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Adobe Photoshop Fix review: Serious image retouching goes mobile

J.R. Bookwalter | Nov. 11, 2015
Earlier this year, Adobe announced plans to discontinue Touch in favor of an entirely new “serious retouching solution for mobile,” having previously branched many of the layer-based tools into a new app called Photoshop Mix. Now that the replacement has finally arrived, are two image editing apps really better than one?

adobe photoshop fix icon

Nearly three years ago, Adobe launched Photoshop Touch, initially an iPad-only mobile version of the company’s legendary desktop image editing software. As the name implied, tablet (and eventually smartphone) owners could manipulate layers and other familiar tools for the first time with multi-touch to create or tweak artwork and photos using only their fingers.

adobe photoshop fix iphone tooltips
Adobe Photoshop Fix is every bit as usable on iPhone as it is on iPad, with tooltips to help navigate all of the powerful features.

Earlier this year, Adobe announced plans to discontinue Touch in favor of an entirely new “serious retouching solution for mobile,” having previously branched many of the layer-based tools into a new app called Photoshop Mix. Now that the replacement has finally arrived, are two image editing apps really better than one?

It’s no coincidence Adobe Photoshop Fix arrives on the scene just as smartphones and tablets have become more powerful with each passing year. In addition to larger resolution images and iOS 9 Split View multitasking, Fix also supports Apple Pencil for more precision painting and other adjustments not possible with fingers alone.

One thing leads to another

But that only scratches the surface: The new Liquify feature allows users to manipulate or reshape areas of an image in powerful new ways using Warp, Swell, Twirl, or Reconstruct tools. I was particularly impressed by Face mode, which can be used to automatically recognize and reshape the look of anyone’s mug, or even turn that frown upside-down by adding (or improving upon) a smile instead.

adobe photoshop fix iphone liquify
Say cheese! The Liquify feature in Adobe Photoshop Fix can help bring a smile to any photo subject.

Fix also delivers Photoshop’s awesome Heal and Patch tools to mobile. Use a finger to select an unwanted object, and within seconds it’s removed and intelligently replaced with pixels from the surrounding area. However, this feature isn’t yet quite as thorough as on the desktop—objects extending beyond the edge of the frame left the remnant of a thin line that had to be removed with the Clone Stamp tool instead.

Among the other tools included with Fix are the ability to Smooth or Sharpen selected areas of an image, as well as Lighten or Darken specific portions, rather than affecting the entire photo. While in use, the Brush panel along the left edge (which automatically collapses when not in use) provides size, hardness, and opacity settings.

Marquee features aside, Photoshop Mix also includes an impressive lineup of more traditional crop, exposure, contrast, saturation, shadow, and highlight tools, as well as color, paint, defocus, and vignette. They’re all quite intuitive and easy to use, with tooltip pop-ups that walk users through the process at every turn.

 

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