some experimental tapping around, the unlabeled icons start to make more sense in that you know which ones to touch when you're looking for a specific edit, and which ones to ignore because they'll move you off of the editing canvas. And once you get into the menus themselves, everything is text labeled.

That said, it's not the most fun or intuitive interface I've ever used—iPhoto for iOS corners that market—but it's jam-packed with advanced features and offers the control of layers, selections, transformations, and adjustments that Photoshop artists are looking for.

Toolbar elements
Just touching the top of the toolbar lets you access Photoshop Touch's major editing tools, and tapping each one reveals its specific options. The toolbar is abbreviated, of course, but it provides major items from the desktop version's grownup toolbar. There's the familiar Marquee, Lasso, and Magic Wand selection tools, the Paint and Effects Paint tools, the Clone, Eraser, Blur, Smudge and Healing Brush, and more, nested with flyouts similar to the desktop. The Scribble Selection tool is similar to the old Extract filter, which had been replaced by the Refine Edge tool on the desktop. Photoshop Touch has both the Scribble Tool and a Refine Edge control.

 

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